The parks seem to be safe for the time being, but we’re still trying to visit the last few we didn’t get to. This week it’s the Governor’s Mansion SHP in Sacramento, last occupied by the Reagan family.
Traveling around the state to visit each of these parks, I don’t always have the time to wait for the perfect light and weather, but sometimes you just get lucky.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park is perhaps best known as the site where the forest moon of Endor scenes for Return of the Jedi were filmed. For myself, I used my visit to this beautiful place to try a little creative experiment. I have long felt it would be fun to try photographing a redwood forest with a fisheye lens.
I was right.
The grounds at Fort Humboldt State Historic Park contain a great collection of steam donkeys, including the largest ever built. The museum was closed and there was no staff, so we didn’t really get much sense of historical context, but we did meet a really sweet old dog.
Weaverville Joss House is one of the most surprising and unusual historic parks we have visited. A beautiful Taoist temple used by Chinese immigrants during the gold rush and railroad years, this is one of the best-preserved pieces of Chinese American heritage in California. Best fact we learned: the arched bridges and partially-blocked doorways thwart evil spirits, who can only travel in straight lines.
George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area contains a small section of the wooded bank of the Merced River. There may be more dramatic views of these same waters as they flow through Yosemite Valley several hundred miles away, but by the time the waters of the Merced reach Hatfield on a warm summer day, the gentle current flows at the perfect temperature for a swim.
I didn’t spend much time photographing McConnell State Recreation Area. We were much too busy frolicking in the cool waters of the Merced River and then drying off in the warm summer sun, but I managed to get a few shots before we left.
Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is exactly what its name implies: a small lake that is perfectly suited for recreation. It’s a great spot for swimming, fishing, boating, or just a picnic.