Long Lake to Mosquito Flat

This is our final day! The lake is like a polished mirror, and the mountain range stand like a boundary between the water and the sky. The two almost look indistinguishable. The kids stir and wake up. I go out for a photography session and fish while Yan makes oatmeal breakfast.

Marsh Lake to Long Lake

Rock Creek is still singing when I get up. The clothes on the line are mostly dry. Soon, the kids stir. I climb the hillock nearby and shoot pictures of clear reflections in the lake as it stretches like a polished slab of glass dotted with marsh grass.

Mosquito Flat to Marsh Lake

The trail rises gently out of Mosquito Flat. In contrast to the scorching hot week in Loma Linda, the air, scented with pine needles and sagebrush, is cool. I tell the kids a story about hiking in Kings Canyon to distract them from the mild uphill. Just before the trail junction to Ruby Lake and Mono Pass, everyone takes a break by some shaded boulders.

Preparations for Little Lakes Valley

The anticipation began more than six months ago. After seeing the kids hike the loop trail in Pinnacles National Park, and after having abandoned their double stroller in favor of shoes, we grew confident that they will be able to go backpacking.

The Lower Kern

East of the Sierras | Lake Tahoe | Lassen Volcanic National Park | Central Valley | Yosemite National Park | The Lower Kern

East of the Sierras

East of the Sierras | Lake Tahoe | Lassen Volcanic National Park | Central Valley | Yosemite National Park | The Lower Kern

Camping by Big Bear Lake

After baking a sourdough boule for our lunch picnic, we drive up to Big Bear Lake’s Serrano Campground. We have several goals in mind: get the kids outdoors, escape the valley heat, and see Jupiter and Saturn while they are near opposition. The 130 mm reflector telescope had just arrived,…

Visiting Sequoia National Park

Last time we were up this way, an early winter storm thwarted our visit to the giant sequoia trees. The road was open up just beyond Sequoia National Park’s Foothill Visitor Center. This time, it’s the novel coronavirus that nearly caused this trip to be cancelled. We had originally scheduled…

Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park

Our original plan was to leave early Saturday morning, early enough to secure a campsite at one of the first-come-first-served campgrounds in Joshua Tree. Because of coronavirus, the park had decided to remove reservations for all campgrounds. Having debated about camping at Black Rock, we decided to go deeper into…

Impromptu Camping in Joshua Tree

Nearly every day for the last two months, Daphney had been asking about camping—not just any camping, but specifically in Joshua Tree, or where there are foxes (Santa Cruz Island). The other request is to have a campfire, both in the evening and the following morning. That rules out the…

Summer Milky Way Camping

We arrive late to Lone Pine Campground. It’s now about midnight. Stepping out of the car, we hear the creek rippling down its drainage on the other side of our campsite. Beyond that stretches a dark ridge, and far beyond that, the summer Milky Way is already vertical. It looks…