Lion slide Falls | Swimming Hole Adventure

Lion slide Falls | Swimming Hole Adventure

There is debate on what this waterfall is actually called. Lion Slide Falls or Hatchet Creek Falls. I decided to go with Lion Slide because it sounds way cooler than the other. You decide.

Backpacking Finger Lake | John Muir Wilderness

Backpacking Finger Lake | John Muir Wilderness

Finger lake is an unknown gem that gets over looked because of its popular neighbor, the 7 lakes loop which includes second lake and temple crag is known to fill summer quotas early in the season. If you know me well, I like my solitude and go where its not busy. I do extensive research looking for stunning yet relatively unknown places to go. Finger Lake is one of those places. Mind you, this hike is not a walk in the park but the reward of witnessing this small and narrow turquoise blue lake, palisades ridge towering over the lake, and view middle palisade glacier, is well worth the struggle.

Backpacking Minaret Lake | In the Shadows of the Minarets

Backpacking Minaret Lake | In the Shadows of the Minarets

I have been envisioning the Minarets for years now. I remember the first time I discovered them via Google Maps, I knew I had to go. The question was when? Finally the time for the trip came. I reserved the wilderness permits months prior to the October trip date. Usually later in the year, the Sierras can get wild and weather patterns change in the matter of minutes. I knew it was going to be chilly but I could not pass up this opportunity.

Balloon Dome | Finding Half Domes Sister

Nestled deep in the Sierra National Forest hidden from the average tourist, away from the hussle and bussle of everyday city life, lies Balloon Dome.  I dubbed it "Half Dome's Sister" from the original Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Only the true adventure enthusiasts will make the effort to witness untouched beauty that rivals many in the National Parks you see today.  Balloon Dome stand 6879 tall with a killer steep gorge which the San Joaquin River rushes through. We could hear the cascades all day and night.

 balloon dome, california, half dome, sister, sierra national forest, ansel adams wilderness, bushwacking, solitude, camping, tent, rei

After I discovered this place online through google maps, I spent hours and multiple days researching about this hidden gem.  There is very little information about this area so I knew this was going to be a bushwacking adventure. There is an overgrown trail that leads to a bridge, however it does not lead to a summit where I wanted to camp and soak in the views very few have witnessed before. 

 balloon dome, california, half dome, sister, sierra national forest, ansel adams wilderness, bushwacking, solitude, camping, tent, rei, half dome plus 2 ten

We drove over 5 hours from our home in Vacaville, California which led us deep into the national forest. The closest town is Oakhurst which is roughly 30 miles away. After you head into the forest, there is one town to get some food which is called Jones Store. Nothing but roads and more side roads after that so this last minute stop will ensure you have everything you need. I found it weird that in the middle of the national forest there was private property with a small village of cabins near here. Many of their backyards were meadows. I need to move here ASAP!

Once we made it down the sketchy 4x4 5S84 road to the Cassidy Trailhead, we got everything set up and started our hike. The beginning takes you over the Granite Creek bridge and then you head right into the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Sierra National Forest. There is a quota for overnight camping of course so make sure you get your backcountry permit if you are staying overnight. I embedding the route we took to reach the summit of an unknown peak. It is short but half the hike was off trail. Once we made it to the top, it was well worth the research, time put in, and the hike to enjoy the incredible views. 

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One downfall of this was it was very foggy, we had about 20 minutes total visibility to view Balloon Dome then the fog would roll in. It stayed until we woke up in the morning. I set up a time-lapse to capture the insane cloud movements

 balloon dome, california, half dome, sister, sierra national forest, ansel adams wilderness, bushwacking, solitude, camping, tent, rei

TIPS:

1. Ensure you have a 4x4 vehicle heading the road down to Cassidy trail. If not you will extending your hike 5+ miles most likely.

2. If you are looking to summit Balloon Dome, at around 9-10 miles you can make it in a day and back. Do a little more research and you will find a trail online to give you guidance on how to do so.

3. Plenty of creeks for refilling your water. Just stay away from the stagnant pools in my opinion.

4. Bears are prominent in the area. Hike at your own risk. Bring a bear canister as well.

5.  If you want to have a camp fire make sure there are no restrictions on the National Forrest website.

Chasing sunrise | Bryce Canyon National Park

Chasing sunrise | Bryce Canyon National Park

Since I picked up a camera back in September of 2015, I've always been fascinated with Bryce Canyon National Park. It may be small in size but the views are incredibly vast. Located just 50 miles away from Zion National park in the southwestern part of Utah. Elevation at the rim varies between 8,000 and 9,000 feet. Even though it is not a canyon, Bryce is known for its amphitheaters of hoodoos that have been formed over millions of years of erosion.

