I couldn't leave California and embark on my next journey, without camping a couple of nights at Joshua Tree National Park. As I arrived Monday evening, it was raining and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a full rainbow. It's rare to see rain in the desert and the last five years that I have come here and camped here, I haven't seen such thing. It was awesome! If you're looking for a place close to Southern California, do not like pesky mosquitoes, and are afraid of bears (like me), then Joshua Tree National Park is where you need to go to camp out. Jumbo Rocks is my favorite campground at JT. The last night that I camped there, I actually saw a desert kit fox (very rare to see them) sliding pass my campsite. Also, that night, I saw tons of shooting stars and slept like a baby in my new air mattress.
Happy first day of fall! Have you ever seen salmon swimming up a river? Well, if you ever want to catch a glimpse of some returning back to the spot where they were born you can towards late summer at the "Salmon Cascades" on the Sul Duc River. I was able to see some swimming around and it's truly amazing to think that these fish can navigate and swim thousands of miles out to the ocean from the river and as an adult make their journey back to the same area they came from. Where there are salmon there are bears and even though it was unlikely that I would see one in the area it still freaked me out. The whole time I was sitting by the camp fire that night I felt like something in the woods was watching me!
The sunset was cotton candy pink and violet as I arrived at Lost Lake. It sits in the Mount Hood National Forest near Mount Hood which is an active volcano (it is crazy to think that it can erupt any day). Driving around looking for that perfect camp spot was fun, I found an awesome spot that was secluded (F12). It was surrounded by the tallest trees and it had a private trail that led down to the lakeshore. By the time the camp was set up, the sky became the color of noir and the stars came out dancing. I sat back in my reclining camp chair and gazed into space for hours looking for satellites and shooting stars...it never gets old.
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of chipmunks squeaking (if you've ever heard the squeaks, it's hard to forget the sound). I sat back in my sleeping bag and thought about how to start the morning. The best part of not having a timeframe and a daily routine, is that there are no plans. It's all about enjoying your time and surroundings. I decided to hike the 3.2 mile trail around the lake. The lake loop was really fun and every step did feel like I was walking into a postcard.
The lake had the clearest water I've ever seen in my life and it seemed that life in it was extremely abundant. Around every bend, I saw trout doing cartwheels out of the water in an attempt to eat bugs that were skipping on the surface. In the shallow areas of the lake, I saw red salamanders and crawdads out and about, looking for food.
After I finished the hike, I took a dip into the beautiful crystal clear lake and took it all in. Refreshing is an understatement, it was freezing as heck.
First trip on the road, I decided to hit up Big Sur. Met up with an awesome couple who suggested to camp alongside them at Fernwood Campground. Campsite #20 & #21, you're covered in the canopy of the tall trees and the bonus is that you can pitch a tent right along side the river (very swimmable lazy river).
As I was sitting in the water soaking in the sun, I saw some claws floating by and I knew that once the stars comes out I would be fishing for some crawdads! Oh boy did I find some giant ones (catch and release of course)!
There's always something harmonious about sleeping on the riverbank, definitely try it if you haven't.