There are so many great things about winter, like the cold air that pierces through your whole body when you breathe, the frozen edges of the leaves on the ground cracking when you step on them, the smell of burning wood in the air, the naked trees, the color of the sky, the frozen mud of the path… My list can go on and on as winter is my favorite season. There’s a lot of things to do in the Bay Area and SF in winter, but if you’re tired of the busy streets and would prefer nature, hiking and outdoors photography, you can grab a camera and drive to a nice hiking trail. That’s exactly what I did last week, except it lasted for a whole week. I rented a cabin near Angels Camp, CA and spent a whole week with my family enjoying hiking in the woods and warming up by the wood burning fireplace afterwards. California never stops amazing me with it’s unique geographical diversity. Angels Camp happens to be within short proximity to California Caverns, Big Trees, Natural Bridge, Yosemite Valley, Bear Valley, etc. While ski resorts may be packed during the winter, the sightseeing and natural attractions are not that crowded at all. Our first trip was to the Natural Bridge near Murphys. The sight was spectacular! I’ll definitely go back in summer when the waters are warmer and you can actually swim or raft thru the cave. The forty-five minute hike to and from the cave was a great sight with the surrounding mountains and was well worth the effort.
The Big Trees, our next destination, is one of the most incredible parks I’ve been to. We took a nice walk on the freshly fallen snow to see some of the biggest trees in the park. When you walk away form the visitor center and into the woods it feels like nothing else exists, just the big trees and the time has stopped forever. Every tree is different from the other and it takes you a good amount of time to actually understand the greatness of these trees. The sheer presence of the giants elevates your innermost being. The warming hut with a free apple cider and hot cocoa was a perfect end to our chilly walk. (Photos by Lilit Barseghyan)