Been doing a lot of driving these last few weeks, and this combined with recuperating from illness has made it difficult to check in on here. But here I am, working on catching up!

I’ve been in Fresno for almost a month between all this, and took a few weekends away to zip around to some local and not-so-local sights, as well as reconnect with old and new friends.

Last weekend, I made it a point to drive up and around, making my first stop at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was a gorgeous drive through, with lots of sights to stop and see, and a few hikes that caught my interest. I’d loaded up on some apple pie, and made my first hike after a grueling stay in bed and round of antibiotics. I’d lost ten pounds, so I was looking for an easy hike to take it easy as my body got used to physical activity again and huffed and puffed.

Entering the park from the south yielded a beautiful drive with sweeping mountain vistas, and also a quick stop at the park’s sulphur works got me excited, as this place was similar to Yellowstone, which I had visited the year prior.

Continuing on, there were a few lakes to check out.

A ranger advised me to go on the hike to the thermal area at Bumpass Hell, named after an explorer dude who was all about the area until he dropped his leg through the crust and boiled it to the point it had to be amputated. So, definitely advisable, when checking out areas like these, that you remain on the established trail.

Continuing up California the following day, I passed by a few active wildfires, which dispersed a bunch of ash and smog into the air, affecting my drive. Not something I’m used to, being from the East coast.

I made my way up and out of California for the time being, hitting up Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, because why not, I was close. The view there is always impeccable, and the lake is the deepest in America, with incredibly clear rainwater sitting inside a volcanic basin.

A bunch of driving Southeast led me back to California, to overnight at Lake Tahoe, the biggest alpine lake in North America. I checked out Inspiration Point over the Emerald Bay part of the lake, and then made my way up to Sugar Pine Point State Park, where I spent the morning. Tahoe was so crowded. It felt nearly impossible to drive around the lake, let alone find parking anywhere. Thankfully there was space at this park, where I could see the lake, hike around, and hammock, but I was pretty much unable to go anywhere else without major time commitments. I guess that’s what I got for being there on July 4th weekend.

That said, Lake Tahoe was absolutely beautiful and I definitely look forward to returning in a more off-season.

I kept driving south after this and landed in Bridgeport, CA, where I hit up some local hot springs and then went to a rodeo!

The hot springs were nice, but crowded with the holiday weekend.

I loved the scenic views in the town, and grabbing a slice of local life with the rodeo.

That night, I camped out again in Yosemite on my way back to Fresno.

It was fucking perfect as always, and the crowd was somewhat limited by the current ticketing and reservation system. I went around to some of the usual locales, and rented a bike for two hours to rip around on the roads and some trails. Yosemite currently allows you to rent bikes for free by using their app, which is actually really neat. I then spent my Independence day celebrating in a hammock in the heat.

I feel so fortunate to be here. I’ve gotten to see so many awesome things, and really experience natural beauty like nowhere else I’ve been so far. I’m very much looking forward to revisiting Yosemite when the Bridal Veil Falls hike is open so I can check out that area, and I also want to come here with someone else at some point, because I miss pointing at things and going, “Can you believe that??” which I miss while travelling alone.

Until next time!