life on pine

bear paw high sierra camp | sequoia national park

Kate ParrishComment

getting the reservation

bear paw high sierra camp has been on our list for years, but it’s one of those places where you have to book january 1st @ 8am and the dates fill up for the entire year (many people blocking slots then canceling later too). we’d secured a reservation back in 2016 and ended up having to give it up - but finally made it this past year! due to some local wildfires :( it was pretty smokey, but of course still beautiful as ever and a great way to celebrate the recent news we had just found out [baby!]

the trek [August, 2018]

we booked two nights at the camp, and a night on both ends in the park [it’s a long drive and you won’t want to end the long hike and have to get in the car for 8 hours]. here’s a little glance at our rough itinerary:

  • day 1: depart SF, drive to sequoia national park and sleep at wuksachi lodge [this place is definitely over priced, but it’s the only hotel in the park so unless your camping, it is the only option].

  • day 2: wake up early, eat a big breakfast, and get your parking permits. easy to pick up at ranger station with proof of registration for bear paw. time to start the trek! 11.5 miles to camp with deceiving gradual gain in elevation that will take it’s toll on you so be prepared – pack light, bring snacks and tons of h20. you will want to get started fairly early so you have time to shower when you arrive and settle in for the cozy and delicious meals the staff prepares.

  • day 3: full day deep in the back country. we did a hike to a remote lake where we swam in the chilly water, had lunch [tri-tip sandwiches prepared by bearpaw!], and kp attempted some fly fishing. to beat the storm, we headed back and spent the afternoon relaxing at camp playing cards and drinking wine before dinner.

  • day 4: slow morning with breakfast, relaxing and coffee before making the trek home. it was hot, and i was exhausted due to the extra human in my belly. kyle eventually carried my backpack a portion of the way home after i was terrified from our rattle snake sighting [photo below]. that night we slept in fresno to break up the drive

  • day 5: drive home to sf! [about 5-6 hours]


^^ you can barely see it, but this photo captures the long body of the rattle snake we saw! right between the two rocks.


Kate ParrishComment


on friday afternoon i de-boarded the sausalito ferry for what i thought would be a casual weekend up north with KP. little did i know my 3 favorite humans would be waiting for me on the other side of the bridge! i was s-h-o-c-k-e-d to say the least and over the moon with joy to have a long weekend with my angel god baby and her parents. i am so grateful for them <3

highlights from the weekend include:

long walks exploring SF and mill valley [equator, the lumber yard, cavallo point & mvbw], hanging and cooking at our cozy treehouse, dips in the hot tub [for g and e], watching g play the piano, hosting a baby dance party, cozying up to some rainy day football, beers and german bites at radhaus, and most importantly lots and lots of much needed catching up. the weekend went way too quick, as they always do, but i'm already looking forward to our next adventure together.

routeburn track: fiordland national park

Kate ParrishComment

hiking in fiordland national park

when you start researching a trip to new zealand, you almost immediately get lost trying to decide which of the “nine great walks“ you can do. new zealand’s unique beauty and intent to preserve it while letting you closely experience it – keeps this country atop most outdoor enthusiasts’ list. after a good amount of research (getting lost) we decided on prioritizing routeburn track. milford is even more famous and looks awesome, but we couldn’t line up the dates – worth noting that in peak season (dec – march) planning ahead is imperative. we had this hike booked 7 months before we did it.

at 21 miles with 2,800 feet elevation gain, typically done over 3 days/2 nights, routeburn is very approachable if you are in backpacking shape and offers a good variety of terrain & trail environments. we trekked through lush forest, came across snow melt streams & waterfalls, ending our last night swimming in a pristine, refreshing lake.

the huts themselves are clean, equipped and make you feel very comfortable after a long day on your feet. bagged wine in new zealand is somewhat of delicacy and a highly recommend evening treat. weather is pretty fickle here but we were lucky enough to get 3 sunny days and crisp beautiful nights. another hiking must have was backpacker’s pantry – surprisingly delicious dinners and all you need is boiling water!

remember to hydrate and cover your skin!

one of our biggest learnings after trekking in new zealand was to cover up and hydrate! the UV sun strength in the southern hemisphere [and NZ specifically] is much stronger than we’re used to, and we both ended up with sun poisoning [which has the same symptoms as food poisoning]. it was for lack of a better word horrible and we met a lot of other hikers who experienced if after long days in the sun. it’s no joke!! be careful.


R E C E N T P O S T S:

sf >> mendocino coast

Kate ParrishComment

cruising california’s north coast

after spending a week in austin with family for christmas, we headed back to california to ring in 2019 and celebrate baby p. we went up north to explore a region that i’d never really spent much time in – anderson valley and the mendocino coast.

the whole drive from healdsburg to mendocino is the happiest blend of mountains, trees, wine country [famous for pinot noir] ocean cliffs and some of california’s rawest natural beauty. sadly our camera broke halfway into the trip – but we were still able to capture a few fun photos to share.

here are some of our favorite stops!

lunch on the final day at the shed in healdsburg which just closed [very sad to see this place go] and a pit stop at our favorite dry creek general store – followed by a night at the brambles in philo, breakfast [and dinner] by the fireplace at maccallum house, perusing fun goods at honey & ro, another delicious dinner at wild fish and cozy coffees at moody’s coffee bar. if we did our trip over we’d stay at the blue door inn during our days in mendocino. on our way back to SF we stopped in elk for a night at harbor house inn [more on this incredible spot later] and timber cove lodge.


raglan, new zealand

Kate ParrishComment

raglan, new zealand

this tiny little town on the north island wasn’t really on our radar until a friend in SF said we “had to meet her pal that lived in raglan”. when we researched it – it was obvious that we had to make a stop. what looked like the big sur of NZ, ended up being the the coziest, moodiest little surf town with such a great energy.

we ended up staying with the friend of a friend [who’d we had never met] for multiple nights in his guest room and it was such a memorable experience. we cooked dinner together, explored the town, watched documentaries, and kyle went for a few rocky surf sessions. we also camped at solscape for two nights where our rickety tent could barely survive the crazy rain storm and strong winds. would have much rather been in the teepees photographed below :)

if north island NZ is on your list, make a stop in raglan! you won’t regret it.


R E A D M O R E: