Annual Tahoe Lacrosse Tournament for the Boys…If you know you know…. “Nuff said
Yosemite National Park
My beautiful girlfriend and I recently spent a week In Yosemite National Park and it was every bit of amazing and stunningly beautiful in so many ways. With all the snowfall and rain this year the valley was extremely green, with wildflowers everywhere and the rivers/falls full of water flowing nicely. I’d say we picked the perfect week to visit.
Here is how our trip broke down..
Our first 2 days we spent in the Valley checking everything out and went on a few short hikes to Lower Yosemite Falls, Inspirational Point and Mirror Lake. Lower and upper falls you can see from the Valley and are a great sight to see. Hiking the Lower Falls trail you can cross the bridge and feel the lovely mist from the falls. Inspirational Point was a grand view overlooking the grand valley of Yosemite with all of the massive granite monoliths in sight with Bridal Falls.
The following day we hiked Half Dome! This was a full day hike, but worth every second and ever foot of elevation gained. This was nearly a 13 hour round trip hike. We started early and took the Mist Trail on the way up, the trail is very properly named as Vernal Falls certainly has a large spray radius. It was a nice shower from Mother Nature early in the morning. We got to see pack mules that the rangers use to bring goods/supplies up to the ranger station that sits outside the backpacking camp. The hike really starts to get good (strenuous) once you reach the sub-dome, a nearly vertical climb up granite stairs and rock faces. After summit-ting the sub-dome you reach the cable portion of the climb to take you to the holy grail, the top of Half-Dome. The cables are an experience to say the least, steep climb with your arms doing most of the heaving lifting at this stage up the cables with wood planks every 10-20 feet for support (the granite face is rather slippery). Once up the cables the views are unbelievable all the way around and we even found a little snow patch left up there. I of course had packed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to celebrate the climb, and man was it delicious. On the hike down we came back via the John Muir Trail which had a whole new side of beauty than our hike up on the Mist Trail. On the way down we did get a glimpse of a rather large rattle snake, but of no harm, simply slithering its way underneath a rock, but pretty cool to see.
After hiking Half-Dome and all of its glory, we slept in and drove over to Glacier Point to get a wonderful view of the valley and Half-Dome (from a different angle). The views from Glacier Point are a sight that everyone should experience in their lifetime. After Glacier point we headed out to Hetch Hetchy in search of a backpacking permit so that we could get away from the crowds and out into Mother Nature, just like the great John Muir. we got there past 5 so we were not able to get our backpacking permit until the following morning, but we did find an awesome campsite in a lupine meadow on National Forest Service land. Once we got camp set up, we had a wonderful sunset (first one we had truly seen, wasn’t really an option in the valley), had a lovely campfire and enjoyed the evening.
We were able to get our backpacking permit early in the morning and set out on our adventure to Rancheria Falls. It was a beautiful day out and had a lovely hike out, had quite a few day hikers out to Wapama Falls but once we passed these falls and the footbridge people became much more sparse. We made it to Rancheria Falls and found a lovely campsite right next to the river, setup camp and went for a stroll to see the falls up close and personal. We made the best backpacking meal (pesto pasta with hot links), hit the spot after a long day of hiking with the packs. The open sky and stars we experienced this night was spectacular, with no light pollution and a direct view of the starry skies, couldn’t ask for anything better on a backpacking trip. The following morning we hiked out, but noticed many wildflowers that we had passed on the way in, it was great. We also got to see snakes, lizards, butterflies and a few other smaller animals, no bears though unfortunately because I was really hoping to.
After our backpacking trip we opted out of going back to a traditional campground and decided to take a drive to see what kind of Forest Service roads we could find to find some peaceful alone time. It took us awhile but we found the perfect dirt road and drove a few miles out and ended up at a campsite right on a river with nobody else around for miles, it was perfect. I got to use the ax and chop up some firewood for warmth (it really was not cold), light and of course S’mores.
Our final morning was great, woke up right along the river, took a quick dip in the chilly water to cleanse and wake-up. After camping for the week we were ready for a warm hot meal and found the perfect place at Woods Creek Cafe. It was a cute little place (very busy), but a great atmosphere and even better food (waffles, bacon, banana nut french toast), would highly recommend to anyone traveling through Jamestown. We decided to take the scenic 49 route back home passing through a number of cute little towns. It was such a pleasant drive and a great way to end the vacation.
