Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Color found...

The autumn colors are lasting in California!

Some higher elevation areas hit with snow (8000' +) have naked aspens w/ shedding dead leaves, but mid altitude canyons along Hwy 395 - have aspen groves glowing. Cottonwoods and poplars are also changing rapidly in the Eastern Sierra.

Mammoth is OPEN Friday, that's tomorrow - OCT 16. Early season to enjoy! YEP, Free lift tickets on opening day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

June Lake Loop Peaks

Autumn colors abound in the Eastern Sierra THIS WEEK.

Get out to see the aspen groves changing along Highway 395 from Bridgeport down to June Lake, California. Great stream fishing on both Rush and Reverse Creeks at this time of year. Green Creek, near the Bodie ghost town turn off, should be exquisite about now . Numerous cabin rentals and lodges need your business, or you could brave the elements and camp out.

Bishop lakes got a dusting of snow last weekend, so the winter has already set in above 8000' elevation. These fall colors, sunshine and temperatures will not last long. (This is a limited time offer.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Mojave Shaken

The ring of fire is moving again. While news stories bombard us on the recent earthquakes on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, we are soon reminded that here in California we are all connected via fault lines and tectonic plates.

Four decent little earthquakes tonight in the Northern Mojave Desert, off Hwy 395, out near Olancha:
Magnitude: 4.7 Ml
Magnitude: 4.9 Ml
Magnitude: 5.2 Ml
Magnitude: 4.7 Ml

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn in California

Autumn along North Lake
Originally uploaded by danamight
Do not wait until the last minute to see the autumn colors. The change can be gradual or fast; one week to one month, the weather is warm and then cold the next.

The best places to check out fall colors in California is the Eastern Sierra, the North Gold Country & areas around Mount Shasta.

Below are FALL DESTINATIONS for California:

  • OJAI
  • Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Creek Recreation

    creek recreation includes fishing, hiking, kayaking, rafting, tubing, gold panning, and finding swimming holes.

    People love secluded lakes inside alpine mountains, well away from the city. Folks also love rivers and creeks - of all sizes. Most all of the California National Forest have recreation creeks running thru them. SoCal would be seasonal creeks - which means it often dry up annually, or goes underground.

    In the golden west, the desert's dryness reigns, and some smaller creeks are 'seasonal' and tend to dry up every year. The flow stops completely and you are bummed, cuz your hike isn't what you had hoped it would be. There are only a select few creeks for camping in Southern California. Drought conditions are often. Call ahead, ask the field ranger about your creek destination.

    The best streams & creeks are located in the higher elevation mountains. If you are seeking that hidden creek with a forest to hike or bike in, or a new fly fishing spot, you can easily find it here on Total Escape. The Sierra Nevada mountains & the NorCal region are the places for real water flow in California.

  • California Lakes List
  • California Rivers List
  • How to find stream side camp sites in Cali.

    SoCal creek recreation can be found near these destinations:
    DAVY BROWN Campground

    Central Coast Creeks to find & explore -
    BIG SUR State Park
    LIMEKILN State Park

    awesome Sierra Nevada creek areas -
    BIG MEADOWS RD, Sequoia
    BISHOP CREEK, Aspendell
    GREEN CREEK, Bridgeport
    PINE CREEK, Eastern Sierra
    ROCK CREEK, Eastern Sierra
    ROCK CREEK, Shaver Lake

    a few ultimate NorCal favorites -
    GOLD LAKE California
    HAT CREEK, Lassen
    LOST COAST, Kings Range
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    Mt Whitney Route

    Mount Whitney CALIFORNIA

    Mt Whitney hiking can only be done half the year, when the snow is minimal. All other seasons this is considered a 'mountaineering route' with ice crampons, snow axes, hard core mountain climbers. Not for the average hiker.

    Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states, so the demand for these trails is very high. So if you wanna hike this are, please check with the local rangers in Lone Pine or Whitney Portal for the availability, plus the permits needed.

    Mt Whitney Permits

    Weather Mt Whitney

    WHITNEY MAPS: topo trail maps

  • Mount Whitney High Country Map
  • Mount Whitney Zone Map
  • Inyo National Forest Map
  • Inyo National Forest Atlas

  • Mt Whitney as seen from Alabama Hills. Lone Pine, CA

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Wilderness Mountains

    Santa Barbara coast is 40 miles away, but it's on fire again, so we usually bolt up to the Sierra Nevada mountains. Big rivers, hot springs, granite wall and zillions of dirt roads.

    Pieces of an email spawn new topics, spanning fresh ideas, friends sharing groceries today. Online, in the wild. Pretty much.

    My life, a silly hi-tech dream sometimes, is me working from a remote mountain village in SoCal, but too often in front of a computer -- on beautiful sunny days. Cool mountain breezes still make their way into my small office. My big dead line daily is to mail your maps, priority. Away from the city, deep in the woods. Minimal facilities, the mail leaves the hill at 3pm, sharp. No good restaurants, a small golf course, one crappy local pub w/ classic rock, black ice, winter snows and often, stuck on slow dial up (old skool, 56k internet connection, slow as molasses).

    This is what I do. I type, nearly every day or night, many 4 hour shifts...just to tell you about my fantastic, adventurous, beautiful journeys to the California Wilderness. Digital photography is my main means to get you this important message, as my writing skills kinda suck. Getting your ass outside, often, is my main goal.

    Cali, you can SEE MANY MORE PHOTO here!


    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    California places to live

    Most residents of California migrate to the west coast. Like 90% of the population.Native Californians are harder and harder to find. The direction has always been westbound in our nations history. Diverse people, places, food, cities, great weather, plus tons of outdoor recreation and natural beauty to be enjoyed.

    San Diego, Los Angeles & San Francisco are the big 3 cities that folks gravitate to.
    If you are looking to move into the suburban or urban grind, we wish you well. If you seek a new rural residence in wine country, or the lost coast, or wanna buy a mountain cabin or live on a river, then you best start here with Total Escape. Get your own travel ideas and get inspired on real California. We've been doing the back roads of Cali for decades!

    California A to Z

    Mountain Thunderstorms

    Population, California

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    California Bass Lake

    Bass is one the the top sought-after fish to catch in the California sport of fishing. While golden trout dominate the Sierra Nevada back-country, bass can be found in numerous lakes and most reservoirs in the west. The Dept of Fish & Game stock or 'plant' California lakes with bass that are raised in fish hatcheries. Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass
    and Spotted Bass. Below are just a few of the lakes that are regularly supplied with 'planted' bass:

    These are the best waterways & lakes for bass fishing -

    The California Delta
    Gold Country Reservoirs (like Don Pedro, Millerton Lake, New Melones)

    Looking for BASS LAKE near Yosemite National Park?
    Check our list of Lake Campground CA

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Lake in California

    Camping Lake
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    Amazing weekends in the High Sierra. Crisp, clean air, incredible mountain scenery in the alpine country. July 4th was not-so-crowded at Highland Lakes. Although all 35 campsites were filled, the nights were silent & you could hear the frogs. Very few boats on the lakes overall. Plenty people fishing. Kayaks & canoes, a dream location. Wildflowers just starting in mid July. Snow melt was all around us at 9000' elevation. Deep in the Stanislaus National Forest, Hwy 4/ Ebbetts Pass.

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Big Redwoods State Park

    Many unique qualities attract us to the west coast. Terrain, great weather and the Pacific Ocean. For those born here in Cali they find solitude in every meadow, secluded streams and dirt back roads. For the newcomers, Cali is a new beginning and often city focused. Until decades later, when the college and careers wear off and you crave more nature. The extreme landscape, the diversity, the wilderness, the people, the plants. Sequoia trees of California. All parks, listed just for you.

    Coastal redwoods of the north coast to the giants of the Sierra Nevada.

    Big, Old, Tall Trees: redwood parks

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    California Blogspot

    You've finally found us. About freakin time! This is my life, right here, online, on the west coast - your California. I am DanaMite & I am at your service. Literally!

    Been documenting the back roads of this glorious golden state for about 20 years. Now I get show you the photos and tell you about all the secret spots, deep in nature, immersed in the wilderness - where you want to be. Outdoor recreation, hiking, biking, camping, kayaking. Small town destinations, cabin rentals, parks, forest, rivers, lakes, all of it....without the tourists crowds.

    Start by reviewing my old post on this California Outdoor Blog, checking out my newest freshest stuff, selecting a town or by visiting the independent, 12 year old site.

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Mammoth in California

    Mammoth Pool Reservoir
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    Dreaming of 90 degrees and sunshine? Sick of June Gloom on the coast? Will the California mountain thunderstorms last into July? Is global warming causing season shifts & more erratic weather patterns? And what are you gonna do about it? 

    enjoy it while you can

    Who wants to play on the lake?
    This weekend, or next?

