Redwood National Forest Hikes-Tips on Tall Trees Grove Hike and Fern Canyon

I spent 4 nights/3 days in the area, which is about the right amount of time to see the most important sites and soak up the ambience of the park.  Here’s what I did, with some helpful notes:

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Lassen National Park Hikes

I did two hikes here in August.  One was to Manzanita Lake and the other was to Kings Creek Falls.  The Kings Creek hike provided quite a workout given the length of 3 miles and a substantial elevation gain, and while the Manzanita hike was a stroll in the park by comparison, keep in mind that at an altitude of 7,000-8,000 feet you will get winded much quicker than at sea level.

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Lake Tahoe-God’s Country

Fallen Leaf Lake

I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe before so didn’t know what exactly to expect.  It’s a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains, many of which are skiable, way up in the Northern Sierra Nevada range of California.

Emerald Bay
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Yosemite

This is my third trip to Yosemite, and I’m glad to see it hasn’t changed in any meaningful way.  I stayed at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, which I wouldn’t recommend, but then, the alternative Awahnee is a bit high for my budget at $600/night, especially when I’ve already been staying in cabins or hotels for two months now.

Mirror Lake
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I Left My Dough In San Francisco

I am in San Francisco right now and I’m happy to say that it’s still a great place to visit and one of my favorite cities on the planet.  I was concerned because of reports I’d read about trash piles in the streets and bums crapping on the sidewalks, but what I found was that was mostly confined to the Tenderloin district.  Other than that, SF is basically like any other big city-a bit rough around the edges from a cleanliness standpoint, but it’s still safe to visit and enjoyable for the average tourist.  

Transamerica Tower
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Marijuana-What Happens in Vegas Won’t Stay There

When I was younger and dumber, I used to read High Times and agitate for the legalization of marijuana.  Now that the day has come, I realize just how bad an idea that was and is.

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Havana Days, Tropicana Nights

The Cuba of my imagination-of a moonlit stage with sultry beauties swaying to sizzling salsa-of art deco hotels, royal palms, and pastel American cars-of Al Capone, Bugsy Seigel, Hemingway, and Sinatra-is long gone, obliterated by the last vestiges of that great scourge of the 20th century known as Communism. 

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Murder in Organ Pipe National Park

Have you ever heard of Kris Eggle?  I’d be surprised if you have.  I hadn’t, either, until I visited Organ Pipe National Monument this year.  That’s where I saw a small plaque that, God forgive me, made my blood boil.  

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Sedona

Sedona is a pleasant town.  The streets are clean and the water right out of the tap is good.  There are excellent restaurants, chic shopping venues, and a host of outdoor activities to enjoy…and you can enjoy all of it throughout the year.  

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Saguaro National Park

I grew up around cacti.  Once, while riding my bike, I fell into a barrel cactus that adorned a corner of our house in Tempe, AZ.  This resulted in my Dad setting me down at the kitchen table and pulling dozens of the hooked barbs out of my thigh with some needle-nosed Vise-Grips.  Years later, I found a small piece of one of those needles still stuck under my skin.  By then, it was too deep to pull out with pliers, so off to the doctor we went.  You might think, given that story, that I’d have a certain amount of fear and loathing for the spiny succulents, but no: in reality, I admire them.  They’re survivors, living in crappy soil, no water, and 120+ degree days.  Anything that can survive those conditions deserves my respect.  

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