Photography/ Travel

cabernet and campfires


Image 1 of 16

This past weekend Adam and I headed south to the Santa Cruz mountains to go camping at Big Basin, a breathtaking state park full of two thousand year old Redwoods, brightly colored banana slugs and foggy ocean mist.

Even though it was Easter, it was a tough weekend for me personally because it was the two year anniversary of my brother’s death. So, I chose to honor his life the best way I knew how—by cooking dinner (and breakfast!) over a campfire, by falling asleep to the sound of rain on my tent and by going on a strenuous five mile hike through misty old growth Redwoods.

ps–we stayed in a tent cabin here. Even as a total camping newbie, I thought it was fantastic! My favorite part of our little tent cabin was the wood burning furnace in the corner. And yes, I totally pretended it was the Little House in the Big Woods.

Who do you think I am, anyway?

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  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    April 25, 2011 at 5:03 am

    i love that shot (#14 i think…?) of the trail in the woods…it just looks so beautiful and peaceful! i have been praying for you with the 2-year anniversary of your brother’s death…i’ve never lost a sibling, but i can imagine that it would be incredibly hard, even as time goes on. hope you have a beautiful day today!

  • Tasha @ Voracious
    April 25, 2011 at 5:04 am

    This is such a beautiful, and peaceful post. What a stunning setting for a getaway, and a perfect way to honor your brother’s life and memory.

  • cait
    April 25, 2011 at 5:06 am

    HOW FUN! i love camping like this! Thinking of you always! glad you had such a great weekend dear! xo

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    April 25, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Such beautiful pictures!!

    I love the way you honored your brother too. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for you. You have such a lovely spirit 🙂

  • Cait @ Beyond Bananas
    April 25, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Camping is so much fun.. love your little cabin! Sleeping on the ground is sometimes the worst part. and you avoided it! 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    April 25, 2011 at 5:08 am

    These are such lovely photos Jenna, and what a great way to honour your brother. Looks like you and Adam had a great weekend together.

  • Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet
    April 25, 2011 at 5:09 am

    What a great getaway! So much more glamorous than the mini-tents that I always end up pitching when my family and friends go camping.

    And that bumper sticker is perfect 😉

  • Molly
    April 25, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Most people under-estimate the power of clearing our heads. Trips like these are sometimes crucial to our health!

  • Michelle
    April 25, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Great pictures! Getting away is often needed to just regroup and focus on what’s important.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    April 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

    I’ve never been camping in my adult life and want to go so bad this spring! I went a few times as a kid but can’t even distinctly remember it. Looks like so much fun!

  • jenna
    April 25, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I hope you had a great adventure this Easter weekend. It looks like a relaxing wonderful couple of days! 🙂 Thoughts and prayers are with you, jenna!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    April 25, 2011 at 5:37 am

    For someone who has never gone camping, I’m finding your pictures enticing! Glad you got to spend the weekend remembering your brother in a great way.

  • Karen
    April 25, 2011 at 5:47 am

    STUNNING photos, Jenna! I think my favorite is away from it all… Hope you found some peace this weekend. Hugs, Karen

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 25, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I haven’t been camping in a long long time — I loved looking through the pictures!

  • kristina@beancakes
    April 25, 2011 at 6:03 am

    looks like you had a great time!! nice photos 😉

  • kalli
    April 25, 2011 at 6:04 am

    what a great way to celebrate your brothers life!

  • Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
    April 25, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Now this is camping! What a beautiful place.

    We each have our own way of dealing with things. I can relate to the needing to get away to just think and remember. Hope it was a therapeutic time to remember the brother you love.


  • Healthy Amy
    April 25, 2011 at 6:08 am

    What a wonderful camping trip! You did a lovely job of honouring your brother x

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    April 25, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I think that’s a great way to honor someone, and a very nice way to spend Easter as well

  • lisa
    April 25, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I’ve never been camping, I really want to go but I’m a little scarred….
    It looks like a really nice way to spend the weekend and honor your brother’s life. I hope you were filled of happy memories throughout.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    April 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

    That sounds like a very special way to celebrate Easter and pay tribute to your Brother’s life.

  • Urban Wife
    April 25, 2011 at 6:55 am

    How gorgeous and what a wonderful way to tribute the memory of your brother.

