I get excited about summer. Living in the West Coast means that we have the best kind of summer, in my humble opinion.

We have the long daylight hours without the baggage. We don’t have ridiculously high humidity that makes you feel like you’re drowning simply by standing still (having just visited the South, I get to appreciate this a lot more). Our temperature doesn’t soar to triple digits. Our nights are dark and crisp, and most of the times cloudless.

In short, summer is the perfect time for getting outside and adventuring!

So this is what summer means to us:

Summer means climbing road trips

Cosmos in Smith Rock

Cosmos in Smith Rock

Even though we climb all year round (the nice perk of living in California), summer is when we usually plan longer climbing trips. We just recently got back from climbing in Smith Rock in Oregon.

Last summer we went climbing in Bugaboos in Canada (it was phenomenal!) and next month we’re heading to Squamish, British Colombia.

Long daylight hours means more time available to spend at the crags. Or in our case, more time to spare for getting lost to and from the crags.

This is by far, my favorite part about summer! (Not the getting lost part).

Summer means exploring the High Sierras

On top of South Tower of Matthes Crest

On top of South Tower of Matthes Crest

You already know that Yosemite is our favorite National Park, but the beauty of the Sierras doesn’t stop where the park boundary does.

The area east of Yosemite park offers incredible outdoor opportunities: climbing, hiking, backpacking, rafting, swimming… endless fun! If you’re an outdoorsy kind of person who’s visiting California, the town of Lee Vining, Bishop, and Mammoth should be on your radar.

We’ve been there a few times but there are still so much to discover. The higher elevation means cooler temperatures. As Yosemite Valley heats up in the summer and the crowd descents, we make our escape to Tuolumne Meadows and the Eastern Sierras.

Last summer we went to Bodie Ghost Town and Mono Lake. This year, we’re hoping to scale some of the peaks: Bear Spire and Matterhorn, and hopefully return to Desolation Wilderness for some hiking.

Summer means campfire, sleeping outside and star gazing

Summer means forgoing the tent – sleeping outside with just our sleeping bag and pad. And the Milky Way above our heads.

Summer also means reconnecting with old friends over potlucks, campfire BBQs, and craft beers. During other times of the year we find it hard to hang out with our friends who have kids, but summer (or more accurately summer break) changes all that.

Summer also means learning new camping recipes. We’ve recently gotten into grilling things over campfires: mushroom, asparagus, salmon, and more. No more freeze-dried food that used to be our staples. We’re eating real food now!

Summer means outdoor festivals

photo by Off the Grid

photo by Off the Grid

One of the things I love about summer is the abundance of outdoor festivals in San Francisco. It’s like every day there’s an excuse to take advantage of the long daylight hours. Like the more well-known Outside Lands and Fillmore Jazz festivals for live music fans. But there are also smaller and more local festivities.

Here’s a couple of them I’m quite excited about:
Swing in the Square (weekly) – Free swing dancing event in Union Square
Off the Grid Twilight Party (weekly) – Street food meet cabanas meet live music meet cocktails.
Street Food Festival (August) – more street food
Octoberfest by the Bay (Sept) – beer. Nuff said.

Swing Dancing

This is just me, but even though this is not a seasonal activity, I’ve always associated summer with swing dancing. This is the time of the year when I start actively, again, to look for venues to go dancing around the city.

To us, summer means celebrating nature with friends, old and new.

And dancing apparently.

What gets you excited the most about summer?