Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Canyon Living

Sorry for the recent absence, everyone!

Life's been a bit hectic--I had little time for sleeping, let alone blogging! I had a few exams, my first collegiate hockey game, and a paper or two to help my time along. Luckily... It's all done and I've been on Spring Break since Friday!

My parents flew in from Boston on Friday night, and I met them at a family friend's house.

There, we all played board games (our favorite: 10 Days in Africa) and caught up about recent events. On Saturday morning, we had a nice big lunch augmented with fruit and vegetables from our hosts' envy-inspiring garden. Lots of their family came, so it was nice to catch up with people we haven't seen in a while.

In fact, one of their sons is a game designer working for Blizzard... he's announcing their new game on Friday morning, so stay tuned! Everything is very hush-hush, so I know absolutely nothing, but knowing the designer, it's going to be an incredible game.

After a lunch full of conversation and laughter, we said our good-byes, loaded up our car, and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway to Topanga Canyon.

When my parents lived in California in the 80s and early 90s, they obviously made lots of friends that they still keep in contact with. One particular married couple, about my parents' age, live on ten acres of beautiful, rugged land without a neighbor in sight.

Due to a variety of reasons, we haven't visited in almost ten years, but I vividly remember their house. Not to sound melodramatic or anything, it's the first home I ever fell in love with. It's adobe, has a bunch of terraces and courtyards, and is open to the outside. They have a view in all directions too! There's no cell service, so it's extremely relaxing to be cut off from all our devices and just breathe.

We parked in the drive and walked up the steps to be greeted by our host, his dog, and a bottle of wine, to my parents' delight.

We soaked up the afternoon rays and hung out for a few hours. We saw our hostess briefly, as she had errands to run before dinner, and we met their other house guests. We headed into the kitchen and gorged on all sorts of cheeses and crackers, then all went to our respective rooms for a brief nap before we ate our real meal.

Dinner was another delicious affair. Our hosts barbecued salmon and asparagus, cooked rice, and made a salad and mango salsa. We all cozied around the candlelit dinner table and proceeded to enjoy all of the food, paired with red wine made from grapes grown in their own vineyard.

After we had finished dinner and talked for the best part of an hour, the hostess brought out a Lemon Yogurt cake (recipe later, if I'm feeling particularly generous), raspberries, blueberries, and ice cream. Let me say... it was amazing. Once we finished and, of course, talked some more, we were off to bed to the sounds of cicadas and coyotes in the distance.

The next morning, we awoke with the sunrise and immediately went on a walk with our host and the dog through some of the canyon.

Topanga Canyon is famous for its red rocks, which make you seem tiny and like you're in some prehistoric time. You can see very little of modern technology, and it's quite common to see snakes and hawks while you're out adventuring.

We came home to fresh-baked muffins, fruit, and a nice long chat in the courtyard.

Around noon, we had to say our thank-yous and goodbyes, and head back down the steps to, once again, load up our car and hit the road. I snapped a few pictures of half of the vineyard, promised I'd be back soon, and we were off.

Next stop, the Sierra mountains! We took our time heading through the Mojave desert (to paraphrase: very flat, for a very long time), and eventually, our destination was in sight... Mammoth Mountain.

To be continued...

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