Hope you all enjoy!
B-Day in Occidental
My amazingly wonderful partner in crime took me to a cabin in the woods for my birthday, and let me tell you…it was more than awesome!! Not only did we have an awesome cabin in the middle of the woods, we went zip-lining (not pictured here, look for a blog post soon with details), checked out some really cool little towns, had great food, wild flowers, and some ocean time; how does it get any better than that right?? We lucked out with beautiful weather for the weekend and even found some Pliny the Elder on tap, not much will beat that. The West Coast throughout the Bodega Bay corridor is so scenic and has so many wonderful little towns to explore, with each having something unique to offer. Got some cool pictures too.
The lost coast is an amazing place, so much history and incredible beauty by all standards. Certainly takes me back to my childhood and growing up in the redwoods. Although the weather was not cooperative for photo-taking (it literally rained for 2.5 days, there is now flooding in places I was the day before) it was such an amazing trip with my partner in crime. We had such a great time exploring the small coastal towns of Fortuna, Scotia, Loleta, Eureka, Trinidad, Ferndale, Willow Creek, Redding and so much more. We definitely planned on having more outdoor activities but when Mother Nature brings the rain, you must deal with the elements, what else can you really expect in Humboldt County for 4 days. No doubt we will be back to explore further, and will take many more pictures. Shout-outs to Lost Coast Brewery as we had excellent beer and food & to Eel River Brewing Co as we also had delicious food and brews!!
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park was an amazing trip, not only does the park encompass a large variety of land there was an abundance of wildlife as well. Most of the park sits at an elevation under 5 ft! We got to experience a number of birds, alligators, fish and lizards. The mangroves were really unique as well with so many tropical plants growing in the trees from Tillandsia’s to Bromeliads to Orchids. The alligators were out sunning and easy to spot on a number of the hiking trails that go through the park. Not only was the flora and fauna great to experience, there was hardly any visitors there which made for a great time wandering about in such a scenic area. For not having any employees working the park it was in really good condition (which is great to see), hardly any trash and the bathrooms were all clean as well. Great to see that there are still some good Samaritans out there helping to keep our parks preserved and clean so that people can enjoy them for years to come!
Miami Botanical Garden
The Miami Botanical Garden was a great find. They offer a wonderful variety of tropical plants, animals and much more. Got to witness a number of different butterfly’s feeding on plants which was really cool. There were great orchids, tillandsia’s, banana’s and so much in bloom. We even found a unicorn! Definitely would recommend checking it out if you find yourself in the Miami area.
Recent trip to Southern Florida traveling all over Hollywood, Hollandale Beach, Miami, Gulf Stream Horse Race Track and Bill Baggs Cape State Park. Saw many animals as well as a few sunrises & sunsets (my favorite).
Had a wonderful weekend over on the Mendocino Coast!! There was a little rain and cloud cover (what else can you expect on the North Coast), but for the most part it was sunny and beautiful. The Mendocino Botanical Gardens were nothing short of amazing, tough to believe all the flowers still in bloom on the first weekend in December. Lots of flower pictures for you all. Stayed in an awesome little cabin in Albion that had an outside shower (with hot water even), with views of the ocean through the meadow. Of course there was fresh seafood to go along with the North Coast experience. Great couple of days spent by the ocean in good company. If you people have not had the experience of the North Coast I would highly recommend it as there is so much to do within short drives no matter where you stay, Albion, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, etc.. Drove back South over Highway 1 and my oh my what a scenic drive it was (a little twisty/turny for those of you whom get car sick). This is a fantastic drive with ocean views most of the way and a great way to experience California’s North Coast. Enjoy!!
