Camelback Mountain: Elevation: 2707 feet Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Paradise Valley area DIRECTIONS
An adventure in the desert mountains is an exciting venture to take on. Then add the heat element of 109 degrees to the equation and you have a challenge.
As we ponder the idea of possibly making Arizona our home, we wanted to visit the desert as often as possible throughout the Summertime, and try to get a grasp of what life would be like living there during this time of the year.
So we set out to hiking Camelback Mountain on a lovely hot weekend in June.
Our road trip to Arizona went very smooth and was an enjoyable ride. We had our car prepared and ready to drive through the heat and here is my previous blog article I wrote about prepping for a weekend roadtrip. We awoke around 6:30am and enjoyed the morning as we ate breakfast, showered, and prepared for our morning hike.
We soon found out, however, that our morning hike didn’t start early enough as the thermometer proceeded to rise quickly by 10am. We set out with our water jugs, backpack and cameras for the hiking journey. Take a look at our recap video as we take on Camelback Mountain. Check out the trail terrain, the boulder rock path climbing, and some awesome views!
This hiking trail is so very cool and interesting as it offers lots of variety and climbing as well as smoother easier parts on the trails. From trees to cactus, and rock stair switchbacks to boulder rocks, its got lots of variety.
Here are some more highlights of this incredible hiking trail.
There are some advantages to hiking the desert in the Summer as you have significantly less crowds to deal with. And it is a good idea to wear gloves for protection from the hot railings and rocks when you need to use them to assist in climbing and balance.
However, the Fall and Winter seasons would be perfect weather to hike this trail but be prepared to encounter crowded paths. This hike is also a cardio workout, and can be risky hiking in the hot summer months (heat exhaustion / heat stroke); so plan accordingly. (At least a gallon of water per person.)
Interesting bit of history: A cave discovered on the north side of Camelback Mountain indicates that it was used as a sacred site by the prehistoric Hohokam Culture before they abandoned the area in the 14th century (Source: Wikipedia)
There are so many beautiful hiking trails and nature walks throughout San Diego County, but one of San Diego’s most popular and well known hiking spots is Mt. Woodson. This hike will offer you plenty of nature viewing pleasure and scenic landscapes.
But the point of interest that captures many hikers is Potato Chip Rock. This narrow, thin looking piece of rock might appear somewhat risky and scary. This is the most popular selfie and photo taking spots on the trail. Here are my captions from this gorgeous San Diego hiking trail.
Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet DIRECTIONS
The backside trail is one of two different trails to hike to get to the Potato Chip Rock area. We decided to take the backside trail to see what Mt. Woodson was all about. Especially since we wanted to enjoy a more moderate level trail and not over do it for the weekend.
This was a beautiful trail and we were complimented with a gorgeous sunny afternoon too. Parking for this trail is actually along CA-67; and it can be busy so be careful and be patient in looking for a space to park.
The trail starts off nice and easy with neat walkways and shrubs and treeline paths. Then there are some steep incline areas as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely encountered some heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout. Once you reach near the summit, you will see some radio antenna equipment and towers. Just slightly past that area is the infamous Potato Chip Rock, and if you hike during the weekend you may encounter a waiting line to step onto the thin appearing but steady rock piece that looks like a potato chip.
San Diego has such a vast array of things to do, including the beaches, nightlife, amusement parks, and more. But if you just want to take a few hours and explore the outdoors and keep it simple, go check out Mt. Woodson near Poway, California. Directions
Beginning of trail from the backside path, (parking off of Highway 67).
Making memories can be one of the most extraordinary things a person can do. It usually does not involve material items; no hand held gifts, or any fancy cars or clothing. It can however, bring unbelievable happiness and be extremely humbling. Actually, this might be exactly how I would describe my first time weekend road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California. Amazing and more!
But Mammoth, with its neighbor being Yosemite National Park, is not only a place for such incredible outdoor activity and stunning natural beauty, it’s also a place where one might enjoy grazing across the lake in a fishing boat with your father and brother. Or indulging yourself in the fresh air as you and your sister reach the summit of a mountain trail. And even taking in those remarkable landscape and mountain views with your sweetheart.
The amazing beauty in Mammoth is what I remember only hearing about it from friends. They told me how much fun there was to be had at Mammoth and where it is located. I’ve only heard about the incredible amount of activity that one can do there; such as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, boating, and surrounding yourself with total nature! And of course, people were always bragging to me about how beautiful, quiet, and serene it is in those mountains.
Hence, the mountains were calling..(-John Muir) and then we go. A friend of ours had already planned her weekend road trip to Mammoth and she asked if we wanted to join her; and we said of course, we are all in! So we packed our bags and prepped the car and planned to maximize our weekend filled with incredible hikes, mountain vistas, and relaxing kayaking. Check out these great ways to make your own memories of which you may want to add to your own Mammoth Mountain itinerary.
