Cape Cod Hike: Coy’s Brook Woodlands

I’m getting a little backlogged in hikes to share with you, so I hope to post a couple this week. When I was in Cape Cod two weeks ago, it was blustery cold and SUPER windy. We did the Bells Neck Hike  on Saturday, and then ventured out on Sunday to two different hikes. The first was Coy’s Brook Woodlands. It was a woodsy walk, less than a mile, with water/marsh views for half of it.

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Click on the map above and it will take you to the Harwich Conservation Trust (who made the map) and you’ll see official details from the hike. Below are photos of this trek on a cold early March 2017 weekend.

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The trail begins off a small parking lot on Lathrop Ave in Harwich Cape Cod, MA. There’s not a ton of parking, but on this freezing day it was only us and a woman walking her 3 dogs.

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The trail very quickly loops down toward the marsh, so interesting views are seen for over 50% of this trail. The tress also helped cut down on the cold wind. This was a very easy trail. You can see from the path image above, it was relatively flat, wide, and not very long. We did this on the same day that we did another short hike, just to make it feel like more exercise.

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Marsh views.

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You can see above, the trail has some bumps but it’s not very hilly and at under a mile, it didn’t take long at all.

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For birders needing to sit and wait for their winged friends, there is a bench along the water. The loop back to the car was woodsy, but before you know it you’re passing a water tower and the back of a private home, and it spits you out in the parking lot. Beware dog (hopefully) poop! I managed to get it on my hiking boots and it was a mess to get off my shoe. Classic Bethany.

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Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5

I’m very excited to share with you all the details of my Africa (Kenya/Tanzania) trip, and hopefully it helps you plan your own trip, encourages you to visit these places, or at the very least teaches you about another culture in another part of the world. I loved my Africa experience. To catch you up on my trip, check out all my Africa posts:

Africa I: Planning Logistics + Budgets + Immunizations + Clothing/Gear + Getting There
Africa II: Kenya Stop1, Baby Elephants
Africa III: Kenya Giraffes, Karen Blixen and Artcaffe
Africa IV: Arriving in Moshi + The Good Hope School
Africa V: Kilimanjaro Details
Africa VI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 1
Africa VII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 2
Africa VIII: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 3
Africa IX: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 4
Africa X: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 5
Africa XI: Kilimanjaro Machame Route Day 6 and 7

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I left off in my last post at the end of day 4 of our Kilimanjaro climb, with Erica and I camping out with Zara Tours at the Karanga Valley Camp (13,100 ft) after climbing the Barranco Wall. Now it’s time to face day 5, and make our way to base camp at Barafu Camp (14,930 ft). This day is all about starting around 8am, climbing the 4 hours to Barafu where we then eat and rest to wake up at 11pm this same day and climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro (Uhuru Peak at 19,340 ft). This is the day that we’ve been working towards.

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You can see above that the morning view is clear and incredible. Between the clouds we can make out the town of Moshi down below. Note the frost on the ground and tents… it was a cold night, and it’s only going to get colder for the next 48hours.

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This is looking behind our tent up at the summit. I’ll see you summit in 24 hours.

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There’s that jungle layer down below.

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Time to pack up and get the day going. The earlier we get to base camp, the more sleep we can get to prepare us for our 11pm start for the summit.

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This was midway between the Karanga Camp and Barafu Camp… still SO far from the top of the mountain. It’s daunting and has me worried since we still have so much further to go.

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These porters are so impressive and speedy. This day is a pretty steady up hill climb, but nothing too crazy and we just took it all at a slow pace.

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Looking back down the trail mid-hike. It’s steep!

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Base camp is at the horizon line here. With the fog out of the way in the morning we could actually see where we were headed. Rare for Kilimanjaro.

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As we wind our way up to Barafu Camp, the views to the east are incredible. Thomas tells me that people use to hike this mountain in the distance but it’s no longer safe to climb. The Marangu route takes you up this side of the mountain, where the trail we’ve been on started on the west side of the mountain.

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Made it to the base camp!! It’s a steep camping area, so you do sleep on a bit of an incline.

