• Anna Sweeney

It's 5am in Hollister, CA. I'm sitting in the living room of The Orchard Inn, an Airbnb owned by the lovely Elizabeth and Greg. Upon arrival, Greg gave us a tour of our accommodation, and it very quickly became clear that this is one of the most unique Airbnbs I've ever encountered.

It's a converted equine veterinary practice, and much of it has been left as it was. The bedrooms are still labeled "examination room" or "surgery". The reception desk remains, and there is an examination table with dining chairs around it. An equine dental mouth speculum hangs on the wall in the kitchen area. There is a cabinet of various equine paraphernalia, and a large box of ostrich eggs decorates the main living area.

The decor includes countless photos and paintings of horses and Rhodesian Ridgebacks (apparently they have several upstairs!) mixed with authentic African animal skins and a few leopard themed paintings too. Elizabeth is from South Africa and has rescued 3,000 dogs in her time.

They have dogs, rescue horses, koi, ostriches, goats and sheep onsite, and we've been invited to meet them all come morning (very excited).

Yesterday was day one. We jumped in our (fucking badass) convertible Mustang GT, popped the roof down, and set off from Tracey, CA, to the incredible Yosemite National Park.

Upon arrival at the Mariposa Grove entrance, we were swiftly shuttle-bussed up to the Big Trees Loop Trail and, as expected, there were some bloody big trees.

Of all the many enormous Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove, the biggest is the Grizzly Giant, and good grief it is huge. Estimated to be 1,900–2,400 years old, it stands at 64 metres tall, with a basal circumference of 28 metres. The first branch from the base is 6 feet wide. It. Is. Massive,

Another main attraction that follows is the California Tunnel Tree. It's pretty famous and you might've seen photos before, but you have to see these trees in real life to appreciate how incredible they are. Unfortunately, we had to take the shorter trail through the grove due to a brewing snowstorm (and a highly impractical sports car). However, we will be returning next week for a cabin stay, so we'll see more soon. Visit Yosemite, you won't be disappointed!

Today we'll be taking the coastal route to Morro Bay via Big Sur, so I'll update on that tomorrow.


Anna xox