One of the things I love most about photography is finding new and unexpected places to visit. When you think of parks to visit while in California, the places that come easily to mind are Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley. Those places are awesome for sure and are not to be missed when visiting the Golden State. But, there is another place that doesn’t get much press, at least I hadn’t heard about it. In planning my summer road trip, I discovered Lassen Volcanic National Park and within it a place known as Bumpass Hell. How can one go wrong in a place with “volcanic” in it’s name and a trail to “hell”?
As part of my summer road trip, I spent 24 hours in Yosemite National Park. Although I’ve lived in California pretty much all of my life, this was just my second visit to the park. It’s a shame really. Yosemite is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth. There is nothing quite like coming into Yosemite Valley. You emerge from a long tunnel cut into the mountain to see one of the grandest views on earth. The valley is laid out before you with three of the most iconic landmarks standing tall: Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan and Half Dome.
On my quest for fall colors on Route 395, the June Lake Loop was at the top of my destinations list. I had been on part of this loop over the summer and just knew it would be a great spot for fall color since the aspens were everywhere along the road. The June Lake Loop, also known as highway 158, loops from US 395 past June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake and Grant Lake before merging back into Route 395. It was still raining as I arrived at a small parking lot along Silver Lake where there was a stand of Aspen Trees and a small trail over looking the lake.
On December 30th a very rare thing happened, it snowed in Joshua Tree National Park! When I was a kid, our church pastor had a thing about Joshua Tree. I never understood it. I had never been. I didn’t even know exactly where it was. I stumbled upon Joshua tree in May of 2012 during a day trip to Salton Sea. It was pitch black that night so I took the opportunity to take some really bad star photos.