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VACATION IDEA BLOG #6

PALM SPRINGS WATERFALL WITH JARED BROWN

Winter time isn’t the best for chasing waterfalls as the ground is usually muddy and the waterfalls aren’t quite raging, but that also means less crowds and cooler temperatures. This past weekend we went on a hike to Tahquitz Canyon Falls which is located in the foothills of Palm Springs. Its a pretty short hike equalling about 2.2 miles round trip, so it shouldn’t really take anyone more then 2 hours to do it! The hike itself is rated at beginner I believe and there are no really hard climbing areas. We had done this hike once before last spring and the waterfall was really flowing, so we thought with all the rain and snow it would be even better. When we got up to the top it had a good amount of water flowing but not quite as much as we expected. I would say in a month or 2, this waterfall is going to be crazy! The local mountains around Palm Springs have been getting dumped on with snow and I think its the most they have got in a long time. If you are wanting to do this hike, I would say do it as early as possible so the sun doesn’t get you. They actually require you to carry a bottle of water during the hot seasons because the canyon can magnify the heat!! All in all, its a really relaxing hike to a beautiful waterfall and for only $12 its a super cheap hike to do! Have fun out there!

HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF WHAT THIS COSTS:

  • Waters & Snacks - $12

  • Park Entry - $10

  • Day of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $20 FOR A GOOD TIME !

VACATION IDEA BLOG #5

PALM SPRINGS / MOUNT SAN JACINTO WITH JARED BROWN

Most people see Palm Springs as a hot and humid summer destination. What most people don't know, is that a very short 10-15 minute drive away during the winter time is Mount San Jacinto, which gets a ton of snow. At the base of Mount San Jacinto peak is the Palm Springs Aerial Tram Way and a very short 11 minute tram ride will take you from the floor of Palm Springs to 8500ft! I highly recommend getting there at 8am for the first tram or booking online in advance. If you show up later in the day, you can expect a several hour wait, but the tram rides go up and down every 10 minutes and the last tram down is at 8:30pm. If there is snow at the top of the mountain, the crowds can get pretty bad, so just be prepared. Something to also know is that there is a 30 degree temperature difference from the top and bottom of the mountain, even during the summer time. I would recommend dressing as warm as possible and if there is suppose to be a lot of wind, make sure to wear several layers. When we last went up, there was a lot of wind which made the wind chill pretty cold. I also suggest bringing some sleds if you can!! One thing that makes the tram ride pretty incredible is that the entire ride up, the tram rotates a full 360 degrees. It happens to be the worlds longest rotating tram. At the top of the tram ride you will enter into a pretty big lodge which consists of restaurants, bathrooms, gift shops, lounge area, scenic views, and much more. Another thing to look out for during the winter time, is that when you are walking down the windy path to get to the snow, make sure you hold onto the railings because they are very icy. Once you hit the snow at the bottom of the path, go out and have some fun!! Many people go up for sledding, snow shoeing, skiing, making snow angels, or having snowball fights. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you cherish every moment because that snow doesn't last long! Below is the website for the tram and its good to always check the weather on here and to watch the live cams to see how the weather is currently! Ive also included a cost breakdown for you.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

https://www.pstramway.com/

HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF WHAT THIS COSTS:

  • **1/2 a tank of gas $20

  • Waters & Snacks - $10

  • Parking - $8

  • Tram Pass - $25 per person

  • Day of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $63 FOR A GOOD TIME !

** DEPENDS ON HOW FAR YOU LIVE 

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VACATION IDEA BLOG #4

HAVASUPAI FALLS WITH JUSTIN BROWN

Permits open for Havasupai campgrounds in February every year and sell out within minutes, so when you get a permit no matter what time of the year, it’s like winning the lottery. Lauren and I were able to snag a 3 day/2-night permit. There is an extra charge to go during the weekends or on holidays, but we got a Monday thru Wednesday (10/22-10/24) permit. 

 With our trip so far out in the year we had plenty of time to buy all of our gear and research how we wanted to spend our time exploring. Also, since neither of us had been backpacking before, we did a 2-night trip in the Sierras prior to Havasupai, to make sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into. It was a good learning experience and I’d highly recommend trying out all your gear before going on any trip. 

