This stunning hike has become one of my all time favorites with beautiful trees and stream crossings leading to a gorgeous waterfall.
Overview~ Distance: 8.4 miles roundtrip Difficulty Level: moderate Approximate Time: 4-6 hours Pet Friendly: yes Crowd Levels: low Best season to go: Spring and early Summer
What to bring~ 1. Lunch: once you reach the waterfall there is a lovely viewing area perfect for eating lunch and enjoying the view. 2. Plenty of water: this hike is quite long so make sure to bring lots of water. 3. Camera: to capture photos of the stunning waterfall.
How to get there~ Once you’ve parked in the designated parking lot, you’ll see the paved trailhead toward the back right of the lot. Continue on the trail for roughly a mile until you reach a sign informing you there are two routes to the waterfall: going right will lead a longer distance, but has less incline and a more maintained trail; going left has more incline, more rough terrain, and a less maintained trail leading you over many fallen trees, washed out portions of the trail, and stream crossings. So, as the saying goes ‘pick your poison.’ I enjoy going Left first when I have more energy and am feeling more adventurous on the way back, as I start to tire and crave a more relaxing hike, I take the longer route. Either way you go, after about four miles of hiking, you’ll reach the waterfall. Enjoy every minute there as you’ll never want to leaave!
This short hike out to grass lake makes for a memorable trip with many streams and waterfalls along the way. This swift getaway is located in the Eastern Sierras in Desolation Wilderness only two miles along the Glen Alpine Trail.
Overview~ Distance: 4 miles roundtrip Difficulty Level: easy-moderate Approximate Time: about 45 minutes to an hour to reach the lake Pet Friendly: yes Crowd Levels: low Best season to go: Spring and Summer to avoid snow and rain
What to bring~ 1. Lunch: this hike makes for the perfect picnic spot! 2. Plenty of water: this hike does have some incline so be sure to bring water to hydrate yourself on the way. 3. Camera: the lake itself is picturesque and there is a beautiful waterfall view that can be seen from the West side of the lake. 4. Back-packing gear (optional): The ranger station allows a certain amount of campers to spend the night in various areas along the Glen Alpine Trail; if you're up for it I would reccomend staying the night at the lake to see the sunset and continuing on in the morning to another lake or up Glen Alpine trail to the peak of Mt. Tallac.
What you will see~ 1. The hike itself starts off passing Glen-Alpine Falls by car which are quite beautiful and worth the stop. Along the way you will also see many smaller falls and upon reaching the lake, as stated above, there is a stunning waterfall that can be seen from the West side of the lake. 2. Lots of lush grasses growing in the water, hence the name Grass Lake. 3. It should be mentioned that there is a stream crossing in order to get to grass lake that requires you to walk across a fallen tree. Most hikers should be able to cross without much difficulty, but be careful if you bring along your pet (mine had a little trouble).
How to get there~ Park at the trailhead to enter Desolation Wilderness just beyond Glen Alpine Falls, there is a small parking area there, and entrance is on the far right side. Follow your way up the trail approximately 1.5 miles and there is a turn off to the Left for Grass Lake, once you cross the stream, continue on the trail for about a half mile and you'll see the lake.
For all waterfall lovers in the state of California, McArthur-Burney Falls is a must see. Once described by Teddy Roosevelt as the eighth wonder of the world, this 129 ft waterfall is unlike any other in the Cascade Region.
Overview~ Distance: 1.3mi or a 2.4mi loop Difficulty Level: easy Approximate Time: 30-45 minutes Pet friendly: no Crowd levels: High Best season to go? Any- the waterfall is at high flow year round
What to bring? 1. $8.00: there is a fee to get into the park 2. Camera: you will want to capture what is perhaps the most beautiful waterfall in Northern California 3. Water: as always, stay hydrated, even on short hikes like this one 4. Optional camping gear: there are campsites and cabins in the park, which you may want to stay at for the weekend.
