NorCal Weekend Adventure

Comment

NorCal Weekend Adventure

This past weekend, I headed to the farthest up north in California that I’ve ever been: Shasta.

When I was doing my research about the trip, I thought that the weekend would be a fairly easy one. This was also supposed to be my first time snowshoeing and my first ever backpacking trip, so I didn’t plan on doing anything too crazy…


Me: “It’s just about a mile to the falls. Then like 3 miles total for the backpacking trip to the lake. It’ll be super easy.”

But I should have known from all my past trips that nothing worth it ever comes easy, and something always has to go wrong, but hey, that’s what makes adventures fun! You just go along with it and have the best time that you possibly can.

This was our weekend.


It started with the 5-hour drive to Shasta. Our first destination when we got there was McCloud Falls. I did my research (on the most reliable source ever: Instagram. Hah.) and saw that there would be quite a bit of snow on the trail. Side note: as someone who never used to like snow activities, its really grown a lot on me this past year, so this aspect of the trip excited me!

Upon getting to the area where the trailhead was supposed to be though, we saw that the roads weren’t plowed all the way into the trail head, so we decided to snap our snowshoes on and just make our way in. This is where being prepared came in handy too. Most people who were trying to make it to the falls didn’t have proper gear with them.. and you can only make it so far in your Nikes.. so we pretty much had the whole hike to ourselves!

McCloud Falls
Total miles hiked: 4.4


The next stop was the main portion of the trip. The plan was to backpack into Heart Lake and camp there for the night. I read a few blog posts on it and it was supposed to give us a great view of Mount Shasta.. plus the hike was only supposed to be 3 miles total which I figured was totally doable.

Except we didn’t expect the road to be closed miles before the actual start of the trail. Instead of letting that stop us, we decided just to put on our packs and set out on foot.

About a mile in, my friend found a short cut. I didn’t object. We were also trying to make it to the lake before sunset so I figured anything that’ll get us there quicker would help. Except I didn’t expect that the shortcut would take us on some pretty steep sections and a couple river crossings (and take note that this is also with us hiking in snow with 25 pound packs on..). I’ve done quite a bit of hiking myself, but it’s also the middle of winter right now meaning that hiking season was over months ago and my body just isn’t used to it anymore.. and let’s just say that my legs didn’t appreciate the workout after a few miles in. And this was us just trying to make it to the trailhead!!

The sun was starting to set quickly, and we made the decision that we wouldn’t be making it to Heart Lake that night. Instead, we aimed to get to Castle Lake and just set up camp there.

We made it there with a few minutes to spare before sunset. We set up camp and watched as the last bits of light hit Mount Shasta in the distance.

The next morning, we woke up to freezing cold temps and more amazing views of Mount Shasta. After it warmed up a bit, we packed up all our stuff and made the trek back down to the car.

Castle Lake
Total miles hiked: 9.9
Elevation gained: 1,316 feet

Fun fact: Did you know that Mt Shasta is actually a volcano?!


Last stop of the trip was McArthur Burney Falls! This has been on my bucket list for quite sometime now but I just never had it me to drive all the way up from LA just to see the falls. But it was on our way back and made for the perfect road trip stop.

The size of the falls itself was impressive. But I must admit that it was a bit underwhelming. It’s just a short walk down to the falls, which meant there was a lot of people, and it was kind of crowded for a weekday. I guess I’m just a believer in that the best views are the ones you have to put work in to get.

Nonetheless, I’m still glad I got to see it and cross it off my list!


And that concludes our weekend NorCal adventure! Not everything went as planned but it was still an amazing trip overall, and a super memorable one for my first ever backpacking trip! It was more strenuous that I thought it would be (I’m writing this two days later and I’m still a bit sore), but being able to say that we were the only ones on that mountain that day to experience those views made everything worth it.

It’s such a humbling experience to be able to do these things freely and to have the physical capability to be able to do them, which is something that I hope I never take for granted.


Last thing! I’ve really been into the Instax grind lately. Here’s a view from the trip!

Here’s to the start of hiking/backpacking season! Can’t wait for the next mountain.

Comment

Death Valley

Comment

Death Valley

Out of all the National Parks within in the vicinity of Los Angeles, Death Valley was the last one I had yet to visit. I always knew that I wanted to visit during the winter (because we all know how hot it gets during the summer), so with a few days off on my hands, I decided to take another solo trip and see the park for myself!

The drive there was about 4.5 hours long. I chose the route that took me up the 395 since it’s one of my favorite freeways here. The views during the drive did not disappoint!

Upon getting to the park, I had lunch real quick then went to my first stop.

BADWATER BASIN

At 282 ft below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the United States.

Natural Bridge

I don’t know why.. but I was expecting a lot more from this stop. It was a quick hike to the bridge, which was not that grand to be honest. Getting to the trailhead did require some off roading which made the journey fun regardless.

