La Jolla, California is a sunny spot with sandy beaches. It is a spot that is well-known for a small cove (La Jolla Cove) where snorkeling, swimming, and scuba diving is popular. It is a location where locals and visitors can view sea lions and seals easily; and it is also a location that has an unobtrusive building with a secret tunnel that leads to a sea cave that is better suited for pirates, smugglers, and every adventure imaginable. For the last one hundred and ten years, this sea cave – the Sunny Jim cave – has been one of San Diego’s best long term microadventures, and is a location with a unique history.
From the high desert to the low desert, California’s deserts have a number of unique, weird, and isolated locations. Some of these locations range from the known, the unknown, and everything in between. One of the more obscure locations, Corn Springs, is located a short drive from the Interstate 10 in Southern California. Although Corn Springs is not well known in the hiking, camping, or exploration community, it is an interesting spot with a number of outdoor opportunities.
On one of my more recent camping trips, all that I brought was my sleeping bag, and a groundsheet. Last year, when backpacking, I carried a hammock instead of a tent. When I am mountaineering, generally, all that I bring to sleep in is a bivy sack. The reason that I can use all of these lightweight products and be fine in the wilderness is that I have years and years of experience. But the thing that I, and many outdoors experts sometimes forget – or don’t mention is that before we could use all of the super-cool hi-tech lightweight toys responsibly, there was a period where we learned how to camp; how to backpack, and in my case, how to mountaineer. In short, there was a point where we were beginners – and we used normal, beginner, every-day use beginner gear.
Annecy is one of the more picturesque towns in France, and a charming destination in the Haute Savoie region. With a beautiful lakefront park along Lake Annecy, an old town with historic structures, and expansive trail networks bordering the town, the town presents a plethora of options for visitors who are looking for outdoor activities. The most popular hike(s) near the town is to the summit of Mont Veyrier (and its companion, Mont Baron), which is a mid-sized mountain that dominates the lake’s Eastern shore. At 4,236 feet in elevation (1,291 meters), Mont Veyrier is hard to miss, but what makes the mountain really stand out is a prominent limestone band near the summit. While Mount Veyrier is not the largest mountain in the French Alps, it is a great hike that is suitable for all levels of experience, and one that has a bonus of providing great views of Annecy, and the Haute Savoie region from the top.
While there are many amazing trails in the Mount Shasta region that lead to a number of super fantastic places, including lakes, summits, trees, animals and more, the absolute best trail in the region leads to a location that is even better than these mundane things. The Bunny Flat Trail to Lemuria is without question, the best trail in the Mount Shasta Region, the best trail in Northern California, and perhaps, the best trail in the world. The reason for this is that while most trails merely take you to a physical location, this trail takes you to a location that is beyond space and beyond time. While it may seem hard to believe, this trail takes you to a metaphysical location that lies somewhere in the imagination and heart of every person, irrespective of whether they know it exists or not – and that location is Lemuria.
Even though it may seem hard to believe, California for much of the twentieth century and periods before was a large agricultural zone. Areas like “Orange County” and “Lemon Grove” were named because of the large commercial agricultural operations that occurred in those areas. As a matter of fact, Disneyland was constructed on one hundred and sixty acres of land that was occupied by orange groves and walnut trees. While most of this land has been swallowed up by urban development, large agricultural zones remain today in the Central Valley, and through the Coachella Valley regions. While a number of state parks in California cover the historical heritage of these agricultural ventures, San Diego is also home to a yearly agricultural spectacle of flowers at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.
One of the most desolate stretches of highway in California is the section of road on Highway 178 from Ridgecrest to Highway 190. To the North are the uninhabited regions of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and the Coso Wilderness. To the East are the high peaks of the Panamint Mountain range, and not one, but two salt flat laden valleys, the Searles Valley, and the Panamint Valley. There is only one “town” – in this area, and that is Trona, and it has seen better days. There is no cellular service on this stretch of highway, and during the summer, temperatures regularly exceed 115 degrees. The area is wild, and beautiful in a desolate, endless desert type of way. Along with the town of Trona, the area is also littered with places and things that time has forgotten, like the Trona Pinnacles, and various old mines and mining claims.