Reset Your Mind and Retreat

We decided to start the New Year of 2021 off by changing our routine. The best way we know how to hit the reset button is travel. So, we took to the roads to find a way to live in the present.

Our journey took us to a place called Quiet Mind Mountain Lodge and Retreat.

This little sanctuary is nestled a top a hill overlooking Cuyamaca Lake, just outside of Julian. A perfect place to leave the madness of the world behind and attain a sense of peace. With a Buddhism core, and meditative vibe, Quiet Mountain offers serene views of nature.

We stayed in the Buddha Lake Suite and each morning the sunrise peaked over the mountains to offer a fresh start to a new day while sipping a warm cup of coffee.

Once you have sparked your engine for the day, you can take a short drive into Julian which is only about 6 miles up the road, enjoy Lake Cuyamaca, or cleanse your mind within the retreat inside the meditation hall.

Each day at around dusk, a family of deer is sure to meet you along your nature walk and say hello. We were lucky enough to spend time with them both nights. Now, I did not venture into the outside jacuzzi offered, but it overlooks the lake and is a great option for more relaxation.

Most of our time was spent inside the Buddha Lake Suite, taking in the views, relaxing, and playing with our little Buddha on the bed.

We hope this New Year brings to you more relaxation, piece in mind, and health flows deep with in each of your souls.

Happy New Year.

A year of many valleys and one high peak: Mount Whitney


What a year it has been.

For me, it began in February when I submitted my lottery request (for the third year in a row) to hike Mount Whitney trail.

Sadly, just a short month later, the world was in the midst of a pandemic.  Families shattered, businesses closing doors, and society crawling like catepillars into cocoons.

Just as the world was beginning to shut down, Murphy’s Law played it’s cards.

Sure enough my lottery request was accepted to hike Whitney.


Lottery Winner!!!

As with the rest businesses, parks and recreation services followed suit.  Closed.

So, here I was in limbo, unsure if the adventure would even happen.

In the meantime, another adventure was set to take place on July 23rd and thankfully no closures occured.

I became a dad.


I think this makes me more nervous than any hike and certainly will be my biggest adventure.  

Now, as society began to slowly reopen, including parks and recreational services, another obstacle or should I say responsibility was on my hands.

However, with the blessing of my wife, I was given the green light to tackle my journey!

With the pandemic came many changes in peoples lives and my hiking partner list dwindled to zero.  I needed to find a cohort willing to embark upon an above average challenge in less than two weeks.

Finally, a week before the lottery date, I found someone willing enough to give it a try.  For me, my partner was a perfect teammate.


My hiking partner, Benji, weighing his pack at Whitney Portal.  Fellow nurse and adventurous soul.

Because the hike was not for certain, I had about a week to “train”.


However, in 2018 thru 2019 I hiked the six pack of peaks (link below), which are the highest peaks in Southern California.

If you are located in the area, I would highly suggest hiking these peaks before attempting Mount Whitney.

In particular, a month before attempting Whitney, hike San Bernardino and Jacinto in successive weekends.  These hikes will give you some sense of distance and elevation you will be up against.

There are many sites to research Mount Whitney trail and how to prepare.  Again, I suggest you take time to due your own research.  In the meantime, here are a few recommendations and how I planned to hike to the highest peak in the continental  United States.

First and foremost: PERMIT  (print it out and have it with you)

A.   Baseline fitness (hiking) level.

  • Be sport specific.  Hike.  Find the longest and highest hikes in your area and be sure you can do them.  I would shoot for hikes that are at least 10 miles long and 6000 feet high if you can.  Also, wear the gear you plan to hike in to get accustomed to the weight.

B.  Nutrition and hydration

  • Fuel your body appropriately.  This is a 22 mile hike at altitudes over 14000 feet.    Donuts, cakes, and soda will not work.  Fuel the systems you will be using.  High carbohydrates to obtain glycogen reserves prior to hike and long/fast energy foods for the hike.  Have a minimum 3 liters of water.

C.  Proper apparel and gear 

  • Depending on season, choose clothing appropriately.  Always check the forecast prior to going.
  • Good hiking shoes, preferably above ankle as the terrain is very rocky.
  • Hiking poles will definitely help when your legs turn to jello.
  • Hydration pack (3 liters), extra bottles, and a water purifier.
  • Headlight or light source
  • Electrolyte pills or source to replenish electrolytes.

  D.  Health and Safety 

  • Sunblock.  (The hike is very exposed)
  • Bear spray (They do live there)
  • GPS system or map (research your route and get familiar with landmarks). Find a system that will not need cellular service.


Look at a map and spot landmarks such as Mirror Lake, and Consulation Lake near Trail Camp because this portion of the hike is not well marked at all.

  • Walkie Talkies or means to communicate or call for assistance; whistle…
  • Basic first aid supplies
  • Garbage bags for garbage and waste bags for waste.  Yup, your body waste too.
  • Always tell someone when you plan to start and when you plan to exit

  E.  Acclimate

  • If you are day hiking, it would be wise to head up before the day of the hike to acclimate a bit.
  • If you are doing an overnight hike, well, you are literally 50% ahead of day hikers because camps are found halfway along the trail AND they are above 8000 feet which will give you time to acclimate.

What was my routine?

  1. As mentioned in 2018 and 2019 I hiked the 6 pack of peaks, but due to a world pandemic this year, fitness was limited to workouts in the garage. A week before the hike I did 30-60 minute treadmill walks with inclines from 5-15% .  I wore all the gear I planned to have.  I took 3 days off prior to hike to rest.


Give me a break.  This was at 330am!  What you see here is what I trained in.  Pack was 15 pounds. 

  1. My nutrition consisted of 50-70% carbohydrates and 4 liters of water a day for one week leading to the hike.  I usually drink 3 liters minimum a day anyway.  I also calculated an approximate of how many calories I would burn and packed my nutrition for the hike accordingly.


