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’. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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)
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. 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!