Who says southern California has crowded surf?

The glare of the computer screen dries out my eyes.  I rub them and adjust my glasses.

What time is it?  Ten more minutes and then I can slip out the back door.  Butterflies flit and flutter in my stomach, the excitement and adrenaline mounts. Almost as if I’m about to skip school.

I read emails with an air of seriousness, hunched over the keyboard.  But hiding behind the window is the browser with the surf forecast open.  Oh Surfline, please say it’s onshore and poor.  Oh please Bird from South Coast Surf Shop, tell those FM94.9 listeners to go for a bike ride, it’s just not worth it.  Oh please let the whole North County decide a surf just isn’t worth it today.

The forecast calls for small and poor conditions.  Perfect.

The clock hits twelve.  I weave through the maze of cubicles,  jump in the car and push legal driving techniques til I pull into the parking lot.  A couple of black forms bob in the grey-blue ocean, its surface slightly textured.  A set begins to feel the bottom.  I’m already ripping my jeans off and wiggling into my wetsuit.  A glance over the open trunk reveals a wave ridden all the way into the inside.  Small but not poor.  Definitely worth more than a bike ride.

I paddle out as a couple guys paddle in.  No one else out.  A little set takes shape over the fingers of the reef.  Quick repositioning to the peak.  The wave stands up and offers up a long wall, small but punchy enough.   All the way to the inside.  The next one goes right, softer but still peely.  After a while, I get that gut feeling.  Lunch is over.  But the tide’s dropping now, and it’s getting better.  And still no one’s out.  I scrape into a little one, float the end section and belly in to the beach.  Running back up the cliff, I turn around one more time.  A perfect head-high set rolls through.  And still no one’s out.  Thanks Surfline.


Liz Clark and her amazing voyage

Makes us all dream…

Ses aventures creent des reves…


I climbed a mountain and I turned around

Mathieu, Eleonor and I had hiked up Cuyamaca Peak on New Years Day, to an awesome view of the whole San Diego County and Tijuana.  The Pacific islands were visible and the desert spread out behind us in vast unmarked washes of sandy red and brown.  The forest surrounding the peak however, was less than breathtaking.  This part of Rancho Cuyamaca State Park had succumbed to the fires of 2003.  Only a small patch of unburnt trees remained at the top.  Despite the charred skeletons of dead trees, the green carpet of new growth beneath the black twisted branches anchored new life.  Life will always find a way to perservere.

Mathieu, Eleonor et moi avons fait une balade en haut du pic de Cuyamaca le premier de l’an.  La vue du haut était spectaculaire.  On a pu voir tout le département de San Diego, de Camp Pendleton jusqu’à Tijuana, ainsi que les îles du Pacifique.  Le désert s’étendait derrière nous en rouge pale et jaune sable.  La forêt autour du pic, par contre, était biens moins que spectaculaire.   Cette région a été ravagée par les feux de 2003.  Seule une partie du haut du pic a été sauvée.  Malgré tous les squelettes d’arbres cramées, il y a aujourd’hui une moquette de verdure en dessous les branches noircies qui s’enracine la nouvelle vie.  La vie se persévéra toujours.

Ski Vacation

Squaw Valley, Tahoe


During the weekend of St. Valentine’s Day, we met my mom, brother, and his girlfriend for a little skiing, and for the pregnant ones, snowshoeing.  It dumped snow for two days, making for some incredible conditions.



Scott, Bailey, and Mom on the chair lift


Pendant le weekend du St. Valentin, Mathieu et moi sommes partis pour rejoindre ma maman, Scott et sa copine Bailey pour faire un peu de ski, et pour celle enceinte, de la raquette de neige.  Deux jours de neige sans cesse ont produit des conditions incroyables…

Snowshoeing is harder than it looks


Mathieu heureux apres une journee de ski

Manuel Antonio Park

A beer in the pool, can life get any better?Welcome to Disneyland.  Super family-friendly, Manuel Antonio Park caters to every tourist coming to Costa Rica, which means lots of hotels, restaurants, and cab fares that cost up the wazoo.  But my mom found an eco-lodge, Si Como No, and after five days of squalor and backpacking (see below), we were ready to be pampered.  Yup, that was goodShe flew in to see us for a few days, and we met her in Manuel Antonio after leaving the Osa Peninsula.


Bienvenue à Disneyland.  Super acceuillant aux familles, le parc national de Manuel Antonio est parfait pour n’importe quel touriste, qui se traduit en hôtels, restaurants, et taxis hors de prix.  Mais ma mere avait trouvé un eco-lodge, Si Como No, et après cinq jour de saleté et randonnée (voir ci-dessous), nous étions prêts pour etre choyés.  Ma mère est arrivée pour quelques jours pour voir sa cousine et nous, et nous l’avons rejointe a Manuel Antonio après avoir quitté la Peninsule d’Osa.White-faced monkeysSo happy

Osa Peninsula – Backpacking

river crossing

Mathieu and I had the opportunity to participate on a backpacking trip organized for a group of 9 teenagers from Texas and Costa Rica.  Five days and 50 kilometers later, here are some photos of the trip.  Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough to snap shots of the tapir nor the wild pigsThe group of kids


Mathieu et moi avons participé sur une randonnée organisée pour un groupe de neuf adolescents de Texas et de Costa Rica.  Cinq jours et 50 kilomètres plus tard, voici  quelques photos de notre aventure.  Malheureusement nous n’avons pas de photos de tapirs ni des cochons sauvages.


Some of the highlights of the trip (les point marquants):


We slogged through knee-deep mud and torrential rain for four hours the second day of the trip, the day we hiked 20 kilometers.

Nous avons traversé de la boue et de la pluie incessante pendant quatre heures, le jour ou nous avons marché 20 kilomètres.


We crossed paths with a Baird’s tapir, an extremely rare and quite honestly ugly creature. 


Nous avons croisé un tapir dans la jungle, un animal très rare et très hônnetement laid.


We spotted a sloth, peccaries, countless scarlet macaws, pacas, pizotes (both small and very cute mammals), brown pelicans, white hawks, honeycreepers…Strangler fig tree


Nous avons vu un paresseux, de nombreux macaws rouges, des pacas et pizotés (des mammifères très mignonnes), des pelicans bruns, des busards blancs, honeycreepers…


The kids were amazing, never complaining, not once.  They proved that teenagers aren’t so bad after all.Necessitamos verificar la ruta

Mais les adolescents étaient formidables.  Ils ne se sont jamais plaints, même pas une fois.  Ils ont changé notre avis sur les jeunes…Salsipuedes


We really tested our comfort zones, the limits of squalor, and our own bodily odors.  It’s amazing, the stench after a few days…  The Laundromat could hardly believe our clothes…Onward and upward



Nous avons bien testé nos frontières du confort, les limites de saleté, et même nos propres odeurs.  C’est vraiment impressionant comment une personne pourrait puer apres quelques jours… La laverie n’a pas pu comprendre nos fringues…



Nicoya Peninsula

Offshore reef waves

 So we went camping for a few days out in Ario, where I (Hallie) will be going to tomorrow for ten days sans Mathieu.  Somehow the microclimate kept the rain away.  Meli brought two of her dogs that kept us company, and when Mathieu felt lonely he’d go find hermit crabs.







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