If you notice in the picture, I used zip block bags measuring 1 cup to hold an assortment of nuts.  Also had some bars, bananas, and electrolyte sugar beans.  About 5000 calories sitting there.

  1. My basic gear was a 3 liter camel back, an extra liter in containers on my waste belt, and a water purifier.  I wore a wide brimmed hat, long sleeve shirt, shorts with pulled up socks, hiking poles and a pair of very old hiking boots.
  2. For health and safety purposes, I loaded up on sunblock, carried bear spray, used walkie talkies for communication during hike with SOS capability, had a tourniquet and first aid supplies, matches, and tried to use ALL TRAILS live tracking app but that was useless.
  3. As for acclimation, we did not do this due to schedule conflicts.


Midland walkie talkies (Amazon) worked great throughout hike and Black Diamond hiking poles purchased at REI were holding at least 160 pounds at some points in the hike. (below)

We actually drove up the day before and pulled into Lone Pine around 530pm.  Immediately we knew something was just not right.  Usually when you get into the area you can see the High Sierras in the distance.  All we saw was a haze and a fire ball sun.


Benji, where are the mountains???

Apparently there were a few wild fires surging surrounding the area.  We would have to wait until the morning to see if the fires were contained and hope for the best.  Best case we hike but certainly the air quality was not going to be great.

The day of the hike we woke at 300 in the morning.  I drank a liter of water, ate a bagel with banana,  and washed it all down with a cup of coffee.  Benji, I think he  coffee.  Thats it.

As he would find out, not a good plan, even for an iron man athlete.

We arrived at Whitney Portal at 330 in the morning and the stars were visible which was a good sign.  As it turned out, the fires were being contained and the journey was a go!!

The first three hours of the hike from Whitney Portal was in the dark and not very difficult.  Our energy was fresh and minds were positively charged as we crossed streams, jutted through rocks, and watched the sunrise over the boulders. morning whit

About six miles into the hike you will come across trail camp (link below) which is at about 12,000 feet elevation.  This is where most people camp with overnight permits.

By this time, the sun was already rising above some of the lower peaks just in time for the more strenuous portions of the hike.


From trail camp you come across the infamous switch back portion of the hike.  I believe there are about 97 switch backs in this part of the hike.  I highly suggest not counting each switch back and try not to listen to any of the descending hikers say “your almost there.”

When your tired, hearing “your almost there”  every 10 minutes at a hike ascending over 6000 feet makes you want to say,  “I heard that 10 minutes ago!”

Stay focused, take slow breathes.  Inhale, hold, exhale.  Remember, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Mr. Ironman did not hydrate much and it got to him fast.


Altitude Sickness can hit anyone.  This guy is an Iron Man stud!

The picture above is at trail crest:

This portion of the hike separates the switch back section of the hike from the John Muir Trail section of the hike that ascends about two miles to the peak.

It’s a great place to take in the views.


Views looking back from the Trail Crest portion of the hike about 8 miles in andt 13,000 feet elevation. 


Or in Benji’s case, take a seat and decide if you want to continue.


Benji contmeplating continuing while catching some shade underneath an overhang.

Don’t get me wrong, my lungs were certainly not working at full capacity as I had an oxygen saturation in the 80’s but I’m not sure if the device was working properly:


regardless, I knew how it felt, was hydrated, and took electrolyte pills.

At this point Benji was having a bit of altitude sickness so I told him to stay back to rest, hydrate, and take in some simple sugars. If it got worse he was going to descend and in the meantime I was going to test the trail ahead and let him know how it was.

After a ten minute ascent, I radioed down to him to let him know, thus far, it was not that bad.  He decided to keep going, so I waited for him to get to my vantage point.

Needless to say, the next two miles felt like ten miles as the terrain got trickier, the sun was now at high point, and we were heading into the 14000 foot elevation range.  He was not happy and to be honest, I was not whistling dixie.

Seriously at an earlier point in the hike I was whistling and a man said, “well your having a good time.”

Finally, after nine long hours (numerous stops to assure my hiking mate was okay and taking photos) we made it to the peak.

Below is the Smithsonian Institution Shelter also know as the Mount Whitney Summit Shelter.  Built in 1904 and used for high altitude research.


This will be your North Star and first sight when you get near the peak



Take some time to absorb the views and the task you just accomplished!



The summit was short and sweet as Benji needed to descend sooner than later to rid himself of sickness, so, I grabbed the nearest sign made out of cardboard and he snapped a quick photo.


We did it!!!

Well…..the first half that is.

We still had to descend and hike 11 more miles out.  Our legs were wobbly and our minds were drugged on altitude.  What should had taking about five hours to get back took us about 8 hours and at one point I was walking so far ahead that I lost sight of my partner.

If I stopped, my body would cease, so I had to keep moving.  Unfortunately are radios had died, sunlight was fading, and it was not a good situation.  Luckily, after waiting about 30 minutes in the brush with my bear spray activated and ready to go, I saw him descending, we converged and made our way to trailhead.

Certainly we did not set a record time.  We finished in 16 hours!  I truly believe in the dark we went off route a bit which added about one hour, if you count stopping for photos.  Then altitude sickness hit my partner on switchback and I needed to stop a few times which set us back an hour at least.  Not to mention the 30-45 minute wait when we were separated on descent.  We could had finished easily three hours quicker.

Regardless, if your day hiking, leave by 4am and plan for a worst case 16 hour hike.

I hope your travels and adventures take you to high places.  Be safe and be well.


Touching the surface at the summit of Mt. Whitney









4 day work week: No Excuses

When it comes to travel, we all have excuses.

Work is too busy, the family, or the classic, “whats the point, it’s only for 3 days.”

The point?

Change.  Magic.  Freedom. Exploration.  The unkown.

Taking the mundane week by surprise and saying, we are done!

It’s not you, it’s me….