Backpacking Eagle Peak | Yosemite National Park

Backpacking Eagle Peak | Yosemite National Park

John Muir considered the view from Eagle Peak "the most comprehensive view of all the views" from the north wall. Standing at an elevation of 7783 ft and is the highest of The Three Brothers. 

Rock Creek Swimming Hole | Natures' waterslide

Rock Creek Swimming Hole | Natures' waterslide

Located 40 miles east of Chico, California. Rock creek offers multiple swimming holes with a natural water slide. This spot is perfect for a nice day trip to a relatively secluded swimming hole. If you continue to explore deeper into the creek you'll be rewarded with more spots to swim and cascading falls.

Gods Bath Swimming Hole

Gods Bath Swimming Hole

Gods bath is located deep in the Stanislaus National Forest. The closest town is Sonora, California. I hope you do not get car sick, this drive is a very windy one! If you have to pick up snacks or use the restroom, I would recommend stopping somewhere in town before you venture off into the forest.

Bonneville Salt Falts

Bonneville Salt Falts

Hello world, It has been a while since my last post. I have been doing way too much exploring and traveling and not enough writing to tell you about my travels.  I recently just finished a 15 day, 5501-mile road trip across western America, Alberta, and British Columbia with my awesome and beautiful girlfriend Kelle (she started a new Instagram so go check her out and give her a follow) to commemorate our 1 year anniversary.  Last year we road tripped up to Oregon for 6 days so we thought, why the hell not and go bigger this time. That we did indeed.

6 Places to Explore in Berchtesgaden National Park

6 Places to Explore in Berchtesgaden National Park

I recently made a trip down to Berchtesgaden National Park, Southern Germany and I was in complete awe while i was there. The beautiful photos i researched online before I went does not compare to seeing it with your own two eyeballs.  If you are into nature, enjoy the beautiful sweeping mountains towering over beautiful lakes, or hiking then this is a must to add to your bucket list of places to travel to.

Interlaken, Switzerland | A City Between 2 Lakes

Interlaken, Switzerland | A City Between 2 Lakes

Interlaken is an adventure paradise that draws in all kinds of adventure junkies. A plethora of ski resorts dominates the landscape. If skiing is not your cup of tea then there is paragliding, skydiving, boat cruises, amazing hiking trails, alpine coasters, or simply exploring the area.

Neuschwanstein Castle | A Fairytale Palace Fit For a King

Neuschwanstein Castle | A Fairytale Palace Fit For a King

Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romanesque dramatic palace with lofty fairy tale towers. The palace served as a model for the Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland. Without a doubt, one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Germany.  Over 1.4 million visitors a year flock to this lavish castle.  You are thinking, just for a castle? Well, my friend, when you set eyes on this beauty then you will know why.  It is absolutely stunning and once you go inside for a tour, the attention to detail and the paintings on the walls are as magnificent as the exterior of the castle.

A Day in Brussels, Belgium

A Day in Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is an absolutely beautiful city. The architecture is amazing, the things to do and see, oh and the Belgian waffles were to die for.  If you ever make it here and only had one spot to check out, the Grand Place and get a Belgian waffle.

Capturing 50 reasons to hike Angels Landing

Capturing 50 reasons to hike Angels Landing

 Zion is an adventurer's paradise with tons of hiking, canyoneering, and sightseeing everywhere you go. Angels Landing was a hike we had to do along with a few others we had in mind. It is voted one of the most dangerous hikes in America. Danger you say? I like to live on the edge so why the hell not and defy death on this stunning yet dangerous hike?

Saarland Germany

Saarland Germany

As I'm typing this, I have an incredible view from the "Cloefe" viewpoint of the  Saar bow or Saarschliefe they like to call it. Basically, a beautiful horse bend of the Saar river. This is my first stop of exploring the state of Saarland.

Rhineland Germany

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I've been spending some time in Germany particularly the Rhineland-Palatinate state since late October and even though I am here for work, during my free time I try and explore the country as much as I can.  I haven't written in awhile but since I have been able to venture out and explore I can share with you some of my experiences so far in Germany.

If you have not been to Germany, I would highly recommend it. Pretty much everyone speaks some sort of English if you are like me and can't speak a lick of any foreign language, this helps. If you like history and castles, holy shit there are a bazillion of them and I haven't even scratched the surface! I remember driving along the beautiful Mosel river and I shit you not, within an hour drive I saw roughly 10-15 castles.  If there is an overlook of some sort then a coin flip chance there is a castle there.

