May gave me a little bit of time off from work due to low flows on the Owyhee River as well as rehab time for my dislocated shoulder on the Illinois River earlier in the month. I decided to take this extra time and venture down south for a sightseeing/photography tour of Northern California. Previously I ventured around the Trinity Alps area to paddle on the Cal Salmon and hike the Four Lakes Loop, but that was the extent of my California knowledge.
I started off with a look at the Redwoods, drove down along the coast to Mattole Beach (think Lost Coast Trail), visited a college friend in Sebastopol, spent two days in the Tahoe area, and one final night near McCloud to catch a good view of Mt. Shasta.
What did I learn from the trip?
- It’s undeniable that California is a state of beautiful, diverse landscapes. The cities are packed with people, and they have some of the strictest camping regulations out there. So strict that you need a fire permit just to use a camp stove outside of designated campgrounds….has anyone ever started a forest fire by using a Whisperlite stove?
- Who knew that pocket gophers were a pretty big issue in California wine country?
- The majority of the Northern California coast looks deadly. Between rough surf beating against rocks and a steep drop off I chose not to even attempt swimming.
- I have a reaffirmed dislike for charging the public to visit State Parks and National Parks, or to camp in designated areas. This really got to me when each state park around Lake Tahoe required a separate entrance fee. It made me appreciate the National Parks all being free to the public in Iceland.
The trip was beautiful though, and I really enjoyed being a tourist in my own country. This was also the final trip with my trusty Canon 60D. It became time to retire the camera (it came out in 2010), so look out for new images from a Sony a7R II. I also used some VSCO filters for the first time, so let me know what you think of the look in the photos.
I was only able to explore a brief bit of California and didn't have time to make it Mammoth & Yosemite, but hope to visit there later this summer. Have suggestions on other areas to check out in the region? Leave a comment below!