It’s Thursday and I must move on!

Just because.

For us, we live for 3 day vacation getaways. We are busy professionals but we love to explore and travel.

Trust me. You CAN do many vacations in just 3 days.

So, this past Thursday we figured we’d take Friday off and head north.  Numerous destinations were on the list as far north as Mammoth Mountain, among them being the National Parks of Death Valley, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia.

Thursday after work Yami and I sat at the kitchen table and decided to scratch Mammoth off the list.  A few friends who had planned on going to hit the slopes cancelled and with my back still healing, and the crowds searching for fresh powder it seemed like the best decision.

The next decision was whether we should leave that night or the following morning to explore the unknown.

So, we figured, lets just flip a coin….

Heads we stayed till morning and tails we left within 20 minutes.

As it landed on the ground I quickly covered it and asked, “whats the call?”

Confused Yami asked, “what do you mean?”

I explained, your suppose to call heads or tails when the coin is in the air….

She then slapped stupidity into my face and said, “no, that would be making the decision.  The point is for the coin to make the decision, thus heads for morning and tails for now.”

After stubornly trying to plead my case of no defense, I lifted my foot from the coin.


We packed within 20 minutes and off we went.

From San Diego we hit the 15 north and connected to the 395 for about 2 hours.



At around 9pm we decided to stop at a hotel,(pet friendly of course), and get some rest.  Here we would check the weather and map out or next stop.


Ridgecrest was literally our “fork in the road”.

Head West toward Sequoia and Kings Canyon and or East toward Death Valley.

We decided not to head into the more inclement weather which ironically was West.  Those parks were getting some snow and deep down I know Yami did not trust my tire chain capabilities, of which, I packed and had every intention of proving my skills.

So we head East to Death Valley.

Being the largest National Park outside Alaska at a sprawling 3.3 million acres, one can obviously spend at least a week uncovering all it has to offer.

For now, we had the evening.



When we arrived at 3pm on Friday there was not an entrance fee gate with a ranger but a short distance along the road there was a stop off kiosk were we paid an entrance fee.

I’m sure many people just go about there way as it seemingly can be bypassed at the risk of a ranger stopping you, but our mentality was, what we give, we get in nature’s return.

So before we started our scenic drive we gave thanks to the roads ahead.


We began the scenic drives around the park and as Yami slipped out of the truck at one of our stops to snap a few photos outside, I whispered in Blanca’s ear,

“that mountain is calling me….”


When the mountain calls, I listen.


I spontaneously climbed this little mountain and it did not disappoint. It offered a great view of the lowest point in North America 282 FEET below sea level:  BADWATER BASIN 


I focused in on the truck with my fingers and called her name from atop this small peak but she could not spot me


Yami eventually figured out where I was by spotting me via her drone flight.



I was literally dancing on top of the mountain right before this picture she took.

This would had been great footage, but unfortunately she did not see me to capture it,


she was able to capture better pictures of Badwater Basin via drone.


Drone Footage of BADWATER BASIN

After my brief nature calling, I descended back to the truck where Blanca was waiting, and just a few yards up the road we met up with the wandering photographer hitch hiking for a ride.


Only Yami wears snow boots in Americas hottest locations….


We stopped off at one of the many visitors centers (Furnace Creek), and secured a map.


Me mapping out what we can do in 3.3 million acres of space in 3 hours!

We figured we were only going to spend a few hours so we would pinpoint a few spots.

Our first stop was at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.


MESQUITE FLAT DUNES from a distance.  

I’m sure these dunes offer some great photos early in the morning, and at closer range.  We had Blanca and dogs are not allowed along the trails but to be honest, after visiting White Sands National Park in New Mexico, nothing matches those majestic dunes.

However, please, visit these dunes at early light when crowds are still asleep but the light is awakening.

Speaking of light, we were running low on it, and figured a good spot to see at sunset would be the Artist Palette along the scenic road of Artist Drive.


Blanca loved our 9 mile Artist Drive excursion that takes you through windy roads, perfectly sculpted mountains, and a pleasant display of colors atop the rocks which our formed by historic volcanic activity with mineral byproduct that illuminate the rocks “Palette”. 

Death Valley, thank you for accommodating us.  It was a short stay but I’m sure we will be back along our travels.

Blanca already misses you.


While exiting the park we juggled a few options for our next stop on the road and came up with a quaint town called Lone Pine just outside Mt. Whitney.

Lone Pine was about a 1.5 hour drive East of Death Valley.  The drive offered spotty reception so it was a challenge to secure a hotel, and we actually somehow mistakenly booked a hotel 3000 miles away in Washington DC.

To be honest, Yami did not have her reading glasses on and could not see the phone screen, but we will just say “mistakingly”.  However, my lapse in coin flip common sense was forgotten.

Of course we lost reception thereafter, but a few miles down the road we received signal and were able to pull over to maintain enough time to cancel and rebook our hotel.

Good times.

We got in late so we went straight to bed but the next morning Blanca was on schedule bright and early at 6am.

Yami does not do mornings and she certainly does not do cold.

So Blanca and I hit the streets of Lone Pine for a morning walk and were greeted by the Eastern Sierras which was a pleasant surprise masked by darkness the previous night.

lone pine

Over breakfast we planned out a day.

Lone Pine is known as being a pit stop town for travelers heading to Mammoth, Death Valley, Mt. Whitney as well as a location set for many old Cowboy Western movies.

We already excluded Mammoth and we just came from Death Valley, so that left us with Cowboys and the tallest mountain in the lower 48.

As is custom for Yami, she likes to feel the energy from the roads we are about to travel…

We highly recommend Horseshoe Meadows Road.


Yami being Zen on Horseshoe Meadows Road

Horseshoe Meadows road is a beautiful stretch of road that runs parallel  to the Eastern Sierras.

