This was taken right from my backyard at the time – I could actually see the mama bear from my living room and ran out onto our dock to get this shot. It seemed like she was gone in seconds. Her cubs were shy and hiding in the bushes. I spent the next year running out to the dock anytime I heard or saw anything. Most of the time it was my neighbor’s black lab going for a swim. I never spotted the bears again! Sometimes the most special moments happen unexpectedly and aren’t meant to be repeated.
Having lived in Yosemite, I had witnessed the lunar rainbow a few times before this. It usually only occurs during spring runoff and during the full moon, so a road trip from Tahoe has to be timed perfectly. I’ve gone on this adventure a couple of times, once leaving after work and shooting the moonbow in the early morning hours, and then hitting the road back home after a few hours of sleep. This trip turned out worthwhile, and very memorable.
You would think that a night owl would avoid sunrise at all costs, especially the earliest sunrise of the year on solstice morning! Somehow, the night before, I convinced my husband that we should go to Bristlecone Beach for sunrise and then we’d be able to hit the mountain bike trails at Tahoe XC before everyone else! This time, I wasn’t the only one with a crazy idea and got to meet some wonderful photographers who came all the way from Reno just for the sunrise. The lupines do look gorgeous, but some years Bristlecone boasts two-to-three times as many than seen here. You have to check it out!
Ahh, this was the morning light I got out of bed at 4 a.m. for! The sun rose behind the clouds, but there was a small break that created this wonderful glow on the lupines.
8) Tunnel View and storm clouds in Yosemite National Park
Often times, our spring trips to Yosemite are my first time out of ski boots in months. The flip-flops come out and the re-learning to walk on a trail without tripping over myself ensues. This year was different though; I’d been hiking almost all winter and my ski boots looked a bit sad. So, why not hike from Wawona to Yosemite Valley (~25 miles) in a day? It’s most often done as an overnight backpack, but I took that as a challenge. Luckily, I have wonderful people who agree to join me on such adventures, even when the forecast is for rain. We lucked out and had these amazing and beautiful clouds, but not a drop of rain.
I am approaching ten years in Tahoe and had never heard of Fort Churchill State Park. But I’d heard of a cave near Fallon that sounded worth checking out and figured there must be something else to explore as well. The Great Basin is amazing – abandoned forts, the Emigrant Trail, caves, tufa (a type of limestone that Mono Lake is well-known for), petroglyphs, pictographs and a rich history! I had planned to catch sunset at Fort Churchill but I was too late and, although disappointed to miss it, the sunrise more than made up for it. The fort, which was used to protect early settlers (and the Pony Express route) from 1861-1870 is located in a desolate and dusty valley (to this day). We were the only ones crazy enough to be out there, but were treated to this glow of the sun streaming through the window of an old barracks.
Joby Gorillapod Camera Tripod
Dakine Sequence Photo Backpack
Rachel Arst McCullough is an avid runner, hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, yogi and skier living in Truckee, CA. She’s always up for an outdoor challenge and is willing to put in the hard work to tell you all about the process, learning experience, and adventure, even if it didn’t go quite as planned!