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Friday, November 21, 2014

Autumn in Big Bear

Winter is a month away (my mom's birthday to be exact) so I'm currently getting in my Fall fix before it's technically gone. San Diego isn't exactly the place you think of for the quintessential Fall memories but the small city of Big Bear, nestled high (high enough that in the picture above I'm looking down on clouds) in the San Bernardino mountains, is and we were lucky to spend a cozy weekend there with family. 
It was my third visit to Big Bear but my first during the fall season and now I completely understand why it's Steph's favorite time of the year to visit: it's not crowded, it's sunny and cool during the day and cold at night so it's the perfect weather for cuddling, the trees are in the midst of their colorful transformation, and everything outdoors has a golden hue.
We arrived just in time to play with the kids before they were sent to bed so we sprawled out on the carpet and did our entertaining duties as Uncle and Aunt. Chris was excited to give his goddaughter her ukulele birthday gift so he promptly taught her how to play the Hokey Pokey and she dutifully practiced it over and over again all weekend (much to everyone's delight, I'm sure...).
We spent a good chunk of Saturday outside exploring the "canyon" and crunching leaves underfoot. The kids were patient with me, knowing, by now, that I stop often to take photos. They bravely forged ahead, crouching under fallen trees , stepping over piles of pine cones, and traversing around boulders; their imaginations firing away. Oh, to be a kid again!
During the littlest one's nap time (of whom I have no photos, why is that?) Chris and I stole away to wander around Boulder Lake Park by ourselves. We had driven by it on our way in and I made him promise that we'd go back so I could take photos because it was so picturesque. The lake was brimming with birds migrating south for warmer climates and, as the animal-lover that I am, I was absolutely smitten with them all: mostly Mallards, American Wigeons, and American Coots. Like a couple of senior citizens, we sat on a bench and watched the ducks. 
Later we went bowling at what ultimately turned out to be a disappointing venue due to a pizza order that disappeared. Still, I had a good time honing my bowling skills. Is it fair that I used the lightest ball available (the child size)? Of course we all ended up losing to a seven year-old anyway so it didn't matter. 
Sunday morning we packed quickly, dressed warmly, and took a frigid hike up the Castle Rock trail in the forest to see the Big Bear Lake view. The steep ascent and sharp, cold air was a bit more than my post-Bronchitis lungs could handle so we cut the hike short and returned to the warmth of our car. Next time we return to Big Bear I will be stronger and I will finish the trail.
Overall it was a fun, silly, and peaceful weekend spent with people we love in a warm "tree-house" on a quaint mountain town during a beautiful time of year - privileges and blessings that are not lost on us. 

Now begins my Thanksgiving vacation, for a whole week! San Francisco, here I come!

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