Along this road you can stop at Alabama Hills, which is a location and short hike where many of the old Western Cowboy movies were filmed.  These areas were also used as a location for the movie Iron Man to depict a backdrop similar to that of Afghanistan.

We stopped along this road to breathe in the clean air and feast our eyes on the snow capped Sierras from the sun roof.


A goal of mine has been to climb to the peak of Mt. Whitney.  There is a lottery you have to enter in hopes of getting a pass to do so, but last year I was not picked.

I did the next best, most convenient thing,

I finished the 6 pack of peaks (6 highest peaks in Southern California).

However, this February I will put my lottery pick in again and have Whitney in my sights.


Taking in the views of the Eastern Sierras and Mt. Whitney from the road at which the hike to the peak and John Muir trail all starts:  WHITNEY PORTAL

After rejuvenating our souls with nature’s beauty we took to a short hike which is less then a mile away from Whitney Portal.

If your with your favorite animal friend we recommend the Mobius Arch Loop Trail.

This hike allows dogs which Blanca was excited about.


Mobius Loop Arch Trail and it’s offerings….these our the views of some of my most favorite sights.  Theres nothing like Yami’s smile, Blanca’s eager look of adventure and the Sierras.  

Another spontaneous trip that all started with a simple coin flip to figure out when we would leave.

The where we would go was figured out on the road!

Work a 4 day week once in awhile and go explore.

You deserve it.

Take in all life has to offer.

The highs and the lows…….

This short trip brought us through the lowest point in America (Death Valley), to the highest point (MT. Whitney).

May things look up for you!





12 rounds of 2019!

Ladies and Gentelmen, welcome to the fight of the decade.

(cue ring announcer voice now)

Introducing first, the challengers……

By way of Rhode Island and Puerto Rico, from San Diego, Ca; The Boricua Malassadas Tom and Yami Liiiiiiima.

Team intro

This is us in Yami’s element.  Producing, editing, and capturing at a Valentines play called Cupid in La Jolla, Ca

The challengers with their trainer, Blanca.

Team with blanca

This is more my element as we take a quick family photo at our campsite.


in the blue corner,

the champion,

fighting for the gym of the decade………..2019!!!


The fighters were light on their toes, good movement, and “foundations were being established to build upon in future rounds.”  …………….….(round was a draw)


January consisted of numerous house projects including putting in new floors, a paved walk way, zen garden, and mini bar

Another cool project was the opening of “Lima Theaters”…….


We love movies so we made out own back yard movie theatre


This round was simply about appreciation.  The fighters showed respect for each others power.  Family and friends stayed in the clinch and avoided the right hand of 2019. The ESCAPE ROOM failure at the end of the round should had giving the round to 2019 but the fact the Tony Lima was there after his fight camp set back in the fall, doing yard work with mom…..AMAZING…………….. (round was a draw)

dad work

Tony Lima doing some yard work at our new house in California just over 4 months after open heart surgery…..great blessing.

mom work

Momma Lima in her domain trying to get flowers to grow in the clay dirt here in Cali.


Is it failing if we tried? 


March’s round clearly went to 2019!  Seperation from the clinch gave 2019 the opportunity to land power shots which bought the challenger to the ropes, battered, but not knocked down………………………………. (round goes to 2019)


The Lima’s were still obviously recovering from round 3.  They were on the move to local getaways, masking cuts above the brow with grease, and their bells were still ringing from the previous round, but they were also listening to music at an OPERA in downtown San Diego……………………………..  (round goes to 2019)


The Lima’s came out of the corner a bit more clear headed and had better head movement in May.  They landed a couple good shots with a trip back East to see family for a clam broil over Memorial Day and a road trip to Joshua Tree………… (round goes to Lima’s)


Rhode Island getaway for the weekend and a good clam boil with family and friends


Combinations were now landing for the Lima’s.  A house warming party started off the barrage, followed by road trips to Long Beach, Las Vegas, and Santa Barbara.  Friend’s were in their corner, and the Boricua enjoyed her Malassadas at the Portuguese Festa!  June was easily theirs……………..(round Lima’s).


Group photo for our first get together at the new place


Blanca looking out over Jalama Beach in Santa Barbara by herself and with mom.  The camp buddies just after sunset and cooking up Puerto Rican food in Long Beach.













Portuguese mall

Yami enjoying a mallasadas at the Portuguese Festa in Point Loma…..thus our fighting name…Boricua Mallasada


What a round!  This round could go either way,


2019 dropped the Lima’s to the canvas in this round with an explosive upper cut!

This was far from expected after what we saw in round 6 but life is unpredictable.

The Lima’s barely made it off the canvas, wobbling to their feet one second before the 10 count.  The referee, (life), asked them if they could continue and they held up their gloves…..

giving NATURE the ability to truly heal.

Nature provided the grit behind a late round flurry from the battered challenger. Thank you Yellowstone and Grand Tetons but……………...(round goes to 2019)

Nature heals

This is US.  Inhaling nature and exhaling society… within the National Parks of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in Montana and Wyoming.


The Lima’s proved they were there to fight…..

Amazingly they kept their guard up and with visits from close friend’s and family it provided the boost they needed to squeak through the round of August with pure love for what truly matters, family and friends……….  ( round was a draw)


family friends

Another visit from mom and dad, the Gibson’s came down from Orange County and Jackie from Seattle.  We visited the donut bar, Puerto Rican eateries, and Old Town.












Oh……and mom loved the horse races in Del Mar.



Not only did they prove they were their to fight, round 9 showed the world, they were there to win.

The challengers had 2019 on the ropes at one point this round, injured and barely avoiding the knock down.

Tom hit with a right hook by climbing San Gorgonio mountain,


Yami followed with a body shot by booking a weekend getaway to Hawaii.


Nothing like a weekend getaway to Hawaii to recharge your batteries and literally bring rainbows into your vision.