Seven Lakes Point Loop: Hiking Trail and Views
A. Elevation: 2372 Feet gain, starting at Twin Lakes Campground, it will take you by the bottomless pit and Lava Tube. (This hike is considered risky and dangerous due to the soft and loose gravel).
B. Spectacular views of at least 5 or so lakes.
2. Lava Tube: Hiking and History
Lava Tube is a conduit where lava once flowed, cooled and created a cave-like hole in the rock above Lower Twin Lake. This geologic formation is commonly referred to as “Hole in the Wall.”
Down In The Lower Valley Areas: Reds Meadow Valley
You will need to have access to the lower areas into the valley of Mammoth Mountain via shuttle down to these following areas.
The shuttle route begins at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Adventure Center and makes several stops throughout the valley and begins operating when the Reds Meadow Road opens in the summer, and continues through Labor Day weekend. The price per person is $8 / ticket per day. The Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle has provided transit service into the Reds Meadow Valley and to the Devils Postpile National Monument for over 30 years! The parking area fills up quick.
3. Devils Postpile (Rainbow Falls hiking Trail) National Monument:
Devils Postpile National Monument is a National Monument located near Mammoth Mountain. The monument protects Devils Postpile, an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt. You will pass by Devils Postpile on your hiking path down to another spectacular main attraction: Rainbow Falls.
4. Rainbow Falls: Hiking and Views with Waterfalls
Rainbow Falls is a waterfall in the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
Additionally, as you continue your hike you may notice the Pacific Crest Trail merging into the trail while passing through this monument. And you will also notice the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.
There is also the ‘Lower Falls’ that many folks do not venture further down below. This is a beautiful area where waterfalls are splashing into the stream of which some people enjoy a cool dip in the water or some are a little more adventurous and they jump off some of the lower rock formations. This area is a nice place to relax, enjoy a snack before the hike back up the trail to the top to catch the shuttle to return from out of the valley.
5. Minaret Falls Trail: Hiking Trail to Waterfalls. Minaret Vista
This is a moderate trail located near Lake Mary, California with scenic views. This hike is enjoyable and great for walking and nature trips and bird watching.
The falls are very nice and can be a challenge climbing upward to be close to them. Minaret Falls
East of Mammoth Lakes area.
6. Convict Lake: Kayaking
Kayaking on Convict lake is incredible as you can enjoy the calm and peaceful aspects of quiet and serene lake surroundings, as well as the outstanding views of Laurel Mountain that hugs the lake. This place has an interesting history attached to it as well. Back in the late 1800’s several prisoners escaped from a Nevada prison and fled towards an area now known as Convict creek. Read more about it here:
7. Hot Creek Geological Site:
Pretty but dangerous, this Hot Creek Geological site is an active hot bed of nature in action. Boiling water is bubbling up from the creek bed. Amazing to look at & ponder, but I keep a distance. Located at the bottom of a large volcanic basin, this is an interesting place to see and visit, but you must keep at a distance because the hot creek is dangerously hot and can contain arsenic and other natural substances that can be toxic.
8. The Village at Mammoth:
Enjoy a day of fun, shopping, music, and other events at The Village at Mammoth. Here you will find many events and fun! The weekend over the Labor Day, we attended the Rock N Rye event; of which we enjoyed a few live bands, vendors, morning yoga, and many other activities throughout the weekend! This area is the quaint downtown part of Mammoth and is the home of many highly visited restaurants. We had dinner at two restaurants located in this area (the tourist area), but we later learned that the really tasty dishes were found in food eateries located on the other side of town away from the tourist area.
In summary, if you think a collection of ‘things’ will give you the same reward of experiences of quality time with family or friends in a special place, think again. Memories can not be fabricated, bought, fall apart, or manufactured. I know I will always cherish this weekend with my wonderful husband, and our special friend; Sam who was so gracious in asking us to piggyback on her weekend trip that she planned out and arranged the kayaking reservation and other fun activities!
Do you have any special memory making trips that turned out to be more than you expected? Please share in the comments your memorable trips and if you have experience in Mammoth, California! Thank you again for reading and for all your support! Here are some of my other memory making trips!
And then there were trees Our adventurous expedition continues, as our plan today was to spend time hiking and exploring these massive trees and nature trails. Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest tree species on earth! And then there were trees, lots of trees. They were big, small, wide, corked, and even drive through with a car trees. Gigantic trees were everywhere you turn. We did get a little tease earlier in our drive as we started venturing through these magnificent specimens starting around a little town called Leggett, California. We browsed our way through Smithe Redwoods SNR, Humbolt Redwoods, and then onto the Avenue of the Giants.
