Hiking, Outdoor Activities, San Diego, Uncategorized

Three Sisters Waterfalls Trail

This trail was so fun! It was a moderate-difficult hike that tested my strength, courage, and endurance. Because this trail isn’t maintained by anyone the whole hike felt very wild with branching paths, steep and intimidating climbs, and an incredible sense of accomplishment at the finish.
The three things that you NEED on this hike are:
1. Two liters of water
2. Sturdy comfortable shoes
3. Sun protection (hat and sunscreen)
Sidenote: be wary of bringing your furry friends along. There are portions of the trail that might be difficult for your dogs to trek. Carrying them isn’t a great option – you’ll want both hands free to climb across some of the rocks.

I was glad we got to the trail head early. The parking lot fits about 35 cars and you can park against the cliff wall on the road, but it’s a narrow space. Personally I appreciated a hassle free parking spot.

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The parking lot

This three sisters trail head also leads to Eagle Peak so be aware. When you see an ambiguous fork in the trail (where the wooden pole is) follow the trail on the far left that leads downhill.

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At this wooden pole follow the trail to the left that goes downhill

Once you’re on the correct trail down you’ll be able to see the waterfalls (if there is any water running) down in the distance. When parts of the trail got difficult, seeing the falls kept me exhilarated and excited about continuing onward. While the journey there was exciting, the destination was definitely a motivating factor.

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You can see the waterfall at the bottom of the valley in the distance

This trail took us through chaparral shrubbery, riparian forests, bare dirt paths, and over rocks. There was so much different terrain to explore that I got to use my entire body (as opposed to just my legs) to get to the falls. It was an aspect of this trail that I really appreciated and enjoyed – like a natural jungle gym for adults.

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The trail takes you through different types of habitats

The area is littered with poison oak. The best way to identify and therefore avoid the plant is to look for a cluster of three leaves that resemble oak leaves. They grow berry clusters of white or greenish yellow.

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Watch out for poison oak

With such an intense terrain to tackle I was often looking at the ground to find foot holds or avoid tripping. Take a minute during breaks (you’ll definitely take breaks) to appreciate the beautiful valley you’re climbing into. Listen to the wind and grasses and birds. Also keep an ear open for the rattle of any rattlesnakes – we didn’t hear or see any, but they can be found in this type of habitat.

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You can see the waterfalls from the top of the trail

We saw a handful of lizards. This little cutie was having breakfast when we found it. Remember, you’re treading around their home so stick to obvious trails and avoid destroying wildlife habitat.

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Keep an eye out for the wildlife!

Some of the steep sections of trail looked intimidating. Anyone afraid of heights is better off not looking down too far. I didn’t trust the loose dirt so I practically crab walked down some of the steep parts. Getting dirty was part of the fun, and I always prefer to do what makes me feel safe and comfortable. This place is not a great place to get hurt – you’d need to get helicoptered out for any emergencies, so take your time and do what you must to stay safe.

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Hiking down into a valley, you’ll meet steep portions of the trail

I’d heard of the ropes on this trail from others and was excited for the challenge. They are helpful, but it takes a second to become accustomed to using them as a support. Use the ropes like a staircase banister not a crutch, and definitely don’t “rappel” down backwards, you’ll get rope burn. Once your mind and body get comfortable with the ropes (we found three sets altogether) it’ll be a breeze.

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Ropes to assist down/up a steep section

This was the most terrifying and exhilarating rope section we found. The trail went down a 15 foot drop. Looking down made the decent harder. After the first few steps down I got the hang of finding foot holds in the rock and using the rope to slowly guide me towards each hold. Parts of this hike made my heart race and gave me anxiety, there was one point where I was paralyzed by my fear, but overcoming those feelings and continuing to move forward made this hike so unique.

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The third rope to climb down was most helpful

Once we were at the bottom of the valley we had to make our way up again to reach the waterfalls. There are many branching trails down there that all lead to the falls. On the way back out of the valley we were guided out of the maze of trails by red arrows spray painted on rocks. Those arrows made the ascent a lot easier so if you’re unsure of the way back use those arrows.

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Once at the bottom of the valley, you climb up to the falls

There is a lot of space around the falls to picnic and do some rock climbing so plan to spend some time enjoying this destination!
Flowing water has eroded the rock to be smooth and so created a natural water slide. People of all ages were enjoying the slide. The water was rushing too fast for my tastes, but it seemed relatively safe. Just stay away from the base of the falls where the water’s falling in. Such a strong current can create whirlpools and pull a swimmer in and under.

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Brave people sliding down the falls

On my way to the falls, around the water, and back up to the parking lot I found a lot of trash. There were plastic water bottles, energy bar wrappers, and people kept losing their hats, sunglasses, and plastics in the water. Part of being a hiker (novice or seasoned) is to keep the place you’re visiting as clean and pristine as you found it. So please, anywhere you hike in nature pick up your trash, avoid losing things, and spread the word to others.

