Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wildflower Wednesday ❁ New Wildflower Identification and Photography Website

where to find wildflowers in northern california

When I started hiking my way across Lassen Volcanic National Park, I had no idea I'd find so many beautiful wildflowers! It didn't take long for my collection of wildflower photography to grow by leaps and bounds. The amount of poppies, lupine and wild sunflowers I've come across this summer has been absolutely delightful. So, I decided it was time to give my wildflower photography its own home at Wildflower Wednesday.

You can expect new posts on every Wednesday and over on Instagram and Twitter, too.

Here's to blooming wherever you can find sunshine and not just where you're planted!


Brokeoff Mountain Hiking Trail ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park

northern california hikes

In Lassen Volcanic National Park, there are 5 trails classified as Strenuous, the highest level of difficulty. Cinder Cone and Lassen Peak (which we have yet to do), Ridge Lakes, Mount Harkness and Brokeoff Mountain. Well, I'm proud to announce that we hiked to the top of Brokeoff Mountain in late August!

Brokeoff Mountain Hiking Trail Lassen Volcanic National Park

Brokeoff Mountain (also known as Brokeoff Volcano and Mount Tehama) is the highest peak in Tehama County (the park lies within 4 different counties) and the second highest peak in Lassen VNP.

northern california hiking trails

This was such a diverse and beautiful trail! There were meadows, streams and forested areas and everything in between. We saw lots and lots of wildflowers and several different kinds of butterflies. We even had our very-first Sooty Grouse sighting, too. It took us 9 hours to complete the 8 mile round trip and the elevation topped out at 9235 feet, the trail starting at 6635 ft.

Brokeoff Mountain Hiking Trail Lassen Volcanic National Park

Strenuous is no lie. The hike up is all uphill and we were worried a few times that we might not make it. There isn't a lot of shade on the last 3/4 of the trail and that late summer sun can be bru-tal. We kept each other motivated, and although it might have taken us longer than the average hiker, we made it to the top and enjoyed awesome views of Lassen Peak, the whole entire valley and even Mt. Shasta to the north.

northern california hikes

With this bad boy of a hike under our belt, we only have a few more trails left in the park to conquer. Better get to it before the snow starts falling!

(A lot of hiking videos on YouTube only show the way there. I like also showing scenes from the way back because we start our hikes so early in the morning that the lighting is completely different in the afternoon and I want to show what a difference the sun makes on the scenery.)

Let's go on an adventure!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Virtual Hike 👣 Paradise Meadow Trail ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park

The hiking trail to Paradise Meadow in Lassen Volcanic National Park climbs into a narrow ravine with small footbridges over creek crossing and ends at a meadow lined by talus cliffs...

Read more about my hike to Paradise Meadow HERE.

Let's go on an adventure!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ridge Lakes Revisited ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park ↔ Summer Hiking Series

summer vs autumn hiking

Last year we hiked to Ridge Lakes in the middle of October, and this year we hiked it during August. (Read all about that autumn hike here.) What a difference a couple months makes!

This time there were wildflowers in full bloom, representing every color under the rainbow, not to mention the yellow mule's ears covering the hillside. And to think that I couldn't imagine the trail being any prettier than when we did it in the fall when there weren't even any flowers!

where to find california wildflowers hiking trails

Between all the different birds we spotted and the beautiful wildflowers blooming, I didn't have time to think about how steep the climb was. The trail to Ridge Lakes is only 2 miles round trip, but has a 1,045 elevation change and is all uphill, as you can imagine.

The water level was too high for the ridge to appear between the lakes so you can stand between the lakes like I did last time, but everything was green and the small patches of snow made for some fantastic photo ops. The reflections on the water are crazy beautiful.

northern california travel blog

I guess it really is worth re-hiking a trail during a different season!

Let's go on an adventure!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Moment of Zen ≈ Devil's Kitchen

Devil's Kitchen is an active geothermal area along Hot Springs Creek in the Warner Valley region of Lassen Volcanic National Park, California, reached by a 2 mile trail.

For more info about my hike to Devil's Kitchen, click here.

Let's go on an adventure!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Battle Creek Vista Point ↔ Scenic Overlook in Tehama County


Have a look at the panoramic views of the Battle Creek Vista Point in Tehama County, California!

This scenic overlook is on the north side of California Highway 36, about 10 miles west of the town of Mineral...

Let's go on an adventure!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Baby Deer Twins ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park

🦌 Too cute! We spotted these baby deer twins and their mama near Manzanita Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park...

Let's go on an adventure!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Manzanita Creek Trail ↔ Lassen Volcanic National Park

northern california travel destinations

This trail is a prime example of why I don't let other people's reviews influence my decisions! I really enjoyed this hike and yet it received a lot of criticism on the internet for not having great views and no payoff. Those reviewers must not have gone all the way to the end because when we got to the last meadow, there were spectacular views of Eagle Peak, Vulcan's Castle and Loomis Peak.

northern california lupine flowers

As you'll notice from the video below, we saw more wildflowers on this trail than any of the other hikes we've done in the park. I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of the trail, too. Yes, it was mostly uphill (I've come to expect that from every hike now that I've done a few!), but there were beautiful lichen-covered forests, meadows full of blue, white, purple and red wildflowers, ferns growing on the hillside, and lush green spots where little creeks ran through, watering even more flowers.

northern california hiking trails

We hiked this trail in mid-July and there were still flowers getting ready to bloom, so I can imagine how beautiful it must be weeks later. After completing 17 hikes in Lassen (wow, has it been that many already?!), I can honestly say that this is one of my top five favorites.

northern california hiking trails lichen

The moral of the story is to check things out for yourself and never let anyone keep you from discovering something worth exploring...

Manzanita Creek Trail
Lassen Volcanic National Park
7 miles round-trip
1,110 elevation change

northern california hiking trails

For photos of the birds we spotted on this trail, visit my birding blog Wings and Daydreams...

Let's go on an adventure!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge ↔ Colusa, California

northern california birding birdwatching

We usually don't make many visits to our local wildlife refuges in the summer because the triple-digit temps here in the Sacramento Valley can be brutal. Luckily, we had a cooler day (yes, we consider 95 "cool") and decided to take a drive through the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge.

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge northern California

I'm so glad we did! There was much more water than I thought there'd be and everything was green, green, green!

We saw Black Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Mourning Dove, Wild Turkey, Ring-necked Pheasant and the biggest gathering of herons we've ever seen...

The birds were extremely cooperative with having their picture taken on this particular day and that's always a big plus!

egret bird photography birding birdwatching birder

We had such a nice drive through the auto tour that we decided not to let the heat keep us away from our favorite places from here on out.

I usually don't take photos of Turkey Vultures because they kind of creep me out, but we spotted this juvenile and he was actually kind of cool looking!

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge ca

So, the moral of the story is to not let the blazing, unrelenting sun keep you from doing the things you love!

For more bird photography, visit my birding blog Wings and Daydreams.

P.S. There were A TON of wildflowers blooming all over the refuge, too!

Let's go on an adventure!