Friday evening my good friend Ben flew in for a nice week-long visit. I did my best to show him the Best of Northern California, hitting up Monterey, San Francisco, Big Basin and.. the Consulate of Spain.
Ok, so the only reason we went to the consulate was because I had to get my visa processed. But the first day the guy wouldn't let me in even though I argued with him for like two hours (making Ben sweat ;o) and yeaah, apparently he almost called the cops on me for not leaving... whoops. But I still didn't get in so I had to go back the next day. Punk. It was still fun tho? I got so worked up about it, and completely blame my mother who said "don't take no for an answer."
Monterey was beautiful, as always. We went to the aquarium to look at the new shark exhibit (as well as everything else). I wasn't a big fan of the shark exhibit - it was sooo bright and very natural-historyish, so I felt like I didn't learn a whole lot about sharks, only about the aboriginal people who hunt them. But the other exhibits were wonderful as always, like the jellyfish and of course the sea otters!
Big Basin was really nice too, the drive in and out was lovely (and fun).
San Francisco was charming as always, especially the Ghirardelli...yeah, we ate a lot. All day.
Other parts of the week included Ben eating nearly half a tin of hot chocolate mix in one evening, going out dancing TWICE, lots of ATango, the SJ Tech Museum (we rode a Segway!), a hunt for Haw Flakes, and just general fun. We had great luck with the weather - it was practically perfect all week, and well.. I don't think I could have asked for much more. Except I forgot to show him In-n-Out burgers and Coldstone. Oh well.
Thursday I dropped Ben off at the airport in the morning and this is where my disappearance ocurred because Eric and I went and drove over to the Inyo Nat'l Forest by Bishop and went backpacking for four days.
We got in with our permits and everything around 4, so we hiked for a couple hours, had dinner, then kept going.. in the dark. That was quite an experience, and we were startled at the amount of elevation we gained in the dark when we were hiking back out on Sunday :P Thursday night we camped by Blue Lake, then went the rest of the way to Midnight Lake on Friday. Our original plan had been to go cross-country and summit Mt. Goddard, but that didn't happen. Instead, there was a lot of time sitting around enjoying the sun on Saturday (I got burned sooo badly!) While Eric read "the Short Victorious War" (which personally, doesn't sound like much of a book to me ;o).. I mean, you can tell from the title what happens!) I dragged Stormy around rock hopping and almost killed myself a few times sliding off boulders into various bushes, but it was fun. I also did a lot of journaling and sketching.
Sunday we left around noon and made great time - only 3 hours to get out since it was mostly all downhill. The drive back (with stops at Carl's Jr and Coldstone) took us till 11. I got to drive the Expedition.. Stormy probably got thrown around a little in the back as I enjoyed the drive through Yosemite a little bit too much. Eric's quote was "350 horses agreeing with you?" teehee... whoops.
Back home the shower was great - the water was literally brown though... it felt great to be clean. Plus I'm not even peeling on my shoulders, which from the pain I was in yesterday is a big surprise. Anywaaay, I just got given work to do. It's tough getting back into the swing of things but I should be firmly entrenched again by tomorrow.
Off to be productive and do what I get paid to do!
PS. My NU people.. I got to thinking about you all when I was out in the wilderness and I MISS YOU ALL SO MUCH! Especially you, roomie! And Robert... the Daily again? I'm disappointed. But I knew it would happen ;o)