Friday, August 1, 2014

California Fire Map

California Wildfires & Fire Information

Extreme drought conditions means super high wildfire dangers for all of California. As of August 1st, nearly 60% of the golden state is under EXCEPTIONAL drought, one level up from the 'extreme' classification. We are more than one years worth of water overdue.

Wildfires in California are quiet common and occur annually in the later part of the year (summer - autumn)  when the natural vegetation, brush and forests are the driest. will show just how bad the drought conditions are currently in the Western U.S.

Southern California as well as Northern California experience wildland fires, and since Central California is backed by the Sierra Nevadas, you should expect forest fires at high elevations and lower river canyons too.

California is currently experiencing extreme fire dangers, so many parks and forest areas have higher than normal restrictions. The new normal is becoming extreme, as you can imagine. Campfires are allowed only inside developed campgrounds and in some severe dry brush regions -  no campfires at all are allowed at all (even inside metal ring in a campground).

Numerous agencies handle wildland fires inside California: National Forest Service, California Dept of Fire (also known as Cal Fire), Individual County Fire Crews and the BLM. Below listed are some helpful links to various web sites on California Wild Fires

Inciweb -
Fire Incident Web Site is a national database, which covers almost all current wildfires and their containment.

Cal Fire Map -
Wildfire Incidents by California Department of Forestry & Fires covers fires being fought by the Calfire team.

California County Fire Districts & Volunteer Fire Departments

rural mountain living
has a price

Private property brush clearance, forest homes and cabin owners should visit fire safety web site
California Fire Safe Council

But what about my camping destination?
Is that affected by the fire restrictions too?
Yes, most likely. Call the local rangers to find out more up to date info on your specific camp or trailhead.

Many state and federal agencies manage of the wild lands and parks around California, so find general destinations below by agency. Call or check local ranger station closest to the campground in the region where you plan to stay.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Where'd She Go?

It often seems as if I have forgotten about this long standing blogger blog, leaving it for months at a time without a post (maybe while traveling for weeks or working other more pressing projects).

Over this past winter, I spent much time rebuilding older pages to a new format (WordPress) Outside Blog and I will continue this throughout the year.

Covering the back roads like no other! I, DanaMite, am dedicated to the whole of Total Escape, my 8000 page web site on California travel destinations, off the beaten path. Established way back in 1996, in the web 1.0 days, on a 33k modem.

First and foremost that I can offer is real world content, real experiences, travel logs, photos, GPS data and research I gather while exploring the golden state. Sleeping on the ground, tent camping outside of developed campgrounds, way back there "out in the field".

Lakes, Rivers, Wilderness, Outdoor Recreation, Small Towns & Unique Lodging

Managing databases on California destinations, info and topographic maps; Thousands of photos, plus topo map store and gear shop - Total Escape is my day job! My commute is walking to the local post office to mail out your map orders. Snail mail or USPS Priority, cheap and reliable. Imus, NatGeo, Tom Harrison, USDA, Wilderness Press, stocking plenty West Coast maps. Yep, this is how I make my living.

One big, old web site and the ecommerce store is what I primarily concentrate on. But let us not forgot the massive amount of outgoing links, small business listings, system updates, web code, advertising, blogs and social media that constantly need attention. It's a one woman show here at Total Escape and it's going on 18 years this coming autumn.

Total Escape is a huge, old, rich web site, chock full of camping and outdoor recreation ideas. Spring thru Summer 2014 - both the map store and web site are being upgraded to read better on mobile devices.

In my free time.... organic gardens. I recently began growing my own food!

California A to Z

search California photographs by tag

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waterproof Maps


Paper maps are fading fast. Literally, disappearing into landfills, campfires or into the archives of map collectors. Digital maps have totally taken over our lives and you'll be hard pressed to find a decent printed local area hiking map when traveling small towns inside California.

