Chances are, if you have any sort of social media presence, you’ve seen with increasing frequency some sort of picture of people, tents, or both laid out artfully in front of tall mountains and crystal blue lakes. And, if you’ve seen these photos and there wasn’t a caption, you probably wondered where these lakes were, and if the photos were photoshopped. These lakes are the glacial lakes of the Big Pine basin, specifically located off the North Fork of Big Pine Creek; and for the most part, there is no photoshopping of the photos of these lakes – they actually do look like that way in real like, with brilliant shades of cerulean blue. The lakes popularity, however, precedes social media, as the trail up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek has long been one of the most popular destinations in the Inyo National Forest. As a matter of fact, the only thing unknown – and unspectacular about these lakes is their names. For unknown reasons, the lakes – and the waterfalls along this trail were given generic names – “First Waterfall”; “First Lake”; “Second Lake” through “Seventh Lake”. My personal suggestion for hikers or backpackers visiting the area – call them whatever you want, because they are amazing.
For the majority of the United States and the world, Los Angeles is many things, including an urban mecca. And even though it may not seem like it, Los Angeles is also a hiking mecca as well. Like most of Southern California, Los Angeles has a variety of terrain types ranging from beach, to alpine, to desert, and almost everything in between. Although there are many great hikes in the city of Los Angeles, and the greater Los Angeles area, there is only one hike that leads to an abandoned bridge in the middle of the San Gabriel Mountains. Over the last twenty years, this hike has become known as “the Bridge to Nowhere” hike, and is perhaps one of the most popular hikes in the city, if not the most popular.
San Diego is a city that in many respects is unparalleled for its outdoor and wilderness opportunities. Within the confines of the county there is terrain that ranges from coastal to alpine, and covers everything in between. While much of the coastal wilderness areas are well known to locals and visitors alike, one of the wilderness gems of San Diego is not as well known, the Laguna Mountains.
The more I travel in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the more convinced I am that one of its best spots is also one of the most accessible spots, the Meysan Lake Trail. I first hiked the Meysan Lake trail back in 1998; and when I came back to it in 2013, I wondered why I had avoided it for that length of time. Fortunately I did not have to wait another fifteen years to revisit the Meysan Lake trail, as I hiked it this last weekend. As this trail is very straightforward to follow, I'm going to focus on current trail conditions in 2015 that I experienced.
California is a state with natural beauty that stretches the entirety of the state to each of its borders. It is also a state where the beauty above ground in some areas pales with the beauty below ground. Like a sunset on an unknown beach, each of these areas offer solitude, otherworldly beauty, and in some cases, some of the most unique terrain on the planet. Even if you've never explored a cave before, each of these spots will interest and intrigue you, and provide you a great introduction to the world below your feet.
On the Northern border of Lassen National Park in the Lassen National Forest is the Subway Cave, a remnant of Northern California's volcanic past. This portion of California is part of the Cascade Range of mountains, ancient volcanoes that shaped the geology of the region thousands of years ago, and continue to shape the region even today.