Take It Easy


It’s been awhile since I posted a blog because some exciting things have happened: Summer and the freedom to play are finally here, so James and I have been taking full advantage of it! But I had to share these photos from our Sedona and Prescott trip because the environment is so precious here!

Climbing, hiking, swimming and eating are the loves of our life so we felt right at home in Arizona’s wilderness. We sort of had to wing it this trip because doggies aren’t permitted in the parks we wanted to visit, and the crowds are like Yosemite-size! So, if you go, be’ware ‘the terrible drivers…or the campers that scream until 4 A.M and bring loud power generators to be one with nature. I’m obviously grumpy, but no matter what life threw at us in Arizona, we had an amazing trip. We even saw some family on the way home – Hi Grandma Virginia!

If you scroll down and see all the pictures you’ll notice some rocks piled on a little river. James and I were just exploring on foot and found ourselves at Buddha Beach! We hadn’t ever heard of it, but after someone asked us about the trail, it dawned on us that was probably the reason we saw naked people doing yoga! Haha.

Anyways, I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Enjoy our pictures and enjoy your weekend! I hope it is filled with some awesome outdoor activities!

—Ruby and James

Big Sur Annual Freedom Trip

We are back to share our Big Sur trip with everyone! James and I are grabbing a bite to eat, I’m listening to my favorite new band The Buttertones, and we are in high spirits! Hope you are all enjoying your Saturday.

As you know, James and I go to Big Sur every winter to enjoy small crowds, amazing weather, and  open access to the beauty of the coast. Interestingly, a bout of shitty weather (ok, rain) closed Highway 1 to *everyone* from Ragged Point to as far north as Carmel. With some divine intervention, or some amazing luck, James booked 1 of 2 campsites still open during the shut-down. PLASKET CREEK! We called the ranger station and were warned, “If you must get to Plasket, you can take a forest road. It is dangerous and we will not recommend you drive it.”
Well, we drove it. And it was a dangerous-insane-thank-God-we-are-alive kinda thing! Both James and I were anxious the entire time spent on that road because the rain had caused mudslides and there was a thick fog which blinded us about 15 feet in front. Every turn we took was blind. I’m not being hyperbolic; every turn was a risk.

This1 hour section at the end of our drive was really unfortunate but once we made it to camp, we decided it was entirely worth the risk. I forgot to mention that James just surprised me with a puppy 2 weeks before our trip. Barley was the newest part of this camp-team, and he was a natural. We definitely got the right dog for our lifestyle!

This blog entry is like a diary because I wrote it at camp. So without further ado, let’s get on with the trip!

(Disclaimer: For the pictures, we took them on a few different cameras. The lighting was harsh most days, and combined with expired film (which usually turns out nice), I think I’m happy that I brought a “back-up” camera. I’ve been tweaking my style a little bit, editing a tad in Lightroom, and having a lot of fun with film. But since I have Lightroom now, I am looking for DSLRs for everyday use to grow my skills… and to finally join modernity.)

Day 1: We have arrived! 7 hours of beautiful gray woods, 1 hour of a water ride, and 3 Yerba teas later… We are at camp!The Plaskett Creek staff is a couple who lives on the grounds. They’ve said James and I are the very first to arrive this weekend, and that they understand our experience driving here must have been scary. They are right…the anxiety is not giving me good vibes about this trip. Thankfully, the overseer expects sunny skies after today. Time for a huge beer and oh look…a cookie~~~

We’ve finally settled in to this misty forest campsite. I can hear the waves crashing just beyond the trees. No voices, no cars, all I hear are the birds and the clanking of Barley’s brand new harness. James must be playing with him. 

I decided that while the rain sprinkles here that I might as well pull out my uke and get to pickin’. James is sitting outside, he seems pretty content and gave me a grand plan for this weekend. Sounds like we’re in for a treat! Now James has just gotten up to alert me of the sky, its changing colors! Its now purple and red, and the trees are dark so all to be seen is the sky. It is so beautiful, we both missed the sky today. 

Tonight’s dinner: Crisp beer with a side of baked chicken. 

Day 2:  Finally! The sky is bumping with colors and bright light. We are in BIG SUR! Now it feels real. Last night, some critters came and grubbed on our food. I forgot to put something heavy on the cooler. But the beer is here and so are the eggs! We will be just fine without the baked chicken. James is making his killer coffee for me, and playing with the dog in such a way that I can’t stop watching. Two cute kids, I’ll say! 

We have neighbors now. Surfer dudes with a Scooby-doo ride. Plaskett is such a nice campground! We literally are just a walk from the beach. I can see the water, I can hear the water, I think we got lucky. Not a single soul is on the 1. Its closed down, and only 9miles of road and beach are open right now. This is going to be hard to accept because James planned everything so perfectly, and now we have to create a new plan. That’s life, gotta go for the ride!

