I had this post 87% written back in August and it only took two months to finish it. I had mentioned in an earlier post that coming back to New Jersey felt stifling. It still does. So, I did what was most natural to me–hop on a 5am flight to San Francisco and spend a week in Northern California with one of my favorite ladies, Jacqueline. It was a much needed trip that was plein de beautiful hikes, kind strangers, and lots of time (and money...) spent on grocery shopping (think Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl) and making dinner!!
Above: California palms under the smoggy skies of Berkeley, CA. Below: a Golden State-inspired playlist that was and has been on repeat.
A few days into my week out west, we packed up Jacqueline's Prius and drove east for, what had started as a day-trip, an overnight excursion to Yosemite National Park, thanks to an old friend of Jac's. (Kind strangers were the highlight of this trip!!!!) The tunes for this 3-hour drive are in the playlist, featuring our favorites from Johnny Flynn, First Aid Kit, and the likes. I'd like to include my playlists in future posts, as I've come to realize that my (very carefully curated) playlists are all equally as representative of certain moments in my life as my photos. For me, "Northern California Things" channels feelings of the cool morning air blowing through the half-open window, while the grey skies loom over the city. It's also the drives around Berkeley, the ride out to Yosemite, and even my work commutes between New Jersey and New York.
JP, Jacqueline's guide for a yoga/backpacking trip she did with her mom two years ago, hosted us after we spent the day hiking a 10-mile trail that he recommended. Homemade sourdough pizza and fresh lime water were waiting for us when we arrived at his beautiful country home. The three of us woke up at 6am and shared a beautiful session of morning yoga, led by JP in his bamboo garden alcove.
Like I mentioned earlier, kind strangers were a highlight of this week. With our lack of water and a 4000-ft ascent, it became a struggle to climb up to the peak of Ten Lakes Pass. The strangers we bumped into along the trail embodied kindness, offering us their water, and even their melon!!
Back at Berkeley, we spent the following couple of days in, cooking dinners, and binge watching Bob's Burgers. I had a high school friend, Connie, who was also out in Berkeley for the summer, so we all met up in Oakland to watch the France-Iceland football game and catch up over burgers and craft beers.
I stayed in Berkeley for the 4th of July, so Connie, Jacqueline, and I all had a 4th celebration together in Jacqueline's backyard.