PS.. Coming Soon: I will be printing some of the photographs and posting them on the website for purchase, let me know if you or anyone you know are interested and I can get you the details
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Zoey and I took an overnight trip to Lake Almanor and Lassen Volcanic National Park. I was in need of some outdoor and cold weather camping, and we found just that!! It was a beautiful day in Lassen and really enjoyed the views and drive through the mountains and rivers. Stayed in the Hole in the ground Campground, we were the only ones there which was fantastic. Hope you enjoy the pictures, especially the night-time ones, my favorite for sure.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
Holy BIG trees! This was the first trip in over a month that I got to travel with someone other than Zoey! It was a fantastic weekend with all kinds of different weather and scenic views. It was overcast/foggy on Saturday in the park, got some rain & hail on the way out of the park. A short drive out of the park and it was clear, sunny and warm. By early evening, while down by the river there was an amazing thunder/lightning storm that rolled into the mountains above the park. It was so awesome to watch the storm come in (purple/pink skies that faded to nearly black), with large flashes of lightning brightening the sky. After a few hours of watching the storm, the night skies cleared up and was able to see so many stars, constellations & planets. Truly beautiful night sky in which I was able to capture some good pictures. The calm after he storm in this case. Sunday morning was clear and beautiful and we enjoyed a nice drive through country roads to a Northern entrance into the park. After exploring the gorge, waterfalls and driving along the river found a nice and quiet little lake to relax (perfect Sunday activity), with birds, ducks and plenty of wildlife to hangout with. The sequoia’s are truly amazing in how large they are and how old they are! Nothing quite like realizing that you are amongst these large trees that are upwards of 2,000 years old, pretty incredible.
Grand Teton National Park
Gand Teton National Park was one of my favorite parks that I visited on this latest excursion. The Teton mountain range is pretty amazing sight to see. Not only were the mountains great but the autumn color was absolutely breathtaking. The meadows, streams, color and with a large mountain backdrop made it a pretty great place to spend a few days. We camped just outside of the park and went hiking in the National Forest before going through the park and exploring all the features. Grand Teton NP is just a short hop from the South entrance to Yellowstone so would definitely recommend checking out both parks at the same time. Park really was not that crowded which made for a nice relaxing visit and really getting to take in all the features the park has to offer.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone was a sight to see. Not my favorite park but it had plenty of features that made it a great experience. By far the most exciting and beautiful thing to me in the park is what they call “The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone“, a stunningly large canyon with waterfalls. The rock formations are so vibrant with color and being able to see the waterfalls and river flow through the canyon was quite the spectacle. There were a number of beautiful waterfalls throughout the park as well. The diversity of the landscapes and wildlife that can be experienced in the park is truly amazing. The park in general was very crowded and tough to find camping as they had already closed the majority of the campgrounds for the season. The one night we stayed we encountered some snow and cold weather, made for a beautiful morning to see the park. While I did not enjoy this park as much as many of the others (maybe due to expectations from hearing so much about the park over the years), there is truly something to be said about all of the geographical features this park has to offer. Pretty amazing when you look at it from this angle.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park was stunningly beautiful with fall color. As I was driving into the East-side of the park and saw the mountains and rivers (after driving through the plains, oil fields & farmland for many days) I was like a little kid on Christmas morning! While exploring the park I encountered some snow, rain and some lovely fall weather. Camped at the Northern most campground on the west side of the park which is about 20 miles from the Canadian border. Campground was right on Kitna Lake and was beautiful to wake up to after a night of rain. Zoey and I were the only ones staying at the campground which was very nice, made for moments of eeriness as it was just the two of us in the middle of bear/cougar country. Needless to say we survived just fine and had a wonderful time. Would definitely like to go back and explore more of the east side of the park as well as venture into the Canadian part of the park.
The first lake pictures were from Fort Peck, a lake run by the Army Corp of Engineers, stopped to let Zoey run around and enjoy the water. Planned on camping for the night but ended up driving across Montana to Whitefish which turn out to be a brilliant decision.Driving across Montana was like driving I-5 south for all of those from northern california, after awhile it gets old. Oil fields, grain and hay is only appealing for so long. I was a little kid on Christmas when I saw the mountains, rivers and all the fall colors, so excited for the country I had entered. So instead of going straight into Glacier National Park, we got soft for a few days and stayed in Whitefish, MT; which turned out to be a great stay and experience the town. We hiked the Danny On Trail which is part of the Whitefish Mountain Resort, a ski mecca that offers hiking trails during the offseason. beautiful views and a great place to stay and enjoy the fall color with hiking & biking trails throughout as well as kayaking and other water sports close by.