What you will see: 1. As stated above, there are campsites and cabins in the park. You may want to reserve your spot ahead of time as this is a popular destination being just a couple miles from the waterfall; reservations can be made through reserveamerica.com. 2. Vivid hues, this waterfall has pristine water echoing colors of a glacier. 3. Two neat bridges to cross and pose for photos while hiking around the loop. 4. The massive, jaw-dropping McArthur-Burney Falls; I'm not kidding when I say massive, this waterfall was worth the long drive and the $8.00, I promise you won't regret it if you visit.
How to get there? Heading North on Hwy 89 exiting the small town of Burney, drive just six miles and take a left onto Lake Road. After entering through the payment booth, park anywhere available and follow the ample signs to the loop or head straight down to the falls.
After watching documentaries and researching harmful chemicals that are put into beauty products, I am much more aware of what I put on my skin when it comes to make-up and skin and hair care. It is vitally important to be conscientious of what goes into the products we put on the largest organ in our body, our skin, which absorbs up to 75% of substances it comes into contact with. These three companies are some of my favorites that do not add in toxic chemicals and are dedicated to preserving the environment and our health.
LUSH: Lush is one of the best companies I've ever come across, I am absolutely obsessed with their products! I first shopped at Lush a couple years ago and right off the bat, I strongly admired them for their ethics. I'm sure many of you know them for their increasingly popular bath bombs, but they also sell henna hair dye, soaps, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, face/hair masks, shimmer bars (right?), makeup, and even more. Why do I love them? 1. They use 100% vegetarian ingredients, 80% being vegan. 2. They never test on animals; they actually donate proceeds to fighting animal testing, and never buy ingredients from companies that do. 3. All of their packaging is biodegradable, recycled material and they use as little plastic as they can, selling whole products without packaging whenever possible. 4. They rarely use synthetics, and when they do they use safe ones to ensure that your skin isn't being exposed to dangerous chemicals. 5. Their products are aromatheraputic. 6. The quality is on point! You won't be disappointed if you shop here. 7.The employees at the store are super helpful and friendly. Website: www.lushusa.com
PACIFICA: After trying countless natural, organic makeup brands and becoming increasingly disappointed with the quality, Pacifica was a god-sent. It is becoming my favorite spot to shop for makeup recently due to their dedication to ethics, safety for your body, and surprisingly fairly cheap prices. They sell all kinds of makeup, perfume, nail polish, and even candles! Why do I love them? 1. This company is 100% Vegan. 2. Similar to Lush, they are cruelty-free, and do not test on animals. 3. Their products never include, as their website proudly boasts (as they should), "phthalates, parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, petroleum, peanut oil, triclosan, and other ingredients you do not want on your skin". 4. They have wonderfully scented candles that are all made in Portland, Oregon with lead-free wicks, another toxic offender. 5. Their makeup is great quality compared to other natural makeup brands; one of their goals as a company is to go against the idea that natural makeup doesn't work well, and as a beauty lover I can honestly say that they are achieving that goal. Website: www.pacificabeauty.com/
ACURE: Last Christmas, my mom got me some products from this company, and now I continually purchase from their website because of how great their items are. All of their products are certified organic, which, is hard to find in the beauty industry, and not only are they safe for your body, all the products I've used personally smell fresh and delicious. They sell skin and hair care items including: shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser and moisturizer, oil for your skin, and lip balm. Why I love them? 1. As aforementioned, they're Certified Organic! 2. They're cruelty-free just like Pacifica and Lush. 3. Their products are free from phthalates, gluten, sulfates, artificial colors, and harmful preservatives. 4. They use natural and essential oils that work wonders for your skin and hair which may be tarnished or damaged from chemicals commonly found in non-natural products. 5. They are family owned and operated which allows them to ensure that their ethical and sustainability standards remain high. Website: www.acureorganics.com
There are many more natural beauty companies out there, but these three are my favorite. I hope you all check out their websites and test out some of their products, your body will thank you for it in the long run if you commit to using natural beauty products as much as possible. If anyone is interested in knowing the toxic chemicals commonly added into beauty supplies, one can find a comprehensive list here: http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/
Prairie Creek Redwood State Park is a beautiful getaway for those seeking lush forests and a pristine coastline. In the state park there are many beautiful hikes through giant Redwood trees and Fern groves, but my favorite hike in the park by far is Fern Canyon. This short, but sweet hike is where parts of Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World were filmed. The canyon walls are covered in beautiful fern plants and when it rains, water drips down in delicate streams through the leaves.
