We left TwentyNine Palms and drove through Joshua Tree NP to the south entrance. It is a real contrast to see the high desert where the joshua trees grow and go down to the low(er) desert where different plants grow. The Cholla Cactus Garden was worth a stop. The Ocotillo bushes were not in bloom as they were the last time we were here.
We spent the weekend at Bodega Dunes campground, part of Sonoma Coast State Beach. We haven't been camping in our trailer since October and we wanted to get out there.
Bodega Dunes is just north of Bodega Bay. There are hiking trails from the campground that go to the beach and over the dunes which are extensive. For many of the trails, you share the trail with horses so we were selective about the trails we took. On the first day, we went to the beach for sunset.
After visiting Bryce Canyon, we drove a short distance to Zion National Park. The two parks could not be more different but each is special. The major feature part of the park is Zion Canyon where the Virgin River flows, and it has several other parts that are also spectacular.
In October, we visited Bryce Canyon National Park with our Cleveland friends, Jane and Charlie. Bryce Canyon is amazing. The park is on the side of a mountain with the main feature, hoodoos which are rock formations, on the east side. We first drove out the park road and stopped at most view points. We hiked down into the hoodoo formations on several trails and we encourage you to do the same.
We recently traveled from home to Bryce and Zion national parks. Since the travel took more than one day, we decided to stop on our way out at Lake Mead. While we were there, we also visited Valley of Fire state park.
Lake Mead is the reservoir formed by Hoover Dam. It is very large. And very low. The drought has taken its toll as we were on the lakeshore but a long way from the water. It is a pretty area.
We decided to take an August trip to the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains to see some places that were still snowed in when we last tried to visit 7 years ago in May. We camped at New Shady Rest campground near Mammoth Lakes, visited Devils Postpile NM and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, and then we camped at Toulumne Meadows on the nights that were the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
We spent three nights at Lassen NP. We stayed in Manzanita Lake campground. We drove around the park every day as we explored it. We hiked the three mile out and back to Bumpass Hell, and also to Mill Creek Falls. The trail to Kings Creek Falls was closed for repair. We enjoyed all of the volcanic related features. The park has all four types of volcanoes and some obvious evidence of volcanic activity.
The park is actually McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. The highlight of this state park is Burney Falls. It flows in two parts: over the falls, and through the rocks behind the falls, which gives it the unique curtain-like appearance. This is because of the rock structure behind it. This time of year, June in a dry season, the falls flow just fine but the stream that feeds it is completely dry a mile upstream from the falls.
In June, 2015, we met my three sisters in Bandon, OR / Bullards Beach State Park for three days. Bandon is just about half way between Seattle and Santa Rosa, and on the Oregon coast so it seemed like a good choice. Our original choice was Umpqua Lighthouse State Park because they have "deluxe yurts" but they decided to repave the park and close the whole place! So it was off to Bandon.'
In September, 2014, we took a trip to Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The first 2 weeks were in Colorado as part of a church mission trip and we stayed in an RV park. Nothing exciting, mostly full timers. We greatly enjoyed 2 days in Rocky Mountain National Park.
After that, we took a week to return to California through Utah and Nevada, and visited 4 national parks on the way back.