You know you’ve had a good vacation when you return home refreshed, full, and satisfied! That’s exactly how I felt last weekend when I got home from our eighth anniversary vacation out west last Saturday. Rather than feeling sad about having to come home and get back to the routine of daily living, I felt encouraged and inspired and ready to take on the coming days and weeks bringing us to the end of the summer season. It was so nice to open the door to the house and have everything taken care of, being able to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare for and rest in what’s ahead.
Here’s a little glimpse into our time away …
A tour down the Las Vegas strip in our brand new Dodge Challenger we rented after flying in late Friday night.
We woke up early Saturday morning and made the trek to California, deciding to stop and tour Death Valley on the way to our intended destination. Since we weren’t sure if we’d have another time to do it, and given it would be another National Park under our belt, we figured why not? And I’m so glad we did! Despite 113 degree temperatures, we managed to do some small walks and check out the more notable areas, making it one of the most unique places I’ve seen yet!
From Death Valley we continued on to “our spot” for the next few days, a cabin nestled in the foothills of Sequoia National Forest, located just 1.5 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park. The views from the cabin of the hills and mountains, and being located right on the Kaweah River, made the perfect spot for quiet time with coffee each morning and time spent relaxing in the evenings.
Sequoia National Park proved to be an absolute GEM with its incredible overlook of the mountains, humongous red-trunked trees, lush meadows filled with wildflowers, a river that flows emerald-green, and wildlife around every corner. This park had EVERYTHING – and we were blessed by our time spent hiking and resting there.
Just north of Sequoia NP is Kings Canyon NP, and there is a lovely stretch of forest road that will take you from one park into the next. We were able to do the western side of Kings Canyon in one day, mostly driving with small stops along the way to see jagged cliffs, waterfalls, and more meadows. It, too, was absolutely stunning!
Following five days in the wilderness, we decided to head to Southern California so we could take in the ocean and spend some time on the beach, which made us feel right at home given this is how we spend our summer weekends (only in fresh water, not salt water churning with sea creatures – LOL). We made our way along the coast from Laguna Beach to Dana Point, where we spent the afternoon soaking up the rays since it was less busy and we had more privacy on the beach. We had been to Dana Point back in January and it was very cool to be back in August and see that not much had changed from season to season except for more boats in the harbor and hotter temperatures.
Our last full day of vacation was spent in California, for the most part, where we ventured to the city of Riverside so my husband could catch up with his cousin whom he hadn’t seen in close to 30 years. The reunion was lovely, as was the town with its Italian-esque decor and feel.
Later in the day, we drove back to Las Vegas so we could catch our flight early Saturday morning, and decided to make the most of it by enjoying one last hoorah on the strip. We ate dinner, walked around, and did a little bit of gambling at the Bellagio, one of our most favorite places there with its fountain show and luxurious setting. It was a fun and exciting way to end our time out west together!
The overall pace, rhythm, and scenery of our trip was exactly what both the hubby and I were wanting when we booked this trip. Because of the three-hour time change, the days felt longer, making our time between activity and downtime balanced. I was able to read (and finish) a book, write every day, and even had time to practice my handlettering skills in my new journal as the beauty of our surroundings awakened and inspired my creativity! It was oh so good for our souls, and we are so thankful for this time and opportunity to have been together and explore more of our awesome country!
We look forward to our next big adventure, but in the meantime, we relish being back to reality and enjoying the simple things in this life and marriage. Praise God for a great start to this eighth year together! <3