  • Sarah
    April 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    We went camping there when I was 12. I hate camping, but that trip was magical. One favorite memory from that trip: hiking with my pregnant mother, my uncle, and my cousin Peter (who was 11 at the time.) Peter and his dad had been to San Francisco before meeting up with us and Peter had purchased a one pound bag of saltwater taffy. He brought the bag on the hiking trip in case we wanted some snacks. My mom offered to carry the bag, and proceeded to eat ALL of his taffy. We were on a short hike, so this was noteworthy to us. Peter was really upset.

    Anyway 🙂 I loved seeing photos and reliving the vacation! We were obsessed with finding banana slugs when we were there, so it was so fun to see a photo of one of the slugs.

    I hope that Easter Sunday view brought you some peace. I wonder if John had a part in making sure your weather was nice that morning.

  • Errign
    April 25, 2011 at 7:05 am

    I love that you took the weekend to celebrate life. 🙂 And that you conquered camping! 😀

  • katie
    April 25, 2011 at 7:14 am

    I think you picked the best way to do a weekend away and celebrated your brothers life : ) I bet he was watching from heaven : )

  • Jamie aka "Sometimes Healthy" Girl
    April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Just found your blog through Health magazine! Very excited to read more. Your weekend sounds like the perfect way to honor your brother’s memory. I’ve never really been camping but I think I should try it out sometime!

  • Leah
    April 25, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Lovely pictures Jenna, I really enjoyed looking through them! Hope you are feeling rejuvenated after this weekend. It looks so peaceful!

  • Caitlin
    April 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Gorgeous shots, especially the last few. What an incredible way to honor John.

  • Debbie
    April 25, 2011 at 7:26 am

    What a wonderful way to honor your brother. And your pictures of your trip are great, especially #14 (can I copy for my own personal use only??, just love that!!) We love camping and go often but have not been yet this year, still to much snow! 🙂

  • Lauren from Lauren's Latest
    April 25, 2011 at 7:28 am

    I LOVE camping and you’re making me miss it!

  • Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition
    April 25, 2011 at 7:29 am

    That looks like a lot of fun! The pics are gorgeous and I love that you packed wine glasses! I have never seen a banana slug before, that thing is crazy!

  • Jennifer
    April 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Sounds like a lovely time! Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  • Laura @FoodSnobSTL
    April 25, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Gorgeous pictures. Glad you were able to get away. There have been a few weekends that we’ve gone to a family farm to get away when things are tough. Nature can be so relaxing and restoring.

  • Kelly
    April 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Lovely. Just lovely. I hope it helped you to get away.

  • Bobbi McCormick
    April 25, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I saw my first banana slug in Santa Cruz!!!

  • MMiller
    April 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

    I miss camping…you only get a few good weeks in FL when it isn’t too hot! I think your brother would have loved the way you honored him outdoors!

    And what a view for Easter morning! Truly a miracle!

  • Kristin Eats
    April 25, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Super cute. Those hot dogs are makig me hungry for lunch.

  • Elise
    April 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

    so i love that you came to the santa cruz mountains and saw a banana slug in just two days, while i’ve been living here and being a ‘banana slug’ for 9 months, and still haven’t seen one 🙂

    and now i’m excited to go camping in my own neck o the woods!

  • Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    April 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Good for you! Can’t go wrong with Big Basin.

  • Sonia (the Mexigarian)
    April 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Big Basin is a beautiful park. I have quite a bit of fun memories there 🙂 hope you have fond memories from there as well. Such a lovely place to honor your brother.

  • Ellie @ The Mommyist
    April 25, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I can’t imagine there is a place in the world that is more beautiful than the Redwoods. I certainly haven’t seen it and I’ve travelled a fair amount. I think it may be time for me to return soon!

  • Cara
    April 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

    What a beautiful place to camp! I love your pictures! It looks like you had a wonderful camping experience, what a great way to honor and remember your brother!

  • Moni'sMeals
    April 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

    what a nice trip. camping is the best!

  • EileenQ
    April 25, 2011 at 9:07 am

    What a great way to honor your brother! After my Mom passed away, I spent many hours hiking those same trails in her honor, as well as running through Huddart Park. There’s something about those trees and quiet trails that brings me closer to her.

  • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama
    April 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I love the redwoods. I haven’t been in quite some time.
    Your brother was right there with you both, noshing on a chili dog.
    Looks like you all had a fabulous weekend!

  • em
    April 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

    stunning ~ a beautiful way to enjoy the holiday and honour your brother ~
    we spent time there when we were in california a while ago, completely adored it!

  • Lauren
    April 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Beautiful pictures, and what a lovely homage to your brother.

  • Lauren @ Sassy Molassy
    April 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

    That sounds like the perfect weekend, Jenna! I’m sure your brother was smiling down on you.

  • Dee
    April 25, 2011 at 9:51 am

    What a lovely and restful weekend. (hugs)

  • Laura
    April 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

    What a great way to honor your brother! I never knew banana slugs existed-kind of gross! 🙂

  • Katrina
    April 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful photos! So glad to hear you had a relaxing getaway.

  • Tonya
    April 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I love camping! Of course, our trips are not NEARLY so relaxing with 4 little Fergusons to run after. I think buying Organic Chili in a can makes it waaaay classier, just sayin’! 🙂 My favorite campfire food is Pepsi chicken, I have the recipe on TK I do believe. That and scrambled egg, canadian bacon and cheese english muffins in foil on the coals for breakfast, YUM!
    Looks like you had a wonderful resurrection weekend and quiet time in honor of your brothers life. Thanks for sharing!

  • French Heart
    April 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

    What a very beautiful way to honor your brother. In a dell of ancient trees, under the stars, by a fire with your soulmate. My brother’s death is the ghost that never leaves me…lightened in nature. Prayers for your family.

  • Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen
    April 25, 2011 at 10:29 am

    We hiked there back in FEbruary for our anniversary. It was beautiful! Did you have to take that ridiculously windy 1-lane road of death to get there?

  • Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous
    April 25, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The pictures are beautiful! It looks like a lovely trip, and what a beautiful way to honor your brother. I’m sure he was smiling down on you this weekend!

  • miranda @ working mom works out
    April 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

    So pretty.


  • Baking 'n' Books
    April 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

    What’s in the 4th pic?! Did you make cornbread too? Love that you get away on the weekends.

    Send me a man and a tent please.

    And franks. With beans.

    Love your pics – but they take forevvvvvvvvvvverrrrrrrr to load!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    April 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    What amazing pictures, Jenna, and I am so sorry that this weekend was tough for you. Major hugs to you!

    The trip looks wonderful and hopefully like it brought some smiles to your face. Thanks for sharing the great images!


  • Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner
    April 25, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Love the pictures…. they are all beautiful. I love the one of just the trail!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    April 25, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I totally pretended I was Laura in the kitchen with “Ma” at least 5 times this past week 😉 Happy Easter, Jenna!

  • M
    April 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Thinking of you and your family and your brother John.
    Camping, outdoors and chilidogs in the woods-hope this retreat and
    being so close to nature was peaceful. I know you have written your brother
    was a surfer and loved the waves-hope being in the great outdoors
    sang out to both your spirits in a way only brother and sister can understand.

  • Lisa
    April 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your brother’s death but I think celebrating in a positive way is healthy. You did something to honor his memory.

  • Alexandra
    April 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I love Big Basin! And the banana slugs are our mascot at here UCSC 🙂 Looks like a fun weekend and my heart goes out to you and your family.

  • Danielle
    April 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I love Banana Slugs!!!

  • Helen
    April 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    pic 6–love the title. name for your next blog? 🙂

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    What a lovely trip. Thinking of you during this tough time. My tough time is in December. I lost my brother 3 and a half years ago, just before Christmas. What a lovely way to spend this time. Hugs!
    Heidi xo

  • Anne
    April 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I love it – I knew you were really Laura Ingalls!!!
    I am so lucky to share so many many awesome memories of John with you! We had some really fun and great times together – that have really impacted me now that I am a mother! 🙂 I truly still consider you and John “my kids”!!!
    Love you so much!!

  • Carissa
    April 26, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I’m jealous! I love camping and that park looks extra beautiful.

  • Traci
    April 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    I just came upon you site and have enjoyed the few posts I have read so far. I love food, check. I love camping, check. Thanks for sharing.

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