A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Meike Carter

Sequoia National Park

We were ready to continue our trip and head further south along the Sierra Nevadas . During the 5 night stay at Eastman lake the weather changed daily. It started off in the mid 70s & cloudy but ending with a beautiful sunset,
followed by a hot sunny day in the 90s where we cooked out and got a nice tan. The next morning we woke up to much cooler temperatures, but we packed our rucksack ready to hike Yosemite anyway, which is about an hour drive from camp. The weather changed once we approached higher elevation and the closer we drove towards Yosemite NP the worse it got. We stopped in Oakhurst where a Winterstorm advisory was blinking in orange letters on the road sign . A couple of roads to the park where closed due to weather and we pulled over to make the decision, if it was a bad move to continue without snow chains. Just the short walk from the truck to the grocery store was reason enough to decide against it and go back to camp. It was raining, 42 degrees and we did not wear the right gear. Unfortunately we were not prepared for that hike , got groceries instead and drove back to a much warmer climate . We were crossing our fingers that Sequoia would be a better pick which is 2 hours further South. Upon arrival at Sequoia Ranch RV park it was still chilly and cloudy, but miraculously once we set up camp the sky opened up it got hot quick. We were told in the office that this was the first glimpse of summer this season. Looks like we arrived on the right day. I really didn't want to skip that park. We had a shaded side by the Creek, sat up chairs and dipped our toes into ice cold mountain water. 2847C2960DAF724ACD2D6D717460A35B.jpg 28471FF9AD144913FC9B5C16A34DBA6D.jpg
Sequoia RV Ranch is only minutes away from the park entrance and worth the $55 per night. I washed all the clothes and took advantage of full hookup. In order to enter Sequoia NP you have to pay a fee of $30 per vehicle unless you have an all access card. It takes about an hour of driving up very steep and winding roads before you reach the giant redwoods. Along the way are several spots where you can stop and enjoy the scenery. 8997.jpeg We noticed a secluded waterfall and had to pull of the road to goof around on the slippery rocks. IMG_20190601_071527_503.jpg
We saw some Class C RV'S making the trip up the mountain with a 32' length restriction. You definitely cannot bring your Motorhome up to the Sequoias. 2846533BE6B251342DC5BB37BC71996F.jpg
By the time we reached over 6000 feet we saw the famous redwoods and actually oohed and aaahed, trying to spot the biggest one. Now we couldn't wait to see the General Sherman. 28446053D6EFC59645948294F8BE7688.jpg 90_20190529_150913.jpg
But first we hiked Moro Rock 284500C0C605E2CD02C90D55EE0ECB85.jpg
Yes, that one...
The view was amazing from up there. 2845BFA5D8E7E039969E6B67F7BC936E.jpg
The air is definitely thinner up there and we had to take our time climbing up all the stairs.
Another must-do is driving through the log tunnel... 2843A21EF1AE6178CB9123820F25E8B0.jpg
Finally we made it to the tallest tree on earth. Too bad I can't fit him entirely into the frame. 2926FF74ACE6535F4A72875F94F296A6.jpeg 8989.jpeg 8987.jpeg

Posted by Meike Carter 07:24 Comments (0)