Avenue of the Giants was a peaceful less traveled path to take to explore these natural wonders. This particular area is the greatest accumulation of biomass, which is comprised of both living and dead organic material, ever recorded in a coast redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Did you know that coast redwoods are taller than any other living thing! Here are a few interesting stops we made on this tour:
Stop 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
Stop 3: Visitor Center
Stop 4: Weott
Stop 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
Stop 6: Dyerville
Stop 7: Chandler Grove
Stop 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.
We continue our journey north passing through Eureka and arriving into our resting destination of Arcata, California. But before arriving in Arcata, we also stopped for a rest at this neat stop in Klamath, California where a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statue stood. We went into the museum and shop to browse around a bit and glanced at all the historical photos of characters from the old Wild West including the Indians and other explorers.
We arrived early but yet late enough to check into our hotel and we dropped off our food and personal items, then headed back out to explore a new area. We returned to a scenic spot we passed by earlier to re-capture a few more photos of these extraordinary vistas and views.
After capturing a few eye catchy coastal view photos, we headed back to our hotel in Arcata, and while on the way we stumbled upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through Eureka. We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but it was a sit down restaurant and we thought we’d give it a try. If you have food allergies or food sensitivities, they will do whatever you ask them to suit your needs. They mentioned to me that most of their sauces contain milk, except for one kind and that is what I chose for my Enchilada sauce. The food and sauces were made of quality ingredients. Hence, our meal did not disappoint, and was very delicious! If you are traveling through this area, you may want to check out this restaurant.
After inhaling the scrumptious dinner at Tres Pecosos, we thought we would try to seek out another photo op before the sun goes down. A scenic area for a sunset at the beach and coast area would be perfect. But there were still a couple of hours of sunlight and we were just too tired to mill around until sunset so we captured a few stunning shots and made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack.
Sunset at beach area, near Eureka
The excitement level at this time was through the roof
And we had not even made it to the Oregon border yet. We’ve heard the most wonderful things about Oregon and especially about the coastline and its remarkable beauty. We awoke to a morning full of sun and fresh breezes. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Northern California, and we were ready and set to charge our way into another Redwoods area *Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP area and on into Oregon with our excitement level maxed out at this point. We topped off the gas tank and hit the road running. We also noticed that the California Redwoods parks are considered both the National Park and State Park areas.
This particular area of Redwoods is named for an American explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith, who traveled across the lands of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. There is also the Smith River that provides such elegant beauty and crystal clear waters.
Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed as we traveled further north along the coast into northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There are several homeless (or look like they were homeless) folks wandering around the streets, parking lots, roadways and highways. We also noticed several folks appear to live in their vehicles and made lengthy stays at every rest area we stopped at. A few rest areas had posted signs that stated parking in this lot for only a minimum number of hours are allowed or vehicle will be towed. We also noticed that free coffee was offered at the rest stops in Oregon and Washington. Another thing we made a note of and something to be aware of is know where your rest stops or bathroom breaks are. The number of rest stops in California seems to be limited and the ones they do have several of them were closed. This is something to keep in mind as you travel on a road trip through California.
We could hardly believe our eyes As we cruised through the massive Redwood National Park near the Klamath area, and again were in awe. From the enormous trees to the amazing shoreline beach vistas, it was a nature photographers dream.
We finally crossed the California border and into the beautiful state of Oregon. We drove down the roadway for a period of time this morning, and came upon a nice facility that was one of the Oregon Visitor Centers. We used the restrooms, browsed around the shelves full of pamphlets, brochures, and magazines about Oregon. We took a few info brochures, and then spoke with the woman working behind the counter and she provided us a few tips about the scenic stops and photo opportunities along the coast. These are some of those points of interest we made sure to stop and explore as they are described here:
Natural Bridge Cove: Trail
Port Orford Heads State Park
Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)
A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.
This little beach town was spectacular and was alive! It appeared quite busy for how small it is. Several folks crossing the roads, on sidewalks, restaurant parking lots were full, it seems this beach town jewel had it all going on! The beach is wide and offers quite a scenic treasure accompanied by the large rock formations and is home to the word’s third largest monolith Haystack Rock standing 235 feet high, home for birding and natural beauty wonder. This coastal area made for incredible filming scenes for several movies and films. Examples include The Goonies, Point Break, Free Willy, Overboard, Twilight movies and many more.
As we departed the Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad, as we really wanted to stay longer. But we knew we had to make our way on to Portland, which was our resting point for the night. We proceeded north on highway 101 and reached highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland and definitely did not disappoint, as it was quite a scenic roadway. We enjoyed glancing at the natural surroundings and tree lined road as well as the open fields as we watched the sun set.
