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Yosemite

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Yosemite has been amazing! From the moment you drive in, you cant help but be in awe. This national park is the most majestic we have visited, truly a place of beauty. Its hard to describe the feeling we get when we visit a place like this, its a child like excitement and wonder mixed with extreme joy. Nothing keeps our spirt alive more than discovering and exploring a new place, something about the experience just brings out the best in us. 

We drove into Yosemite via the Eastern Tioga Pass Entrance, which takes you through an amazing mountain range and alpine lakes. From Tioga Pass we made our way through the park to Yosemite Village to find our camp for the night. We could have spent days driving in on this road, stopping and exploring the whole way in. There are so many valleys and peaks to explore, after spending some time walking around some of the crystal clear lakes, we climbed to the top of one rock, which rewarded us with the most magical view of the park. 

That night we scored a great site right on the edge campground, giving us a lovely view of the forest. This park is in bear territory so it is important to keep any food or scented stuff in the bear lockers. As we unloaded our gear and set up for dinner we joked about the bears and thought its probably all hype to scare the tourists. Five minutes later we sat down for dinner and about 20m away in the trees something caught our eye. A black bear! We both turned and watched this magical creature walk past us. It was a surreal moment as it was the first time either of us had seen a wild bear. Thank goodness he wasn't interested in our vegetable stew, or us for that matter. 

The next morning we set out ready for a day of exploring and stairs... 600 stairs! For some reason we thought it would be fun to spend hours walking up many, many stairs. It was fun, until we couldn't stop our legs from shaking and had to rest every few steps haha good times. But every rest was a good opportunity to take in the amazing views around us. Our hike took us to the top of Vernal Falls and just past that, Emerald Pool, where we sat for a very long time before we dared tackle the 600 stair decent. What an amazing spot to rest up, have our lunch and watch some squirrels, definitely worth it.   

Before leaving Yosemite we took the morning to walk around the valley. What an amazing experience to gaze up at the towering El Capitan and half dome, some of the most famous rocks to climb. A drive up to Glacier Point is also a must, you get the most spectacular and different view of the valley. You can really see how the glacier forged its way through, to form this amazing place. It was hard to leave Yosemite, we could have stayed for another week, there is just so much to see and do here. But what an amazing few days we had, we are so happy that we made it here and got to experience this magical part of the world.

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Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park

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Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park has the most amazing campground. We were blown away by the beauty of this place and could not stop exploring. The campground has several sites on the river, amongst the redwoods. It is a very peaceful place, you can just sit for hours taking it all in. We kept expecting a bear to walk out of the forest and start fishing in the river, that would have been amazing. We could have stayed here for weeks, it is definitely on our list of places to return to. 

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Fern Canyon

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Giant ferns cover the 40-50ft high walls, large red frogs chilling on the rocks and some very bright orange mushrooms make for a visual treat, as you walk through Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. As we walked deeper into the canyon we felt as though we were in some prehistoric world, which is probably why they filmed some scences from Jurassic Park: The lost world here. It is a magical place, unlike anything we had seen before. Another amazing memory!

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Northern California

After our time in San Francisco, we headed North for the Soma Coast. On the way we stopped at Guerneville, home to a beautiful redwood forest. These are some of our favourite trees and after being in the city it was so nice to be back in nature. When we hit the Soma Coast, it was amazing to see such a rugged coastline. There were large rock sections you could walk out on and feel the power of the waves, see the wildlife and feel the sea breeze. As we ventured North the towns started to get smaller and fewer and far between, tourists became less and less and good coffee got harder and harder to find hehe. 

The next day we spent the morning in Trinidad, a small fishing town with a magical coastline and cute cafe's. There was something surreal about the view of the ocean from Trinidad, if felt like a different world. As we continued North we fell in love with the houses that lined the coast, definitely a beautiful place to live. But nothing compares to the brilliant sights we were in for at the Redwood National and State Parks.

When we arrived at the Southern tip of the Redwood Parks, which is made up of serval National and State parks, we were in heaven. This is a magical part of the world, we have never seen forest like this and it blew us away. You are surrounded by some of the tallest trees in the world, trees that can reach up to 113m and survive for hundreds, some thousands of years. These spectacular trees have a way of making you feel so small but so special at the same time. A beautiful memory we will cherish forever and a place we would highly recommend exploring. 

Lovely lighthouse on the Soma Coast.

Jonny exploring the rugged Soma Coast.

We wouldn't drive more than 20mins without seeing a beautiful stream or walking track to explore. This place was one of our favourite discoveries. 

Loved seeing this old couple still exploring.

Driving through the Avenue of the Giants.

Jonny dwarfed by the 35ft base of a giant redwood tree.

A beautiful house overlooking the Soma Coast.

Jess documenting our adventures through the redwoods.

Love the colours this time of year.

Exploring the Avenue of the Giants.

We drove past this amazing place and couldn't help but take a moment, to take it all in.

A fallen giant redwood. 

Jess and the giant.

Our first Elk sighting. 

The amazing Soma Coast.

A cute store in Trinidad. 

Our home for the night.

Waking up in nature, nothing better! 

A beautiful view from the town of Trinidad.

Who thought giant trees would be so amazing. We'll never forget the day we drove through the Avenue of the giants, one of the most beautiful experiences. 

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San Francisco

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San Francisco is a wonderful city. There is so much to see, but when you only have one day, its hard to choose what to do. To avoid the traffic we caught the ferry across to the famous Pier 39, on our way we saw Alcatraz and the amazing Golden Gate Bridge. Our first stop was to see the seals, which have taken over and made the pier their home. They smell disgusting but you could stand there all day and watch them, they are hilarious. We loved walking around the harbour, it has such a cool vibe. There are boats, seafood galore, buskers, markets and souvenir shops. After a morning on the water, we headed into the city. San Fran has some amazing architecture, beautifully designed town houses and apartment buildings, very different from anything we have back in Australia. We explored Haight St, where we found some yummy coffee and some very cool street art. This area has such an eclectic mix, it was great for people watching. We explored to the very last minute and had to make a mad taxi dash back to catch our ferry. But our lovely driver was able to drive us down the famous Lombard St, which is the crazy windy one, which was actually a lot of fun. It was such an awesome day, we love mixing up going to National Parks with trips to the city, but we are always ready to get back to nature after the hustle and bustle. The outdoors is definitely where our hearts feel at home.     

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Santa Cruz

After an amazing few days exploring Big Sur we have arrived in Santa Cruz, home to world famous surf break, Steamer Lane. What a treat to see this wave pumping, it is an amazing point break that offers surfers barrels and super long rides. It was also amazing to see the amount of wildlife that hang out at this break. (Enough shark bait to put us off jumping in the water) There was a whole pack of sea lions sitting on a rock not 50 meters away from the break and these curious creatures would regularly pop up to say hello to the surfers. We even saw some otters, probably the cutest creatures ever, swimming across the break. It was so much fun sitting up on the rocks watching the surfers and wildlife play in the ocean.

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Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest is a part of Big Sur. On this gorgeous stretch of coast line we found a hike that led us high into the mountains and down to the beach. We got the most beautiful views of the ocean and found our own little cluster of redwoods. We love finding hikes that lead you away from the crowds and let you feel as if you are 100miles away from everything. There's nothing more freeing than looking in every direction and not seeing one building, one person, one car... Just you and the great outdoors. 

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