If your dream vacation is set in a forest, there are many options for making it a vacation you won’t forget. Whether you want to hike or canoe in to fish and tent camp, drive your RV for a “plug and play” vacation, or if you want to relax in a mountain resort and feel pampered, there is a forest, mountain, campground or resort just waiting for you to visit. There is even an option for making it a vacation you can enjoy again and again!
One of the reasons to visit Olympic National Park is that it is one of the most unique biomes in the continental United States, if not the world. Although there are many factors that have led to Olympic National Park becoming such a unique location, one of the factors has been the frequent and abundant rainfall that the region has received throughout the years. Even though rainfall totals vary, in general, the park receives at least 140 inches of rain per year; and all of the rainfall that the park receives has also led to the formation of large rivers, and spectacular waterfalls. While the park has many accessible waterfalls that visitors can view and explore, the easiest waterfall to view and visit is Merriman Falls, even though the waterfall is technically slightly outside of the park’s boundaries in the Olympic National Forest.
Over the last thirty years as hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail-running, and other outdoor activities have become more and more popular, the number of races, challenges, and other activities that package elements from more than one trail have also increased. Some of these challenges have set days, like the Phoenix 7 Summit Challenge; and some of these challenges can last over the course of a year, like my friend Jeff Hester’s Six Pack of Peaks challenge. And, as of November 7, 2015, Mission Trails Regional Park inaugurated San Diego’s own trail challenge, the 5-Peak Challenge, which can be completed in a day, or over the course of a year.
One of the great things about California is that it is a state with rich pre-European history and post-European history. With respect to the latter, California has a number of state parks and monuments dedicated to the Gold Rush of the Nineteenth Century, along with a number of museums that do an excellent job of preserving the history of the state. While all of these locations are fantastic, most of these locations prefer that visitors do not touch or handle the relics of the past. However, California also has an area where visitors can experience what some of the amenities of the nineteenth century were like at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (“YMSPRR”).
In 2016, the two things that people want for their outdoor adventures are the ability to explore farther, while remaining comfortable. This perspective has been brought about by two things as well: the increased number of people that are interested and have access to the wilderness spaces of the world, and decades of innovation in outdoor products. Today, the days of wearing wool socks with a liner are long gone, along with heavy backpacks, heavy sleeping bags and heavy tents. The modern day outdoors-person, whether they are a novice or an expert now expects, and is accustomed to lightweight durable products that fit multiple roles.
Outside of the big three hikes in San Diego – “Potato Chip Rock”, Cowles Mountain, and Iron Mountain - the Cedar Creek Falls hike is one of the top five most popular hikes in the entirety of San Diego County. And, unlike many claims made about hiking in San Diego, this is not blogger hyperbole, this is a verified fact. The Forest Service website for the area even states that this trail is “...possibly the most traveled trail in the Palomar District”. As Cedar Creek Falls is so popular, no description of the hike would be complete without getting into why the trail and the waterfall is and has been so popular.
San Diego is a destination that is well-known for its fantastic weather, beautiful beaches, Comic-Con, and for being the home of Ron Burgundy in Anchorman. In addition to all of these things, San Diego is America’s Finest City and is the host city of the 2016 Major League Baseball All Star game. While Petco Park, the Convention Center, and the Gaslamp District are great spots in the city core of San Diego, the city, and the county as a whole have innumerable spots for visitors who have the time to explore, or who want to get away from the downtown crowds. Whether you are a first time visitor to San Diego, or a long-time fan of the city, check out the below destinations this weekend that prove that the city’s nickname is more than hype.