Thank YOU!

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I’ve had a goal of reaching 2000 followers on my “newish” blog for a few months, and I reached it today! Yiiiha!!! THANK YOU!!
The whole purpose with my blog is to inspire, and get inspired by fellow photographers around the world. Feel free to get inspired, and share your wisdom. It’s free and will always be.

 

The photo above is a rescued mountain lion, residing at Animal Ark, Reno (NV.) Mountain Lion, predator common in North America’s wilderness areas. Also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

My daughter and I visited the park when they opened for the season, this past weekend. If you’re in Reno, it’s well worth the 30 min drive out to Animal Ark to see, and support the rescued wild animals they care for. The park is very well maintained, and the experience is unforgettable. They currently have a 7 months old tiger cub, (photos to come,) the cutest, most playful thing I ever seen!!

Have an awesome week!!

Yours,

Maria

 

Amazing Places in Northern California: Lassen National Forest, And Lassen Volcanic National Park

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I’m starting the new year, with a brand new series of blog posts; Amazing Places in Northern California

Northern California, is definitely one of my favorite areas in the whole world. For good reasons, it features some of the most spectacular nature; ranging from the Pacific Ocean, to deep forests, amazing parks, exciting trails, big rivers, and some really unique small towns. The wide open spaces, and the ever present mountains, are naturally two major factors that attracts me to the area. My first post was about  Clover Creek Preserve

In my second post I took you for a peaceful stroll in Anderson River Park.

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Yesterday I gave you a little teaser from a road trip we took last weekend. Leaving you with one photo, as a clue of where the next post in the series is going to take you. There was many good guesses of where I might have been. One was right!

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We started our trip in Redding (CA.) We took the 44 East, passing the interesting little town Shingletown, (could definitely be a blog post of its own.) Further east we passed the tiny town of Viola. After that the landscape started to change, at about the same time as we entered Lassen National Forest. There was no snow before this point, but it was obvious that it been snowing a lot here the past 24 hours (thankful to be in a big 4×4 truck.)

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If you drive the 44 from Redding (CA,) towards Susanville (Ca,) the road takes you through Lassen National Forest. You have Lassen Peak, and Lassen Volcanic National Park on your right side. I love hiking here in the summer. The landscape certainly looks very different during winter. If you, like me, love to explore wilderness areas, the opportunities are endless. You can either take the main entrance to Lassen Volcanic National Park, or there’s a number of gravel roads (probably a good idea to only take them with a 4×4 vehicle,) that offers unlimited access to spectacular nature.

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It’s wise to watch the local weather advisory before heading out. Sometimes during winter some of the roads are closed. This is a very popular area for snowshoeing, sledding, and backcountry skiing/snowboarding. There are some guided snowshoeing tours that you can join. Besides that you are on your own. This is a wild, rugged country.

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My dog Maverick had the time of his life.

 

Be prepared, ”better safe than sorry”, is a good motto. Wear clothes in layers, the weather can change faster than you blink. I would recommend bringing water proof clothes. It’s avalanche country (at the moment there is no service providing avalanche forecasts here.) There are super cool hydrothermal springs in the park, that is an experience of a lifetime, be cautious to not get too close!! Common sense goes a long way.

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Hot steam coming out of a fumarole (steam vent.) One of the geothermal features you can see in the park.

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During this trip we did not stay the night, but it is possible to get a permit for winter camping in the back country. I definitely want to try that! I bet the stars are extremely bright here. The weather was around 18 degrees Fahrenheit in the park. The elevation vary depending on where in the park you are. We stayed at around 5000ft. Even during cold weather it’s critical to bring water, and to remember to drink. It’s easy to get dehydrated when exercising on higher elevation.

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Hot spring, with boiling hot water coming out. Best time to view the hot springs is when the snow melts (April/May.) There’s a lot of volcanic activity, and several hot springs in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

 

If you’re heading out in the wilderness, don’t rely exclusively on the GPS in your phone. You might have reception, but bringing a map/compass, and knowing how to use them is good safety thinking. If you want to invest around $100 in a good system for your backcountry trips, I recommend getting a Garmin GPS. I’m not sponsored by them, I just like the product, and find it reliable. It takes some commitment to learn how to use it, but after that the map will tell you every feature worth knowing about the land (except the weather.) If you accidentally walk into private land, the GPS will tell you that as well. (After investing in the GPS, you can, relatives cheap, buy maps by state. If you’re planning a trip to Montana for example, you put a Montana map in your GPS.)

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Is it dangerous place? It could be if you’re not prepared. It does’t have to be. Is it worth a visit? YES!

Lassen National Forest is a magical place that I could spend the rest of my life exploring, without getting bored. The air is clean and crisp, summer and winter. The trees, mountains, and wildlife makes me feel free. It has everything. I remember from previous trips that the food at the visitor center was great as well! Actually, when my daughter was 9 months old, she experienced snow here for the very first time.

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May 2013, my daughter experience snow for the first time. Photo taken outside the visitor center, at Lassen Volcanic National Park.
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Selfie with my daughter, during a previous visit (May 2013.)

 

After a lot of fun in the snow, we took another way back to Redding. We took a backroad from the 44, passing Burney Mountain, towards the 299.

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This road was tricky (and a whole lot of fun!) It was one of those roads where you have to make sure your tongue is in the right place, and not in between your teeth. Do you know what I’m talking about? I could not stop to take pictures at places that definitely was picture worthy.

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It was challenging to stay on the road, and not get stuck. In the beginning of the drive it was a lot of snow. As we came higher up, towards Burney Mountain, there was almost no snow. We passed some places that was badly damage by forest fires. We arrived to the 299, in Burney, without any incidents. The drive back to Redding was relaxing, and beautiful.

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I love road trips! For me it’s not a question about if I’m going back, but rather when? Do you wanna go?

Love & Light,

Maria

PS. The photos in todays posts are taken during several visits to Lassen National Forest, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. I took photo 1-4, 6, 14-16 last weekend, the rest of the photos are from previous adventures.

PS2. Do you like going to incredible places? Be awesome and press the subscribe button below the comment section, and I’ll take you there!