This winter was a Sierra snow year for the books. I’ve lived in California all my life but don’t remember a winter where it rained for three months straight. All the snow meant my Sierra objectives were looking a little bleak and buried. I brushed up on my map and compass skills with REI and hit the trail in Mokelumne Wilderness at the beginning of June. My destination was a place I’ve never been: Fourth of July Lake in the Carson Pass Management Area.
If you’ve got a car, good company, and some time to kill, camping in the Bay Area is just a stone’s throw away. Saturday night campsites are generally booked months in advance. Weeknights? You’ll have a better chance. I was stuck in the Bay Area one Saturday for a Chainsmokers concert. A quick browse on recreation.gov showed a Friday night Glen Camp site at Point Reyes National Seashore. I whipped out my credit card with lightning speeds, and within seconds, a campsite nestled in the woods was mine.
Point Reyes National Seashore is one of California’s hidden gems. Outshone by more famous national parks in the state, it’s a bit of a local secret. That’s not to say it isn’t as equally busy, or as hard to score a campsite, as the state’s other national parks. The backcountry campsites at Point Reyes are always booked months in advance. I’ve day hiked there numerous times, but sleeping out there under the fog is something that I’ve never done until this past spring. After months of torrential downpour earlier this year, a site opened up at Coast Camp in for a Saturday in March. With no plans on the horizon, I grabbed it immediately.
Nestled deep in the Santa Cruz mountains, down some twisty roads, is my favorite local state park: Portola Redwoods. Creeks, short waterfalls and old growth redwoods are tucked inside this lesser traveled park. The trees aren’t as large as the ones found in nearby Big Basin State Park, but more often than not, you’ll find them in solitude. Weekend obligations kept me in the Bay Area a few weeks ago so I popped over to this park for a bit of solo hiking and mileage in preparation for long missions this summer. I hiked an old favorite: Peters Creek Loop.
Back in February, I headed down to SoCal to hang out with some very, very rad ladies: Kam Altar, Oshie Magturo and Shawnté Salabert. I think it was my first real ladies’ trip. No dude friends, no boyfriends, no men. I’ll come out and say it: female friendship is something that’s very new and different for me. When I talk about “ladies’ weekends,” my long time (male) friends mock me and ask “What girlfriends?”