Weekend in San Diego Roundup

January 9-11, 2016 – So what did we do on a long weekend in San Diego? Balboa Park is the perfect spot for a morning stroll.  We parked over by the zoo, and had no trouble finding a spot – even in the middle of the afternoon there was plenty of parking on that side of town.

Good planning is important for getting around the city.
Good planning is important for getting around the city.

San Diego has fantastic food.  We enjoyed the egg and potato dishes at Hash House a Go Go, but it was so loud inside that it felt like we were at a concert (literally – we had to yell across the table).  We got the food to go and ate a picnic lunch in Balboa Park, which was much more enjoyable. There are fantastic dessert coffee drinks at Cafe Bassam.  The space is funky inside, with lots of found objects on the walls and tucked into nooks and crannies.

Yes, there are hummingbirds that also call the city home.
Yes, there are hummingbirds that also call the city home.

We drove by the mission of San Diego de Alcala, the first mission in that area.  We checked out the mission through the gates, and decided we really wanted to have a leisurely afternoon drink. Enter Benchmark Brewing Company.  They’re located in a small office complex.  Don’t let the nondescript entrance fool you, there are picnic tables and a funky factory vibe inside, and some very good draft beer.  We enjoyed their IPAs more than their darker beers, they seemed more balanced overall.

Joshua Trees are a type of yucca plant.
Joshua Trees are a type of yucca plant.

Joshua Tree National Park is a day’s drive from San Diego.  It is a beautiful park, we drove in a little bit and parked and took a walk though a dried riverbed.  We also did the trail by Skull Rock.  If you’re looking for food we recommend you go back to the south entrance; we got Chinese food in Twentynine Palms, but would recommend you try the pizza at Pie for the People in Joshua Tree itself.

Don't let the blue sky fool you, we ran into a downpour just minutes before the photo was taken.
Don’t let the blue sky fool you, we ran into a downpour just minutes before the photo was taken.

Mission Trails Regional Park has hiking trails going up the hill, but if you’re not in the mood for a brutal hike (like we weren’t) you can walk along the closed road, and enjoy the views and the creek.  It started to rain, so we cut our walk short, but this is a really beautiful park particularly at sunset.

Be aware that some of the paths outside of Torrey Pines may be flooded at unusually high tides.
Be aware that some of the paths outside of Torrey Pines may be flooded at unusually high tides.

What would a trip be to San Diego without sushi (assuming you like sushi)?  Ahi Sushi has great sushi, very fresh, fair prices (helped by the strip mall location), and good service – perfect for dinner after a trip to the Mission Trails Park.

Yes, California has flowers in January.
California has flowers in January.

We parked across the street from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, which gave us a pretty walk along the water until we got to the cliffs.  We walked along the road and then up another short trail which gave us a fantastic view.  There’s also another shorter trail that leads to a bench and an overlook by the ocean.  If we had more time there are trails curving all over the park, and it would be a great spot for a walk.

Bruneau Sand Dunes

October 31, 2015 – Bruneau Dunes State Park is about 1.5 hours south of Boise, past Mountain Home.  There are some fantastic Mexican restaurants in town, including Los Pinos.  We tried the breakfast burrito, chile rellenos, and the sopas – the sopas and the green chile salsa were the clear favorites, though everything was very good.

The sand dunes themselves make for a nice hike; we got about halfway up before heading back down – next time we’ll come with sandals and be prepared for the hike up.

 

Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area

October 31, 2015 – The Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is about an hour south of Boise.  There’s a beautiful canyon there, and according to signs there should be nesting raptors at some times of the year.  We didn’t see a lot of hiking opportunities when we were there, but would definitely go back during spring and fall bird migration season to see what’s flying around the canyon.

Last Day in Anchorage

September 14, 2015 – We only had a few hours in town this morning, so we spent it at the boardwalk.  There were a few ducks in the water, but the real fun was seeing a moose just off the parking lot.  It was a young one, but still rather big.  What amazed us is how it walked down a little embankment in search of some leafy tree branches and totally disappeared from view.  For such a large animal it definitely can hide really well.

We ended the trip with quite a few cool shore birds.
We ended the trip with quite a few cool shore birds.

We had a great time in Alaska, the scenery was beautiful, the food and beer were good, we got some to go on some nice hikes.  By visiting at this time of year it was a little cold and a little drizzly, but there were no bugs (for which we were glad).