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Honeymoon Part 3: Return From The Dead

Forging ahead!

We had just cut our honeymoon a week short due to a desire to lie (lay?) in our own beds at home for free instead of for $80/day in Peru.  This decision sadly eliminated the pinnacle of our honeymoon -- a 4 day Inca trail hike to Machu Picchu.  I have spent a lot of time since leaving Peru convincing myself that Machu Picchu is probably lame and extremely un-beautiful.  It was such a bucket list item for me...and now I will never see it.  Truth is, where I stand right now, I never want to go back to Peru.  I don't like saying that.  I truly loved the good parts.  But the feeling of being trapped there while feeling miserable is scarred into my mind and association with the country.

Once we were home, we laid low and tried to recover.  I let my work know I was home a week early and would be coming in the following Monday.  My boss replied, "why don't you try to keep the honeymoon going here? The weather has been beautiful."  It had been beautiful in California, high 60s.  I'm so thankful my boss was kind enough to suggest it.

My stomach was still going haywire, but improving.  We worked to adapt our wimpy legs to movement by taking a very slow 3 mile walk one day, and then a 7 mile walk the next day on the new walking path of the bay bridge.  I felt like a baby deer learning how to walk.  I seriously lost all my leg muscles.  Walking was still making my legs cramp!

By Monday morning we had a plan.  Instead of returning to work, we would resuscitate the last week of our honeymoon with a drive to Pinnacles National Park where we would go on a gentle hike, and if by 5:00 p.m. we were feeling ok enough that the thought of being stuck in another hotel room didn't terrify us....we would drive to Disneyland.

The thought of a hotel room still did terrify me.  I felt I had just moved mountains to try and get home to my own bed from thoudands of miles away.  But the temptation of Disneyland slightly outweighed my wimpy-ness.  Our plan went through!

Pinnacles National Park is a northern California park that recently made the leap over from State Park status (thanks Obama!).  It is notorious for its caves.  We have been wanting to go all year.

Before we left on our honeyoon, Corina from surfdome.com offered to send me any item from the surfdome website.  The site (which is based in London) is a retailer with a focus on sports and outdoors -- kind of like REI mixed with Sports Basement.  I hemmed and hawed between a sports bra and running shorts -- two things I always need more of -- before striking genius.  We needed a new hiking backpack for our energetic itinerary in Peru!

I browsed the backpacks carefully and picked this one.



My main criteria were large mesh side pocket for water bottle (I'm not into the water pouch/ camel back hydration); roomy enough for toiletries, food, and a change of clothes; hidey hole pockets for things like keys and wallets; and comfortable padded straps.  I picked a good one.  It is "mens" but the Gentleman and I have already split usage of it.  Tons of other luggage and backpack options that I was browsing can be found here.

We obviously didn't get to use the backpack in Machu Picchu, but we put it to use at Pinnacles.  We are hike-oholics with the Bay Area offerings, so this was a desperately needed item and will be used to death.  Thankful to Surfdome and please check their site out for last minute Christmas gifts (if you are in the UK it will get to you as long as you purchase by 3:00 p.m. on Monday!) and for anything you don't get for Christmas.  The selection is neverending.  And hiking is good for the soul.


Quiet: the red-shirted species of backpack model hikes all the way from the parking lot to the trailhead.



Work it.

The hike was a breath of fresh air.  Energizing and beautiful, and every part of me was happy to be aerobic again.

Also loving these hiking pants I bought at REI before we left for Peru.
It was a monday or tuesday (can't....remember) so the park was empty which is exactly how I like my national parks.  We only ran into one couple, and they were amusingly obsessed with trying to share our respective hike routes.  We were basically hiking the same loop in reverse.  It was an exciting conversation.




Man, whenever we hike the Gentleman always ends up 5-10 yards ahead of me and it kills me. I imagine people who pass us are like, are they in a fight, or....?  It's just the way we hike.  Not a ton of hand-holding, although that does happen too.




What's more beautiful I ask -- my sideburn look, or the Pinnacles rocks?

This little tunnel below provided the Gentleman with the opportunity to show off his yoga-mocking skills.  I could mock yoga all day.  It's okay I'm sure yogis make fun of runners all the time too.



This position is called the stupid starfish.



And this is brave downward dog; brave because it breaks all the rules by doing downward dog differently.

This day hike was clearly no Machu Picchu but it was still fantastic.  In addition to reviving my legs, I was able to work out my arm muscles a little bit too.  Below.  It was hard work but I only held the rock up for 4 hours.



The piece de resistance was the caves.  I'm not going to lie, it was way scarier than I thought it would be.  You literally NEED to bring a flashlight because it is pitch pitch PITCH black during parts where you are climbing down steep crevices.  All I could think about was James Franco getting stuck by a rock and sawing his arm off.  Poor James Franco :(




Climbing down into a cave

This is what it looked like inside.  Now you know what flashlight on black looks like. 
I had my new favorite snack in the world during this hike.  It will be featured in my next post.

After something like 8 miles of hiking we packed it up and drove to Anaheim, arriving at 10:30 p.m.  The week before Thanksgiving is a great time to go to Disneyland -- hotels were cheap, vacant, and the park was all decked out for Christmas but not crowded at all.

We all know what Disneyland looks like and we all love it (does anyone dislike it? I'd really like to know) so I'll spare you the details and just show you photos of yours truly.  We spent two full days park hopping and man, Disneyland is simply such an easy trip.  Traveling the world may be worth the effort, to learn and explore all the sites and smells different countries and cultures have to offer but....it is also extremely nice to sit back and have constant entertainment come at you.  Like I said, a very easy trip.



I don't understand the physics of the face the Gentleman is making in Splash Mountain.  I LOL for days every time I look at it.


This was a highlight.  The new "Cars" ride in California Land will blow your mind. 


That's just how we ride roller-coasters; while gazing into each other's eyes


The Gentleman says he was doing a "hurrah" fist pump but I think he was fixing to punch me in the skull.  So not cool man, look how cute and happy I look right before being punched.

If you didn't already know, the Disneyland bakery/candy stores have the best best BEST items in the world.  I could write a whole post on all the goodies I ate while in Disneyland.  Truthfully my stomach was still adjusting after the Peru bug and one of the only things I was craving and tolerating was straight up sugar.  I ate two of these caramel-and-chocolate covered marshmallow sticks (the one below had cashews in it too); an enormous "apple pie" flavored caramel apple; a hunk of toffee covered in chocolate; an ice cream cone filled with marshmallow and covered in white chocolate....ok this is gross.  Sorry.  But please understand I WAS SICK and also at Disneyland.  Treat yo-self.



I intended to end this post with a recap of my return to running, but this is just too long and too many pictures.  I'm starting to run from the very bottom (as in, 3 painful and slow miles) and it's a struggle but that's what happens to your body after a month off of running and a full week off of moving any muscles.   If any one else is starting from square one, let's do it together and whip into running shape!

Happy holidays for now!