Whooo-hoo! New plan was a success. We just visited the most beautiful vista point overlooking Sand dollar beach. The rain water is rushing down all over the road and campgrounds, to the sea. But other than the mud, everything is dry and gorgeous! That eerie feeling of being the only 30 people in the city is still around, though. No cars or bars or lodges to visit – but I think we’re just fine without those things because we’ve nothing better to do but galavant and roam freely. 

Day 3: Just finished our spam and eggs which was the most amazing thing ever created.  We had new loud neighbors roll up, and saw some other new neighbors leave just after 8 hours – which I think is weird.  Anyhoo, we are headed to Jade Cove  and maybe the Jade will wash ashore and I can make some jewelry. I’m wearing my new flare bell bottoms. Big Sur is a hippy playground, one must dress for the occasion!

Back from Jade Cove. There was a cute couple there that is staying in the bougiest place. But, I want to visit it and see what all the fuss is about. Plus, I’m always hungry and they have a cafe with burgers! It is the only restaurant open on the 1 right now. 

We are doing our best with coffee and trail mix. But I found a store in the nearby town, Gorda, which has a panaderia. I went in while James and Barley walked around the town and inside I met a nice woman. She asked if we were having a good time, and extended some tips on where we should go for a sunset. We told her we hadn’t seen any whales this time and she informed me that there had been no sightings for her town either, and that the people were concerned. She mentioned that by mid-January las ballenas are spotted every morning. The whales go south to Mexico during the cold months, and when the weather warms up, the whales head north to Alaska for food. The woman joked that the whales are scared to travel right now because of Trump’s exclusionary politics. We laughed out loud but I was sad inside because I started to think about the Esselen people of Big Sur, who were some of the first Natives to be coerced into the Spanish missionary project…and yet here we are in 2017 battling the very same issues of race and class culture. 

Later: Right now we are going to eat lunch, change, and feed Barley-boo. He’s so crazy, but I think he’s also excited with all the funny smells in nature. James planned a nice walk to Sand Dollar beach again, only this time down to the water. Also, we keep running into the surfer dudes from camp at every hike we go on! They are super chill and nice. Gotta love the life on the 1! Right now its like living in a really small town, except we are totally stuck here. 

Sand Dollar beach was a water-fall haven! The sand was all different colors and strange shapes.  Barley met his match with two beautiful big dogs. We let them approach each other but Barley was screaming in fear. It took him some time to get used to the big boys, James and I pet the other dogs and eventually called Barley over. He will need to be a socialized dog. So we’ll see what happens with that… The walk down to Sand dollar is so cool! I want to do it again when I come back because it was just so fun and beautiful. I took a picture of James looking down at the pretty sand; it was a very “California” moment. Big Sur is a California icon, afterall. Tonight we will rejoice around the fire for another day well-spent! Tomorrow it is our goal that we will go to the bluffs over Jade Cove again, which has by far the most perfect spot to watch the sunset. Barley plays in the mud like a crazy-animal, but we will need to figure out a way to avoid the mud so we got a plan: Bring blankets, bring beer, bring film, and watch out for the green flash. 

Day 4: “Sunset Day” was great! We did a whole lot, so I’m writing at night. Just after another mud-filled hike, the winds were about to take their toll on us but we found an huge boulder to get shelter. We picnick’ed and made the best out of the wind. I took pictures of Barley having the funniest face with his ears blowing back! I loved watching him scope it out though, he’s learning that way. 

The sunset photo-op was sort of a success. I new the light was horrible for my expired 200 speed film, so I took some risks. James and I didn’t see anyone around to get a picture of us, so we took turns and you can tell one of us is better than the other *just kidding boo.*  I said goodbye to this place and in the morning we will leave. I loved Jade Cove so much for the way the colors hit the coast on the south-west end. It was so majestic! James discovered that Barley was drinking beer which was pretty hilarious because…duh. 

Our 3rd trip together (as a couple) to Big Sur was a game changer. But we handled the change pretty well, I’d say, and we did not have to sacrifice any iconic coastal experiences while we were here. I’ve been up here during the summer, and I really prefer the colder months. James agrees, and we would rather risk some funky weather than run into masses of people waiting in line to see one waterfall (when there are over 100 just up the coast). We weren’t surrounded by shoobies, all of the hikes were technical (no pavement, no trails), and we got to see several new spots. This is what we come for: real outside experiences with others who value the beauty of nature. 

Some Iphone photos are below because it’s just so tempting to pull out a quick camera and shoot whats around you! I regret nothing! 🙂 hehehe. Thanks for reading friends and family.


Weekend In BC, Mexico

MEXICO is such a beautiful place, through and through. And I don’t know about you guys, but I have only the best of times when I come to visit. We stayed with my tia Kathy in the cutest house in La Mision. That woman sure knows how to decorate! We were pretty much greeted with margaritas and horses from the beginning.  And so decided immediately to set up a ride with Erin at Horses by Jose book here! The day these photos were taken I used my Minolta, but I have other digital stories to tell, I will include that in a tribute to Baja post later this month!

