Cleo’s Bath (or sink?)

Adventure Club

In September my friends Tammy, Alexis, and I decided to take a day to get out into nature and enjoy it with a hike. After some back and forth about where to go, we settled on Pinecrest Lake in California. It had been ages since I had been there and I remembered how beautiful it was. Pinecrest has just the type of woodsy, mountainous feel we were looking for, so we decided to look up hiking trails in the area using the app All Trails. While searching I came across the trail for Cleo’s Bath. The app said it was a moderate trail, which seemed great for us. After looking at some pictures from other hikers, we were sold. We should have looked at some reviews from other hikers, but hindsight is 20/20, right?

We were super excited to spend the day together adventuring that we texted non-stop the night before in a group chat asking each other what we were packing in our backpacks, if we should bring bug spray, how much water to pack, etc. etc. We set our meeting time at 7 am, and went to bed. 7 am came quick the next morning, but we were all there, ready to start our day. We hit the Starbucks drive through, and we were on our way to Pinecrest. I was the driver.

I looked up Cleo’s Bath in my Google Maps app and started the directions. I should have went through the All Trails app to find the address, but again that hindsight is 20/20. I’m pretty sure my Google Maps wanted to bypass the hiking trail, and take us straight to Cleo’s Bath by vehicle! We were taken onto some dirt road that was VERY rocky! I’m surprised my Kia Sportage handled it so well. We were definitely in need of a 4-wheel drive on that road. We were skeptical, but the GPS said to go that way, so we kept going. We started passing by men and their trucks parked on the side of this rocky, rocky dirt road getting their rifles out and ready with their orange vests on. Surely a hiking trail wouldn’t be on hunting grounds, right? We probably should have turned around at that point, but GPS knows all so we kept on driving. The road got increasingly rockier, and we started getting a little nervous. This didn’t look like a place that would have bathrooms at the start of a trail, and we all REALLY needed there to be bathrooms. When my car started to slide on the dirt we decided this probably wasn’t the way and we needed to turn around. Only…there wasn’t a place to do so. I had to BACK OUT of that road. There was a pretty big rock in the road behind me, and Alexis had to get out and navigate me around it. To top it off there was a Jeep ahead of me that was driving down the road, and a huge Dodge Ram behind me that wanted to drive up it! Talk about the pressure being on! Luckily both vehicles were pretty patient with me and allowed me to back out down the road, although neither vehicle full of men decided to get out and try to help us. Finally I was able to navigate around the rock in the road, and the Jeep was able to come down and go around us. The Dodge Ram was also able to go up and around us, and as they were passing us we asked them to roll down their window so we could ask where the trail for Cleo’s Bath was. Those Duck Dynasty looking dudes were judging us so hard. They had no clue what Cleo’s Bath was, and gave us this look like they thought we were dumb women who didn’t know how to drive…. whatever. After they passed, we finished backing out and started back down the road the way we came in. We stopped and looked at the All Trails app and decided to try clicking the directions button within the app. The GPS, who didn’t know everything after all, now had the right directions to where we wanted to go. We were finally on the right path!  Once we arrived at Pinecrest Lake, we saw BATHROOMS. Yes, this is what we were expecting to see, camp grounds, bathrooms, people, parking lots. We were finally in the right place. Our hike hadn’t even started but we already felt like we had an adventure!

If you haven’t been to Pinecrest, I strongly urge you to go! It is SO beautiful. When we first started walking we were just taken aback by the stunning views. The lake is magical and the mountains around it are so picturesque.  This was exactly what kind of a hike we were in the mood for…or so we thought.

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As we continued on the the trail, enjoying the views, we began talking about hiking, adventures, and traveling. We discovered that all three of us have a desire to do all of those things. This is the time when the Adventure Club came to be. All three of us enjoy spending our time trying new things, making memories, and having experiences. Why not do those things together?! We are excited about our new club. 🙂 Anyways, we continued on the trail and came to a big rock. I wanted a picture on it, but when I tried to get up there I quickly realized that was not going to happen, so we adapted, and this is the picture that I now have to look back on! It still makes me laugh! You can see that Tammy wanted to be in the picture as well.

