This year marks the 100th year of the National Park Service, which makes it a great time to visit, but it also means that the number of folks visiting our National Parks is larger than ever. Over a million people visit Sequoia annually, most of whom are coming in the summer months. I have some pointers on how to enjoy the giant sequoia trees without sacrificing solace.
Why you should go
I love camping and visiting National Parks because it's an opportunity to escape the city, commune with nature, and reconnect with friends and family. I am so grateful for the abundance of parks and wilderness here in my own state of California. Especially these days, it's great to disconnect from our digital lives and fill the days with picturesque hikes, chilly dips in streams, wildlife sightings, hearty camp meals, and beers around the campfire. Sequoia, in particular is known as the land of giants for it's giant sequoia trees. The park's very own "General Sherman" is the largest tree on earth! The park offers beautiful wilderness from mountains to meadows and ample wildlife. Deer were commonplace in our campground. Marmots and bears can typically be spotted as well.
Stay at Dorst Creek Campground
Don't get me wrong. I have really enjoyed staying at the most popular campsite - Lodgepole. It hosts great camp sites, has hot showers, a substantial food market with an exceptional beer selection, and even laundry services, but Lodgepole also hosts the largest crowds. We stayed at Dorst Creek for which there are no showers or market. But we were so glad that we did. Even though both Lodgepole and Dorst Creek Campgrounds were full, Dorst had very little traffic. Furthermore, we came across very few people on all the Dorst trails.
Scout out your Campsite in Advance
If you've camped before, you know that there are great sites - near bathrooms, but not too close. They are secluded, shaded, and maybe back up to wilderness. And a bad campsite might be on sloped terrain surrounded by other campsites with no privacy. At the Dorst Creek Campground, I can personally recommend our sites, number 165 & 167. They are located on a loop off the main road, minimizing car traffic.
Skip the big attractions
If you've never seen General Sherman or climbed Moro Rock, you probably should, but I just want you to know that you can enjoy any of the hikes within the park, and there are many, just as much as the big sites. For instance, trailheads that were located within Dorst Creek presented mountains, meadows, and canyon views just like the popular trails without the crowds. We even hiked down to Dorst Creek to swim in a waterhole and never saw a soul. It really comes down to searching out for your own magical spots.
Plan a hearty menu
There's no cold cereal or instant meals for us. Meal preparation is shared with the group, so each couple is responsible for one dinner and one breakfast. Everyone is on their own for lunch and we typically bring ingredients for sandwiches. Here was our menu breakdown:
Camping definitely takes some planning and preparation, but you'll be rejuvenated by the park's beauty, the massive trees, and quality time with your loved one. So get out there and visit your parks.
Ready to go? Refer to my Camping Checklist for all your camping necessities.
Having attended the Mammoth Bluesapalooza Beer and Blues Festival for the past five years, we have become big blues fans. Bluesapalooza has introduced us to some great musicians like Buddy Guy and Trombone Shorty. So when we discovered both were playing at the Avila Beach Blues Festival, we immediately bought tickets. Having never heard of the place, we were delighted to find that Avila Beach is a gorgeous venue in coastal San Luis Obispo. What a great spot for a concert and having front row tickets didn't hurt either. I hope you enjoy my video of highlights.
Trombone Shorty and the Orleans Avenue are the most energetic performers. Probably my most favorite live performers. At the age of 80, Buddy Guy is a true legend and we're fortunate that he's still performing. He engages with the audience, interjecting during his songs with comments like "They don't play this s@*t on the radio" and after singing a line says, "I didn't write this s^*t". He doesn't hold anything back. And while you may think he's getting a little crotchety in his old age, his unabashed behavior is charismatic. An Avila Beach concert is worth a trip to San Luis Obispo. Check out my video of our airbnb in downtown SLO. Plus, check out the upcoming concerts and events at Avila Beach Golf Resort. Hell, they have a macaroni and cheese festival. How can that be bad?
Disclaimer: Just want to make clear that I am not being compensated for these opinions. No one is yet paying me for sharing my incredible thoughts.
#AvilaBeach #SLO #TromboneShort #BuddyGuy #FollowTheCurls #Travel #blues #AvilaBeachBluesFestival #travelblog #CurlyVagabond
Stop One: Solvang Brewing Company
First time on camera. The locale and cheese are a perfect compliment to my giggles and beer. Cheers!
Fig Mountain, as the locals call it, was our favorite of the trip. Great beers and a social place to hang out. They have a large outdoor space with picnic tables, fire pits, horseshoes, and live music on the weekends. We really enjoyed spending time chatting with a local, Hank, and Tom and Bernadette en route to Monterey. Hank pointed us to a local boutique butcher and Bernie pitched a note-worthy bakery so we added both to the schedule.
Stew made friends too. How do we know? He wandered happily around this dog-friendly brewery, making puppy eyes, and returned to us with a full belly and some serious gas.
Stop 3: Ascendant Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room
Ok. So it's not a brewery but it's right next to Fig Mountain, so it's worth a stop. In this video, Chris tastes the flavored vodka's; Strawberry, Cavier Lime, and Ghost Chili. Visit their website to find a distributor near you.
Mmmm, and all natural, non-GMO buzz with the sweet undertones of fruits and berries. Make sure you take a sip of Chris's recommendation, Ghost Chili vodka. Smoky and delicious!
Mammoth Festival of Beer and Bluesapalooza
Whistler Worthy Beers
Meet an Airbnb Host with Unique Accommodations (Santa Barbara's Wine Country)
Anna Fleming, the Curly Vagabond, roams like a local, searching for adventure, tasty cuisine and the best craft beer; all with a sense of humor and a budget any working stiff could appreciate. Home base is Oceanside, CA in North San Diego County.