 Eight months later and the time had finally come for our big adventure to begin. We decided to drive up a day early and stay at the Halaupai Lodge in Peach Springs, Arizona which was a 5.5-hour drive from Orange County. From there it’s still another 1.5-hour drive to the trailhead. Since it was October, we didn’t have to leave super early to avoid the heat, but we still left around 6:45AM. We got to Supai village, 8 miles later around 10:30AM, taking a few breaks for the rain to clear and to snack on some food.  

 The village is where you officially check-in and get your wristbands and instructions for camping. There is a small little market that stocks basic food necessities, as well as a restaurant that serves hot meals most of the day. The service is kind of slow and food is a little overpriced but what do you except, you’re in the middle of no-where eating a prepared meal. We got some fry bread (a must-try) and a breakfast burrito to fill our empty stomachs before hiking the remaining 2 miles to the campgrounds. 

 Leaving the village, you will pass two waterfalls, Fifty-Foot Falls and Navajo Falls. Both of which we blocked off and raging with muddy water because of the previous night’s storm. You will pass a fry-bread stand right before seeing Havasu Falls, which leads you into the campgrounds. Typically, there is plenty of camping options along the mile-long campground, but we were limited to only one side of the creek because of the bridge crossings were swept away by the flash flooding. 

 Once we found a good spot, we set up camp and relaxed for a bit. Around 2PM and we decided to walk back up to Havasu Falls and explore a bit. It definitely wasn’t the turquoise blue water that we were used to seeing in the pictures, but it was still a sight to see. During warmer months the water would probably be filled with people in rafts and floaties, but it was empty when we were there. The water temperature doesn’t change much during the year but I’m sure the brown water was the main reason people weren’t swimming.  

 It had been a long day already, so after spending some time at the falls we headed back to our campsite to make dinner before it got too dark. If you are like us, a small backpacking stove is all you need to make a good dinner. We opted for some freeze-dried meals from REI that just require you to boil water. There is a water-spigot at the beginning of the campground that flows with drinkable spring water for when you need to refill your bottles or hydration packs. 

 The next day, our only full day in Havasupai, we planned to wake up early and hike to Beaver Falls, another 3-miles past Mooney Falls. When we got to Mooney Falls there was caution tape up blocking off the trail, preventing people from going any further. This is the only route to get to Beaver Falls. My guess was that the rangers had put this up because of the possible erosion and unstable grounds. We decided to take some pictures at the top of the Mooney falls and hang out for a bit to see if anyone else was willing to venture past the tape. 

 After about an hour or so we saw enough people going past the tape that we decided it must be some-what safe and we had to try it for ourselves. There are a few “Descend at your own Risk” signs warning you that it won’t be easy to get down and many people have gotten injured in doing so. I was the only one willing to risk going down in hopes of seeing Mooney Falls from the bottom. 

 The path itself is only wide enough for people to go one direction at a time, so it can easily get backed up during busy times of the day. It ventures through caves and down slippery-steep mud, so if you aren’t paying attention of where you’re stepping you could get seriously injured. I was prepared by carrying everything in a small day bag which freed-up both my hands to grab the chains and repel down the last portion of the path. I also wore some cheap maintenance gloves that I got from Home Depot to help with my grip because the mist from Mooney Falls is always blowing onto this area. Once you make it down you can really feel the scale of the falls, as they stand over 200 feet tall. 

 Unfortunately, I didn’t go any further because I didn’t want to leave Lauren by herself for most of the day. I did however get some cool pictures looking up at Mooney Falls before making the ascent back up the path. Going up is a lot easier in my opinion because you can see where to place your hands and feet. If you have time going up, snap a few pictures through the caves facing towards the falls, for a cool perspective. For those who don’t hike all the way down the path, there are a bunch of photo opportunities up until the section where you have to hold onto the chains. 