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A view of the valley

This is probably my favorite hike in San Diego (so far). It has a dynamic trail with dynamic habitats and a great destination to aim for. The waterfall isn’t always gushing with water, so try to go after a good rainy season, you won’t be disappointed. It was rewarding to cool down and relax by a beautiful natural pool and enjoy a peaceful landscape.

Enjoy your hike and remember to always #OptOutside.

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Arts & Crafts, DIY, Homemade

Make a Personalized Coaster

Instead of giving a framed photo to my boyfriend to keep on his desk I thought I’d like to give him more of a functional gift that also showcased us as a couple. The idea of this coaster sprouted from a Pinterest search and I was full steam ahead when I saw how easy it really was.

If you would like to make personalized coasters of your own (they make wonderful gifts and are extremely customizable) here are some general directions:

  1. Gather your Supplies.
    The most important thing to have is the coaster base itself. I used a tile that I found at Home Depot for less than fifty cents. In hindsight I should have kept to a simple square tile for my first try; it was difficult to cut my photo to fit the hexagonal tile I chose.
    Have your photos, graphics, pens, twine, etc. ready. There are so many variations possible. I used a standard sized photo (4×6 in.) – be sure that your art fits onto your selected tiles to your liking!
    You’ll need acrylic sealer. I used Mod Podge because it’s easy to use and doubles as glue. However it’s not waterproof so I needed a little something extra: Polyurethane in spray form from Home Depot. This should keep my coaster safe from water, condensation, spills, whatever!
    >Tile (from Home Depot)IMG_2400
    >Photo (from local drugstore 1 hour photo)
    >Secure Glue/Acrylic Sealer (from local craft store)
    >Waterproof Sealer (from Home Depot)
    >Felt/Cork (Scraps from home or a craft store)
    None of these supplies broke my wallet.
  2. Glue Photo onto Clean Tile Surface.
    Measure your photo to fit the tile. Take your time in doing this because it’s hard to fix mistakes when you cut too much off eek! Clean the tile’s surface with some rubbing alcohol to remove oil or dust, then go ahead and glue on your photo! Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.
  3. Layer on Acrylic Sealer.
    Take your time to layer on acrylic sealer. I used a brush, but it left me with streak marks leading me to thing that a sponge brush may have been better. Give ample
    time for each layer to dry before the next. I did three layers, which may be enough for you as well. (Note: if you’ve drawn on your tile with Sharpie brushing on sealer may smudge the ink – I recommend spraying on your first layer instead of brushing).
  4. Spray on Waterproof Sealer.IMG_2402
    In a well ventilated space spray on at most two layers of the waterproof sealer of your choice. Make sure to let all sealers dry in a clean space. (I let mine dry outside and got some dirt stuck on the coaster). Make sure to let all sealers dry flat on the
    coaster. (I let mine dry standing against a wall and the polyurethane pooled near the bottom).
  5. Attach Bottom Fabric.
    Use hot glue or any glue you trust to attach the felt or cork to the bottom of your coaster. This will keep the bottom of your coaster from scratching table surfaces. AAAAND YOU’RE DONE!IMG_2401

If I make any more coasters I will post photos of them on this post to supply some more inspo.

DIY, Homemade, Repurpose

Upcycled Candle Jar

One of my favorite ways to reduce my carbon footprint is to repurpose old glass containers. Recently I finished off a candle and had only the dredges of wax left stuck to the bottom of a pretty glass container. Here is how I decided to reuse the jar:

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This was easy and fun to make, if you’re interested in making something similar for yourself the steps are below.

  1. Remove the Remaining Wax.
    Place the candle jar into a slow boiling pot of water. Make sure the water cannot enter the candle jar. Slowly the hot water surrounding the glass will heat up the remaining wax, after which you can pour out the melted wax and are left with a clean jar.
  2. Clean the Jar.
    After the jar has cooled, clean it with soap and warm water to remove any residual wax. This sometimes requires a bit of elbow grease.
  3. Create a Design.
    Here’s the most fun part. You can do whatever you like: minimal, intricate (like mine – I used plain ‘ol sharpie), modern, or even natural. For now pinterest away for some inspiration, but I’ll have some examples up soon of my own designs.
  4. Add Filler.IMG_2395
    Since the point is to reuse and repurpose I urge you to skip buying a filler and instead find one. I went down to the beach and collected a bit of sand for my filler. Some ideas are: wood, stones, cut up pine needles, pine cone pieces, wine bottle cork, ┬ábeans, grains, paper stars, paper shavings…the list goes on. Just remember, if you’re collecting filler from nature to not take more than needed, and to clean it thoroughly.
  5. Enjoy a New Container!
    I chose to store my make up brushes in mine, let me know how you decided to use yours.