Eastman Lake, CA

Happy Memorial Day weekend! 6D6B7F8DACCAAAE8C84916F6F635F31D.jpg
After being stationary since December and attending college in San Francisco, we are back on the road. The past 2 months couldn't pass quick enough for us. Besides the school work load and the consistent rain, we dealt with one health issue after another. Thankfully we are back in shape and thrilled to have the freedom to travel as we please. Landon is still enrolled with CA virtual Academy and will finish the last week as we travel. I already returned all his books to K12 and notified the administration of our possible move to Texas. We might be back in California next year, but we do not plan that far in advance and prefer to dis enroll our almost 5th grader and keep our options open. We are considering to send him to regular school for one semester just to mingle and get acquainted with students and teachers. But until then, we will take our time and visit as many interesting places as possible. Our first stop is outside of Yosemite NP at an Army Corps of Engineers campground in Raymond CA. 20190525_153709.jpg
We checked on the Allstay website for ACOE campgrounds and casinos along the way. You can stay for free at casinos or pay a very small fee at an ACOE campground usually located by a body of water. 20190525_153608.jpg 20190525_152814.jpg
We opted to check out the campground and lucked out with a fantastic site overlooking the lake. Our site comes with water, electric, fire ring, sheltered picnic table, outside grill and a concrete patio. With our Access card we only pay $15 per night. This site happened to be available throughout Memorial Day weekend and we booked it immediately upon arrival. 6D6CD1EAE217E6BC1F3608C14B7CF49D.jpg 6D6C25BDB650B6EF6CC9DE3F6A62624F.jpg
It didn't take us long to set up camp, had an easy dinner followed by a glass of wine and a spectacular sunset.

Posted by Meike Carter 16:36 Comments (1)

Quick dayhike at Half Moon Bay

20190407_140847.jpg After last weeks hike up Blue Ridge trail overlooking Lake Berryessa, I realized that my Nike sneakers were not an option anymore. They are extremely comfortable, but I have worn them so much. Countless miles of walking, running and hiking is wearing down the soles and not providing proper traction when climbing over boulders. The strenuous hike gave me some trouble this time,my ankles twisted if I got caught between rocks, my right foot cramped while we maneuvered the most dangerous part of the hike and after 4 miles my feet felt tingly. I was not aware of the conditions of this particular trail and certainly not prepared. The next day I went to Sportsman's and purchased a pair of Merrells. It was important to me that they are lightweight and not clunky, but with enough support and good grip. We are planning on a 10 mile hike at Big Basin Redwoods very soon and I used the last 2 days to break in my new hiking shoes. Yesterday's hike brought us 30 south of San Francisco, a small ocean town called Half Moon Bay. F7DD48B3059B55E79756714BD5A6E321.jpg Driving along Highway 1 was beautiful , the curvy road runs alongside the rugged coastline. Several coastal towns speck the area, with plenty of beachy hotels and restaurants. Our destination was the Half Moon Beach State Park, located behind the dunes of the beach, providing some protection for the campers. That's right! You can park your RV here, to reserve a spot go online to Reserve California and pull up Half Moon. Oceanview sites $65 per night, $55 for the other rows - Electric only! To dry camp there is a fee of $35 per night. Dump station, fresh water and bath house are available. F7DE54D1EAA7B3EFFFA97E20B25317D7.jpg 20190412_143752.jpg
A paved trail snakes along the beach, wide enough for bikers as well. It is 2.4 miles to the end or 4.8 miles to return back to the parking lot. Along the way are benches, a couple more bath houses and of course the beach if you want to chill for a while. 20190412_151134.jpg 20190412_151938.jpg q
F7DC0B57B549189F54220D1CB58E5B8F.jpg Our 10 year old son was pretty worn out and our stomachs were growling. It was time to drive to the marina and check out some restaurants. We decided on Peruvian and ordered the biggest burrito I have ever seen. 20190414_092144.jpg
It was stuffed with rice, steak , fried egg, tomatoes, onions and French fries - everything but the kitchen sink. After our tummies were full, we had to walk off some of the food at the marina. We met a longtime live aboard, who owns several boats in that marina and got some very useful information about the slip fees and about upcoming boats for sale. F7DB7E0FD69A11D4768AB9706116C705.jpg We still feel very drawn to the ocean and always return to harbors and marinas. Half Moon Bay marina is a Fisherman's delight, equipped with heavy machinery to unload your catch, full hookup to live on your vessel, restaurants within walking distance, a RV lot for dry camping and a little shopping mall. I could totally dock my boat here and eat fresh crab straight off of fisherman Joe's vessel. The atmosphere was relaxing and totally laid back. That's how I like it! IMG_20190413_091717_958.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 02:22 Comments (0)