Overview~ Distance: 2 mi Elevation: 30 ft Difficulty Level: easy Approximate time: 1 hour (depends largely on how long you wish to admire the canyon) Pet Friendly: no, service animals only Crowd levels: moderate Best Season to go: Spring or Fall
What to bring in your pack: 1. Camera or Phone: this hike is beautiful and unlike anything you've seen before, so you will want a camera to document your experience 2. Water: Though this is a short, easy hike, it is always important to stay hydrated 3. $8.00: State Park entrance fee 4. Lunch: I would recommend going on this hike early and then stopping for a picnic after at Gold Bluffs Beach located just miles before the trail entrance
What you will see: 1. Lots and lots of beautiful ferns clinging to the walls of the box canyon, five different species to be exact: lady, deer, sword, chain, and five-fingered; there are also gorgeous mosses and small trickling streams of water. 2. Low flowing creeks with boards overlaying for you to walk across them; the USDA was very considerate when creating this trail and made this hike accessible to everyone. 3. When you're driving to the trail-head, you will see smaller trees consumed with Ivy and moss, and giant Redwoods. 4. Just miles before arriving at the trail, you will see Gold Bluffs beach, which, makes a wonderful spot for post-hike relaxation, fun, and the picnic spoken of above. 4. There is a small waterfall at the end of the short hike that is only there after rain, sadly I didn't get to see it, but I hope you all get to!
How to get there: Heading North on the Hwy 101, take a left onto Davison Road just about two miles past Orick. Take the road all the way to the end to the parking lot and when you arrive, you will see the trail-head to the far right. Follow the trail alongside Home Creek into the Canyon. *Note: trailers are not permitted on Davison Road.
Crystals have been used for their metaphysical properties for centuries, and though the ancient practice has lost much of its momentum, the art of crystal healing is making a comeback. You may wonder why crystals are becoming very popular recently, and though it is commonly associated with spirituality, there is a scientific explanation behind the uses for these beautiful objects. Everything that manifests itself to us in our day to day lives, at its basic core, is composed of energy; quantum physics elucidates this idea that has been understood by mystics and pagans for centuries. Our atoms are composed of infinitely spacious vortices of energy, and every object in our reality has a unique energy signature. Our energy signatures are very complex, and can thus become unbalanced and out of natural flow quite easily; rocks and minerals, however, have a fixed and unchanging energy signature that stays in harmonic incorruptibility. Using the fixed energy frequencies of crystals correctly, we are able to re-balance our energies and become rejuvenated in natural tranquility once more. Here are three of the best crystals I believe everyone should have in their posession: A) Rose Quartz, my all time favorite~ This pink crystal purifies the heart in order to encourage self-love and trust as well as unconditional love and compassion for others, which are extremely lacking in society today. Relieving the feelings of loneliness and heartache, it offers profound inner peace and dispels emotional wounds, fears, and resentments. I recommend wearing this close to your heart on a necklace to amplify the effects. B) Smokey Quartz~ The mysterious, black Smokey Quartz transmutes negative energy and is the best stone for combating depression, offering serenity and comfort in times of despair. This stone also helps one to stay grounded and centered in daily life. Keep this gem by your front door to cleanse your home and keep it with you when you need positivity. C) Amethyst~ Promoting peace and intuition, this brilliant purple crystal is a favorite among many. Known for instilling deeper meditative states and reconnecting with ones inner-wisdom and spirituality, this stone was worn by Catholic Bishops and was carved into heart shapes by ancient Egyptians for burial. Interestingly, in Greek, the name Amethyst means "not intoxicated" and was used as a sobriety stone for alcoholics. I personally recommend this stone for all those feeling disconnected from the Earth and those seeking wisdom and a keen intuition.
