Monthly Archives: June 2019

06-15-19 – Alabama Hills National Scenic Area



The Alabama Hills are a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine in Inyo County, California, United States. Though geographically separate from the Sierra Nevada, they are part of the same geological formation.

The Alabama Hills are managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. The area is managed as a protected habitat for public enjoyment. In March 2019, the US congress, as part of the California Deserts Wilderness Act, redesignated the area as the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area

04-26-19 to 05-05-19 – Tahiti, French Polynesia



Ia Orana! I took my first real vacation in 3 years, deciding to turn 50 in beautiful Tahiti. I stayed in Papeete on the island of Tahiti, but also spent my birthday in an over-water bungalow in Huahine, and also spent a day on Moorea. Thanks to my host family (maruuru!), I got to visit many cultural and natural sights, tried a lot of native food, and despite spending the week sweating, had a wonderful time, living as both a tourist and native.

French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France, comprises more than 100 islands in the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000km. Divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos, they’re known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalow hotels. Island features include white- and black-sand beaches, mountains, rugged backcountry and towering waterfalls.

04-03-19 Wildflower Wander


I played hooky for a mid-week sojourn to view the California Super Bloom without the overwhelming crowds. There were still a LOT of people, but the flowers were beautiful! I started out with a scenic drive to Carrizo Plain National Monument, wandered over to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve, and wrapped up the day with a hike in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.

The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed grassland plain, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long and up to 15 miles (24 km) across, in southeastern San Luis Obispo County, California, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles. It contains the 246,812-acre (99,881 ha) Carrizo Plain National Monument, and it is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It includes Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain Rock Art Discontiguous District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012 it was further designated a National Historic Landmark due to its archeological value. The San Andreas Fault cuts across the plain.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a state-protected reserve of California, USA, harboring the most consistent blooms of California poppies, the state flower. The reserve is located in the rural west side of Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, 15 miles (24 km) west of Lancaster. The reserve is at an elevation ranging from 2,600 to 3,000 feet (790 to 910 m) above sea level, in the Mojave Desert climate zone. The reserve is administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Other wildflowers within the reserve include the owl’s clover, lupine, goldfields, cream cups and coreopsis.

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is a 932-acre (377-hectare) park located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northern Los Angeles County, California. It is located in the town of Agua Dulce, between the suburbs of Santa Clarita and Palmdale. The area is also visible from the Antelope Valley Freeway (State Route 14).