For my family and me, summer means enjoying the outdoors in all capacities.

Our garden is now growing quickly with the warmer weather, and we’re excited to enjoy the fruits of our labor — chard, kale, rosemary, and other vegetables that will make nice additions to our meals. We also have a plum tree that’s beginning to blossom, and while we’re still trying to get the nectarine tree to produce fruit, the strawberries are going crazy! We’re proud of the work we’ve put into our small garden and happy to have some produce to pick right in our backyard.

Hiking is another way our family spends time outside together, and we usually plan at least one camping weekend during the summer. There’s a sense of freedom and mental relief when you go outside and connect with nature, isn’t there? We’re lucky to have so many wonderful parks and nature reserves in California. Yosemite is a breathtaking park with its mountains, huge sequoia trees, and thousands of hiking trails surrounding it. Away from man-made structures like skyscrapers and tall buildings, you’re reminded what nature is capable of. The sheer size of the canyons and valleys reminds you what a small part you play in this world.

Lake Tahoe is a family favorite for us. Emerald Bay in Tahoe is still one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on. The hike spans and wraps around the entire lake and the views are phenomenal. When we head to Tahoe, we usually camp or stay in cabins in the area.

Auburn State Park is another spot we head to for the hiking trails and scenery. There are camping sites available at the park and plenty of flowers to be seen in the late spring. Here in California, the ocean is never too far away, either. When we need a dose of ocean air, we head to Point Reyes to walk around the gorgeous terrain that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

I know I won’t get to every park this summer, but I hope to make it to some of these places and to go on a few hikes with my family. Of course, there’s really no slowing down in the immigration world as we continue our mission of healing and empowering people’s lives.

I hope you find time to get outdoors and soak in this great weather, whether you’re gardening, hiking, camping, or just taking in the beauty of your own backyard.

Enjoy your summer,

Kaushik Ranchod