San Francisco was on the short list of places to settle at the end of our trip, and I had expected to spend some time there visiting friends and getting to know the city before continuing north. We did visit a couple friends, having dinner at my grad school friend Mary’s apartment in Menlo Park Read More →

After our tasty post-hike dinner, we drove out of the beautiful, forested Sierras into the hot desert lowlands below, and stayed the night in the Modesto Walmart parking lot. The cars, concrete, noise and street lights were harsh after nearly two full weeks in the quiet serenity of Yosemite National Park. The following morning I Read More →

Last year’s Rim Fire, named for the “Rim of the World” vista point in Stanislaus National Forest was the largest recorded wildfire in the Sierra Nevada. An illegal campfire set by a hunter started the blaze that burned for over two months and consumed over 400 square miles of forest in the Stanislaus National Forest Read More →

“From the margin of these glorious forests the first general view of the Valley used to be gained – a revelation in landscape affairs that enriches one’s life forever.” – John Muir During the gold rush of 1849 miners invaded the acorn orchards and game lands of the native tribes living in the Sierra Nevada. Read More →

Trails through the Sierras connect Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks to Yosemite National Park, but to drive there one must go through Fresno. We drove into Fresno planning to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot and head into Yosemite in the morning. From what I had heard, every campsite in Yosemite is reserved months Read More →

We arrived at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks on a Saturday in early April. The park was still in winter-mode, with most of the campgrounds closed for the season. The one campground on the Sequoia National Park side that was open was completely full (unsurprising, as it was a Saturday). Another campground on the Kings Read More →

From Idyllwild we headed toward Sequioa National Park to see big trees. [ John here: Despite what Heidi says…. We *actually* went there here to HUG big trees, seeing them was a side-effect. ] I still needed to re-print one more tax form at the library, which didn’t open until noon, so we left Idyllwild pretty late. Also Read More →

The proposed hiking plan that led us to Idyllwild, CA was a very ambitious 11 mile, 4,400 foot elevation change round-trip to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. While we love challenging hikes, the trailhead for this hike was 6 miles down the highway and we also love not driving the van in the middle Read More →

When we visited San Diego my friend who lives there was out of town, so we agreed to meet for a hike on Mount San Jacinto, east of Los Angeles, the following weekend. Mount San Jacinto State Park has two campgrounds and the adjacent San Bernardino National Forest also has some campgrounds. Out of all Read More →

From San Diego we drove up Highway 1 (well, we entered Highway 1 at it’s southern terminus in Dana Point) to Santa Monica to meet friends of mine, Curt and his wife Michelle, for dinner. We stopped at a beautiful spot in Huntington Beach for lunch. Most of this particular segment of 1 is not Read More →