Trip report: California

June & July 2000

The Dunn 2000 summer vacation was a big swing through California, north to south. We flew from RDU to San Jose, and visited with relatives in Menlo Park for a couple of days.  It was a great time, visiting and taking in all the sights in the Bay Area.  Jan and I have been there many times but for the kids it was their first time to see the Golden Gate, cable cars, and those great San Francisco hills...however, we were eager for other sights and set off for Mt. Lassen National Volcanic Park.

We crammed everything in our borrowed Explorer and made a stop at Safeway:

We drove through Mt. Lassen on the way to the Hat Creek Campground (a forest service campground on the northeast side of the park).  Stopped at Lake Helen to check out the snow and frozen lake.  The trail to Mt. Lassen starts just behind us on the far shore of the lake.  This is at an elevation of 8500ft; the summit which we reached the next day is at 10500ft.

The weather for the hike up Mt. Lassen was spectacular!  This picture is somewhere near the halfway point; visibility was phenomenal!

Of course I had my flyfishing gear!  The campground was on the upper part of Hat Creek, and it held a good population of trout, albeit stockers, but it's still nice to walk out of the tent and catch a trout.  Spent one morning at the Powerhouse Riffle on the special regulations section of Hat Creek, but I got there too late in the morning; the hatch was ending and all the good spots in the riffle were occupied.  Nevertheless, I did get in the creek and I managed to catch one trout at the PH riffle, so I didn't get skunked.

From Hat Creek, we drove into Nevada and came into Yosemite from the east side.  How can you show photos of Yosemite?  We took a bunch of pictures but they can never do justice to the real thing.  This was my third trip to Yosemite...we stayed a week, hiking Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, etc. but I could have easily stayed two weeks.  We stayed in Curry Village, which we weren't excited about since we'd wanted to camp, but the tent cabins were actually a lot of fun.  It's really a nice place to stay and I'd recommend it for a change of pace.

We saw cliffs, mountains, and sequoias.  What a place!  Also had a chance to do a bit of fishing up at Toulumne Meadows.  It was cool (~55F) and very blustery, and the fishing was better than the catching :-).  Here are a couple of fishing shots:

From Yosemite, we went to Big Sur.  We stayed at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which is a really nice campground.  I highly recommend it.  Just don't leave any food on the table or the crows will get it :-(.  Again, Big Sur has been photographed so many do you do justice to it?  However, I think that this photo came out pretty well.  I've included the small one inline, and if you click the picture, you'll get a much bigger shot suitable for desktop "wallpaper."

After 4 days in Big Sur, we went back to Menlo Park to return the Explorer, visit with the relatives again, and get ready for the last leg of the trip.  From here, we flew down to San Diego to spend a night at the "Roar and Snore" in the San Diego Wild Animal Park, a couple of days in Legoland California, and an afternoon in Tijuana.

It was a great trip, but by the end, we were tired puppies and were ready to get home, and speaking of puppies, we missed our dog and couldn't wait to see him...


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Last updated 19-July-2002