A straight right road trip to San Francisco-Yosemite National Park bought the champion into the ropes! ……………………. (round Lima’s)


Road trip to San Francisco to finish applying for Portugal citizenship at consulate, hiking and camping in Yosemite with friends.



Thing’s slowed down this round.  Each fighter took some shots.  There was ongoing accumulation of damage to the body by 2019 but the Lima’s held their own and the 6 pack of peaks were accomplished………………………..(2019 barely took this round)


Finished the 6 highest peaks of Southern California, October 2019, peak of Baldy with Blanca.


Again, things started off slow.  Both fighters were obviously winded from a long fight this year but the end of the round was all Lima’s.

A quick visit to visit the East Coast family, East Coast family coming west, followed by the family from Puerto Rico coming in for Thanksgiving.  This 3 shot combination had the champion running in Round November……………………..  (round Lima’s)

Nov 2019

Quick visit back East which included bowling (Tony topped the leaders board), East coast family visits West, and a quaint Thanksgiving dinner with the West Coast family AND Suegra visiting from Puerto Rico!


In the 12th and final round we witnessed two fighters who were winded, bruised, and cut.  Although it was an uneventful round, the pure courage of the challenger was enough to gain the respect of any champion.

The holidays were spent together, near, and far…………………...(round was a draw)


Blanca was feeling festive, the house was full of light, life long friends came down for a visit, and we had a nice quite Christmas with my stepson Tre and through FaceTime with our families.  


Fight Synopsis:  2019 was a challenging fight.  We gained appreciation for living in the moment and learned from each punch we took.  We were thankful to be able to share more memories with family after injuries in training camp.  Being knocked down in the fight proved that we have the strength to get back up.  We gained more respect for the unexpected, and truly found the beauty of nature’s powerful jab, and the knockout power of family and friends.

For a great years end video enjoy this production by Yami:




YOSEMITE …how to turn business into adventure

Traveling for business is just not as fun as traveling for pleasure.  So, if you have to  cook up some business, why not mix in some adventure?

My business at hand was to head to San Francisco from San Diego in route to the Portuguese Consulate with the goal of finalizing my Portuguese citizenship application.

When adventure is on the agenda I always ask my partner in crime if she is on board.

Her answer, “of course but only if Blanca can come.”

Our dog is a well traveled little beast and before I could say okay she had already secured a dog friendly hotel in the Bay Area.

The next task is something I usually do when traveling.  I contact people we know in the area to see if they are up for adventure.

We had some takers…

The plan:

Head to San Francisco for my meeting then head East for a weekend camping excursion in Yosemite!

So when the weekend arrived we packed up the truck with our gear and off we went on our business-pleasure road trip from San Diego to Northern California.


The diversity, history, architecture and bay scenery always brings warmth to your soul.

Luckily most areas were dog friendly and we took in the scenery at the Pier before enjoying a nice seafood dinner with some wine.  Blanca made this task a challenge by chasing pigeons while Yami and I tried to corral her without knocking over our wine or seafood from our plates.


The business portion in San Francisco was a success and I hope to be a citizenship of Portugal this time next year!



Once business was finished, Yami went for a jog around Golden Gate Park while Blanca and I strolled the area, again chasing birds, this time as they tried to catch a mid morning nap next to a pond.

    Business. Check.

                                     Exercise. Check.  

                                                          Next stop, YOSEMITE.

Since we were coming from San Francisco the easiest entrance to the park was through the North West which is about a 2-3 hour drive from the city.  Here, Mark and Elizabeth secured a spot at the Hodgdon Meadow Campground.

When we say they secured a campground, we mean secured.

They were prepared like Eagle Scout troops.

All the gadgets, organic meals, and a fortified tent ready to defend off any weather conditions.  Conditions, that Yami and I did not know were in the forecast.

You know, freezing temperatures, rain, and snow.

So, as we know, our tent has been through some rough times.  In other words, we needed to fortify it or we were in for a long, wet, cold night.

As we tried to do so by hanging a tarp over our tent from a tree, Blanca looked away in disgust.


We tried very hard to cover our “holy tent” with a tarp but as we failed multiple times, Blanca became embarrassed and had to look away.

After our numerous failed attempts to secure our living quarters we decided to just enjoy a home cooked organic meal straight from their garden, take in the brisk dusk air, share wine and laughter, play games, and warm up next to the campfire.


Elizabeth cooked up fresh Salmon with organic herbs and vegetables from her garden.  Yami helped prep.  They earned front row seats next to Marks master piece of a fire.  Me, I was likely still trying to secure our tent for a cold night  🙂 🙂

As expected, it was a rough night but not because of inclement weather…..

Blanca was up all night, on guard.  Every sound, every smell…


Needless to say, we slept less then 3 hours.

Due to icy conditions to the north, many areas of the park were closed off.  It was the first time for both Yami and Elizabeth so Yosemite Valley was the chosen destination for sight seeing.

This area was good for them to see the iconic rock formations, flowing streams, and breathtaking landscape.

yosemite rock

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Flowing streams, Half Dome, Path into nature, El Capitan

Yami and I also were also able to check of the John Muir Trail!

As you may know from previous posts, every New Year we randomly select “draft picks” from our life adventure box.  This year one pick was the John Muir Trail.

I have hiked a small portion of this trail before but Yami has always wanted to know where some of the trail was.  She is fascinated about the true story of Cheryl Strayed which is depicted by the movie Wild in which Strayed hikes the Pacific Crest Trail to battle the hardships of life.

Unfortunately the trail does not allow dogs.


Blanca was protesting the fact she was not allowed on the trail and I had to hold her back.

I also “find” myself free in nature like the movie Wild.

Its my medicine.

One day Yami and I will take a month and hike the entire John Muir trail, but for now, we were sidelined to a small portion because we had Blanca.


Yami comes prepared for situations where we may be sidelined or stranded.



While Mark and Elizabeth enjoyed a short hike, we explored the dog friendly areas.

