Short waterfall hikes are the perfect pitstop for road trips. I get to stretch my legs, feel refreshed from the mist, and check out new places I typically would not drive to. On my drive from SoCal to Portland, I took a detour to check out two popular Northern California waterfalls – Burney Falls and McCloud Falls. Both were impressive in their own ways, either by how big the falls were or how pretty it looked with the foliage, and definitely worth the extra hour’s drive.
It’s been a month since I’ve been in Long Beach and I’m over it. I do still enjoy the chill sunsets by the beach and evening walks along the boardwalk, but it’s not as exciting as two months ago when I first (temporarily) moved to SoCal. I’m ready to leave and begin my drive up to the Pacific Northwest, where hopefully the forest fires and the smoke are better. But first, here are my highlights from the greater LA area.
As some people may know or have suspected, I’ve been living in San Diego for the last two months. The always-sunny SoCal weather has been a great change of scenery from the usual cold and foggy San Francisco and it’s given me more energy to explore new places and be creative. I have two more weeks here so I wanted to share my thoughts about the city and some of my favorite places.
Lassen is one of my favorite national parks, but it is often neglected when compared to other California parks like Yosemite and Joshua Tree. The park is about 4 hours north of San Francisco and the wide range of elevation made for a beautiful drive as we meandered through the hills and valleys of the volcanoes. With the main road reaching 8,500 ft and Lassen Peak at 10,457 ft, it was refreshing breathing in the cool mountain air.
I live in the Panhandle neighborhood in San Francisco and I’ve been working from home since mid-March when the city issued a shelter in place. To achieve my 10k step goal (which is quite difficult when working from home) and to stay mentally sane, I take frequent walks around the neighborhood. I bring my camera along to practice my urban photography and document life in quarantine.
I live in San Francisco where it was the first city to issue a shelter in place order, soon followed by a state-wide mandate. My workplace, along with nearly every other tech company across the country, asked us to work from home indefinitely. Bars and restaurants I frequented are barely recognizable behind boarded up windows. And the streets that were once filled with people going out for dinner or happy hour are now replaced with people behind face masks.
Possibly THE most beautiful place for sunset in Yosemite. The sun illuminates the smooth granite on El Cap and casts a long shadow over Yosemite Valley. The contrast and colors created during golden hour and the fact that I’m perched on a cliff made me feel quite literally on top of the world. There are few places where I feel frozen in time, and Taft Point is definitely one of them.
During the winter months in Northern California, most of the nearby national parks are snowed in and not easily accessible. Except for Redwoods National Park. While the temperature there is moderate year-round, February is the month with the third most precipitation. I knew that prior to visiting Redwoods, so I packed my rain gear and was ready for an all-weather adventure. Indeed, it rained all weekend.
Channel Islands National Park is a cluster of islands off the coast of California, close enough to see it, but far enough that it takes more than an hour to reach by ferry. Last month I finally visited and hiked on Santa Cruz island. I was accompanied by dolphins and sea lions on the ferry and rewarded with panoramic views hiking along the bluffs.
With rock spires, talus caves, and endangered California condors flying freely, Pinnacles National Park is the newest addition to the list when it was changed from a national monument to national park in 2013. The park was created by an ancient volcano along the San Andreas fault but has since shifted 200 miles. Located just two hours south of San Francisco, this made for an enjoyable day trip in February where the temperature was still moderate and comfortable to hike in.