 For the rest of the day we just hung out around the campsite and ventured through the campground, looking for good spots for when we return one-day. We also knew we had to make the 10-mile trek out the following day, so we wanted to save our energy. After making dinner we decided to pack up as much as we could around camp to make the following morning a lot easier. For the hike out, we had decided to have our heavy bags carried out by mules and we would just carry a day-bag full water, snacks and anything of value. Normally I don’t like to use animals at the expense of my well-being, but the mules looked like they were in good health and weren’t being treated maliciously. After dropping off our bags at the beginning of the campsite, we made our way up the hill to get a last glance of Havasu Falls. By now it had been 72 hours since it had rained, and the water had drastically changed back to a more normal blue. Seeing this definitely sparked our interest to come back one day and see it in its full potential. 

 Hoping to get some more frybread on the way out we stopped at the village restaurant, only to be let down because it was too early for them to start making it. So, we got another breakfast burrito to give us some fuel for the remaining part of the hike. The hike out did feel like it took a little longer than going in, but we ended up doing it in the same amount of time. I will have to say that the last 1.5 miles, are grueling switchbacks, where you climb a substantial amount of elevation. Luckily for us we didn’t have our heavy bags, but it was still a challenge. I couldn’t image doing it with the summer’s heat with a full backpack. Making it back to the car felt great but then it hit me that we had to make the 7-hour drive back home still. All in all, it was an awesome experience to have finally witnessed it with my own eyes after many years of attempting to get permits and I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to revisit.

HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF WHAT THIS COST:

  • Gas- $80 

  • Hotel- $123 

  • Mules to carry bags- $120 for 4 bags 

  • Food/snacks- $80 

  • 3 day/ 2 night permits- $171 per person 

  • Trip of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $572 GIVE OR TAKE FOR A GOOD TIME !

VACATION IDEA BLOG #3

HOLLYWOOD HILLS WITH JARED BROWN

When most people visit LA, there are the everyday places that everyone visits. Then there are some places that a lot of people don't quite visit. Here are a few places that most people go to, but if you haven't, they are highly recommended. The first stop on our list is the Griffith Observatory Hike and Hollywood Sign Hike. They are completely different views, but lucky enough they share the same parking lot. Unfortunately though, the parking lot at the Observatory is always closed or full. I highly recommend parking on the windy road that is just below the Observatory. As you walk up the road in the direction of the Observatory, you will have a pretty breathtaking view of the city. We didn't actually visit the Observatory on this visit, but it is certainly something you can do before the hike. The hike up to the top is approximately 1.5 miles each way. There are some short cuts but I wouldn't recommend them, as they are steep and rocky. Almost every bend in the road offers a different vantage point of downtown, the Observatory, Hollywood, etc.  At the very top of the hike, there is a lookout point with tables and benches. If you can muster up the strength to carry up a picnic basket, then i would definetley do it! The view from the top is incredible because of how far you can see. Soak it all, then whip out your camera. 

After catching your breathe, its time to head towards the Hollywood Sign. Don't be discouraged that it looks far because its really only 1.5 miles away on a flat dirt road. The windy dirt roads make it look a lot farther then it actually is. We decided to take a short cut and ended up being a mission. I had google maps open on my phone so I could follow the single track though the hills, but ended up being straight up the side of a mountain. Not only was it steep, but it was loose rock. I suggest staying on the flat dirt road.Once you hit the pavement part of the trail, that's when your calves will start to burn. From the bottom to the top, its about a 30-40 min walk depending on how in shape you are. The paved road is nice and smooth but windy as can be. Once again, don't be discouraged because the view at the top is worth it. After a long walk up the road, you will be above the Hollywood Sign. Take it all in. It might seem like you didn't see anyone else on the trail but there is no doubt, you will be up there with a bunch of people. In total, the hike should take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. It all depends on how long you stay at the top of the hike and how quickly you do them.

After a long walk back to your car, its time to head to the Hollywood Bowl Overlook.  Luckily, the drive is only about a 10-15 minute drive from the Observatory.  The hardest part about the lookout is the parking. When I say there are only 8 parking spots, I literally mean there are only 8. 10/10 times all of them will be taken. The best thing to do is wait in line until someone leaves or park at the bottom and Uber / Lyft to the top. One thing to remember is don't give up until you get in! When you eventually get into the park, your jaw will drop. You have a perfect view of the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood Sign, and downtown LA. If you happen to go on a night when a performance is happening at the Bowl, you will be able to hear everything perfectly. The best time to be here is around sunset, as you get to see the city go from an urban jungle to beautiful city landscape. Unfortunately the park closes at sunset which only gives you 25-30 minutes of total darkness. A security guard usually comes and checks to make sure the park is clear so you wont get locked inside the gates.