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This photo was taken right outside our sleeping tent looking west. The summit is up to the right of the photo off in the fog. How are we still so far away from it? This is when it becomes clear that when we hike later tonight, we have a loooong way to go.

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Getting situated in our home for the next few hours (above). We arrived here around 12pm, where we ate lunch and then headed right to bed. I’m SO lucky that I actually slept for about 4 hours. They wake you up for dinner around 6pm. You eat dinner and then immediately head back to bed.

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I snapped this photo above (and below) of the sunset after we finished dinner.

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After I took this photo above, I immediately went back to sleep for the next 3 hours. At 11pm later this night we woke up and began our hike to the summit. More on that next as I talk about day 6 (the summit!) and day 7 (time to go down!) of our Kilimanjaro climb. Check back on Monday for my final Kilimanjaro post.

My Birthday Week

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been pretty quiet this week. While I’m no longer in Africa, I’m still technically on vacation. This week (cough Tuesday) happened to be my 28th birthday. I know, I’m so old I fart dust. It’s been a fun week of celebration.

On my actual birthday my friend Jess and I drove down to Westport, CT to explore. We took the Merritt Parkway out there (so pretty), hit=up West Elm (well, because it’s West Elm), and then meandered back along the coast. We even stopped off and found Martha Stewart’s former property (Turkey Hill, Westport). We stopped at beaches to walk around, and I got a tuna sandwich at Oscar’s Deli.

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(Wandering around Westport, CT)

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(The PEZ Visitors Center)

See, such a pretty day! We also stopped into the PEZ Visitors Center in Orange. How cool is that?! That make and package PEZ in CT and they built a beautiful visitor’s center, with games, puzzles, and a find-the-7-dwarfs pez dispensers to win a free pez holder and candy. IT’s a game everyone plays and wins. The price is $5, but comes with a coupon to use in the gift shop as well as the free pez at the end of the visit… it felt like we got back the $5 we paid. I highly recommend stopping in there!

For a special birthday dinner my parents and I went to Geronimo in New Haven. It was a great meal and the restaurant atmosphere/decor is a lot of fun. My mom made me a special birthday cake and then I crashed. I’m still on Africa time!

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Yesterday I trekked into New York City on a Metro-North train. Met my friend Lily for lunch and then my friend Diana joined me for a walk along the river and High Line visit. I love that place, and they keep expanding it! It’s so fun at sunset to just walk above the city, free of cars.

Then Dot, Diana, Sally, Lily and I had a fabulous dinner at En Japanese Brasserie. Dot took the photo of me at the top of the post. These girls are the best 🙂 I took a sleepy ride back to CT last night and have been working all day today.

I hope to have some Africa posts up soon, I’ve just got a packed schedule here as you can see above. I’ve also got some friends and family to see while I’m on the east coast.  I promise things will be back to normal soon enough.

Do This Today: Downtown On Ice

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I’ve written many comedy posts lately, so I thought today I’d mix it up. There are only a few days left where you can go ice skating in Pershing Square at Downtown on Ice. Why not get into shorts (since it’s like 85 degrees out), head down to the outdoor ice rink and instagram yourself doing a triple-axel for all your east coast bundled up friends to see. It’s for sure an LA brag, but it might end up being your 2014 Christmas card.

Event: Downtown on Ice (event link)
Location: Pershing Square, Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Time: Thursday January 16, 2014 through Sunday
Cost: $8 (group rates are available- check it out here)

Secret Stair Walk #12: Echo Park Lake Victorians

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

Finally it’s time to share a Secret Stair walk that I’ve been waiting a long time to do: walk #13 Echo Park Lake Victorians. Echo Park Lake has been through a lengthy renovation and in June it finally reopened all clean, shiny and new. It was the perfect time to complete that walk from my book.

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Ooh a fancy head. I can’t remember who this was… but now you should come check it out for yourself.

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When they cleaned out the lake they kept this flowers which are symbolic to the history of the lake. On we walk…

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Stair time! I’ll admit, there aren’t a whole lot of stairs in this walk, but it was hilly and that should count for something.

