Grass & Onion Valley

Grass Valley Strawberry Music Fest

If the month of May is setting the tone for the summer to come then I could not be more excited for life! I recently returned from the first of many music festivals I have planned for the summer and feeling freshly bathed in good vibes, joy and love. I invited myself along to the 4-day long, 63rd Strawberry Music Festival that my co-worker and former lady-boss were going to and I’m so glad I did. Nestled amongst the trees in the sunny Grass Valley, I made it to my home for the weekend after driving through the beautiful Tahoe National Forest. I parked, was found by Kristin and threw down my camping gear just in time to catch one of the many folk/country bands of the weekend. Music was happening from about noon on to 9 PM and in-between people would gather and jam with mandolins, guitars, up-right bass, wash-boards, aluminum cans, what-have-you and it was wonderful. One particular jam was my favorite because these adorable, strawberry accessorized, friendly shot-girls would give you delicious tequila while you listened to music and ate snacks. Jams took place throughout the day and at night, after the main acts were done. I danced my heart out to bands like The Wood Brothers, Tim O’Brien, Darlingside and Della Mae… bands I never heard of until now. I ate the biggest plate of nachos these lips have ever experienced. I met some of the most kindest, humble and talented people. I got to wear a sun dress for the first time this year and have my dirty hippie feet blackened by dust and grime. I saw the legendary Mavis Staples perform with her band and her ooooozing charm. She stopped mid-show to remind a person taking a photo of her to put it on “tweeter” with the “tic-tac-toe sign.”  Adorable. I witnessed perfectly-suited couples in their element doing their thing, completely unaware of their tug on my heart.

Music in the trees! The morning “revival” on Sunday.
Hillary is the cutest shot girl ever!
Backstage at the tequila jam!
Kristin and me with a photo bomber in the background.


All the empty tequila bottles from the tequila jam… just noticed the toilet in the background and hoping that is for a child!!

I am home now feeling revived and alive with inspiration and gratitude and the realization that I have so much abundance in my life. Music saved my soul. I would be no where in my life without the generosity of others and I feel, more so than ever, that it is time to give back and be my best self. If I can’t give materially or physically then I will give with having a positive attitude and kindness towards all/most. All. Okay all, I guess. The Strawberry Festival had some nuances that were applicable even outside the festival gates. For instance, The Strawberry Way is a thing, a vibe, a way of living… it’s consideration, kindness, generosity and cooperation. No brainers but sometimes a reminder like this weekend is needed. The way was running rampant all around. I’m also compelled to learn an instrument for real, so I can contribute the next time I go. I brought my glow-in-the-dark tambourine but I’m not too great at it and it’s too loud. At times I felt like a snozzberry, just not sweet enough to be there amongst so many beautiful strawberries. Like when I took my tequila shot out of turn (the jam musicians get dibs between song breaks… who knew??!) or deliberately tipped over a tall chair that was in our view on the grass (no tall chairs allowed people!), or wanting to shout out ‘kick it up a notch!’ during boring jams and other seemingly snozzy things I dare not mention but it was my first berry fest so I will hopefully get a little sweeter in time for the next one.

Onion Valley Birthday Camping

Birthdays are annoying; that feeling of needing to do something amazing but also feeling old and not wanting to give a single fuck. I made a firm decision that I didn’t want to work on my birthday weekend, with it falling on a Saturday. Richie, Dude and I hit the road and went south to Onion Valley to camp for 3 nights. We found a beautiful campsite at Lower Grays Meadow off Independence Creek. We wanted to backpack but it’s still too early in the season to go into the backcountry with all the snow still there. Instead we did a snow-filled day hike from the Onion Valley/Kersarge Pass trailhead to Golden Trout Lake, which we never did find. We were practically the only ones on this trail. All the snow made it confusing so we ended up on a pile of rocks somewhere back there with a pika (my favorite animal ever) scurrying around us. When Dude started barking I knew there was something else lurking around and looked up to see a giant big horn sheep looking at us over the hill. Dude went nuts and scared him off and we followed his trail down a steep cliff, trying in vain to get another glimpse of this elusive and magnificent animal. We saw his tracks all around where we were but no sign of him. Eventually we made our way down, running through massive snowfields.

Richie and Dude, on the way down.
Get a room! Dude and Richie making out.
Dude loves the snow!
So much snow up high still in May.
Fishin for trout.


Way back there is where the bighorn and us came down.

The next day we did another day hike up the Whitney portal trail after a big breakfast at the portal cafe – home of the giant pancake. This was a straight-forward hike with tons of people around, super sunny-hot. I wore too many clothes and was crabby. Note to self, layer more. After seemingly endless uneventful switchbacks we made it to beautiful Lone Pine Lake, nestled in the trees and rocks. We fished for hours which seemed pointless after noticing all the lady bugs on the surface of the water. Clearly these trout had no interest in a bright green alien-lure with the abundant bug feast all around. There was some major drama with a hiker in bad shape and we tried to watch a helicopter rescue happen but it took too long in the wind so we left and went back down the trail.

Here we go!
Kickin it at the lake
No trout cares

So I’m another year older and apparently wiser and definitely closer to 40 and don’t remind me but life just gets better and better. I’m figuring stuff out, moving forward and sometimes regressing, back into my self-made bullshit but like the best tattoo I ever saw of a biker-sloth character with the phrase ‘live slow, die anyway’… words to live by.

Richie picked me a birthday bouquet of wild flowers from around our campground.
Sierra wave clouds seen from our campground.

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