As soon as I got my new Poler tent, I've been biting at the bit to go test it out. I wanted to use it in Joshua Tree or Palomar when it snowed around new years, but that didn't happen. I knew we wanted to camp on our trip north to drop Trinity off in Berkeley, so I was content with not camping then. 

We had planned to camp at the El Mirage lake bed, but for the second time, we were thwarted by rain and the closing of the lake bed. So instead we went to Joshua Tree to camp at the Ryan Campground. This is a pretty cool campground. Seems real popular with climbers. We set up site just across from the start of the trail to the ranch and where everyone seemed to go to climb. It has a little dirt road so that seems to keep some people out. I always seem to run into people who aren't the happiest people to be camping. Be careful where you park in relation to your site. We had issues with a guy who had an old pay ticket that said we were in his site. I didn't fight much after telling him the ticket was old and we're not staying in "his" site. He still made me repark the STi... no big deal. Of course we had milo with us, so we had him tethered to the table next to his bowl. We kept having issues with the guys dog roaming into our site, getting into our stuff, bothering Milo (both seemed friendly with each other, it's just Milo doesn't like to play while leashed up tho... he needs that freedom! haha) and what not. I asked him to leash his dog and he said the dog was fine and continued his childish attitude when I said it's a simple rule. We still had an awesome time otherwise, freezing our butts off in the cold. 

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On the note of simple rules in life, and I don't mean to go on a day long rant here, but this drives me nuts. Why do people have to do this? They destroy the view for people after them. It's like someone comes, sees something amazing and then "alright, screw everyone else." No one ever sees a name carved into a tree and goes "HEY! EVERYONE COME HERE! JOHNNY AND LIZ WERE HERE TOO!" All they are doing is destroying something that, chances are, won't be repaired. Trees that have been standing for longer than you will ever be alive, rocks that have only been worn by the wind and water, buildings that have stood the test of time, all defaced by an idiot with determination and some luck.

Enjoy the sites and sounds, but leave it the way you found it. Pack out what you pack in. Leave nothing but footprints. Whatever cliche you want to use, run with it, but the trashing of our parks is sad. 

The trail from the campground to the ranch is pretty short. In fact, I'm pretty sure you can see the building from the road of the campground. The trail is pretty worn so you can't really get lost. Even if you aren't camping, its worth the little walk to check out whats left of a turn-of-the-century ranch. The Ryans ran the cattle ranch till the '20s where its switched hands a few times and has since been abandoned. Aside from the buildings, there are a few remnants of the ranch days, including a lot of barbed wire, so watch out.  

After driving through LA and getting a speeding ticket, we changed our plans and stayed in Solvang instead of camping. Once we left Solvang, we made our way to the Kirk Creek campground in Big Sur. We got there with plenty of time to explore the beach below the campground and then come back to shoot it at sunset. I broke out the neutral density filter to shoot the rocks and waves. There was a doorway in one of the big rocks that was a perfect alignment with the setting sun. After the sunset we made our way back to the campsite and made dinner. I had plans to shoot more star trails, but with the lack o moon and clouds, the star trails didn't come out as nice as I had hoped.  Overall, this is probably my favorite campsite I have stayed at so far. Even tho its a little primative, the views and sites make up for it. 

After cleaning up and leaving Kirk Creek, we made our way north to get back to Berkeley. I stayed the night in Berkeley and then left Saturday morning to get back in time to shoot Palomar Mountain on Sunday. After all, I did have a speeding ticket I needed to pay for now. I did make a stop at Pinnacles National Park to check it out. I didn't shoot anything as it was small and filling up fast as I was getting there. I just wanted to change up my route home, since I take the same 3 ways everytime. 

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