You thought I was done writing about our trip, didn’t you? Not so.

Alcatraz was part of our San Francisco experience, but I really thought it deserved its own post. It was another one of those outings that I wasn’t really looking forward to. To be completely honest, I would have preferred to have gone to the three story Forever 21 instead, but Tyson insisted this was a must-see. I’m so glad I listened to him because I was completely blown away by Alcatraz.

First off, I had no idea Alcatraz was considered a National Park. It’s beautiful, and the only thing that’s prisony about it is the prison. I didn’t realize that many of the prison employees lived on the island with their families, so it really was like its own little town.


We did the audio tour while we walked through the prison, and it was so interesting. Even though these men were being interviewed about events that had happened to them decades ago, they still remembered names, dates, and events almost to perfection. I guess some things just stay with you, and Alcatraz is one of them.


My little outlaw


View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Alcatraz


The gardens some of the inmates maintained

Most of my ideas about prison come from Law & Order, so I was really surprised to hear stories about men who were rehabilitated by the prison programs, and whose lives really were changed while they were there.

In typical me fashion, my favorite Alcatraz moment was the time we spent in the bookstore. The history geek in me fully manifested itself, and I left with a reading list that’s now twice as long, and maybe even a little bit of a desire to explore writing historical fiction.

If you have the opportunity to go to Alcatraz, do it! And bring me a book from the bookstore ūüėČ


If you’re going to San Francisco

We drove into San Francisco in the late afternoon, pausing our California playlist so we could play¬†If You’re Going to San Francisco¬†because we’re the touristiest of tourists.¬†Visiting San Francisco has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and I never thought that it would exceed¬†all my expectations.

Since neither of us had ever visited the city and we were only there for three days, Tyson consulted the Internet, and I consulted my Northern California friends. We ended up with a really long list, but were able to get to most of them during our 12 hour days. (Until next time, three story Forever 21 </3.) We could have spent a whole week in San Francisco and still not even scratched the surface on everything we wanted to see and do.

Our first stop was the Golden Gate Bridge:thumb_IMG_3449_1024It was super windy and cold, which I was not prepared for. I thought living in Utah meant I had built-in resilience against the elements, but I was wrong. I ended up buying a fleece jacket that smelled like dust and a had a picture of the Golden Gate bridge, which did not help our looking like tourists at all.thumb_IMG_3455_1024

I considered buying a flower crown just to take pictures in front of the bridge, but decided against it because I didn’t want to embarrass Tyson.

We started our first full day in San Francisco by standing in line to have breakfast at Mama’s. We were in line for an hour and a half, but it was worth it because their bagels are heavenly. I’d do almost anything for a good bagel.


After breakfast, we headed to Coit Tower, which had some pretty cool views. Those stairs after those steep streets were a really rough combination, though. San Francisco must have the fittest residents.

thumb_IMG_3472_1024thumb_IMG_3471_1024Tyson fulfilled his life-long dream of riding a cable car on our way to the cable car museum.

Related sad story: The cable cars do not allow open drinks, so I had to abandon a freshly opened can of Diet Dr. Pepper on the sidewalk because there were no trash cans around. RIP DDP.

thumb_IMG_3480_1024thumb_IMG_3482_1024I fell madly in love with the Victorian houses. I felt like I was in a Wes Anderson movie.


thumb_IMG_3506_1024We went to a fancy art museum that took me back to my art majoring days, and I felt cool because I knew how to pronounce French painters’ names.¬†Art degrees are so useful!¬†thumb_IMG_3538_1024I got to see some of my best friends, who I hadn’t seen in years. We picked up right where we left off, and I felt like I was back at the commons, instead of at a trendy restaurant in San Francisco. Life is so funny sometimes.¬†thumb_IMG_3559_1024One more of the Golden Gate enveloped in fog for good measure:

thumb_IMG_3548_1024Brb, packing my bags.

Into the Woods

I would describe myself as being extremely indoorsy. There’s nothing appealing to me about hiking or exploring the great outdoors. I wasn’t very excited about going to the Redwoods, but Tyson was¬†so¬†excited. It seemed like every day he found a new tree we could drive through.

“And it’s only five dollars,” he would say. I would smile and think, “You have to pay to drive through a tree?” A tree’s a tree, right?

Despite all this, I arrived at the Redwoods in high spirits, determined to not ruin Tyson’s first trip there by having a terrible attitude. Tyson planned a short hike for us that would still take us through as much of the trees as possible. As we started hiking, pretend amazement¬†turned into real awe. We took our time peacefully walking hand in hand, and I felt as though we were the only two people in the world. It wasn’t the worst thing.

Tyson was in his element, and I loved seeing him so happy. I need one of those I ‚̧ My Eagle Scout bumper stickers.

Towards the end of our hike, we found our way to a road that led back to civilization, and I was almost disappointed. I was reminded of the way I felt when I would study for hours at the library and emerge disoriented, surprised the real world was still out there just as I’d left it. Except this time it wasn’t.

After finding my own Walden pond, everything felt a little different, including me.

Pictures couldn’t really do it justice, but let’s give it a shot.

IMG_3380 IMG_3395 IMG_3397 IMG_3416 IMG_3417 IMG_3419 IMG_3422 IMG_3425