SoCal Getaways - Laguna Beach & Joshua Tree: Escaping the Bobcat Fire 2020
Updated: Jul 12
Last year generated collections of stories we will be telling the rest of our days here on planet Earth. I'm sure you used multiple emotion regulation strategies during the Covid Pandemic. I intentionally kept myself committed to engaging in enjoyable activities that brought me distraction and relief from the dread & hysteria. Being a Nurse during this past year disconnected me often from society, whilst it drew me to spending more time exploring California's terrain & fostering new creativity.
The most memorable activities involved my travel adventures during the time of the BOBCAT Fire. It was a fire that started on September 6, 2020 as part of the 2020 California wildfire season. By December 18, it was finally fully contained. It was one of the largest fires on record in Los Angeles County. The picture below was taken from the 4th floor of my apartment complex 14 days after it started.
The air quality in Pasadena the day I escaped was Moderate. I searched air quality reports, and most areas were either Moderate or Unhealthy. Finally, my search I landed along the Pacific Coast where the air quality was Good. I wanted to do anything to get away from the smoke. I was already fearful of being infected by Covid-19, and now was inhaling hazardous air? WTH? I had to get some relief any way I could.
8 days before my beach trip
It was time to drive away from the noxious smoke cloud and go towards fresh air. Laguna Beach was calling me. I hadn't traveled there before and really didn't know what the hype was about. WOW! I only wondered what it may have been like before the pandemic. What an incredible dreamy spot nestled on our southern Cali coastline. So many feels. The surrounding hills are so picturesque. You feel like you are in another dimension of reality when you're there. Your camera,your phone or your drone will never capture what your eyes can at this fantasy beach spot!
When you visit Laguna you'll notice the influence of art on the gorgeous community right away. Laguna's first art gallery opened in 1918. The art galleries are lined up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Unfortunately most of them were closed. I wonder if they've opened back up now. Did you know Laguna Beach was haven for hippies in the 60's & 70's?
Walking along Aliso beach exploded my reality of what beauty exists if we search for it. I enjoyed watching the skim-boarders show off. There were professional photographers out there shooting action shots. Looked easy, but I bet it's harder than surfing. Have you ever skim boarded? When you go to Laguna make sure to check out the rocky bluffs, and craggy canyons. What a sight to see!
Spots to visit in Laguna Beach
Hiking - Crystal Cove State Park & Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Tidepools - Thousand Steps, Divers Cove, Treasure Island, & Rockpile Beach
Surfing - Aliso Beach, Thalia Street Beach & Victoria Beach
Warning -- You might have a challenge finding beachfront real estate for less than 4 million dollars, but you'll find there are Airbnbs & Hotel rooms just a short walk from the beautiful Laguna shores from $116/night to $1,050/night.
I'm gonna drive us away from the beach now. I know, I know. It was a teaser. My next journey of escape was Joshua Tree National Park. If you haven't been to Joshua Tree it's worth traveling there even if you just stand in one place and look all around you for a few hours. Again, your devices won't be able to capture the majestic beauty your naked eyes will. First stop: a Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum installed by Noah Purifoy. He was a man that lived and worked most of his life in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree, California. He lived for the last 15 years of his life creating ten acres full of large-scale sculptures on the desert floor. He created the exhibit entirely from junked materials. It's really otherwordly & one of California’s great art historical wonders.
Joshua Tree is truly a mystical place. It is definitely one of the world’s most incredible natural desert treasures. Granite monoliths and voluptuous rock and boulder formations form the picturesque landscape. As I entered into the park my eyes became super wide and my soul entirely expanded. If you desire to meditate or simply roam around it's a place to manifest your dreams and destiny beyond your wildest imagination. I didn't climb the huge boulders, but definitely want to return to join a climbing team to witness the expanse.
Things to do in Joshua Tree:
Camping - Hidden Valley Campground, Belle Campground & Indian Cove
Hiking - Cholla Cactus Garden Trail, Barker Dam Nature Trail, Pine City
Shopping - Coyote Corner, Ricochet Vintage Wears, Totally Blown
Eateries - Crossroads Cafe, Pappy & Harriets, Natural Sisters Cafe
Meditate - Didgeridoos, Steel Tongue drums & Sound Baths welcomed
The Joshua Trees you see in the horizon are actually a type of Yucca. The story is that the Mormons named them in the 1850's when they were crossing the Mojave Desert. The trees unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story where Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer. Another interesting nugget is that they used the leaves to make baskets and sandals. Then they would eat the flower buds seeds for nutrition. Wonder if people still eat them. Have you tried the Joshua tree flower buds?
Thanks so much for reading my 2nd blog story, I hope you are learning things, enjoying these photos I took and want to make it out to visit me so we can go together. Wouldn't that be great? My plan is to increase my travel locally and globally very soon. I bought a travel journal 6 months ago. Sections I filled out are: Places to Go, Things to Do, & Bucket List Activities. 42 things I listed. Let me know if you're curious of what I've written and maybe we can do some together.
I joined a Travel club on the Clubhouse app this week. They host a room called Female Travelers connect. Seriously motivated me. The last year has inspired me to make plans and not let time pass me by. I'm sure you done some similar things. One day I hope to gain a consistent travel companion, but for now I'm loving my solo adventures! If you think you might wanna join me slide into my DM's and shoot your shot!
Stay beautiful, unique and inspired.
--Erika Lee Kline lives in beautiful Pasadena, California. She is fitness minded & enjoys hiking, biking, paddleboarding and wall climbing. She is a fully embodied Empath, a human rights advocate, ballroom/Latin dancer, a student of human behavior and an MI Practitioner. She is a Pediatric Diabetes Nurse working in Los Angeles at a Children's Hospital. You can find her on Clubhouse, TikTok & Instagram.