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We did find another boulder that I was able to climb on top of to get my picture! Tammy and Alexis even got in the picture! You can see they are just as eager as I am to pose for a picture….NOT!

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Just take in this beauty with me! I hope you are enjoying these pictures as much I am!

After a few miles of beauty and fresh air, we finally came to where we would continue on to Cleo’s Bath. We just weren’t expecting what would be waiting for us on the other side of this sign.

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We were expecting to hike, and we knew it would be difficult in some areas, as this trail was labeled moderate. We were NOT expecting to be rock climbing, and following faded blue arrows for trail markers. Don’t worry, I’m not complaining. If we didn’t want adventure, we wouldn’t have started the Adventure Club! We just weren’t expecting it. We most definitely made the best of it, and had a BLAST while doing it! Can you see those little blue arrows in the pictures? That is what we relied on to tell us where to go! Check out Tammy and Alexis kicking butt and climbing those rocks!

Those pictures show accurately what the entire “trail” up to Cleo’s Bath was like. It was difficult, but enjoyable. We were definitely rewarded at the top! It was the most mesmerizing view!

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We weren’t quite at Cleo’s Bath yet, but we stopped here to rest for a bit and drink some water. Isn’t it pretty? I was humbled when I saw the lake far off in the distance and realized that the lake is where we started. Then I thought about the fact that we have to hike back to that lake as well! Can you see the lake in this picture?

After our little break, we kept on trekking. We finally made it to Cleo’s Bath, only it looked more like Cleo’s Sink. There wasn’t much water. It was still gorgeous though! Next time we do this hike we will come in the spring, or early summer to see it at its full glory with rushing water! There is normally a waterfall spilling into the bath.

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We really enjoyed the views from up there! We also sat and ate some snacks while taking the scenery in. I imagine during the spring and early summer the water flows over these boulders into each of the water holes.

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After we enjoyed the views, it was time to start hiking back down. It was a little difficult to navigate our way back. We couldn’t find a little blue arrow to point us in the right direction at first, and instead of staying to the left like we were supposed to do, we went right. Oops. We got a bit lost. GPS couldn’t help us here! I thought we were on the right track and lead us down some rocks. Both Tammy and I went down them, sliding! Alexis thought better of it and didn’t feel we were on the right track. Tammy and I had to get back up the rocks we just slid down. That proved to be harder than we thought. Tammy slipped on some loose leaves and skinned her knee. Ouch! Luckily she had brought some band aids with her, and Alexis had some Tylenol. We got her cleaned up and bandaged, and she took a pain pill so she wouldn’t be too uncomfortable on our long hike back. That was when we heard voices! We were only slightly off the “trail.” Instead of going back up that slippery rock, we were able to make our way sideways to where the other hikers were. We found our way, and made the long hike back down. We celebrated when we saw the sign marking the main trail and Cleo’s Bath again! What a feeling of accomplishment! That hike was HARD, but we did it!!

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We still had a few more miles left to get back to the lake, but there was no rock climbing involved for this last bit of the trip. The lake was even more beautiful in the afternoon! I loved how sparkly it was with the sun reflecting off of it.

We dragged ourselves back to my car, and took off our hiking boots. My toes were killing me by the end of the hike. I was very glad my mom advised me to bring flip flops to leave in my car. They definitely came in handy! The other ladies vowed to bring some on the next trip. We needed some sustenance after our vigorous activity and decided to stop for pizza on our way out of town. We went to The Pie Pizzeria and split a veggie pizza. It was DELICIOUS! We scarfed down our food, and reflected on the day’s events.

All in all, Cleo’s Bath was about a 10 mile hike, and my Fitbit said we did about 22,000 steps! It was the most difficult hike we had ever done, but also the most fun and rewarding! Nothing beats feeling a sense of accomplishment and pride about something you have done. We are some bad $*% ladies who are ready to take on the next adventure!