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We did pass some homeless people packing up and starting their day, and I would recommend only doing this walk during daylight hours. The trash residue tells you what happens here at night.

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But the view from the walk way if awesome.

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We looped back down by the lake.

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It’s so clean and pretty now!

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See, we climbed some stairs.

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These stairs lead us into the Victorian neighborhood which is nestled in Echo Park in the shadow of downtown.

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There was a cute dog running around proudly in front of one of the Victorians.

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This section of LA is often seen in movies and tv. For example, these tourists are taking their picture in front of the old Charmed house on Carroll Ave. Also on this street is the house recently seen on Mad Men (Don Drapers childhood home). It’s a beautiful block and I highly recommend exploring this area.

Happy Secret Stair Walking!

Do This Today: Weekend Edition

This weekend has SOOO much going on, I can’t do all the events justice so instead I’m going to do an abbreviated Weekend Guide. Here goes…

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Tonight visit the Iam8bit  Art Gallery for the opening of their newest show “It’s the ShizNICK!” celebrating the good ol’ days of Nickelodeon tv shows and cartoons. From 7-11p tonight they are having their opening celebration with live tunes by DJ Lance, a “Photo Playset”, and SLIME! Get ready to get nostalgic!

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Do you love reading? And books? And Authors? Check out the LA Times Festival of Books! I went last April and had a fun day (check that post here). Be sure to bring sun screen and walk’in shoes, cause it’s a big event.

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The Echo Park Art Walk is happening on Saturday in Echo Park (duh) from 12p-6pm! I do a lot of my secret stair walks around here and it’s a fun neighborhood to explore. Many shops are participating and this is a fun people-watching neighborhood. I went to this two years ago and saw Danny Devito and his wife enjoying a local band performing on the street. I can’t recommend this event enough and it celebrate local small businesses.

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Go from the Echo Park Art Walk to the Frogtown Art Walk! Come check out this cool neighborhood along the LA River from 4 to 7pm on Saturday.

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Are you less into books and more into cycling? Or running, or just general moseying along the streets of LA? The next CicLAvia is happening this Sunday from 10a-3p. Check out the map HERE for details about road closures. It’s Marina Del Ray to downtown. Get out your sneakers!

There’s just SO much happening this weekend, it’s hard to choose! Either way, get out there and have a fabulous weekend. It’s FRIDAY! Enjoy!

Secret Stair Walk #17: Fellowship Park

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

A couple weeks ago I ventured out on Secret Stair walk #17: Fellowship Park, up in Echo Park’s hills. I really enjoyed this walk, as it really felt like I stumbled on a hidden gem in Los Angeles.

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Plants!

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Echo Park feels so quiet up in the hills, it’s easy to forget how close to downtown it is. But occasionally you’ll reach a hilltop and catch a glimpse (like above) of city life.

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This was a fun diagonal set of stairs connecting two residential streets.

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Hills and hills and hills…

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Such a beautiful day for a secret stair climb. The flowers are blooming and spring is coming!

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The above photo shows you my favorite part of this walk. That staircase to the right of the garage seems like it’s private and leading to someones residence, but really it’s a little hidden pathway. Like the wardrobe that leads to Narnia, these steps lead to Fellowship Park.

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This seemingly private staircase changes from rough steps to a well manicured pathway, with it’s own babling brooks following alongside.

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This land was formally a religious compound but now is shared land with several little homes along it’s path. There are also several gates you have to pass through, making it feel like you’re trespassing but it’s technically public land. Isn’t the cute house perched on this land adorable? The hammock is right along the path and allows for excellent views of downtown.

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The path topography keeps changing! See the mailboxes? There are signs of life along this secret path.

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It’s a two seater at the perfect sunset spot.
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I liked this area so much that mid-walk I had to give it a thumbs up! Notice the path change again. On to dirt!

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Eventually, the path ends at a gate leading to a main road. The signs say “no trespassing” but that must have been put up by neighbors hoping to hide their LA gem. And I was back on the road hunting for more secret stairs.

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You know how I love doors, and here are some gates! I just love the texture and colors (which were more vibrant in person).

And that concludes another Echo Park Secret Stair weekend expedition.