We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day the next day. We woke up to a beautiful Portland morning and hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle a handful of hours from Portland and prepared to make our way downtown to find parking. We pre-purchased baseball tickets to see the Seattle Mariners play on July 4th and it was a blast! The stadium was full of cheer, music, excitement, and patriotism!
Safeco Stadium 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!
The Seattle morning offered to us was unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temps I remember. (in a good way). (I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago).
We walked around the city for a while, then filled the car up with gas and started our return trip. San Francisco was our final stop, return the rental car, and catch a flight home. But of course, before that flight departure, we took in another baseball game and saw the San Francisco Giants play ball! That was certainly a thrill to see! I don’t know how people watch the game when they have such a gorgeous view looking right back at them in the stadium!
Our road trip back through Oregon was sort of a detour path as a result of the fires on I-5 near and around the borders of Oregon and California. Our detour included taking us onto Highway 99 South through several beautiful open landscapes, Mt. Shasta, Diamond Peak Mt., and other gorgeous vistas for our viewing pleasure and an overnight resting stop in Eugene. To cap off the evening, we enjoyed a stunning sunset!
This coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the path. And I have only seen photos of places like Pebble Beach (or watching golf tournaments on TV), but for many years it was just a dream or a thought. It is remarkable that I have lived in the West between California and Washington for more than 20 years and have never driven this route. Well, now it’s not just a dream anymore, it became a reality for this wandering adventurer!
Thank you for reading!
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Did you know that the avocado is a fruit? Otherwise known as ‘alligator pear’, the avocado is grown on a tree and is loaded with nutrients that provide tremendous benefits to your body. The nutrients are only part of the experience of consuming avocados; shopping for them and preparing them to eat is another story.
Those who don’t normally eat avocados find it difficult choosing the proper ripeness when shopping at the market. I always feel for some slight firmness keeping in mind my technique when slicing open the fruit and how easily it comes apart. You don’t want it too firm because then you just don’t get the most enriching flavor for that particular ripe.
To battle the challenge of preparing them for eating, it will all be worth the challenge knowing the incredible nutrients they contain; which include the following:
Small amounts of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, and other minerals.
I begin my slicing challenge by washing the exterior of the avocado before my knife touches it. I then lightly tap it dry with a towel or paper towel. I take my knife and start at the top of the avocado and slice downward and around back near the top – to slice it into two halves. I then take my knife and with a quick and straight chop into the center of the middle seed or the pit, I gently turn and push to get the seed out. With the proper ripeness, the seed should sort of slide right out. I then take a spoon and place it into the inside edge of the peel and gently slide throughout the lining of the avocado half.
The seed or pit can also be used to plant and grow an avocado tree. There appears to be some prep work and patience. Learn how to grow an avocado tree from the seed here:
So now the challenge of slicing and preparing the avocado for consumption is ready for salads, sandwiches, guacamole, and more! The flavor they add to your meals is only a small part of what Avocados provide. Did you know that Avocados contain more potassium than bananas? According to healthline.com, “Avocados are actually very high in potassium… with a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving containing 14% of the RDA, compared to 10% in bananas, which are a typical high potassium food.”.. Read complete article here:
Do you find yourself continually complaining about the weather, nasty neighbors, noise pollution, and on and on? With respect to weather primarily, this is what I went through because I lived in one of the coldest states in America. Every year, I dreaded the winter season that was coming. I knew that by August 1ST, I would see some leaves on the trees turning yellow in color. In my mind, that meant this was the season of life indoors, wearing several layers of clothing, and doing very little physical activity.
Life seems so much easier in warmer more comfortable climates. I was always happier, more active, and enjoyed my daily life more in the Spring and Summer seasons. But there are many people who love the change of seasons as well. As a kid, I looked forward to the longer daylight, dressing in shorts and t-shirts, swimming at the lake, and enjoying some ice cream on a sunny hot afternoon.
This begs the question, do you love the place where you live? Does being happy contribute to improved or better health? Well, there have been many studies done on these very questions. Is loving where you live connected to being physically healthier? According to Livescience.com, a gallup poll says that people satisfied with their community are physically healthier. And continues to say that a survey can’t draw a causal link between community and individual health, but research suggests the two are linked. Read complete article here:
Got those Valentines Day blues? Are you looking to add a little spice in the bedroom? We already know in order to maintain optimal health for our bodies we consume nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins, etc.. Well, what about our sexual health? There are certain food items with aphrodisiac properties that indeed does help with keeping your libido ready to roar! As described in health.com 7 foods for better sex; these food items include the following:
You may want to stock up on extra almonds and strawberries for those cold days so that you have plenty of goodies to help you warm up the winter! Read complete article here: