“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” - John Muir
There’s a tangible electricity in California that can be mostly be attributed to the panoramic views of surreal cliffs jutting out over the sparkling Pacific. The Highway 1 drive is one that every American should do in their lifetime. The rush of adrenaline this state offers seems to go deeper than the oceans and cliffs, however. There’s still a sense of discovery to be had, and if you trace the history back to the concept of “Manifest Destiny,” you might have a better understanding of why.
L.A. and its surrounding neighborhoods undulate a certain heartbeat of our nation, a heartbeat full of hope and talent. When traveling even further from the metropolitan areas of L.A. and San Francisco, that feeling expands into nature itself, and it’s not hard to imagine why Teddy Rosevelt and John Muir fell deeply in love with the woods of California.
Starting at Joshua Tree, we headed north through the Tassajara valley, stopping spontaneously at a zen center nestled in the mountains before eventually making our way to Yosemite. We found dispersed camping for the night and avoided the crowds by waking up early to complete all 17 miles of the notorious Half Dome hike by 4pm. Never before had I experienced such a rush of adrenaline and a sense of spirituality from the land itself. From the Dr. Seuss-esque backcountry of Joshua Tree to the majestic redwoods of Northern California, not to mention the entire cliff-lined coast in between, there is much to be discovered right here on our very own Western Coast.