Hiking Napa's Vaca mountain

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

F1EBCDF8CA21012B1500E8DEE6B91FE2.jpg Only a stunning 45 minute ride from Travis AFB where you will cross from Sonoma into Napa county. A massive dam constructed by Monticello divides the counties and keeps Lake Berryessa from draining too quickly. A huge drain hole was constructed to allow better flow, should the lake rise too high. Well, after California's seven year drought, the rainfall from December until now filled up all reservoirs and the spillways are overflowing. It's been years since this phenomenon occurred and we had to see the Glory hole with our own eyes. F1EB2D5505911B2E11B67AE430B46C4E.jpg Yes, we got lucky. A steady downpour of water gushes several feet down the hole, which some call " hell" with tremendous power. People travel from all over to catch a glimpse and snap a photo through metal fencing.
F1E79B3BC1B2E94C1BC255DE3B7DB8EF.jpg Not too far from the Glory Hole is a fantastic hiking trail. I did not see a sign visible from the road indicating a hiking trail, but the flow of hikers emerging from an opening of a wood line made it clear. We parked amongst a cluster of vehicles, filled up our camel bags and rucks with snacks, locked the truck and followed the crowd. First off, you have to cross the creek to get on the trail. Usually the creek is dry extremely low, but since the rain we had to pay closer attention. No big deal, really. 20190407_132404.jpg We decided to follow the Blue Ridge Trail, approximately 2.75 mile hike with an incline of about 1800 feet. Some areas of the trail were steep, but easy to manage going up, no rocks or boulders to climb. A good hour later we reached the top, amazed by the absolute stunning views onto Lake Berryessa. F1E9F6879309F1E6FA78A202FECC6917.jpg F1E965CFE352D86C5D7FD608538D9BE3.jpg We found a nice area with flat boulders to sit on, unpacked our snacks and took a well deserved break. Once we rested enough we had to make a decision to either go left, the same way we just came up on or to turn right and see where it will lead. We decided on the latter and followed the ridge line on top of the mountain range. F1E8DBB8B200E0981D269D05F58E875E.jpg F1E83E2C04C688BD094FDCFECE4F92D6.jpg We still had amazing views onto the lake for another half of a mile until the terrain became rockier and more strenuous. We were literally wedged in between boulders or scooting past steep drop offs at times..I am terrified of heights and faced one of my greatest fears, ultimately causing my right foot to cramp as I maneuvered my way along the peak. I knew that my fear and my lack of water caused my body to seize up and I had to focus on making it back down safely. Just thinking about that situation has be breaking out in sweat. IMG_20190408_090542_682.jpg
I happen to wear the right tank top for this hike, because "the struggle is real" when you hike Blue Ridge Trail.
Well, after what seemed to be forever, we finally came to a less dangerous and less steep decline that turned into a safer trail. We stood at a fork in the trail and had to make the right decision- Homestead trail or Annie trail. We chose Homestead to the left, praying it would tie back to base, where we started. As we looked down into the Valley, it appeared as if we were going even further away from our final destination and began to question our decision. Thankfully some hikers came from that direction and we asked if we are going in the right direction. "Yes, only 2.5 more miles." Whaaat! We were already worn out, had hiked a good 3 hours and running low on water. The downward descend in the wooded area was much better, with plenty of limbs to hold onto. Once we were on the bottom of the mountain and the trail leveled out our feet were happy to step onto flat surface again. A big moral booster was the Creek that we had to cross. We refilled our camel bag with fresh cold spring water and finished our last mile before reaching trail end. 20190407_160455.jpg FB44C654D6A4BABD7032626CFFBC025E.jpg
This hike was absolutely amazing! Next time I want to wear hiking shoes, not running shoes.I was not aware of the condition of this trail and recommend shoes with good track. Also, we will increase our water supply and add a couple of pouches of electrolytes to mix in with the water. To prevent from cramping, I will make sure to use magnesium, calcium and potassium supplements with a protein and vitamin rich meal, before hitting the trail. Oranges, apples, bananas and honey sticks for a quick boost and natural sugar spike will be our go to snacks to keep us going- oh and don't forget some nuts. Until then- happy hiking!
My husband captured way better pictures of the Glory hole. Check it out 8294.jpeg 8293.jpeg

PS. Thanks for the kind comments. I really appreciate it! Keep on blogging @katieshevlin62, can't wait to read your adventures.