    MAMMOTH, California

    two Mammoths in Cali?


    is a virtually unknown recreation lake, way, way back there in Sierra NF; campground and boat launch ramp on a steep dirt road; located on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, due south of Yosemite National Park.


    this is the well known ski mountain and upscale (bankrupt) village in the Eastern Sierra, north of Bishop, CA and south of Yosemite National Park.

    Fishing on Lake Mary near Mammoth Lake, California

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Campground State Park

    Imagine trying to "close" the largest State Park, the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert in San Diego County?

    yeah right

    Split Mountain is a must see. Anza Borrego Desert State Park

    State government budget cuts? How many State Parks are closed in California now? Which ones?

    Take action -- Californian for the Outdoors

    Saturday, May 30, 2009

    Ward Lake, Sierra Nevada

    Ward Lake
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    This is one of those places you drive by once, looking at the scene, you say ONE DAY. I gotta get back to this spot. Well, this is the day that you start the plans to make it happen.

    seriously dude

    No more procrastinating, no more excuses, no more weekends a wasted. This alpine paradise is just up the road a piece from Fresno, of all places. Yes, you read right - Fresno, that smoggy, scarey Central Valley mecca in the middle of California.

    From Highway 99, find Hwy 168 & head due East into the mighty Sierra Nevada. This epic outdoor recreation area is just south of Yosemite National Park. After climbing in elevation, thru oak foothills and pines, passing Shaver Lake and continuing on past Tamarack. When you are near Huntington Lake, hang a hard right up the Kaiser Pass (a windy steep paved back road) and just keep on going toward Florence Lake. Ward Lake is a small lake on the way and you may miss it, if you blink. This adventure is not really a day trip kinda place & you will want to stay overnight, or the whole weekend - so go prepared.

    Find it on this Sierra forest map!

    Picnic Area at Florence Lake, California

    Headwaters of the San Joaquin River

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Utah Camping Right Now

    A fair amount of last minute inquiries on this upcoming Utah trip.
    3 Cali girls meeting up w/ 'hippy from the beach' Jan & 'mister white trash'
    Ardell way out in Moab, Utah. California group meets FRIDAY night; depart Tejon Pass/I-5 SAT May 9th AM. Please post inquiries regarding this MAY UTAH CAMP excursion here.

    8 nights camping back roads of Utah
    drive your own rig on dirt roads; 4x4 not required.
    ZION, Bryce, Gobblins and Moab.....

    back roads, off roading, hiking, all over

    next weekend.
    yep, we know you wanna go.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    California Wildlfowers

    Owl's Clover Wildlfower
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    This photo is the mighty AV, the Antelope Valley @ Hwy 138 - with the best bloom I've seen in quite a while. Purple Owl's Clover flowers are sprouting up near 110th & the power lines. The hills all around Fairmont Butte are yellow. Poppies can be found all over. The show is best outside of the Poppy Preserve, so save your cash & head off road. Bring a picnic & a camera for a full day of fun in the sun. Wind can be an issue here, so check the weather forecast.

    Gorman wildflowers are getting some more rain tonight & will be peaking later this month (April). Upper Klipstein Canyon via Cerro Noroeste or Hwy 166 is also going off with color.

    This looks to be an excellent year for all California wildflowers, so do not delay. Plan your road trip soon!

    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Paradise in Wildwood

    wild wood ED020
    Originally uploaded by The Wildebeest
    Wowwie... Los Angeles area hikes, off the beaten path. This waterfall is near Thousand Oaks, CA. A great outdoorsy find for those looking to escape the traffic, smog & malls.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    50% Increase from Last Winter

    Yeah, I know you've heard it. America is in a recession or a depression. But that doesn't stop you from wanting to travel. Needing to get away from your daily grind.

    Can you expect to escape your hurried life for a weekend, for under $100? What bout a $200 limit?

    No seriously. You would spend that much or more just staying home & hanging out in the city. Really! Think about it. Shopping, dinner at a restaurant, coffee afterwards, or a concert, some drinks during, plus the parking. It adds up super fast as you already know.

    Total Escape web site traffic is WAY up -- 50% from last winter, cuz people are realizing they gotta travel locally & inexpensively. This goes for the maps store at the dot net & our main site at dot com. DanaMite has the ideas for cheap road trips all over the golden state. Thanks goes to all the newcomers & the avid Escapers. The new residents in Cali, the transplants, the native, the locals, anyone who uses Total Escape on a regular basis.

