A Weekend of Sand and the Cool Salt Breeze

**This trip took place on Tongva, Kizh, Acjachemen, and Payómkawichum lands**

It’s been a bit since my last post but I’m back! We’ve had a couple of difficult months as I very suddenly lost my job at the beginning of April. However I do have a job lined up that I’m very excited about, and to celebrate the good news Kirk and I headed to California for a long weekend!

Early to mid 1900 cabins that are being preserved and restored

Starting a job in the middle of the year, knowing that we’re going to have to travel out of state for Christmas and will need to take time off for that, we thought it would be really great if we could do a trip together just for fun before my start date. The week ahead was promising 117F in the Valley and we wanted out! Our cats have an automatic feeder now but we weren’t sold on leaving them alone all weekend and boarding isn’t in our budget currently so we found a hotel in Irvine that allowed pets and headed west.

In the morning we hit the beach for a nice long walk. We ate breakfast next to tide pools and witnessed some significant life event photoshoots. The weather was wonderful and we sat on the beach reading for a while before finding lunch. Afterwards, we went to the Sherman Library and Gardens for a gorgeous stroll. Hoping to catch sunset on the beach, we tried to head down to Newport Beach but had no luck finding parking so we went back to our hotel area for some food.

Not to be deterred by our strike out for sunset we set an early alarm to hike with the sunrise in the hills. The parking lot across from the trailhead opened right as we pulled in and off we went. Into the clouds. In the first mile we climbed 700 feet, slowly losing view of the ocean. Soon enough we were enveloped in grey. After 2 hours there was still no sign of the sun and we started to make our way back down. We found a local coffee shop, checked on the cats, took a short nap, and headed to the Orange County Zoo. It was close by and cheap so even though it was pretty small and maybe took us an hour to go through we felt it had been worth it. As we sat on the grass in the park we decided to give the sunset on Newport Beach another try, hoping that parking would be more abundant if we got there before 4.

Street parking was pretty sparse but the garage was open so even though it was crazy expensive our sanity was saved. We spent some time people watching and reading on the beach before heading to one of the bar patios for dinner. All of the restaurants were packed so we shared a table with another couple. We got in our dog fix for the time and had some lovely conversation. As the sun dropped, the breeze picked up and rather quickly we both realized we were not dressed appropriately for sunset watching.

The next morning we packed up the car, arranged the cats, and headed to Laguna Beach for some coffee and a quick stroll on the beach with the cats. After reading the park/beach rules to make sure we could bring the cats down we carefully picked our way across some rocks to a quiet protected little section where we felt comfortable leashing the cats and letting them explore a bit. They were enthusiastic about the rocks and climbing over them but understandably wanted nothing to do with the water. Once they started losing interested in climbing and exploring we went to put them back into their carriers. Kirk managed to get one safely away but I was struggling with Nimbus not wanting to go back in when suddenly a dog appeared between me and him. I immediately grabbed Nimbus and stood up, trying to back away from the dog and get Nimbus put away. There was a leash on the dog but no owner in sight. The dog was jumping up on me, wrapping it’s leash around my feet, and Nimbus was trying to get away, scratching and biting. Eventually a lady yells at me to “walk away” and comes to grab the dog’s leash. Able to move again I crouch in a corner protected by rocks and wrestle Nimbus into his carrier.

Kirk and I were really shaken and bleeding but fortunately the cats were both fine. Realizing that we needed to get washed up and bandaged we asked the lifeguard on duty where the nearest public restroom was. He was a gem and patched us up, even giving us extra gauze and bandages to take with us. We washed sand and blood off before getting back in the car and ensuring that the cats were unhurt and started the drive back. Our hands were a mess with bite marks but we’ve both healed up and the cats still cry to go outside for walks and rides.

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