I am so fortunate to live within a few hours of our magnificent California coast. I have posted on the Bodega Bay Kortum Trail before. But, all these years of visiting and camping, I have never hiked the entire trail. I always wanted to but either wasn’t prepared or didn’t have the time. I finally decided it was time. I had hiked bits and pieces here and there but never the entire 8+ miles. Well, friends, the trail did not disappoint. In fact I could easily argue it is the finest trail in all of California. What? Yes, folks, big talk I know, since the epic Pacific Coast Trail runs nearby. The American River Bike Trail is pretty awesome too. But, 4ish miles each way of reasonably flat trail with sections of the most gorgeous coastline in the world cannot be understated. It is impossible not to be happy on this trail. Bring a snack and some water, clear your mind, and do this. The waves and bird sounds will accompany you. Do this. Right. Now. Start the trail at Wright’s Beach (free parking) and head north to Goat Rock Beach and back. There is one good stretch just before Goat Rock which is a bit strenuous and a good rise in elevation so leave this in the middle of the hike and not at the end. 😉 Your legs will thank you. Cheers!
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located in Ancil Hoffman Park in Sacramento, has been around as long as I have…longer actually. It’s a small but mighty little center which helps preserve natural area, promote Indian heritage, and protect and aid local sick or injured animals. The center’s highlights were certainly the two beautiful owls lovingly cared for by staff.
The park sits on a glorious part of the American River Parkway which my young son greatly enjoyed. Once he threw what seemed like every river rock back in to the river he insisted we make a second visit to the owls again before we left! That’s a success if you ask me!!
A stretch of the American River bike trail has been dedicated to the man in Black – The Johnny Cash Trail. I had driven my multiple times seeing a piece of large art in the shape of a guitar with no clue as to why a random giant guitar was on the side of the road. I later learned the city dedicated the area to Johnny Cash.
The stretch of the beautiful bike trail runs parallel to the Folsom Prison tying it all together to his famous song “Folsom Prison Blues.” The trail is very pleasant and very easy. My only criticism would be several signs with plans for public art related to Cash which are planned for the future but not yet complete. The portion of trail I walked on had no direct connection to Cash other than the Robber’s Ravine Bridge with a marker noting some Cash trivia. Well, actually come to think of it I do have one other criticism, the portion of the trail which overlooks Folsom Lake does not have parking and was too far to walk with a baby in a stroller so I never made it to the end where the overlook and Cash guitar Pick art would have greeted me.
Regardless, the trail is worth a visit in cool weather. But, other stretches of the bike trail are frankly far more beautiful and parallel the water while one is walking. I’m glad I went because now my curiosity is sated. But, until the public art is complete I likely won’t be back.
California spring has sprung and its only a matter of minutes before temperatures will top one hundred degrees. Little baby and I broke out of our fortress of solitude to visit the Maidu Indian Historic site only minutes from the house. The Southern Nisenan Maidu people lived on and visited the site until the Gold Rush people brought disease with them on their search for gold.
The site boasts a lovely little museum and walk. Along the walk visitors can view well-worn petroglyphs and hundreds of grinding rocks/mortars used to mash local acorns. Native plants like soap root and rattlesnake grass still exist as well as visuals used primarily to educate groups of elementary school kids.
I’m very happy I finally visited this site whose mission is to protect the site and to share Native American culture. The fresh air was much needed.
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.
Lake Tahoe is an amazing place. The vistas are gorgeous in any direction one looks. Squaw Valley, and this view particularly, has always been one of my favorites. Sometimes, like I did today, I just drive down to see it, hop out, take a photo, wave, and then continue on to my destination. It just makes me happy. The snow here is making everyone in California hopeful for a drought-less summer this year. (We will need a whole lot more than this.) I hope the view brings you some joy as well.
The great blog Where’s My Backpack came up with a fun and unusual Travel Theme of Feet! One could go all over the place with this theme…my feet, animal feet, statute feet, furniture feet, feats of strength…this gives me an excuse to display some of the random photos I have taken while trekking around…
One thing is for sure. Apparently, I have nothing better to do than to take photos of my feet while wandering through the world! I suppose these photos tell a story of their own separate from those that were taken directly of the attraction I was visiting. 🙂