If you're looking for an inspiring, grandiose hike in Tahoe area, this is the perfect hike for you. Starting off with a pristine waterfall and ending with the breathtaking view from the top of Mt. Tallac is astounding with beauty beyond words; this hike ranks my favorite in the Sierra Nevada region.
Overview- Distance: 6 mi Elevation: 3,200 ft Difficultly level: moderate to strenuous Approximate time: 6-8 hours depending on your leisure Pet Friendly: yes, but the distance and elevation is too strenuous for most dogs Crowded: moderately Best season to go: late spring/early summer
What to bring in your pack- 1. Lot's of water: as always, water is an absolute imperative on this hike as the trek up the mountain is long and challenging. 2. Hiking snacks: bring along a small picnic on this hike to stop and eat by Gilmore Lake, which is, the 3/4 point up the mountain. Bring only easily digestible and healthy foods, however, in order to sustain your body up the hardest, final stretch. 3. Camera or phone: the view from the top of Mt. Tallac is absolutely breathtaking and you will want to save that moment in time forever. 4. Sunscreen and a hat: protect your skin from the UV rays beating down on you the majority of the way. 5. Stable hiking shoes: the trail is very rocky the whole way up, so supportive hiking shoes are a must. 6. Bathing suit (optional): as stated above, Gilmore Lake is about 3/4 of the way up the mountain and provides a refreshing way to cool off before heading up the final stretch.
What you will see- There are many small waterfalls along the trail at the beginning of the hike. The Glen Alpine trailhead starts just above the popular Glen Alpine Falls and continues up alongside the river bend. There are also many lakes you can detour to if you decide the hike is too challenging and would prefer a more relaxing day. Once you get to the top, there are small patches of snow, beautiful flowers, and of course, the incredible view of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake.
How to get there- I suggest buying a Desolation Wilderness map from the ranger station before your hike to ensure you don't get lost along the way. The trails are generally well marked, but it's always better to be sure you know the way. Park at the trailhead to enter Desolation Wilderness just beyond Glen Alpine Falls, there is a small parking area there, and entrance is on the far left side. Follow your way up to "Gilmore Lake," and then you will cross a small creek to "Tallac Trail," follow that to the end, and soak in the views.
One of my absolute favorite pass-times, especially as the weather starts to become dreary, is sitting down to watch documentaries. As boring as that may sound to some of my more active readers, I find that documentaries are an entertaining way to accumulate a vast understanding of the world around us. My favorite kinds of documentaries are ones regarding controversial topics many journalists do not report on for fear of losing their careers. These controversial documentaries give insight into our society that is too often driven by the thirst for monetary gain and hyper-consumerism with blatant disregard for the ethical treatment of people, animals, and the planet. After watching these five documentaries I listed below, I found a wildfire of passion within that drove me to speak out on issues I never even knew existed. I hope they have the same effect on those of you who make the choice to educate yourselves and watch.
5. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014): Of all the health-related documentaries, this one is the best to start with in my opinion. It comes at the idea of a plant based diet from a purely logical and humble perspective. Using an environmental framework, it discusses some of the malevolent side-effects of the meat and dairy industries.
4. Pump (2014): It is no secret the U.S. is addicted to gasoline, but there are some secrets as to how we became reliant upon it and other, cleaner alternatives.
3. Secrets in Plain Sight (2010): Sacred geometry, ancient history, iconic art and monuments, religion, philosophy, and architecture...how do all of these subjects intertwine giving us knowledge of the universe? This comprehensive documentary highlights many intriguing "coincidences" found in the world around us that are not seen by the untrained eye.
2. Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007): This documentary deconstructs commonly believed myths in our culture. Keep an open mind when you view this one as it may invoke cognitive dissonance and be the catalyst in causing you to question your beliefs.
1. Ethos (2011): This documentary is my all-time favorite; it does a wonderful job of synthesizing loads of information into a meta-analysis of current issues plaguing our society. With interviews from some of my favorite activists and educators such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Bernie Sanders, it stresses the importance of making educated, conscious choices and the power we have as consumers to influence the future of the world.