Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Year in Review

When I wrote about the calendar that I created online, I had several people request to see all the pictures from it. Although they were probably just being polite, I thought I could do a recap of our travels in 2011 using those pictures plus a few extra.

We took off from Mesa in mid May and quickly reached Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places with its unusual scenery and cooler temperatures.

We worked our way north along the western side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and hit Sequoia, King's Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks along the way.
Continuing north through central California, we enjoyed waterfalls, the area around Mt. Shasta, and Lassen National Park. Our favorite camping spot was the free campground at Lake Shastina where we stayed for almost two weeks.

The beginning of July, we made it to Oregon where we used Klamath Falls area as our base for a visit to Lava Beds National Park and a great hike along the Pacific Crest Trail,

Plus a trip to amazing Crater Lake National Park.

Next we moved to beautiful, but buggy, Diamond Lake where we took an 11-mile bike ride around the lake.  We followed OR138 just north of the lake to see some of the many waterfalls along the North Umpqua River. These wild rhododendrons were along one of the trails.

We fell in love with the area around Bend, Oregon. Not only is the area incredibly scenic with lots of wonderful hiking, but the town itself is just the right size and the people are very active. This is Tumalo Falls.

Sparks Lake is also just outside of Bend and is probably the most photogenic lake I've ever seen.

But even Bend couldn't keep us forever and in early August we moved on to Silverton where we saw Silver Falls State Park and Oregon State Garden.

At this point, my calendar pictures jump from Silverton, Oregon, to Whidbey Island which is close to the northern border of Washington and our northernmost point on the trip. On the way, we saw Mt. St. Helens, a terrific Lumberjack Festival, Mt. Rainier (in the clouds), and the other side of Mt. St. Helens. But I chose my pictures for scenic value and picked this shot of a fisherman on the beach of Whidbey Island.

We took a fun boat ride through Deception Pass.

And I'll never forget my crabbing experience.

One of our favorite stops was Sequim, near Olympic National Park where a local WIN was kind enough to take us on a hike with views for miles.

We took the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, where we took a tour bus to see as much as possible.

We had a great day exploring Seattle.

By mid September, we were back in Oregon in seriously cute Astoria. After that, we mostly hugged the coast all the way to Redwood Valley, CA. This seagull was at one of the rest stops along US101 in Oregon.

Here we have the Yaquina Bay Bridge

And Yaquina Head lighthouse.

And lastly, Cape Foulweather which luckily didn't live up to its name. All of these last three were in or near Newport where we also visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

We continued south along the coast with fun stops in North Bend and Gold Beach, OR, and Eureka, CA, then through the fabulous Avenue of the Giants.

We followed US101 to Redwood Valley, then took CA20 across the state to Sparks, NV. After a day trip to historic Virginia City, we continued across Nevada, moving shamelessly quickly with only a pause to watch for UFOs along the Extraterrestrial Highway.

We joined the WINs at Boulder Beach CG on Lake Mead for a well-deserved rest.

We checked out the new Hoover Dam bypass bridge and took a trip into Las Vegas. From there it was just a hop, skip, and jump back to Mesa and the end of our trip just before Halloween.


  1. I absolutely LOVE your calendar pictures! Could it be because so many of them are in Oregon??? Great shots, all. I especially liked the Yaquina Bay looks that way a lot.

  2. Oh, so that's what Oregon looks like when it's not raining!

    Have to try it in the summer time next trip out here.

  3. Every year I tell myself I am going to make a calendar with my photos, and then I get overwhelmed with just selecting 12. You have lovely photos to remind you of 2011 as you make new memories in 2012.

  4. What a great year, and lovely photos! JTree is one of our favorite places as well, and will always hold some nostalgia as our first National Park.

    I'm very, very lightly toying with the idea of driving out there this weekend to do some climbing.

  5. what a yr you had and some Beautiful PHOTOS your calendar is excellent----looking forward to reading about more of your travels this yr---I CANT wait to be retired and have no place I HAVE to be and be every place I dont want to be!!

  6. LOVE that pic of the Yaquina Bay Bridge! I too made a calendar of our trip photos to WY,UT and SD in 2009 for the 2010 year. I hung it over my desk at work and was inspired all the time. It was hard to part with it at the end of the year, but I just had to remind myself I had all those pictures somewhere else and that there were many more to come! Happy New Year!

  7. i don't know how you picked just 12 pictures for the calendar. I have trouble picking that few for a single blog from a single location for one weeks worth of travels. I give it to ya girl.