In this episode of “Blanca Does”……

blanca yosemite

BLANCA DOES:  El Cap and Half Dome!!

After our day in the valley we went back to camp for our second night.

Before heading out the next day, I did what I love best.

Early mornings in nature.

Waking early as the sun rises over the trees, birds begin to organize their day with distant chirps, crisp dawn air cools my lungs, children scatter amongst the leaves as they play games between tents, I sip my coffee on a stroll with the dog.


There is nothing like making the pleasure of business all about the business of pleasure!

Thanks to these newlyweds for planning out the pleasure aspect of our trip.

We missed your wedding in Italy (failure) but it was great to spend time in Yosemite.

Thanks for reading….we hope you enjoy your next business trip!!

Love The Lima Clan







San Antonio Mountain “Mt. Baldy”

Blanca, mom is going out of town for work, it’s 4 o’clock morning, she just left, and we already miss her.

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What should we do?

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Yes, lets go back to sleep.  It’s early!


Well, if your a true detective, you will see that it’s too bright through those windows to be 4am….

What gives?

Well, this picture was snapped after our little adventure.  As I rehydrated with coconut water, Blanca, passed out from exhaustion.


Why you ask?

Well, we decided to stay up, see mom off to work, and then hit the road to Mt. Baldy!

My goal was:

The 6 pack of peaks is a challenge hikers do to prepare for Mt. Whitney.

I started this journey with Yami and Blanca when we completed Mt. Wilson, and I thought it would be really cool to finish the quest with Blanca!

So, ready or not….

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Really Dad? 

My back was not feeling very well this day, so I had my reservations as well, but we decided, well, we are here, lets do this.

The first 4 miles of the hike were fairly easy but once we hit the ski lodge we realized, this is where the hiking starts.

Blanca saw where the peak was, then she looked back to see how far it would be to just go back…

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Can we go back?

The choice was made.  We would continue on to the peak or bust!

Blanca’s first hike was when she was about 8 months old.  She trekked 14 miles to an altitude of about 5,000 feet.

Baldy would take her just about 12 miles to an altitude over 10,000 feet!  So I had my concerns, especially when we got to the section called Devil’s Backbone

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Blanca mentally preparing next to the Devil’s Backbone sign.

Once we both caught out breathe, we moved forward and traversed through Devil’s Peak.  I was using a 50 steps then recover method.  I would take 50 steps then look at my heart rate and wait for it to recover about 10 beats or so and move on.  Blanca, she was seemingly fine as she led the way.

There we were, just about 1/4 mile out from the peak.  Chilly winds were barreling down on us coming out of the North East.

It was go time and Blanca literally had one last push…..

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Literal last push before the peak 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

The views, as they are on these hikes, were amazing.

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We started our journey together and we finished together!

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The peak of Mt. Baldy!!

Great job Blanca!  You deserve your own picture and your favorite tuna snack…

So, yes, that initial picture of us choosing to just go back to sleep and rest was slightly true, except the picture was after a long day in the mountains.

Oh, and I decided to have a celebratory cocktail with my coconut water.  I do not drink at all often, but when I do it’s usually on a special occasion….

2019-10-20 19.16.28

6 pack completed!

Enjoy your next adventure….


Tom and Blanca


















BIRTHDAY WISHES: Sun, Sand, Warm Water, Cocktails, and Relaxation

My wife’s birthday wishes this September were simple.  She’s an easy person to please.  No fancy jewels, clothing, dinner’s or extravogant wishes.

Her wishes: Sun, sand, warm water, cocktails, and relaxation.

We live in San Diego.  We get most of this anytime, year round.  However, we both agree when it comes to warm water, we think Caribbean, places like Turks and Caicos where we got married, Tulum, where we relaxed amongst the ruins, and Puerto Rico, where my wife was born and raised.

So we began scrambling last minute through our rewards systems.

If at some point you find yourself looking for the best reward systems, we endorse:

Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One Venture.

Yami highly recommends the American Express Hilton Aspire

A virtually free trip using our point systems and that covered all wishes was


It hit all the check marks, so off we went!


Our balcony view at the Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort in Waikiki

We are not resort folk but with the benefits of our point system we figured we mine as well take advantage of it.  The resort had everything you needed.  Four pools, huge fitness center, multiple bars, stores, restaurants, and much more.

Beach front resort in the hustle of Waikiki Beach.


We toured the “compound” for a short while before we both got antsy and decided to escape Alcatraz.

We decided to hop in the car and hit the Eastern and Northern shores of Honolulu.

There are your typical tourist traps such as Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor (all of which are great to visit),


The wish list was simple,


Haleiwa, Sunset Beach, and Pipeline (on the northern shore) offered stretches of white sand without the crowds in Waikiki.


The rolling sands of Pipeline

Warm water:  

We enjoyed the beautiful waters of Waimanalo and Lanikai beaches were we floated and snorkeled our way to happiness.


A few libations at Dukes in Waikiki, and at the pool side resorts.


Which included yoga and pool side naps.



All the check marks were checked off the birthday wish list, and we had a happy birthday girl!end pic


A few food and drink recommendations for the readers before signing off.

  1. Great lunch and good beer at the beer
  2. Great brunch at

3.  Night cap libation at

night cap

This particular libation was called the WAIKIKI NIGHTCAP…..and for good reason as you can tell

If you have a wish, go out there and get it!  Find a way.  Live it!

Whats at the end of your RAINBOW?


Until the next adventure…..

Love Tom and Yami



San Gorgonio Mountain Trek

Hiking is an outlet for me to roam in my mind and with nature.  Over the past year or so I have been tackling what are known as the “6 pack of peaks”.  These peaks are amongst the highest in Southern California and often used to train for peaks such as Mt. Whitney.

I’ve applied in the lottery to hike Mt. Whitney last year but had no luck in getting picked to do so.

