Lows to Highs to Lows

This has been revised and reduced as time has passed.  Posting only once in so many days has changed the way I’ve viewed these events.  Hope you enjoy the photos – it’s been a scenic week, and I’m feeling that I missed shooting the very best parts.

Crazy week.  From San Diego, we head to the crazy beach communities that all of us, who are not native Californians, mock.   I actually heard one surfer use the word ‘gnarly’.wpid-20140125_113248.jpg For us, it was about family, and a chance to see my nephew Mark Zeider and his family. Tatsumi, and kids Erin and Shaw.  We watched Erin’s basketball game, and had an incredible dinner at their new Laguna Hills home.  Tatsumi is an incredible cook – we feasted on BBQ Korean chicken and jambalaya with Japanese vegetables.  AND, we got leftovers to take with!  Can it get any better?  Can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures.  Too busy catching up, I guess.

We camped at Crystal Cove SP, a gem in the California SP system.wpid-20140124_144525.jpgwpid-20140125_103824.jpg

view from my camp chair, under our Alps sun awning

view from my camp chair, under our Alps sun awning

What people pay $5 million for a view, we had for $40 in our campsite.  200′ above the beach.  Surfers.  Waves. Whales. Seals. Birds. Can’t get much better.wpid-20140124_141352.jpgwpid-20140125_112751.jpg

these folks are serious about their beach buggies!

these folks are serious about jogging on the beach with their babies

After two days, we opt for a change of scene, and head to Mt. Palomar.  Home of the first 200″ Hale Telescope in the world. wpid-20140126_143307.jpgwpid-20140126_144203.jpgwpid-20140126_145216.jpg We had a harrowing drive up a very steep (4500′ elevation gain in 7 miles) winding road to Palomar Mountain SP, at about 5200′. Every climbing cyclist and motorcyclist in Southern California was on this road on a Sunday afternoon.  We happened to have a cowbell in the truck, which we used vigorously out the window to encourage the riders working their butts off to make the climb.  Our rustic campsite at Palomar Mountain State Park, complete with fire pit suited us perfectly.wpid-20140126_155839.jpg

Highs to lows.  The next day(Monday), we descended to the Salton Sea, 200′ below sea level.  Our intended destination was Joshua Tree National Park, but as we passed the Salton Sea SRA (State Recreation Area) and decided to check it out.  It’s a section of shoreline designated as a bird sanctuary.wpid-20140128_081327.jpg  There were thousands of waterfowl camped there, so we decided to join them.  White pelicans, seagulls, egrets, blue herons, and many other shore birds that I don’t know were there.  Camping was rustic, to say the least.  Walking along the beach was both satisfying (from the crunch of old shells under my boots)

sections of the shoreline are nothing but old shells

sections of the shoreline are nothing but old shells

and disgusting.  Took me 45 minutes to clean the gunk off the soles of my hiking boots, and they are now banned from the interior of the Fireballs! The guano smell from the birds was overpowering at times, but the beauty of the site special enough to overcome.wpid-20140127_154015.jpgwpid-20140127_170319.jpg The motion of the birds, ascending in mammoth flocks, and skimming along the water was calming and amazing.

Tuesday morning we departed, intending to go to Joshua Tree.  But, we’re tired of driving, camping for a night, then moving on.  We decide to make the epic drive to Catalina State Park, near Tucson.  We can camp there for four days, then move into our rented condo for a month.

Can you believe it?  No room! The only time in a month we not had a reservation, and we pull into a park with no spare campsites.  We’re camped in the overflow lot, with the promise of a rustic campsite in two days.  But, hiking here will be fantastic, there are wide bike lanes on the roads leading to this spot, the bathrooms are ridiculously wonderful, and we’re super happy not to have to drive anywhere for four days!

10 thoughts on “Lows to Highs to Lows

  1. trying to type this.on phone with two fingers like the kids do…what a sweet route your on. Dinner sounded delicious… Now in Tucson…my few trips there I fell on love. can’t wait to experience with our mobile home. thx for the boot tip…yucko

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    • Tucson is a great place to visit. We’re camped now on the NW side of town. Great views, and all the shopping you could possibly want. You will love camping here. Boots have recovered – they are now allowed back in the Fireball, but I’ve had to scuff up a lot of desert with them to make that happen.

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  2. So beautiful and amazing. Your pics capture the magic of the West. I love your descriptions of the birds. Is it as dry in those areas as in other parts of the West? You are missing incredible snows and cold wind chills. You’ve definitely made the better choice for bikers and hikers.

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    • Not sure about the dryness in California. When we pass a reservoir, we haven’t noticed the low water levels like we have seen in TX or NV. We’ve been pretty lucky weather wise seems like rain and cold have been ahead of us or behind us. We’re a vortex of good weather.

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  3. I’m enjoying your photos and narratives as the view outside my window is snowy and you can just sense how cold it is without stepping outside. Your photos allow me to escape, if only for a few minutes, and energize my brain in preparation for camping. Pictures provide memory joggers for me as I often find that the picture in my brain is far more vivid than any photo taken by a camera. Enjoy your four days off the road and keep sharing.

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    • Hey Ellalou – thanks for reading. The photos really help my memory, too. I find that I have to look at them all to even remember what I wanted to write about. Pretty sure this whole memory thing isn’t going to get any better, either.

      Hope your weather breaks soon. At home, the weather has been so bad that the school district our nieces and nephews go do only had six days of school so far in January!

      Next year you’ll be laughing about this.

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