    California Road Trip on a Budget:
    Your camping gear (free), a forest or desert map ($20), campground fee ($20) & a tank of gas ($40) . You cannot count the groceries or restaurant visits, since you would normally eat in the city anyways.
    [Camping Weekend $80]
    Day tripping means you find a local destination to check out & return home the same day. You can spent the full day exploring & enjoying, from sun up to sun down. A museum, the beach, the pier, a local county park, the river, a hot springs, a National Park, the National Forest, whatever. We have tons of stuff to do listed on each town page. A map ($20), entrance fee ($10) & a tank of gas ($40).
    [Day Trip $70]

    How about an overnight at a mountain lodge instead? Eastern Sierra locales have some snowy good deals: Villager Inn ($65), ski lift day at June Mountain ($37 x 2 peeps = $74) & a tank of gas ($40) will get you up there in comfort.
    [June Lake $179 weekend]
    Just a few examples of cheap trips & why we've been online 12 years!

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    The Road to Joy

    The Road to Joy
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    Outdoors is my passion & this stuff, these photos, these stories, my web site is my work, my art, for you to discover what I have seen. The back roads of California are alive with all flavors. My gift to you, the world. Enjoy.

    Green Creek California is a very special place I visited back in mid 2004. These Sierra Nevada photos have taken a while to upload, but here they are, for your viewing pleasure. This prime Eastern Sierra camping area is well worth the long journey. Plan to spend a minimum of a week here for the full spectrum of recreation. The graded dirt road is suitable for passenger cars & RVs too. Hiking, fishing, camping, it's all out here near Bridgeport CA; Altho most are so in a hurry to reach Bodie Ghost Town State Park, they completely ignore this area, just on the other side of Highway 395. If you have some free time, I would highly suggest this primitive camping location on the Hoover Wilderness boundary.

    Green Creek in the Eastern Sierra near Bridgeport, CA

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Trail Wilderness

    Mount Pinos Peak 8830' elevation, Kern County

    We all seek a wilderness trail to hike or stroll. Wonderful weather, enveloped in scenery, a peaceful place to call our own - if only for the day or the whole weekend. Deep inside the sacred space we call nature, Mother Earth. Maybe a picnic and waterfall as the highlight of the whole day.

    In California we are lucky to have plenty trails to enjoy and explore. Whether you want a foot trail to a lake, a fishing trail along the river, a backpackers trail over the highest peaks, an equestrian trail, a mountain bike route, or snowmobile trails new and fresh, we just might have it on our maps - somewhere in here.

    California Wilderness Areas

    Lake Falls

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Walkway of Redding

    Walkway of Redding
    Originally uploaded by danamight
    My impromptu holiday road trip to NorCal was wet, very wet, to say the least. A full solid week of rain & wind, totally drenched. Camping in the mud, not so fun. Meeting locals in Redding & Willow Creek were the highlights.

    Pinnacles National Monument off of Hwy 101 & King City - was my first stop, where I paid a whopping $27 to camp. The most expensive overnight in a park I can ever recall. Motel 6 might have been a better choice, since the temps dipped to 26 degrees that night.

    Up in Redding I opted for a cheap hotel, downtown. Walked in the drizzle to find an open restaurant & Sunday night is not a big out-to-dinner night up here, so I had trouble locating a meal. Johnnie's Bar was lit up with neon, looked new & had a Santa ping pong tournament going on. I stopped in for a bite & met Larry, a local who introduced me to his whole crew. A blues/jazz band set up around 7pm & they were pretty decent!

    The next day I grabbed Huevos Rancheros at the only Mexican place in town, took care of business at the post office & headed over to meet Layne (AppleCrisp thru Flickr). We were amazed that the sun actually broke out for a few hours & decide to take a walk around the Sundial Bridge park. Hubby James & dog tagged along. A very nice visit that ended short, as I wanted to head westbound & find a camp spot, before the next storm moved in.

    I ended up IN the storm at 3000' elevation with snow & no chains. Even with AWD I was having problems staying on the highway, so I opted to call it a night at 6pm in Willow Creek. I ended up staying days enjoying this town over the holiday, meeting some cool locals and exploring Hwy 96, up to Happy Camp.

    Sundial Bridge is quite the impressive sight and totally worth a visit.