In these photos we captured the beautiful brunch my auntie took us to.
I love the bright beach and the straw-cabana style umbrellas.
James and I visited the Rosarito Beach Hotel where everyone was congregated
in the dining hall. Of course, we snuck around the hotel and eventually found the beach
almost empty— and an amazing
pool – garden area. It was a lovely day I will happily
re-live with these colorful shots. Dreamy photography is somewhat imperfect;
but for me that’s the fun of learning. Film captures something real about these glorious desinations.
Do you guys have any plans for the weekend? Oh and PS: I had tacos like 9 times this trip and
am – just now – startin’ to burn off the margaritas, too. Haha OK. It doesnt work that way
but, lets just say I love Mexican food. And if you visit, don’t hold back!

Joshua Tree

Happy Mid-Week, y’all!
We went to Joshua Tree a couple weeks ago, and the film we developed
came out super-muy-beautiful!
We had a blast scrambling around the rocks, as is imperative when navigating through the desert, but
mainly we came in search of Leather and Lace on the Phantom Cart Boulder. Turns out working this problem  is as masochistic as the name implies [its domineering character]! Gotta hand it to James for donating skin and assuring me
he’ll be back to crush it…

Day 1 was rainy and cloudy, but day 2 was sunny and hot. So, I got a nice range of
light that made for some dreamy photography that weekend!
Our days were pretty laid-back, morning sessions followed by exploring and
eating burgers; it’s a tradition.

I’m keeping this one short + sweet because there is a lot going on
this week. For Thanksgiving we are visiting family and friends in Baja, Mexico, so be
sure to check back with us soon! I hope everyone has a great time with
their loved ones: Let us be grateful for every blessing in our life.
We shot film in the desert.

Leather and Lace

Leather and Lace

img_3244 Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

Impaler Mantle

Impaler Mantle

KD SUPREME problem at the Miledi Boulder
Thanks for readin’. Love your friends, Ruby and James. 



Hello Everyone,

To stand with our Water Protectors in solidarity from afar, please visit the attached links and donate. To minimize trash, please ship in groups with family and friends.

Please help our Water Protectors stand strong and stay warm!


Gently, we howl at the stars together.
Gently,we swallow each other whole.

 Emily Palermo, Love in the Time of Monsters

Sierra Nevada Take-over

It is raining here at home and I’m eating a banana muffin just thinking
about our next trip…And missing James while he is at work, of course!
Mondays are kinda slow for me, so if you know what I mean – I’m posting today to help focus
forward as the beautiful weekend awaits! So, one week later, I am fully-recovered from our
amazing trips to Mammoth, June Lake, and the Eastern Yosemite NP.

When we are on limited time, James and I turn into “YES” people.
But this time we outdid ourselves, we “yes”‘d to everything – James even said yes to Yosemite, which
was a ways out of our way! The Eastern Sierras requires this “yes” attitude, though. No complaints.
Just living, and feeling every experience.

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Wedding Update +


Update: May / 4 / 2017

Hi beloved friends and family! Here is the necessary information about the Verhague  Wedding.
Ok, for those whom wish to stay in Idyllwild from Friday (November 10, 2017)
until check out Sunday (November 12, 2017), please visit Silver Pines Lodge
where James has reserved 11 Rooms. They are so cute and cozy, I love them!

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Mammoth, CA

     Y’all know that Autumn is upon us, but we managed a trip to the Eastern Sierras just before the end of
Summer where we visited 9 lakes and recharged…
Going to Mammoth was a sort of finale, if you will, to the Summer freedoms that allowed us to explore new heights in love and life.
With a combined celebration of James’ 27th birthday and our anniversary, we headed North with euphoric disregard…
The drive was just like any other: singing at the top of our lungs, snacking heavily, yawning heavily- you know, the usual. But seeing the sunrise over No-Man’s Land? That never gets old.

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The Climb Stopper

My Experience with Medial Epicondylitis

For anyone who has ever experienced tendon pain caused by climbing they know the feeling: the trademark dull ache that raises eyebrows and worsens without intervention. I have experienced the many ups and downs of medial epicondylitis (AKA golfer’s elbow).

The first piece of advice I can give is: be patient. Look online and educate yourself. Many health practitioners are eager to call the condition tendonitis. They will tell you to ice it, rest, take anti-inflammatory meds , and send you packing. The truth is you probably don’t have inflammation in your elbow. Therefore, you don’t have tendonitis. If you have a burning fire like sensation in the joint then you many have tendonitis, and what is mentioned above is good advice. If you have a persistent dull ache while warming up, during, or after climbing then you more than likely have a form of tendonosis.

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