California Photos including Big Sur, Joshua Tree National Park and San Francisco

Framing much of the United States' west coast, this glorious state is home to mountain ranges, beaches, dry desert, daunting palm trees and endless sunshine - the perfect place to decompress...

 

California has been my home since 2008, so I have many photos - more will be added so be sure to check back!

California map

Joshua Tree National Park

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Palm Springs

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San Jacinto Mountain Range in Palm Springs, California
San Jacinto Mountain Range
Palm Springs Resort

Driving along Dinah Shore Drive toward the magnificent San Jacinto Mountain Range (looming over 8000 ft high!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late afternoon sun over San Jacinto mountain range

 

 

 

 

 

Riding the aerial tramway to the mountain's summit, awed by the scenery below...

From this vantage point Palm Springs is nothing more than flat dry desert. Makes you wonder why this posh town was formed...(not that I'm complaining :-)

 

 

 

 

Desert oasis...

What a pleasure it was to take a morning stroll in this peaceful spot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strolling by a lake at mid-morning, purple mountains in full view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looming palm trees seem to quietly welcome you wherever you go

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Palm Springs is best known for - golf!  Of course I was the only one walking around with a camera instead of a golf club...

 

Tram at San Jacinto Mountain Range
Palm Springs Resort

Palms to Pines Highway

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Palm Springs Resort
Palm Springs Resort
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park

 

The ancient and mysterious Joshua Tree National Park.... It seemed straight out of a Casteneda book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun setting across the dramatic terrain... Joshua trees appear as bent and contorted, as if having stood for centuries (which they probably have)

 

 

 

 

 

 

It almost seems like these strange trees possess an ancient consciousness and a cold awareness of everything happening around them

 

Anza Borrego Desert

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Palms to Pines Highway
Palms to Pines Highway
Palms to Pines Highway
Palms to Pines Highway
Palms to Pines Highway
Palms to Pines Highway

 

Highway 74 takes you from flat dry desert to snow-capped mountains, hence the name "Palms to Pines". The scenery is indeed spectacular... 
In this panorama photo, the twisted highway below resembles a giant python...

 

 

 

 

Midway between the Palms and the Pines there is this beautiful park area (forgot the name). Desert plants like aloe, yucca and jojoba wildly grow amidst looming mountains

 

 

 

 

 

A walkway guides you along...

 

High (almost) in the mountains and surrounded by plants of all kinds, this is a wonderful place to meditate...

 

 

 

 

Lookout onto the mountains

 

It's very hard to feel anything other than peace and well-being in a place like this...

 

 

 

 

 

Heading into the Pines area - Quite a difference from the Palms!

 

Yes, that is snow on the road --

 

 

 

 

 

Ending up in the quaint mountain town of Idyllwild, with pine trees everywhere

 

Looks more like Colorado than Southern California!

 

Anza Borrego
Borrego Springs

 

Magical Anza Borrego Desert Park...

 

The energy here is so wonderfully invigorating, almost like an earth chakra

 

 

 

 

 

The small peaceful desert town of Borrego Springs - quite literally a desert oasis! Great place to fill up the tank and grab a sandwich before more desert exploration

 

 

 

 

 

Desert view along the Yaqui Way. The setting sun paints purples and magentas across the expansive terrain...

 

Once again, I felt like I was in a Casteneda book...

 

Anza Borrego