Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rocks and Woods

I went hiking this past weekend with some lovely folks on the Switzer Falls Trail in Southern California.  I didn't bring my DSLR so here are a few snaps from my phone.  The trail was paved at the start, but gave way to a damp soil and clusters of rocks, weathered smoothed by flowing water.  There was a stream that sort of guided the way towards the ascent up the mountain.  Unfortunately, we were there so late in the season that the actual "waterfall" was more like a stream of water down the side of rocks.  It's supposed to be more impressive with the winter ice melting.  See the stream in this photo and the dampness of the soil?  I bet it really flows at other times in the year.  Walking through the forest was really nice, though. 

It was quite foggy that morning.  I've never hiked into fog before so that was pretty cool.  Here is how thick the fog was over the mountains.  The mountain tops were  covered for quite a while.  It was a cool morning (< 80 degrees Fahrenheit, woo hoo!) so the hike was really pleasant.  I'd say we did about 3.7 - 4.5 miles round trip.  It was a really good time!  I'd go again.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Big Sur

We descended a dusty gravel ridge
Beneath the Bixby Canyon Bridge
Until I eventually arrived
At the place where your soul had died

All the way from San Francisco
As I chased the end of your road
'Cause I've still got miles to go

And I want to know my fate 
If I keep up this way 
And it's hard to want to stay awake

 "Bixby Canyon Bridge"
Death Cab for Cutie

Thursday, October 1, 2015

First Time Camping: Joshua Tree National Park

About a month ago, I went camping for the first time with my boyfriend and our friends.  I approached it with some trepidation because I have never been a very outdoorsy person.  I like my amenities and I don't like getting sweaty/dusty.  Well, there's a first time for everything and Joshua Tree National Park was it.

Joshua Tree National Park is part of the higher Mojave Desert.   The desert is full of Joshua trees (it's the numerous spindly trees in this photo that seem to "reach" for the sky), tiny lizards, gigantic flies, and giant rocks.  As per any desert, it was sweltering hot the entire time we were there.  Shade was pretty sparse and most of the plants were either cacti or had short, spindly leaves.  Off the camp site, we spent a lot of time hiking over dry desert land or climbing the giant rocks/hills that were out there.  Fun fact: all the hills and climbing meant I got an excellent weekend long workout for my glutes!

One of the trails we went on led to Barker Dam (shown above). The dam was used to water cows before it dried up. This was one of the last remnants of a stretch of water.  It was also the most verdant part we saw of Joshua Tree; the rest of the area looked so parched!  The piled rock formations were also really common.  They looked like someone had perfectly arranged a lot of giant boulders to make cobbled mountains.

The last stop we made was to Keys Point which overlooked Coachella Valley.  The view was pretty spectacular and there was a nice breeze up on the mountain which alleviated some of the blistering heat.  Afterwards, we got on our way home. Gotta say, the trip was worth the dust, heat, and sweat.