If you asked me what the best experience of my life is so far, I could quite easily hands down say my incredible 8 days road tripping west coast USA with Trek America.
I was approached by them to be part of this trip with a bunch of other bloggers, to try it out and tell the world about it. Although the outcome was obviously for us to promote, I didn’t quite realise the extent of how this adventure would take my heart.
So what is Trek America? Trek America is travel company that organises trips over America for young individuals. With a variety of locations, lengths and types of trips, there is something for everyone’s taste. With trips ranging from 8 days to 80! You can choose to go alone or book with a friend, you will however be put with a group of complete strangers, which is part of the fun.
I knew a couple of people on the trip other than Matthew, so getting to know new people and creating new friendships was part of the magic for me.
But anyway, this is what I got up to….
We started in Los Angeles, we had two nights in a hotel whilst we hit up the hotspots of this vibrant city. First port of call was Venice beach, a recreational haven sat on the white sands between the palms with the crashing waves of the pacific at your side.
From there we felt like peasants by walking through Beverly Hills, jaws were most of the time as we were surrounded by riches and luxe. This is definitely how the other half live.
After that a hike up to the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory where we took in the breath taking views of the mass that is Los Angeles.
Next on the agenda was a bar tour in Hollywood. We were taken on a tour of the local hot spots where celebrities or film makers used to go, on the low key. Here we drank speciality drinks and ate signature bar snacks.
Following this, Darin our tour guide then took us for even more food by visiting Pinks, LA’s oldest established hot dog joint. They have a reputation for being the best, because they are. Wow.
Santa Barbara was the next place, so we checked out of our hotel and hit the road. Only an hour or so drive out of LA this beautiful coastal city I can safely say is where I want to retire ( nothing to do with the fact Ryan Gosling and Opera live there).
It has a really relaxed feel to it, a beautiful beach, palms trees, a pier, a wonderful market yet all the high street stores you will need. The views of the mountains around the area are incredible and the harbour is just..ah. Whilst we were here, we got the opportunity to go paddle boarding, this was optional, and would also be an extra cost if you were to also do it, but its TOTALLY worth it, as you spend 2 hours out on the water.
The first camp site was calling our name and we stayed in a place that was suitable for camping, RVS and caravans so had all the amenities like electricity, wifi and nice showers and toilets, this was the best equipped campsite, but from here they got more remote and a little bit more well….. basic.
One thing that I loved about the trek was how we ate REAL good. The idea is you but £10 into a kitty and your guide will go shopping and bring back food for all for lunch and dinners when out in the wilderness. So when camping a good hearty meal would be cooked by the guide and with help from us, all equipped with a stove, lots of utensils, bowls, pots and pans, pretty much a portable kitchen (if only I could take this to festivals). And if we were on the road or hiking, we would have cool boxes full with food for picnics.
We didn’t stay at this campsite for long, we packed up and left for The Big Sur. The Big Sur being the rugged coastline which you can follow along highway one. We drove with faces glued to the window looking out over the ocean, rugged cliffs and windy roads.
Here we also stopped to watch dolphins, seals and hiked to grab a look at waterfalls. This day gave a real feel of what it is to road trip.
The beauty and other advantage of trek America is the flexibility, if you saw something and wanted to stop, you could. Like the time Laura Bubble said she saw a Dolphin, so we pulled over to see, but it ended up being a rock! She never lived that one down.
The next campsite had a slightly more rural feeling than the previous, but still had everything we needed! The campsite was within the trees and each plot had benches and a fire pit, with toilet and shower facilities close by too. But here was when it started to feel like we were in the country properly and this WAS camping. This was the night that we got taught how to make smores, oh smores how I love you so. Here we got a feel for real American camping.
We left The Big Sur the day after, but first we had a morning hike to get the blood pumping, then back in the van for a full day of driving to YOSEMITE!
The camp site at Yosemite was similar to the previous, except the altitude. That night we had BBQ served up by our South African camera man Greg as he said that South Africans are expert barbecuers, I’ll give it to him, it was pretty damn good.
The day after we went to see the giant sequoias for our morning hike. Believe what people say, those trees are huge! The morning hikes are around 2 hours, but its great to do first thing in the morning as it really sets you up for the day. This hike had nothing on what we were about to embark in the valley of Yosemite however….
We hiked up Nevada falls, which was the most amazing/ hardest thing I have ever done. I found myself grunting out of breath and wishing it was over when climbing the steep inclines and I would think ‘why am I doing this’ then with a slight pause look out and remember ‘oh this is why’ and these pictures should illustrate that for you….
Most of the group did the 4 hour hike up Nevada falls, however the others did the epic 7 hour hike up Yosemite falls, good on them. Upon our return to the campsite, there was a mutual feeling of being absolutely fucked. So we got some food in our bellies and we all called it an early night.
4 nights camping had gone by and although I was loving the wilderness, I could tell I was ready for the city. So I made a promise of return and said goodbye to the granite rocks and the tall trees of Yosemite and we left for San Francisco.
Our arrival to San Francisco took us to the area of Mission and Height, two very vibrant parts of the city with an array of shops and cafes and street art, there we free to wander.
We checked into our hotel, had a few hours to sort our lives out and then went for Chinese food where we had ‘The Family Option’ where they bring out loads of different dishes to pick from, my favourite way of eating! Some people chose to go out on the town, I had to edit video, so I was a good girl and went back.
Our final full day of trek was dimmed with a sadness that it was nearly over, however it was as good as we hoped. We started the day with a hotel breakfast, then headed to Alcatraz. I didn’t really know that much about Alcatraz, apart from it was a prison, but apparently its quite a big deal, so I was pretty excited to learn.
Alcatraz was a great experience, with a very in depth audio tour with head phones provided, it takes you around the prison, educating on its history and its inmates. I found in fascinating and can understand why its such an important historical building.
The rest of the day was ours, we met for lunch at In And Out Burger, but we had 4 hours to explore San Francisco ourselves. I visited China town, the cable cart museum, an ice cream parlour (of course) and the windiest street in the world.
Our meeting point was the harbour, where we took a boat ride out around Alcatraz and then underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Drinks and nibbles were provided, but we just had a great time bobbing along on this bumpy windy ride.
After everyone had the most amazing silly boat ride and we all made promises to each other that we will all see each other again very soon, we went for some food along the harbour. Us girls topped up our makeup at the table as we thought it would be an appropriate time for a night on the town.
and we partied good…..
Thank you so much Trek America for this incredible experience that I will never forget.
If you are looking for adventure and don’t know where to start, I would highly HIGHLY recommend you try a trek. For first time explores to experienced folk, there is something for every. These trips will show you the tourist spots but also off the beaten track. The guides are passionate about camping and travelling just as much as you are and they know buckets of information. I cant even think the amount of questions i asked Darin our guide. Everyone is also in the same boat, so making friends with like minded people adds to feeling of fulfillment when you come home.
JUST BOOK A DAMN TREK ALREADY.