This article is about a few spots I have been so far in the Rhineland (Rheinland) area which houses Ramstein Air Base.  So there are plenty of Americans in the area as well.

Eltz Castle

Eltz  Castle, unlike most castles along the Mosel river, is set a few kilometers away from the river basically in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful trees and a stream that borders the Castle as well. The day I went it was closed during winter. I have learned that all the cool things to do and see are closed during the winter. Don't expect to hop on a gondola in a city. I encountered that 3 times already. Anyways, Eltz Castle has probably been my favorite castle I have seen so far. It may not have the best views, but aesthetically it appealed me the most. Just look at it!

 

Cochem Castle

Cochem Castle is pretty badass. It has that medieval look which I always loved and it was sitting on top of a big hill in the middle of the valley next to the river. Driving up to it you have to drive through the small town of Cochem and then it's literally next to a middle school. I mean, it would be pretty sweet going to school next a beautiful castle. The only way into the castle is a 6 Euro tour that takes you through a few rooms and outside. I was not impressed with the tour because there were so many rooms we didn't get to check out. I did, however, buy an Atlas Sculpture I've been dying to get my hands on in the  gift shop they had there. It also is a cafe with bakery goods in case you are hungry.

Geierlay Suspension Bridge

Next up, Geierlay suspension Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in all of Germany and it recently just opened up in the beginning of October 2015. The bridge is in the middle of nowhere that connects Mosdorf and Sosberg.  The Bridge is over 360 meters long and 300 feet high. I have a feeling some adrenaline junkies will be bungee jumping from this bridge in the near future. To get to this sweet little bridge, you have to park in town at the link above which makes no sense.

Once you pay for parking, there is a store/cafe you can go into but guess what? it was closed when I arrived. Who would've thunk? After you explore the store and whatnot you just follow the signs which turn out to be roughly a 3 and a half mile hike to and from the bridge. There is a map that shows you the route so you can extend it if you please. If you do go, go early or very late. I got there around 9 a.m. and spent an hour taking photos with my new camera (Sony Alpha 7) and once I was leaving a group of 10 plus showed up. Ok, time to leave.

Bremm

Bremm Horseshoe Bend was another place I really enjoyed.  This was my first stop before I checked out the bridge. The small town of Bremm is surrounded by vineyards in the valley of the Mosel river. I consider it the "Napa Valley" of Germany. Very steep valleys of vineyards line the river for miles and miles.  I arrived at sunrise trying to find the photo-op I found online and let me tell you it was a fucking fiasco.

Bremm two

It's all about the journey to a place. This instance I went off roading, hiking in freezing weather and drove along the extremely steep narrow through the vineyards. One wrong move and I could have rolled down the hill in a fiery death. Ok, i had to be a little dramatic but it was pretty damn narrow and steep. Once you enter that road, there is no doing a 3-point turn. I had to back out about a half a mile after I got to my viewpoint "Calmont" I wanted which took over an hour driving through the mud and whatnot. Guess what? It's all worth it for that incredible view. That is what I am about and will conquer, the struggle for "that" view.

A few updates since last time I wrote is that I am here till April and recently upgraded cameras. I still have my GoPro as my right-hand man but also invested in the Sony Alpha 7 Mirrorless camera for more close up photos. I had the Sony a6000 for a few months but wanted a full frame and wow a huge difference. If you are looking for an excellent camera but can't afford the expensive ones I would go with the a6000. The ratings are through the roof and mirrorless cameras are the future of DSLR. Sorry Nikon and canon, take a back seat. If you have any questions about them feel free to get in contact with me. Until next time, Murica!

Seven falls swimming hole. Plumas National Forest, CA

Seven falls swimming hole. Plumas National Forest, CA

I have been on a mission to conquer the best swimming holes northern California has to offer. This adventure is about Seven falls not to be mistaken for the seven falls in Colorado Springs which is awesome by the way or seven falls in Santa Barbara. This swimming hole consisted of 7 plus waterfalls that plunge into their own swimming hole. Stunning emerald-green water, cliff jumping, and the roaring sounds of the waterfall was an incredible peaceful experience.

Donner Pass Summit Tunnel Hike | An Old Abandoned Railroad Trail.

Donner Pass Summit Tunnel Hike | An Old Abandoned Railroad Trail.

When do you ever get the chance to hike a tunnel? A tunnel that speaks volume of history and that allowed emigrants into California from the East. Yes, Donner Pass is named after the Donner Party. If you don't know anything about the Donner Party, click the link for a quick history lesson. I found out about this hike the night before, and immediately knew this was a must do hike! I did some research and the next morning I packed up Joose (my dog) and off we go, day trip with the pup