I cut my teeth photographing Joshua Tree National Park with my first medium format Hasselblad somewhere around 2000. Looking back the photos I was so proud of at the time have a lot of flaws. But, my memories are some of the best I have ever had photographing a National park or the outdoors in general. I fell in love with this park and its unusual and amazingly distinct Joshua Trees. It breaks my heart to see that the park has been shut down due to politics. And it is even worse to read reports of damage to the park’s treasured and protected Joshua Trees. I am disappointed in the people who would do such damage to a park and it’s innocent trees. And I am disappointed in our government for not doing what it has been charged to do. It is up to us individually to make good decisions and protect our treasures. Do no harm, Leave no trace behind and take care of our parks, P.L.E.A.S.E.
Yes, yes, I know. I have posted about the Mendocino Botanical Gardens before. But, it’s sort of become my muse. (If I may humbly use that term.) Right about the time I think I might start get tired of the place I go back and fall in love all over again. We spent a four-day Memorial Day weekend up in Mendocino and spent the better part of an afternoon exploring the garden and enjoying the hummingbird wars, coastal breeze, roses, veggie garden, golden rod crab spiders (what?), and Dahlia buds. As I sit in 100+ degree Sacramento heat this week I am channeling the coastal breeze and cooler weather from Mendocino wishing we never came home…
Check out other posts I have done on Mendocino here…
While visiting Mendocino last weekend we finally stopped by the Mendocino/Fort Bragg Guest House Museum. It was a short and cute little museum. But, the fun part was the large redwood stump out front displaying rings from almost Pre-Christian times. We don’t see many trees this large anymore outside of the State Parks that care for them. But, for those of you who may never have seen anything like this before check it out and then read of the many historic events that occurred in its lifetime. I have never seen anything like this outside of California, has anyone else?
A week late but here I am. For Memorial Day we bombed up to Mendocino, Bulldog and trailer in tow. Our favorite site at MacKerricker State Park was full so we found a superb little private campground within walking distance feeling lucky we found anything at all. The weather was perfect, about 70 degrees all weekend, without a cloud in the sky. 70 degree weather gave way to over 100 degree + weather following. We enjoyed it while it lasted…
We also checked out the Mendocino Botanical Gardens as usual. So, stay tuned for more flower photos on that…
I have been camping for years now near Bodega Bay, California in the Sonoma Coast State Park area. Just north of that up the famed California Highway 1 is a little seaside town called Jenner. Some friends bought a small piece of property and are building a “tiny home” on it. They recently invited us up for a visit and we took them up on it. The drive from Sacramento took us through Santa Rosa and along the Russian River along Hwy 166 until the road dead ends in to the coast. From there you head north on a dizzyingly windy road past Jenner towards Stillwater Cove on Hwy 1. Mother Nature was kind to us providing us with a glorious view of the ocean and the rocky coastline saving her fog and haze for another day. Once we made it to the property we set out for a brisk fern lined walk through the oaks and redwoods mushroom spotting along the way.
Friends, its days like this that remind me why I live in California.
For more posts on the beauty of Utah’s National Parks click here.
I was thinking recently of our camping trip through Utah and realized I never shared any photos of Bryce Canyon in a proper post. Bryce was particularly memorable because we camped here in ten degree weather. Ten degrees! Icicles on the inside of our trailer! It is this very cold and icy weather, plus erosion, that helps form the interesting geology in the National Park. The red, orange, and white hoodoo views were spectacular and the hikes warmed us up. There are too many vistas to share so I just picked some of my favorites to show you.
The park skirts along the Colorado Plateau and the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is higher in elevation than Zion, @ 8-9000 feet, which makes it cooler. (Not cool like a 16 year old but cool like a snowman.) The park is humongous covering 35,835 acres. There is an 18 mile loop drive that can take you around a good representation of the park providing drivers some spectacular vistas. But, those who have the time and the legs for it should definitely choose a few of the hikes, short or long, so they can experience the canyon from below.
If you are lucky enough to stay nearby or camp in the park do yourself a favor and be up for sunrise and around for sunset. The shadows play on the rocks in glorious fashion.
We didn’t have enough time to visit Zion sadly! Has anyone been there? Do you have a preference over Bryce? Or are they both beautiful and you don’t choose one over the other?
To visit other locations in Utah like Arches National Park click here!
Christmas is over. The presents are unwrapped. The family has been visited. Merriment has been spread. I have a cold to show for it like I do most years. What to do now? Find some snow and bring the snow shoes!
I love to snow shoe for a lot of reasons. Its easy on the body and its free. You can just find some snow, put them on, and go for it. Unlike skiing which requires expensive lift tickets and dealing with crowds, and for me a whole lot of bruises the next day.
A lot of people enjoy skiing and snow boarding for the rush. For me I have always preferred a slower pace so I can see and hear and smell and observe the small things like icicles, and bird foot prints, and beautiful vistas. For these reasons snow shoeing is right up my alley.
Part of highway 89 is always closed in winter for obvious reasons. We like to drive until we find the road closed and then snow shoe the rest. In this case we went to Vikingsholm at the magnificent Emerald Bay lookout. We shoed until we got tired which isn’t boding well for my cold the next day.
We were the only ones there! We hiked down the trail in thick perfect powder making the first foot prints that didn’t belong to a bird or a deer. It was awesome and quiet. The only noise came from the Paddlewheeler giving visitors a nice cold boat tour. Other than that we heard running water, drips from the icicles, birds calling, and the wind.
I took this photo because I just couldn’t believe we were there with absolutely no one else. It’s an amazing feeling to have such a popular and spectacular location all to yourself. You just have to work a little bit for it I suppose.
No those aren’t Yeti feet. They are mine!
If you look closely you can see the tiny tea house built atop the island in Emerald Bay where the original owner would frequently visit many years ago.
Have you ever gone snow shoeing before? If not, how do you enjoy the snow?
Happy Holidays everyone! Thanks, as always, for reading.
To see more information on the glorious Lake Tahoe click here to see my list of things not to miss.
Fall in Mendocino means mushrooms. Mendocino is surrounded by ocean, redwoods, and hills therefore the fall colors do not blaze as brightly here as they do on the drive through the wine country to get there from Sacramento.
My husband and I dream of owning property here one day. But, in the meantime it really does not get any better than camping at MacKerricher State Park. It is $35 per night and one is surrounded by Redwoods, ocean, Cleone Lake, mushrooms, curious seals, deer, wine cork stealing bunnies, and even a Giant Whale Skeleton on display for kids.
MacKerricher is my favorite campsite in California located in one of the prettiest areas of California. MacKerricher sits just north of Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg is a tough old logging town which is finding its footing with breweries, shops, and tourism. Fort Bragg has newly renovated its famed Glass Beach formed from years of waves crashing against an old garbage site. My favorite place to visit in Fort Bragg is the Mendocino Botanical Gardens. It is and will remain my happy place.
Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road is the village of Mendocino. This iconic village is where Eric and I got married five years ago! (Happy Anniversary to us!) We relived the big day by having dinner at our favorite restaurant 955 Ukiah Street Restaurant. The next day we picked up a baguette from Cafe Beaujolais and picnicked on the ocean.
Just north of MacKericher is a beach near Pacific Star Winery where the tide pooling is stellar. A nice little blue grab game out to assert his domain.
The amazing part about the Pacific Ocean is that we left weather in the 40’s and found clear weather in the 60’s on the ocean. The weather is typically the opposite of what is happening in the Sacramento Valley.
Happy Fall everyone. I am trying to hang on to the last bit of it before winter takes hold. Is it cold and wintery where you are already?
For further Mendocino and Mushroom adventures click here.