Posted by Meike Carter 10:37 Comments (0)

Rving, Sailing or backpacking ...can't decide

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

90_20181230_140058.jpg With less than two months left in California until college classes are done, the question,"what next?" comes up more frequently. We have been researching for several years, originally planning to sail the oceans, but that idea kept getting put onto the back burner. We had too many unfinished projects, houses and businesses to take care of, which kept us landlocked. After Tony's retirement almost 3 years ago, we focused on our daughter's college education,which she started at age 16. We agreed to stay in Georgia until she finished her 2nd year of college, as well as highschool at the same time. She decided to join the Air Force to continue her education and learn a new job field in Cyber Security. We were thrilled that she decided on a path and heartbroken at the same time.
Our firstborn flew out of the nest to start her new chapter in life. In the meantime we sold our retirement home, rented an apartment for Michelle and spent months in Kentucky to work on our rental house. We had to move into our completely destroyed rental house and live in our construction zone for over a year. 20180816_191339.jpg By then we put off our dream to sail the ocean and we wondered if a travel trailer would be a better option. We went to the Miami boat show and found our dream catamaran, a gorgeous Bali Lagoon 4.5. The problem was that she came with a pricetag of about $400.000, way out of our budget. We continued taking trips to Florida, chasing our dream tent camping. One night laying in my sleeping bag in the tent, pitched at Long Key State Park, I was so restless. The traffic noise wouldn't stop all night and rats were trying to chew their way into our tent. It was time to find a more secluded and less rat infested area. We headed further south to Key West to Sigsbee, a military campground. Just out of curiosity we checked the bulletin board to see what RV were for sale by owner. A 27 ft. Grand Surveyor was listed for sale and was set up ready to view just a few feet from where we were standing. We knocked on the door and the owners were more than happy to show us the travel trailer. It had everything we wanted and we were able to negotiate the price and paid cash right on the spot. It all happened so fast and two days later we moved into a completely furnished RV. The site was paid up through the week, sheets, towels, pots, silverware and more included. We were ecstatic and could not believe our luck.This turned into our first Florida vacation in a home on wheels and we took that Grand Surveyor to the Emerald Coast several times. 20180827_200307.jpg We loved to have the creature comforts of home while traveling, but still a sailboat seemed more exciting and we realized quickly that the 27 travel trailer was a bit cramped for a family of four. We were getting pretty wrapped up with the remodel of our Kentucky house and finally sold it, which checked of another obstacle, from freely traveling, of the list. We sold all our furniture and put the rest into storage after closing of the Kentucky house. Completely relieved we headed towards the East coast to South Carolina, in hopes of finding our boat. 20181126_164704.jpg Instead we purchased a 40 foot Winnebago Journey Motorhome and traveled from coast to coast. We have been in California since December of 2018, collecting BAH for college. While it drives us crazy being stationary, it did come with benefits. We paid of all our bills that accumulated while remodeling not just one but 2 houses(yes, the Texas house needed some minor work too) .
Anyway, we paid of our debt and saved up a good portion as a down payment for a catamaran, should we find the right one for the right price. We are still chasing our dream, working towards it, while completing unfinished business. Lately I have been wondering if a nice long hike will help clear my mind. Should we settle down, buy property and a house, should we continue traveling in our RV (which keeps us landlocked) or should we go all in and explore the open ocean? Or maybe we will hike the PCT or the Camino de Santiago? So many options until the end of May. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure. It feels pretty good to check off items on the list in order to gain freedom. Until then, safe travels! 20181222_165309.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 10:33 Comments (0)

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