Keep in mind that many of the middle-of-nowhere, back road destinations we feature on Total Escape do not receive adequate cell phone service, much less a wireless, high speed, digital network. So plan accordingly.

Old timers, frequent travelers and experienced outdoor folks still want the hard copy - a real map!

Waterproof and tear resistant plastic maps are now common.

Tom Harrison was one if the first to offer quality plastic hiking maps. All the NatGeo map titles are 2-sided, full color and plastic. USDA has slowly been transitioning their National Forests maps to plastic maps over the past few years. California Wilderness area maps are only about half available. Polypropylene / recyclable is the main emblem on the back side.

new release 2014:
Both Plumas and Tahoe National Forest are now available in plastic.

tahoe maps

The only California National Forest map left in paper is Eldorado, which is now outta stock for 2014.

NOTE: With recent economic cut backs from government, some map titles that may have been available in plastic in the recent past are now being printed in a paper version.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

California Meteor Shower

Vermilion Resort
Originally uploaded by danamight

meteor showers and comets

Fair weather means anytime is a good time to watch the sky.

The high Sierra Nevada is the place to really enjoy the show in summer camping out, but winter means snow is likely and a cabin rental might be a better choice, or grab a guest room at a rustic lodge like this one photographed above.

Meteor showers are best viewed after 2AM, so you first need to decide if you are "a stay up late", or "wake up early" kinda person. Partying and drinking in the early evening means the excitement will be worn off and you will be dozing after midnight, missing the entire possibility of seeing any grazers. Taking a nap in the early afternoon before might help your odd sleep schedule adjust but be prepared to kick up the caffeine when you want to take in the awesome night views.

Mount Pinos and Mount Abel are both popular SoCal spots for annual star parties - tent campers and motorhomes alike. Palomar Mountain is another fine alpine destination. Most all desert parks are excellent sites to view the night skies with minimal moisture the stars appear super brilliant. Mojave Preserve, Red Rock, Death Valley, Anza Borrego, Mecca Box Canyon, Joshua Tree, the list is endless.

campers tips - 
look for open sky at camp spots, few trees
meadow side camp sites, ridge lines
bring a sturdy cot & blankets
use red lens on flashlights
low light campfire (coals, no flames)

cabin rental tips -
lake cabins have open sky views
bring snow chains for the tires
dress warm, bring jackets, hats, gloves
take your portable lounge chairs
remember snacks and hot drinks
compare local motel prices (some have cottages)

You might need to drive inland for clear night skies. Deserts are best.
way outta of the city destinations
Alpine locations are excellent spots for star gazing, if it's not snowing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Romantic California

Romance for Camping
Couple Vacations in California

Why not keep the passion alive all year long. Take solo weekends away from one another and also vacation as a couple. All local, outdoors and on a budget. Kick your creativity into high gear and plan something totally spontaneous: Get a cabin or condo on the slopes for a few days. Book a lake view suite at a small resort, read, relax and fish all day long. Walk in the forest, bring a picnic and lay out to stargaze at night. Travel locally to enhance your love life, snuggle up close to a cozy fireplace, with a good bottle of wine. Hike, bike and enjoy the outdoors.

Holiday season road trips & Valentine weekend ideas

Local small towns in California is what Total Escape is all about. We have only small, independent lodges, but focus more on bed & breakfast inns, camping sites and cabin rentals. Discover more, stay local, spend less and enjoy your honey pie more often.

top romantic places in California

Big Sur
Bodega Bay
Borrego Springs
Camp Nelson
Crescent City
Death Valley
El Granada
Hope Valley
Huntington Lake
Joshua Tree
June Lake
Kings Canyon
La Jolla
La Porte
Laguna Beach
Lake Almanor
Lake Tahoe
Los Alamos
Los Olivos
Morro Bay
Muir Beach
Nevada City
Pacific Grove
Palm Springs
Panamint Springs
San Juan Bautista
Shelters Cove
Twain Harte
Twin Lakes
Yosemite Valley