Big Basin State Park has been on my list of places to go camping and hiking for about a year now. I finally got a chance to go on a quick weekend trip there and was super excited. As you know, it’s been raining like a mother in California for many months now, which means the streams, rivers, and waterfalls have been engorged. This meant the waterfalls along the Lower Berry Creek Falls Trail (the 10-mile hike I was looking forward to) was going to be amazing. Alas, also due to rain and storm winds, the trail was closed! I was so disappointed! I did end up finding some other trails that were open so I did end up seeing at least one waterfall: Sempervirens Falls. Even still, hanging out under Coastral Redwood trees is always pretty enjoyable anyway.

A redwood photo adventure:

Recently, I went on a beautiful waterfall hike in Mount Tamalpais Watershed, which I know is not in San Francisco, but I mean, who knows where the actual town of Bolinas is? I’m guessing not that many people. In any case, because the Bay Area has experienced so much rainfall this winter, many of the most popular waterfall trails actually have beautiful waterfalls this spring. One of these waterfalls in Carson Falls. While not a significant hike in terms of length (nor is it that strenuous really), the trek out to Mount Tamalpais Watershed is worth it because the first part of the trail might just be along fire roads, but once you reach the wooded section, it’s looks and smells beautiful. You hear the water well before you reach the falls themselves and actually you end up near the top and then can continue along the trail to see the different levels or layers or pools that all come together to create Carson Falls. So beautiful! Be sure to also keep your eyes out for Yellow-Legged Frogs that are only found in two places in the entire world, one of which is around Carson Falls!

A layered photo adventure:

California, Northern California in particular, just has so many state parks everywhere it’s hard to keep track of them. I envy the people who work in the parks department because they probably have some way to keep all the parks organized in their head, plus extra reason to visit them all. Recently, I had a chance to visit Tomales Bay State Park in Marin County (north of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge).

Tomales Bay is located is a sliver of water north of Point Reyes National Seashore so there are tons of beaches in the area. When looking for the best hikes in the area, I came across one that visits four beaches so, of course, I thought this would be a pretty awesome hike. I pretty much followed Gurmeet Manku’s 10.7-mile Four Beaches hike. It was neat to be able to see all the different beaches along the route. Since it’s been raining so much here in California, it was super green everywhere with mushrooms sprouting all over the place … super neat to see! Here’s a summary of the route edited from the site:

To Hearts Desire Beach (5.0 miles): From the parking lot at the end of Camino Del Mar, follow Johnstone Trail to reach an intersection with Jepson Trail. Turn right on Johnstone Trail to reach Hearts Desire Beach. Continue walking along the beach to reach Indian Beach.

Indian Beach (1.3 miles): When the tide is low, you may walk an additional 1.3 miles round-trip along the rocky shoreline of Indian Beach, which lies to the west of Hearts Desire Beach. The beach has Miwok settlements.

To Camino del Mar (4.4 miles): From Indian Beach, retrace your steps along the beach to reach Hearts Desire Beach parking lot. Then follow Jepson Trail to reach an intersection with Johnstone Trail. Follow Johnstone Trail to Shell Beach. Continue along Johnstone Trail to reach the parking lot at Camino Del Mar.

A multi-beach photo adventure:

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Just a little bit north of San Diego is Oceanside. My grandmother used to live in Oceanside and I kind of just associate it with being, well, on the side of the ocean. In any case, my family found a random park, Guajome Regional Park, located in Oceanside so we decided to do a family hike. For sure the hiking abilities within the family are quite varied so it turned out well that this was not acutally much of a hike, instead more a random walk around this park. The negative is that the maps at this park and the trail signs are quite lacking, which means we didn’t really know where we were walking (not hiking) for much of the time we were on the go. Either way, I think we ended up seeing the correct lake or at least one of the lakes we were headed for?

A walking photo adventure:

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Potato Chip Rock is one of those well-known places near San Diego (actually located in Poway) that has some great hiking and offers great family fun. There’s actually two ways to get up to the famous Potato Chip Rock. The longer way starts off by circling around the lake before climbing the Mt. Woodson Trail. The second is much more difficult to climb due to steepness, but is also much, much shorter. My sisters and I recently went up the Mt. Woodson Trail to get in line at Potato Chip Rock in order to take pictures of ourselves up there. Yup, you heard right. Once you get to Potato Chip Rock, you’re pretty much stuck in a long line of everyone trying to get a “cool shot”. The line we waited in wasn’t too incredibly long (it got longer as we were leaving), but still, yuck, a line to take a picture? This isn’t Disney World! At least the pictures are fun!

A chip-y photo adventure:

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