Out & About

Birthday Hike to the Top of Stonewall Peak…And Beer

After seeing a friend’s Facebook post highlighting a six-mile hike with a baby, I knew that’s what wanted to do for my birthday. After some quick Googling, I found out the dad in the photo was wearing the Osprey Poco Plus. The Poco Plus  normally retails for just under $300, but thankfully Mama did a quick Crackslist (Craigslist for the uninitiated) search and found a “used-once” Poco Plus for a lot less! Met up with the dad-with-the-bad-back the next day and scored an almost mint condition baby-hiking backpack.

So on my birthday, we donned our “used-twice” hiking clothes, test-fitted Alessio in the Poco Plus, packed up the car and made the 45ish minute drive to the foot of Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Once parked, I strapped Alessio and the backpack on and we began the ascent up to Stonewall Peak.

Thankfully the cool fall San Diego weather made the 2 mile hike up to the peak enjoyable (of course, I still sweated like a pig thanks to the extra 40ish pounds strapped to my back). After reaching the top and taking in the views, we stopped for a snack and switched baby-carriers. All the way down, Mama had the joy of feeling Alessio tug at her hair while he entertained himself from his comfortable perch!

Once back at the base station, we made the quick drive up to Julian for a so-so lunch at The Bailey BBQ (they had no house beers on tap!), picked up an apple pie (it’s required in order for you to leave the small town), and enjoyed a flight of craft beers at Nickel Beer Company accompanied by some lovely drunken political rants.

All-in-all, it was a great and relaxing birthday and I look forward to doing it again!

Photo’s From the Stonewall Peak Ascent



Utah 2012 – Hiking Down Peruvian Gulch

After a day in the city full of religion, sno-cones, food, beer tastings and more beer tastings, those extra calories meant we (ok, mostly me) needed a little bit of exercise and hiking seemed like just the thing. If only we had a good place to spend a day out in nature…


Utah 2012 – The First Few Days

After a quick flight with some peanuts and drinks, Wife and I landed in the great state of Utah. With our Ford Fiesta and some groceries from a Super Target, we headed up the mountains toward our destination, Snowbird, for some hiking and relaxation.

During our first full day, we explored the small village to get a lay of the land, took a short and easy hike and watched a lot of soccer (hey, I am on vacation so I can do whatever I want). We took it easy knowing tomorrow would be a day full of hiking.

abroad travel

Hiking in Five Towns

Back in 2010, Wife and I took an awesome trip to Switzerland and Italy. Below is one of the days from our adventure.

After sleeping in until around 8, when Manarola begins to stir with speaker announcements, Wife and I prepared for some hiking through the national park.However, we first needed breakfast and once the bags were packed, we walked down the hill and found a little café close to the water.

The woman behind the counter took our order in perfect English (it might help to point out she grew up in New York). As learned from our friend Ricky, Italians have some bread and coffee in the morning, that is it. So Wife enjoyed the toast while I enjoyed the coffee (with some ham and eggs).

With a few calories settling in our stomachs, we began the short hike across all five towns. The first part of the hike, between Manarola and Corniglia, was quite nice until we reached the steps that took us up to the cliff-side town. I don’t remember how many steps there were, but both of us were quite winded and sweaty by the time we reached the top. Before we go next time, we are definitely working on a stairmaster!

The trails became smaller as we left Manarola and made our way to Vernazza. Once in Vernazza, we decided we wanted lunch and found a cafe near the water (you can tell the town was getting bigger with all of the cruise ship visitors). Once the pizza and beer was gone, Wife and I discussed our next move. I said we should continue while she argued that the views would be the same. Lucky for me, I won in the end.

Well, not really lucky for me. Rick Steves suggested to make the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza first and we were doing it last. The trail (if you can call it that) was large enough for one. It was difficult and the hike down the side of the hills into Monterosso went on forever. But we made it!

We arrived in Monterosso in the late afternoon and decided to take a boat back to Manarola. The cool ocean breeze felt great along with the slight spray from the boat. Once back in Manarola, we enjoyed some gelato and walked the La Via dell’Amore to Riomaggiore just so we could say we walked the entire trail in one day.

After a shower and dinner, we relaxed on our balcony, once again enjoyed the view, and fell asleep dreaming of hiking trails and our next destination, Florence.

Out & About

Hiking Mission Trails

Over the weekend, Wife and I decided that we needed to get out (well, I decided I needed to get out, she wanted to stay at home and clean). We headed down to Mission Trails and enjoyed the desert greenery (before it dries up and burns).