I’ve lost touch with this challenge as life has given its fair share of challenges over the past 24 months, but I have been able to secure 5/6 of these peaks including one to start off September 2019 with, San Gorgonio, the highest peak in Southern California at 11,500 feet.

I prepared the basics for the hike:

  • H20 Camel Back
  • Water filter
  • Compass
  • Matches
  • Trek poles
  • First aid kit
  • Bear spray
  • Wide brim hat
  • Boots
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlight
  • High caloric and energy foods such as nuts, energy bars, banana etc…

Wake up time was at 330 am and I drove to the first gas station off the 15 north and 78 east interstate to caravan with a friend around 4am.  We arrived at the mountain and begin our hike at 630 am.

The first 7 miles of the trail were fairly easy and I made quick time walking ahead of my group while snapping an occasional photo.

I chose not to bring my GoPro because I just wanted to hike freely and let my mind roam.

At about mile 8 during one of the switch backs I noticed my group about a mile below me and whistled to them.  Rather quickly afterwards I begin to feel a bit sick.

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You can notice that the number “8” looks a bit shaky compared to the previous pictures.

At this point I figured I would grab a seat under a tree, hydrate a bit and take in some snacks to see if it would relieve my symptoms.  Unfortunately this made my condition slightly worse and I decided to wait for my group.

2019-09-04 09.28.09

100% the consequence of poor hydration! Not a happy hiker in this picture.

Ive been in higher altitudes, for instance, the Lares Trek in Peru was well over 15,000 feet, but we had the luxury of coco leaves.

Having coco leaves for altitude  sickness in the United States would get you 15 years to life.

We don’t believe in medicinal alternative medicine here.  There is no money in it.

Luckily, after about 45 minutes I was able to continue.

At this point I only had about 3/4 of a mile to go, which is like saying:

“It’s right there, lets walk to the next casino”

If you have ever been to Vegas, you quickly realize objects ARE NOT much closer then they appear and know what I’m saying here.

I mustered up some energy and managed to gimp leg it to the peak because I was also having pretty bad muscle cramps.

At the top I luckily had some Advil and electrolyte tablets in my kit which relieved my muscle spasms and indulged in a pretty special PB and J sandwich.

Being on the peak always feels great, but I personally only like to spend no more the 30 minutes so my body does not get too comfortable.

This guy, who is heading to Switzerland next week to hike the Alps, obviously has a different approach at his peak layovers then I do.

2019-09-01 13.02.54

After getting the routine pictures with the “sign of achievement”

I gathered my gear, thoughts and energy for descent.

Not before noticing this treat:

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At the peak there is this box which contains items inside from those whom have made the accent.  There is also a pen and paper to “log in” so I went ahead and put a small note to the universe.

My descent was fast and furious.  I made it down in half the time of my ascent.

Sure, I noticed that my camel back was barely draining water and not functioning properly.  Not to mention, pretty much out of water.

Did I stop at the streams to filter water?     …..of course not.

My shoes were very loose and I begin to feel some friction forming but I just wanted to get to the base.

Did I stop to adjust my footwear?       …..of course not.

What I should have done was stop at the stream, use my filter, rehydrate, and take time to inspect my feet while adjusting my shoes.

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This picture does some justice but I’m leaving out the black and blue big toe nail that I’m currently trying to keep in it’s bed.







Half way down the mountain a fellow hiker ran by saying she needed to get medical help for her friend who felt ill.  As a nurse, of course I wanted to help, but I figured by the time I ascend to the spot (with no water for me or the patient) it would be useless.

Just before getting to the base a rescue helicopter flew over head and I could see the ambulance in the parking lot below.  So, I made the right decision.  This for sure was the faster assistance.

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I’m sure all worked out.

As for me, I accomplished the hike but made many mistakes.

I was poorly hydrated.  My nutrition the day before as well as the day of the hike was terrible.  I did not listen to my “feet” and continued without adjustments, and the list goes on.

So, now its recovery time:

Coconut water, banana, sunflower seeds, Vitamins E and C, Arginine, Tumeric, Ginger, and Spirulina.  

I hope you find your own adventures and journeys out there.  Stay safe and be well!!

The Medicinal: Yellowstone and Grand Tetons

Sometimes life can weaken your mind, demineralize your bones, darken your soul, and deflate your lungs.

It has been a rough year, and very tough few months.

Life has been heavy.

Family and close friends are always the anchor in these times, but these seas demand a sturdy ship.

Our ship is nature.

This trip could not had come at a better time, as unfortunate as that time was.

If you need a medicinal nature boost, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks need to be in your medicine cabinet.

Surely you can spend (at minimum) weeks at these parks, but for a quick loading dose of healing, here’s how you can revitalize your body in 4 days.


“Take one road trip pill early in the morning and expand your lungs.”

We chose to fly into Bozeman, MT because it was the cheapest option.  From there we mapped out our “therapy” plan.

Before heading to Yellowstone we stopped in downtown Bozeman for breakfast at:

NOVA CAFE has great food, perfect coffee, nice people, and good music flowing!

We are minimalist.  If your looking for cozy places to rest your bones, DO NOT follow our regimen.  Our lowest expenses on most of our trips is lodging.

For instance, our first night, we stayed at the Bozeman Inn.

bozeman inn


It was close to the airport and offered pillows.

Nothing more to say here.  We had about 6 hours of shut eye before our first road day.

At 5 am we began our drive from Bozeman, Mt to the northern entrance of Yellowstone.

The north entrance of Yellowstone is about 2 hours from Bozeman via the 90 East and 89 South.  The drive is relaxing and the scenery inspiring.

Put your windows down and let the early dawn air enter your lungs, filling you with natures love.


This baby brown bear was off the side of the road on our drive into the north entrance of Yellowstone.

Start your days early and you will have the best opportunity to see wildlife and beat the crowds.

