YOSEMITE + SAN FRAN ADVENTURES // A PERSONAL POST / by ASHLEY GROTH

WHAT can I say? The trip to San Francisco + Yosemite will go in the books as the most fun, most beautiful, most memory filled trip of my life far; and not just because I left with a fancy new piece of jewelry.

I love the history of places-imagining what life was like, picturing people in the exact same spots as the places I’m visiting. There’s a magic in knowing that for every place I’ve stepped, so many have before me. And its especially special getting to run around the places and settings and backdrops from Jon’s childhood. Maybe he walked past this little patch of wildflower at the Sutro Bath Ruins, too?! How neat.

First stop: In + Out, obviously.

We drove out to Mariposa, CA - just outside of Yosemite at a little roadside motel. I love little mountain towns - I spotted a great little antique store filled with taxidermy BUT alas it wasn’t open when were headed to the park.

Yosemite - the most beautiful landscape I have ever laid my eyes on. Lush forest, incredible mountain views - it was perfection. Totally worth all of the hype. We did one hike - the Mist Trail. It was hard, and I’m out of shape, clearly. I watched Free Solo on the flight to CA - and seeing El Cap in person after that made my palms sweat.

After a day in the park, we headed to San Francisco -my favorite part has always been China Town. The markets, the dried fish, the ducks hanging in the window with glistening skin, the lights and lanterns and tacky souvenir shops. The hustle and bustle, and eating pot stickers on a balcony overlooking fresh laundry from neighboring apartments.

Jon took me on a tour; his childhood home, elementary school - Twin Peaks overlook, the Sutro Bath ruins, the Cliff house, the old penny arcade at the Wharf that used to be AT the cliff house, where he spent time with his dad. Golden Gate Park - which was soooo moody and foggy and just the most gorgeous park I have ever seen. Haight + Ashbury with lots of good people watching. Muir Woods in all its redwood glory. A sleepy little harbor town, Bolinas, that we stumbled upon almost running out of gas. The golden gate bridge. It was a lovely trip.