It’s incredible that you can be in the French Alps after only an hour and a half drive from Cannes—and yet Stephanie and I had never been to the mountains on any of our previous visits. So in preparation for our September trip, we suggested to her mom and aunt that we all visit Saint-Martin-Vésubie and spend a couple of nights at a bed and breakfast there.
On our approach to Nice, the plane flew over the Mediterranean just west of Fréjus. As it banked to the east over the sea, I was rewarded with a tremendous view of the Côte d’Azur. I didn’t have a map or a camera, but I made a mental note of a beautiful bay that resembled a Mandelbrot set, and nearby, a sizable red rock separated from the mainland by a narrow, shallow, teal blue strait. I wondered if one could swim (or even wade) out to the rock?
That evening I described to Stephanie what I had seen and suggested that we go find it. After a quick survey on Google Maps, I discovered the bay to be the Rade d’Agay, and the rock to be the Île des Vieilles (named after a Mediterranean fish called a wrasse in English). The following Saturday, Stephanie and I decided to go to Agay in order to rent a kayak and with any luck, reach the island.
I stumbled upon this interesting map from the Modesto Bee which Jeff Jardine linked to from his column, What’s new is old again as Tuolumne blaze revisits old scars. It’s a map I’d not seen published elsewhere, so I thought I’d share it here.
Update: To gain a better appreciation of the scale of the fire, I overlaid the perimeter as of August 28 on top of San Francisco.
For more, check out ESRI’s neat interactive map of the fire.
My brother’s visit in July afforded us the rare opportunity to go backpacking together, just the two of us. He’s not done much camping, and I’ve never been backpacking in bear country, so to ease our apprehension, I booked us three nights at Yosemite’s Merced Lake High Sierra Camp. From what I had read, it offers a “backpacking experience without the backpack”—they provide tent cabins and do all the cooking. Sounded pretty great to me.
Over the 4th of July weekend, Stephanie and I traveled to Reno, Lava Beds National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, and Ashland, Oregon. Our route made a nice loop around the less-traveled northeastern corner of California and southern Oregon.
Considering that this was partly going to be a camping trip, it’s kind of funny to admit that we forgot our tent. Luckily we discovered this in Reno, which had an REI, enabling us to upgrade to a spacious new 3-person tent (the Quarter Dome T3 Plus). Next time, we’ll double-check the car camping list!