We arrived at Tower Junction around 7am and took the 212 East to Lamar Valley.  If you want to see wildlife, this is your best bet.

bison lamar

Lamar Valley Bison




Yami was in such awe with these creatures that she vetnured out to get better photos.


Just one week after our visit two people were injured by Bison.  So please, be careful.  Yami understands now but Im unsure if she will heed the advice next time.



From Lamar Valley our next stop was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Upper and Lower Falls.

Grand canyone Yellow

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Upper and Lower Falls

This was out first short hike but it was well worth it.

After visiting the canyon the rest of our day was filled with a scenic drive south around Yellowstone Lake, and through the west entrance into Island Park Idaho.

day 1


We arrived in Idaho around 6pm and took to a nice dinner with some drinks.

day one end













Depending on how you map out your trip, how soon in advance you book your accommodations and your preference for things, your routes may be different.

Island Park, Idaho is only 30 minutes from the west entrance of Yellowstone and is a great alternative for a place to stay if things closer to the park are booked.


“Take two pills of natures wonders and open your mind”

day 2












Early wake up call again to beat the crowds and see some of the natural wonders of Yellowstone via the West entrance.  Along the drive we were greeted by wilderness as we sipped our morning cup of coffee.



The Grand Prismatic needs to be on your list.

Get there before 9am to secure parking at: Fairy Falls Parking Lot.

From there it is a short walk to the overlook which offers topographical views of this rainbow of pure beauty.


Drive about 10 minutes East and you will be at Old Faithful.  


Yami and I at Old Faithful

NOTE:  Keep in mind, this geyser erupts about 1 time every 1.5-2 hours.  I believe there is an app that you can track but we just went with the flow.  We were there around 9am and it went off around 930am

From Old Faithful we took the 191 East to the 191 South which will have you exit Yellowstone via the South and making your way toward the Grand Tetons.

Take your time along this drive as there are plenty of outlets to turn off so you can take in the views.

me and yamimlake


By this point your mind should be open, your lungs clear, and your body free from stress.

Enjoy the ride.

If you plan better then us, pack a lunch and have a picnic by one of the gorgeous lakes back dropped by the magnificent Tetons.  


If you look close at the top left picture you can see Yami with her hands raised full of JOY.

We did not pack a lunch so we stopped at Leeks Marina.

leeks beer

I recommend the Hike it out Hefe beer made out of Snake River Brewing Company

Before calling it a day and checking into our next stop in Jackson, we stopped at Jenny Lake to decompress from the day.



Our relaxation and Jenny Lake excursion was cut a bit short when we warned of bear sightings.

We were laying in our hammock when a family warned us……..


I was a bit overzealous in “hunting” another bear sighting along our drive to Jackson and did not realize I was swerving all over the road.

I was promptly pulled over and asked if I had been drinking, to which I said yes in unison with Yami saying no.  WHO was lying?


I explained I had one beer four hours prior with lunch.

The officer asked:  “how big was the beer?”

My response: “The one I had with lunch or the one I’m looking for in the woods?”

beer bear


🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


I’m from the East coast.  It’s hard to differentiate.

Not sure if it was my charm or a fare warning but we were on our way….






We splurged in Jackson with a nice hotel using points.  After checking in we went out to dinner at

I would recommend the croquette and paella as well as a Wilson IPA made locally at the Roadhouse Brewing Company.  

DAY 3:


After heading to a farmers market in Jackson we drove back north into Yellowstone.

day 3

NOTE: To re-enter Yellowstone from the Tetons, you will have to pay a 35 dollar entrance fee again, which was unbeknownst to me.

On our last day in Yellowstone we chose to submerge ourself into wilderness and camp at Grant Campground on the southern tip of Yellowstone lake.


There are many first come first serve campgrounds but Grant is one you can reserve rather easily.  I did so just one week prior to staying in peak summer months.

This website breaks down other areas around Yellowstone that you can camp:

We did not have most of our gear because we flew into the area but other then the tent, hammock, and sleeping bags:

We had the “bear” essentials.

Yami was always armed with a whistle and bear spray and I had Teton Vodka hanging from my hiking bag.

Luckily this campground was like a little town and had two restaurants on site.  We had dinner at the Grant Village Dining Room before heading back to camp for some music and hot toddies.

Day 4:  

“Take your final dose of medication and let your body head north”

So we did just that.


Ramsey cooking up some eggs, bacon and coffee at the campsite

After a morning campfire breakfast we head North though the Gallatin Mountains back into Bozeman.

day 4

Along the way Yami somehow spotted a bald eagle and we stopped to enjoy this rare view for about 30 minutes.

After the eagle took flight we continued are drive North.  We stopped to pack up some lunch and stopped for a picnic in Big Sky Montana along the Yellow Mule/Ousel Falls Trail:

To end our therapy we decided to head out in Bozeman for a closing dinner at

Montana Ale works had a great bison burger and the Midas Crush IPA was pretty good and locally brewed at the Map Brewing Company in Bozeman.


our bodies refreshed and minds cleared.

We are blessed to have these opportunities in life to reboot.

Love Tom

me nature

AND… beautiful, intelligent, courageous, best friend and life adventure partner,

my wife,


yami photosThank you Earth for giving us the energy to move forward and accepting what we know will be the right path you offer.




Back from Hiatus

I’m going to return from social media hiatus by way of blog “shares” rather than actually logging into a social media account (even though the only one I have is Facebook).

I feel social media presents a means of comparison to others lives rather than living your own, which can lead to negative thoughts of where you are based on where others have been.

Sometimes life does not give you a choice other than to accept what it gives you and comparing your journey while going through personal tribulations is taxing to the soul.

I believe social media only presents the fraction of what life truly is and usually it’s only the positive aspects of peoples surfaced lives.

So, to track me, follow my shared blog posts.

The good, the bad, the real thing.

Be well everyone. Heading back to reality after a nature getaway in Yellowstone National Park.