This is a perfect idea to do on the weekend or for a date. The biggest thing I have to say is to not get discouraged by how far the hikes look. They really aren't to bad and the views at the end are 1 in a million. Just remember to soak in all the views with your eyes first before seeing them through a lense or screen. Get out there and enjoy!

HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF WHAT THIS COSTS:

  • **1/2 a tank of gas $20

  • Waters & Snacks - $20

  • Observatory Parking - FREE

  • Observatory Hike - FREE

  • Hollywood Sign Hike - FREE

  • Hollywood Bowl Overlook Parking - FREE

  • Day of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $40 FOR A GOOD TIME !

** DEPENDS ON HOW FAR YOU LIVE

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VACATION IDEA BLOG #2

SALVATION MOUNTAIN WITH JUSTIN BROWN

I had been wanting to visit Salvation Mountain for sometime now and I finally pulled the trigger. I asked my buddy, Jeremy Wright, to tag along and he was certainly down to go. Below is our adventure! We got on the road around 7:00 am and headed south towards the border. The drive is about 2.5 hours to get there from Orange County. Make sure to have some music on your phone because you will definitely lose radio connection once you pass the Salton Sea. We arrived at Salvation Mountain at about 9:30 am and the below photos are what we experienced. We stayed at Salvation Mountain for about 1.5 hours then headed to Bombay Beach in the Salton Sea. Since I hadn't heard a lot about the Salton Sea, everything was a surprise to me. On the drive back home to Huntington Beach, we stopped at one of California's most famous burgers chains, In-N-Out, right next to Morongo Casino. Even though we went straight home, there are definitely more stops you can do on the way back home like seeing the windmills, giant dinosaurs, stop at Morongo Casino, and much more. We ended our day back home by 4pm with a full stomach of burgers, a grip of photos, and a day we wont ever forget!

Below is a breakdown of how much our adventure cost:

  • Full tank of gas $45

  • Waters & Snacks - $10

  • Salvation Mountain - FREE      

  • Salton Sea ( Bombay Beach ) - FREE

  • In N Out - $12

  • Day of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $67 FOR A DAY LONG ADVENTURE

VACATION IDEA BLOG #1

PUNCHBOWL HIKE WITH JARED BROWN

With summer at its peak and temperatures not cooling down, a short little hike to a waterfall is the perfect day getaway. Only a short drive from Orange County and San Diego is the ,Devils Punchbowl, which is at the end of the Cedar Creek Falls hike. 

The Cedar Creek Falls hike is about 3 miles round trip, which inst bad at all considering whats at the end of the hike. The first half of the hike is all downhill which is lovely, but remember, what you walk down, you must walk back up. Eventually, you will have to cross several streams which range from about 1-3 ft, so bringing some backup socks or sandals might be a good idea!

You will definitely not be alone on this hike, as it is a very popular summer destination. The punchbowl at the end of the hike gets quite crowded during the summer since its a perfect area to hangout all day. In the summer, there is not a lot of water coming down the falls, so lounging in floats or jumping off the cliffs is perfect. Since we went during the rainy season, the falls were rushing. Hence no one in the water.

This hike is recommended during the morning hours or late afternoon. The hike going back up in the middle of the day can be brutal during summer. This hike allows dogs, so make sure you also bring lots of water for them and yourself. For the super adventurous, you can even camp at one of the local campsites nearby. All in all, this hike is a pretty rad adventure and can take anywhere between 3-6 hours depending on how much time you want to spend at the punchbowl! See below for photos and enjoy!

HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF WHAT THIS COSTS:

  • **1/2 a tank of gas $20

  • Waters & Snacks - $10

  • Hike Permit - $5

  • Day of fun - PRICELESS

TOTAL - $35 FOR A GOOD TIME !

** DEPENDS ON HOW FAR YOU LIVE from orange county, ca.