Sunday, December 30, 2018

Looking back, pressing forward...

There were so many awesome adventures from 2018 that I sure am glad I started this blog to chronicle them all!

I visited my very first National Seashore, walked the nature trail at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, got caught in the rain at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, and played in the snow at Lassen VNP.

And, I started hiking. A lot. 11 trails over the course of three months. I never thought I'd become a bona fide hiker. (And now I've got the shoes and everything!) The scenery was breathtaking and the fact that I completed all those hikes with my own two feet is absolutely incredible and more rewarding than anything else I've ever done. I guess I've got a dash of bravery and perseverance in me after all!

Crystal Lake trail, Lassen VNP (Juniper Lake in the background)

We walked through manzanita carpeted woodlands, the Reading Fire area, over boardwalks and bridges and through meadows and forests covered in lichen. All in all, we hiked over 40 miles, saw 19 lakes and 2 waterfalls.

Who knows what new adventures are around the corner in 2019? Anything is possible! Maybe I'll climb Lassen Peak. Maybe I'll do something equally as amazing. Maybe I'll walk barefoot in the sand at Baker Beach in San Francisco. Maybe I'll ride in a hot air balloon or frolic in a field of colorful wildflowers. That's the great thing about turning a fresh page on the calendar--you never know what the day's adventures might hold.

Shadow Lake, Lassen VNP

Here's wishing you an open road ahead and someone wonderful to share all of your amazing travels with...

Happy adventuring,
Rachelle Vaughn

Let's go on an adventure!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Day is finally here!

Merry Christmas to all you adventurers out there!

Let's go on an adventure!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Moment of Zen ≈ Kings Creek ≈ Lassen Volcanic National Park

Today's relaxing moment of zen is brought to you by beautiful Kings Creek in Lassen Volcanic National Park...

Read about my hike to Kings Creek Falls here.

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vaughn the road again northern california travel adventures guide

Let's go on an adventure!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Winter Wonderland ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park

Winter is in full swing at Lassen Volcanic National Park!

It's amazing to think that we spent all autumn hiking the trails in and around the park and now everything is covered with beautiful sparkling snow.

The road through the park is already closed at the visitor's center, but we trekked in far enough to walk over the bridge and see Manzanita Creek.

You know how I love clouds and boy, were they putting on a show over all that winter landscape!

Mt. Lassen is pretty spectacular when it's covered in a fresh blanket of white stuff, too.

This spot where Manzanita Creek flows into the lake is one of my favorite places on earth...

I've never seen it in winter before and it was even more magical covered in snow.

I'm thinking about investing in some snow shoes, because how awesome would it be to hike some of the trails we did this summer in the snow?

Who am I kidding? Now that winter is finally here, I'm looking forward to curling up with some hot cocoa and reveling in the fact that it's not 100 degrees down where I live in the valley!

It's amazing how the landscape of a place can change so much throughout the different seasons. Time on the clock ticks by so fast that it's nice to be able to mark the passage of it when nature shifts the scenery around.

As much as I love this time of year, I'm also looking forward to spring when the wildflowers start blooming in the park. Now that we have a few hikes under our belts, hopefully those uphill trails won't be so daunting!

Here's to a wonderful winter season full of good memories, beautiful scenery and new adventures!

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Let's go on an adventure!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area ↔ Gridley, California

Welcome to the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area!

Now that the road to Lassen is closed due to all that wintertime snow, we're headed to one of my favorite birding spots in the valley to check out the wildlife.

Gray Lodge is just one of the many areas in the Pacific Flyway that offers refuge to migrating birds.

The entire area has incredible views of the Sutter Buttes...

There's a four dollar per person fee to visit Gray Lodge or you can use your CDFW Lands Pass.

They've recently made improvements to the refuge, including a paved trail, sloped for the mobility impaired, and better restroom accessibility.

I was really impressed by how accessible they've made this area so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of this place.

I could have stood at the viewing platform and watched the shorebirds all day, except the bugs and mosquitoes were out in full force and we were getting eaten alive. Don't forget to bring insect repellent!

The 3 mile loop auto tour is a great way to see all the birds and geese you can handle right from the comfort of your own car...

Here is the website for Gray Lodge where you can find maps, wildlife checklists and more information.

To find out more about the types of birds found at Gray Lodge, go to my birding blog Wings and Daydreams where I've posted lots of photos.

Watch the highlight video from our visit:

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vaughn the road again northern california nature adventures guide

Let's go on an adventure!