California trip Spring 2019 - Desert, Mountains, and Trees

The main reason for Katie and my trip to California was for her photography business. She had an engagement photo shoot scheduled near San Diego. She typically likes to do these shoots at sunset and sunrise and this trip included both with a 4.5 hour drive in between. Needless to say, a great deal of time in the car and little sleep was planned for this trip.

We ended day 2 in San Diego with the sunset photo shoot at a cliff a little north of San Diego. It was a beautiful spot with hang gliders and a black beach down below. Katie and the couple followed a trail across the top of the cliff, down a steep path that included a small slot canyon and a rope to rappel to the beach below. Check out Katie’s blog about her shoot for more details:

I stayed at the top and enjoyed watching the hang gliders and an interesting sky. It was a cloudy evening so no red sunset, but the sun coming through the clouds every once in while was spectacular. As I was sitting there waiting for them, I heard a large splash in the ocean and looked out to see a whale. I got to watch him for awhile as he headed out further in the ocean. I even saw him come completely out of the water one time. Fantastic way to spend an evening. Unfortunately, he was too far away to capture in a picture.



Katie finished the shoot and we got on the road around 8 PM. The GPS said we would get to our motel in Alabama Hills at 12:15 AM. Unfortunately, we were delayed with an accident and construction and didn’t get there until 1:30 AM. We quickly got ready for bed and set the alarm for 5:30 AM so we would be at the shoot by 6. A few hours later, we woke to discover beautiful mountains outside that we totally missed arriving in the middle of the night.

While Katie did her shoot, I wondered around the rocks and enjoyed the sunrise hitting the mountains. They started the shoot in the dessert and ended it at the trailhead to Mount Whitney summit. It was absolutely stunning and I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so tired and didn’t have a cold.

Our initial plans were to head up to Yosemite after the shoot but we discovered the roads were still closed for the winter from that side. So we decided to go to Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks instead. It took another 5 hour drive to get there so I slept for awhile in the car. I guess I missed some great scenery and Red Rock Canyon on the way. At that point, the nap was more important to me. We ended the day driving through the 2 national parks, then the Sequoia national forest before we stopped for the night. Words cannot describe the beauty we saw that day so hopefully the pictures tell it well:

Stay tuned for the next blog covering our last two days touring the California coastline, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.