Good maps lead way to stunning, out-of-way places!

A good map is key to exploring many of California's out-of-the-way places!

View from our campground on a PG&E reservoir came with lakeside view and low fees for the night!
PG&E reservoir offers stunning views, inexpensive campground!
Pine Flat Lake in Sierra shows the impacts of several years of drought!

On a late fall trip last year, headed for a few days in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, we happened to spend time in the historic Sierra foothills town of Mariposa.  To get to Sequoia, we had a choice: return to the Valley and take Hwy. 99 to Fresno and Visalia, then up to Sequoia on Hwy. 180 – or, explore some of the backroads that wind through the foothills!  We took the latter approach and discovered “California Gold”!

Maps – as an old Army Infantry Platoon Leader, I treasure old-school maps!  Yes, we have GPS on our iPhone 5s, and a Garmin GPS unit; but I like detailed, paper maps.  So, at home I pull out my trusty State Farm Road Atlas, and I visit AAA to get detailed, updated maps.  From Mariposa, we took the circuitous route along two-lane, paved roads with names (no numbers), finding quaint towns like Wishum, North Fork, Shaver Lake and Trimmer (little places “where the time stands still and the decades cannot improve”).

We found a campsite on a PG&E reservoir, lakeside, for $20, discovered Shaver Lake and Pine Flat Lake, all with additional inexpensive campgrounds and beaches awaiting our exploration.  We eventually came out of the backroads, intersected Hwy. 180 above Fresno, then turned uphill for the final tour into Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

So, gather those detailed maps, and take the road less traveled occasionally!  You’ll discover new gems, and find countless reasons to return for a future exploration!  Once you get the hang of it (“Up” on a map is always North; get a few more pointers from family or friends who served in the Army or Marines!).

For additional travel destination inspiration, see my blog: travel; or contact me,  Coming Friday (and Sunday in the Stockton Record), a feature on visiting the big trees in Sequoia National Park!


This entry was posted in Central California, East Coast US, Hawaii, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, United States beyond! and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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