California Craze

Over spring break, my closest friends from Badin Hall and I travelled to California for a whirlwind road trip of the state. All of us are on different abroad schedules next year, so we decided a girls vacay was the perfect way to celebrate our friendship before a year apart.

The trip started in Santa Rosa where we visited Armstrong Woods State Park. Pictures don’t do the Redwood trees justice; their fresh smell and commanding height were wonders in and of themselves. Hiking along the trails with some of my favorite people was so peaceful and inspired me to research parks near my midwestern hometown to visit this summer.

Next, our journey took us to “Blind Beach” in the Sonoma area. The beach was literally hidden behind green mountains that scarily resembled The Sound of Music. We decided to be spontaneous and climb up the mountains towards the cliffs that overlooked Blind Beach. I can’t decide if the sound of the waves hitting rock was more or less peaceful than the Redwoods, but right now, I think it’s a toss up.

Then, we made our way down Highway 1 for a scenic 12 hour drive to Disneyland! My favorite stops were Capitola Beach and Santa Barbara.

The day had finally come to visit the Happiest Place on Earth. We stayed from open to close and hit all of our favorite rides along the way. Getting drenched on Splash Mountain, almost losing our ears on the Indiana Jones ride, and being the oldest audience members of the Beauty and the Beast show are some of our most laughable memories.

Our final stop was San Diego, where we spent time at the Borrego Springs super bloom, made an obligatory stop at In-N-Out, explored “Old Town”, and hiked along Torrey Pines beach. On our last day, we visited friends at UCSD and saw dolphins in the ocean nearby! (It was fun to tour a college campus that’s ~actually~ warm in March).

 

I hope these California must-dos spark some ideas if you find yourself in the Golden State sometime soon. Coming from Indiana, the hot sun, mountains, and palm trees are also a fascinating shock. Beyond the beautiful sights, this trip showed me the importance of taking a mental and physical break from the stressors of everyday life. Riding my favorite Disney rides with my best friends completely took my mind off of upcoming assignments, helping me feel more refreshed as I return to school. The extra Vitamin D certainly didn’t hurt, either!

On my flight home, I thought not about my gratitude for a refreshing trip with lifelong friends, but also about how ND made our friendship possible. Deciding to attend college here has opened doors for small adventures like trying chicken sushi at Guy Fieri’s “Tex Wasabi” restaurant in santa Rosa and splattering mud all over my jeans on windy hikes along a cliff. It’s the simple moments shared with friends that make me so thankful for the blessings this school places in my life on a daily basis.

Here’s to a second half of the semester filled with more spontaneity, laughter, and Disney magic.

 

Photos 1, 2, 3 provided by author

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