My Fitness Journey

Workin' on My Fitness

Have you ever had one of those moments where a light bulb goes off in your head? Like a switch is flipped and this rush of motivation just washes over you? I have. It was AMAZING! It still is!

Let me preface this by telling you that I have been overweight since I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. Moderation has never been easy for me. If I like something, I want to eat it… all. Exercise never really appealed to me either. Getting all gross and sweaty, out of breath, and just uncomfortable wasn’t my idea of fun. I always knew HOW to lose weight, everyone does. Burn more calories than you consume… easy, right? Well if it were easy, there wouldn’t be countless programs and diets out there to help people lose and keep the weight off would there? The concept is easy, but training your brain to be in the right mindset is hard! That is why so many people struggle. The idea of restricting yourself from the foods you absolutely love, and feeling like you can never have them again is a dreadful feeling. This is why I have always struggled with sticking to a healthier lifestyle. I was wrong. You can enjoy foods you love, if you learn the key principle of moderation.

Let’s get back to what flipped my switch. I was on Facebook one day, and saw an ad pop up on my feed for a local gym. They were promoting a 6 week boot camp that you could join for FREE. This got my attention. The idea of exercise sounded awful, but I knew I needed to do something! I was not living my best life. I wanted more confidence, to be healthier, not to mention feel SEXY, and to help my mom do the same. I told her about it, and we signed up to go to their information meeting. At the meeting, we learned that the 6 week boot camp wasn’t actually free, but would cost $500 upfront (which they allowed us to split into 2 payments) and if we lost 25 pounds, or 6% body fat in the 6 weeks we would get our money back. Talk about  motivation right there, am I right?! Even though we really couldn’t afford it, we invested the money into ourselves and started the program. They gave us a strict meal plan to follow, and we were to come in to their gym 3 times a week for a 30 minute work out. Those 30 minutes kicked our butts, but just when we thought we were going to die…it was over! It was totally doable! The type of workout was HIIT training, or high intensity interval training. My mom and I really enjoyed each workout, and loved getting stronger. The meal plan was easy to follow as well. I thought about it like a formula: Lean protein, complex carbs, and some sort of veggie for every meal. Snacks could be fruit, nuts, veggies, etc.

Each week we weighed in, and each week we saw the pounds dropping. That was more motivation right there. We were really working hard to get our money back! I wanted my $500!

Sadly by the end of the 6 weeks, neither of us lost 25 pounds, BUT we lost about 17-18 pounds, and it kick started our healthy lifestyle. I ended up not caring about losing the money, because that $500 started me on the right path and gave me the motivation I needed to get my butt in gear. I kept up with the meal plan after the 6 weeks was over, although I did incorporate a cheat meal in once a week, and I kept working out a few times a week. To date I have lost over 40 pounds, and have kept it off! I am SO proud of myself for sticking with this lifestyle and I actually enjoy working out now, even being sweaty, out of breath, and uncomfortable. When my muscles are screaming and the soreness sets in, I smile because I know change is taking place. I feel more confident, sexier, and above all I know I am setting myself up for a long and healthy life.

I am not as strict on my eating as I was during the boot camp, because let’s get for real….$500 is no longer on the line. I still make much healthier choices every day though, and I balance out my diet much better. I am also in the gym at least 3 times a week! I LOVE lifting weights in a class called Body Pump, and going to dance cardio classes like U-Jam Fitness, or Zumba. My friend and fellow Adventure Club member, Tammy, is my workout partner. We help keep each other accountable. She’s lost about 50 pounds as well! I wouldn’t change this lifestyle for anything!

Below you will see me in July 2018 at a Color Street conference on the left, and me with my precious little sister on the right in April 2017. I started my fitness journey in December of 2017.

I hope this can inspire someone to start making small changes, but because a lot of small changes lead up to a big one!

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