Artist’s Drive + Palette

Next, I headed to Artist’s Palette. I remember being so excited to see this years ago because of the photos I’ve seen in the past. However, after seeing it with my own eyes, the whole view is kind of underwhelming. The drive however was a fun one, and is totally something I recommend doing!

If you could tell by this point, I wasn’t really enjoying my trip. It was pretty hot (I expected it to be way colder since it’s the winter..), there were loads of people at every stop, and the views were nice.. but they weren’t as breathtaking as I expected them to be. I was actually thinking of heading home that night instead of camping like I originally planned.

So for a few hours in the afternoon, I retreated to my campsite and took a nap before heading out to the sand dunes to catch the sunset.


Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Whatever bad vibes I was feeling earlier in the afternoon completely disappeared when I got here. This place was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t think of a better place to catch the golden hour. I may have also taken waaaay to many photos but whatevs.

I also stayed behind here an hour after sunset to catch a view of stars! We never get to see these type of views in the city so it’s something I always try to take advantage of when I’m out in nature.


The next day, I woke up in THE best mood. I had just slept in my car and woken up in a National Park. The sun was shining on me. I had hot chocolate in my hand. Life was literally perfect.

Zabriskie Point

This was my last spot before heading home. There was a cool little view point that you could walk up to that gave you a general view of the area (where everyone seemed to go), but I found a trail that took me inside and I decided to follow it. Best. Idea. Ever. I hiked for about an hour and only bumped into a couple of people the entire time. And the views inside were amazing! This was the feeling I was looking for during this trip, and I’m so glad that I found it before I left.

After that, it was time to head home! Saw this on the way out. Desert in the front, snow-capped mountains in the back. Only in California.

That concludes my trip! It wasn’t what I expected it to be, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least I was able to spend a couple of days outside.

That’s always a win in my book.

Comment

Ladder Canyon and Salton Sea

Comment

Ladder Canyon and Salton Sea


Took the Sub off roading for the first time and ventured into some slot canyons. Also ended the day by watching the sunset in the second lowest place in the United States- the Salton Sea!

It’s always crazy to think that these places are within a few hours of LA. Just goes to show how a little bit of effort when it comes to seeking out adventure pays off!

Comment

Two National Parks in Less Than 24 Hours

Comment

Two National Parks in Less Than 24 Hours

If you know me, then you’d know by now that Zion is one of my favorite National Parks ever. There’s just something about it that keeps me coming back. To see it during the winter has been on my mind for quite some time now, so last Friday, I made the decision to make a trip there for the weekend! It was my most spontaneous and unplanned trip to date, and boy did a lot of things go unplanned, but that’s what made this one so memorable!

Here’s my adventure!


It started with me leaving LA early Saturday morning. Upon reaching Nevada, I noticed that I had a nail in my tire.

I stopped by a local tire shop to get it repaired and my conversation with the owner went like this:

Owner: “What’s your name?”
Me: “Camille.”
Owner: “Oh wow, I have not heard that name in FOREVER. I used to date a Camille. Good memories!”

*an hour later*

Owner: “Your tire’s fixed! And don’t worry about paying us. Have a good rest of your road trip!”

This seriously made my day!


After that, Zion was next! Due to the government shutdown, I wasn’t sure if the campsites were going to be open. But upon entering the park, I was greeted by the nicest park ranger who told me to choose any site I wanted.

It was already getting close to sunset by this time so I decided to head to one of my favorite spot’s in the park and spent the rest of daylight there.

After getting back to camp, I was determined to set up my tent.. only to realize that I left the poles at home. At this point it was starting to get really cold and I had to improvise. Good thing I’ve been reading up on how to turn a Subaru into a camper lately! So I put the backseats down on my car, moved some stuff to the front, and vioala!

#VANLYFE

It was honestly more comfortable than I expected it to be and I 100% would do this again. Plus the view when I woke up the next morning was nothing short of amazing!

Before going to bed the night before, the thought of going to Bryce popped into my head. I didn’t think about it before as the drive back would be kind of far, but since it was already so close to Zion, how could I resist? But first, a quick gourmet breakfast and checking out the last bit of the canyon was in order.

My baby!!! It’s the perfect adventure car :’)

The drive to Bryce offered some pretty amazing views! But little did I know how much more breathtaking the scenes would be once I reached the park. Everything was covered in snow which turned it into a winter wonderland. I’ll just let the photos below do the talking!

After that, it was time to head out. On the way back, I noticed that this portion of the road looked really pretty so I pulled over so I could take a photo in the middle of it.. Classic Camille.

And that concludes my weekend road trip!

If there’s anything I learned, it’s that life sometimes doesn’t go as planned and that’s when you just have to roll with it and make the most out of the situation.

‘Til the next one!

Comment