“Three! Two! One! ….

And so it began, with a swig of champagne…from Champagne, France. Thank you, Caroline!

Immediately following the sip of champagne, we
(a motley crew of some of my best friends from college in Davis)

returned to playing the Mallory Family Fun Game, or as it is also known, Fishbowl. If you are unfamiliar with the game, call me. We’ll hang out and we’ll laugh as we play.

With the calendar year of 2013 coming to an end, here is a brief recap of the who, the where, and the what that happened in my life.

An amalgam, if you will. (Please note that amalgamation happens to be my favorite word in the dictionary. I love it so much that when I was at UC Davis, I made sure to include it in the last paragraph of each essay I authored.)

In January I skipped out on the West Coast winter and headed south to New Zealand to guide an Unschool Adventures trip. With two of my good pals, Blake and Cameronand 10 rad teenagers, we embarked on a 6-week backpacking, farm volunteering and epic adventure across the South Island.

NZ 128

We walked, lunged, frisbee-d, and hacky-sacked. We re-enacted scenes from Lord of the Rings (obviously) and memorized all the lyrics of the NZ bred OMC 1996 hit, How Bizarre. We had a blast.

NZLD 388

NZLD 056

NZLD 224

NZLD 142

NZLD 249

NZ 200

Be well, land of the long white cloud. See you next time!

NZLD 262

Upon returning to the states, I unpacked my backpack only to repack it again. The middle of March found me back up in the Northwest, in that eden they call Puget Sound.

During the summer and fall of 2012 I worked aboard the schooner Adventuress …and with 2013 being her 100th birthday, I returned as the Program Coordinator for the Spring Season. The non-profit Sound Experience sails the historic schooner Adventuress

to educate, inspire, and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment.

boatlife 095

With an awesome crew of 13 talented folks, we sailed Adventuress into the beginning of her centennial season.

The San Juan Islands treated us with wild currents, epic sunsets, fabulous participants, and a variety of still and not so still nights at anchor.

Moonrise looking east from anchor off of Sucia Island:

Good morning Prevost Harbor!


Looking North towards Bellingham, sailing to Anacortes. Thanks Amanda for the epic photo, shot aloft from the cross trees:

Sam coiling a heaving line and Captain Joshua at the helm. Seattle waterfront at night, after just sighting a Humpback whale:

A visit from DCC friends Robin and the Neal on a sunny afternoon:

Making an offering of cheese to the Lady of Deception Pass, before navigating through the 6 knot, river-like current… at slack tide:

Working aboard entails around the clock responsibilities and duties, therefore the 6-8 days off a month that each crew member receives are crucial. These days off led me most often to shore. Sailing is like nothing else, but as my love for the mountains is oh so strong, the stellar views of the Olympics and Rainier and the Cascades from the deck of Adventuress every day had me itching with wanderlust! Jesse, Sam, and I headed to the Quinalt area of the Olympics (just south of the Hoh Rainforest) and we packed into the Enchanted Valley for a three day jaunt. We constructed a hobbit home:


Bob and Amanda and I hiked into the lush green foliage of the Cascades for an overnight at Goldmyer hot springs:

During my week off in June I hopped across the country to Asheville, North Carolina to present at Trailblazer, a gathering for self-directed college age learners. I held a workshop on small group communication and a discussion about seasonal living. One evening I presented to the entire gathering about my solo travel experience to Bulgaria in 2007.


Presenters came from all across the country… and David even journeyed from Guatemala!

I returned to Washington for another month on the water! We headed up to Richmond, British Columbia for a festival and then our season concluded at the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival in Seattle. Big love to the stellar 2013 spring season Adventuress crew! There’s just something about that ship…

The latter half of July was chock full of shenanigans. Thanks to Alea’s family and Esther’s siblings, Bob, and the Chimenti clan for letting me rest my head. My good college buddies, Dan (who introduced me to Adventuress), Brennan, and Mona were in the midst of a Northwest road trip …so we connected. After a community project of building an earthbench memorial for late Adventuress Captain Al, we headed into the Olympics to Buckhorn Lake with friends Betsea, Molly, and King Paul.



We witnessed an edge-of-your-seat full moonrise above Marmot Pass and then hiked out the next day through the garish wildflowers.

The caravan return to California was glorious and hot with the crossing from the Oregon border into Mt. Shasta’s domain. Green to Gold.

As soon as I was back in the golden state, I rolled straight to Desolation Wilderness to visit my summer home, Deer Crossing Camp. Alex and I shared our first summer instructing at camp together way back in 2008…and we’ve both spent summers there since! Before Alex headed back to Scotland, we gallivanted around San Francisco with Emma.

As many know, late summer in the Sierras is my favorite, so Blake, Brenna, Vince, Vince’s dad Roy and I packed into Pioneer Basin and over Hopkins Pass for a 4 day jaunt. Lupine carpeted the alpine meadows and sky pilot was hidden amongst the granite boulders high on the peaks.




Autumn = family, friends, projects, food, coast, and mountains.

September was a whirlwind. I turned 25. Lena came out from Montana to spend a month in the California sunshine — so we re-certed our WFR, camped on the beach, hiked along the coast, and backpacked in the high Sierra.

Mickey’s Beach full moon:

The Matterhorn Peak 3 day trek, Matt, Lena, Lauren, and Marshall:






We drove up to Washington (in a day), stopping in Walla Walla to visit Ley’s sister Maren and then Pullman, to stay with Noa.


A quick hello to the Port Townsend crew, (thanks to Kyra, Katie, Esther, and Molly for the rides, pillows, meals, and laughs!), a wave to Mount Rainier, and then back south to Davis!

October and November entailed projects around the house with my dad, canning in the kitchen with my mom, and guiding a handful of backpacking trips for Outdoor Adventures.

Side Gate:
IMG_1114 copy

Ginger Pear:

Loon Lake:


Point Reyes:


Scott and I accomplished our long time goal of hiking through the ~2.5 mile Dragon’s Lair tunnel, that stretches from Pleasant Lake Arm of Loon Lake under Dragon’s Lair to Buck Island Lake. Nevermind the numb feet… we slayed the dragon.




With the warm temperatures, the extended indian summer, and the lack of snow, I convinced my mom to go backpacking with me for a weekend. Highlight of the fall for sure.

Lauren is currently working for the NPS in Yosemite doing geology research. An epic hike led us to the summit of El Capitan and then to the top of Yosemite Falls and back into the valley on a brisk November day.

DCC Tentmates! A visit with Elana and Shan in Santa Cruz capped Thanksgiving:

A mini-OA reunion took place here at Crystal Springs, and Wade’s pulled pork was a hit:

Climbing in Yosemite Valley in December for Matt’s birthday was uncanny. Perfect weather, no crowds, full moon = Happy Birthday!

We spent our Christmas day hiking along the Skyline ridge:

All in all, 2013 was a kick. High fives and hell yea’s go out to all the good folks with whom I shared adventures, meals, and laughter. With the first half of the year working abroad and in the Northwest and living on-the-go, the second half has been rejuvenating with quality family time here in Northern California. I’m looking forward to 2014 with a welcoming smile!

This entry was posted in California, UA New Zealand. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Amalgam

  1. Alex says:

    So happy to be part of this years adventure Julie – 2014 brings a visit to Scotland and us slaying dragons in castles instead of in tunnels.

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