Tuesday, July 5, 2011

San Diego, Yosemite, and Big Sur

I'm still recovering/unpacking after an amazing two weeks in California.

The first stop was San Diego for "University of Insulindependence," a retreat-like leadership training program for volunteers, like me, who will be working for Insulindependence from 2011-2012.  It was awesome to spend time with Type 1s from all over the country who are involved in Insulindependence's different clubs: the Triabetes team, the Glucomotive team, and Testing Limits. UofIN was held at UC-San Diego, and most of the adults commented on how strange it felt "to be on a college campus again, after all these years..."! I was the exception, since I'm much younger than most of the other volunteers and am the only one who is still in college. Our days were chock full of educational sessions and presentations by leading experts in the diabetes field. It's great to attend a program like this and realize that yes, there is still more to learn about diabetes management! We also had plenty of hands-on learning experiences, and just plain fun, each morning and afternoon with group runs along the beach, surfing, yoga, pilates-style workouts, rock climbing, and snorkeling. We even did a lactate-threshold testing workout on the UCSD track one morning, with the famed Type 1 triathlete and coach Cliff Scherb.

After a few days of sessions in San Diego, each club headed out for a weekend "practicum" that was directly related to triathlon, running, or outdoor exploration. Exploring the great outdoors is the domain of my club, Testing Limits, and our practicum was a trip to Yosemite, where we spent three days/two nights hiking and camping in the Hetch Hetchy region of this national park. 
The Testing Limits group in Yosemite, June 2011. From left: Joanna Gerry, me, Carla Cox, Ben Meyerhoff, Ben Clements, Erin Clarke, and Jerry Nairn.
We spotted a bear on our second night in the park.
Me, with the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in the background
All in all, my time with IN was fun, challenging, and educational. Loved meeting new people, learning more about diabetes management strategies and practicing those strategies in the wilderness!

After Yosemite, I went back to San Diego to rendezvous with my mom, who had traveled there to attend the American Diabetes Association's annual conference. So began my second week in the golden state, as mom and I rented a car and began driving north with the goal of going sea kayaking in Big Sur. This was a whole 'nother adventure that I'll never forget!
Downtown Santa Barbara

driving on the San Marco pass (rt 154)

Our destination was Treebones Resort, with accomodations that I'd describe as "luxury camping" (or "glamping," which my mom likes to say because it's glamorous camping). Whatever you wanna call it, it's awesome. We stayed in a yurt one night, and a big round tent the second night.
Yurts are cool.

inside the yurt

I highly recommend Treebones as a place to visit/stay if/when you want to see this beautiful part of the California coast.
the tent we stayed in on night two. smaller than the yurt (and devoid of all creature comforts), but big enough to sleep nine people!

Mom in front of the tent, right before we walk up to the main lodge for dinner. The main lodge was where you went to use the bathroom/shower, eat meals, and sit by the fireplace to play cards or board games, or read.

nice campsite, huh?

Treebones' organic garden. This is why their food was so delicious! We did not mind at all that we were limited to eating all our meals in the main lodge, for the most part (since there wasn't anything else around for miles...)
yummy spinach and kale

The "human nest" - a very popular accommodation for two at Treebones.

The water was such a gorgeous clear azure color!
sporting my Insulindependence (IN) captain's shirt at the beach
 We were fortunate to be able to go sea kayaking at San Simeon Cove, right across from the famous Hearst Castle. Below, Mom and I with "Cubby," our guide.
Cubby knew everything about the tides, ecology and history of the cove. Although the background of this picture shows a pier, most of our kayaking excursion was spent in the company of otters, starfish and gulls, in and around caves and under cliffs. Our time on the water was unreal... I felt like I had stepped into the pages of National Geographic's Adventure magazine or something!

 After sea kayaking, we drove south towards Los Angeles, where we would spend our last night before flying out of San Diego the next day. Just a few miles from San Simeon, we stopped to look at Elephant Seals...

That night, we had dinner at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Los Angeles. My mom used to work at this restaurant when she lived in LA many years ago.

Very new age-y. It's in a place called Topanga Canyon, which reminds me of that TV show "Boy Meets World," because one of the main characters was named Topanga and I always thought that was the most ridiculous-sounding thing!

And that was it.... my trip to California. I expect to be back in January 2012, to run the Carlsbad marathon with Insulindependence.

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