TOPIC: Check in w/ Josh of California Through My Lense
LOCATION: 33.8972° N, 117.4217° W
PROJECT: Exploring the Golden State
Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a constant adventure that is fueled by donuts. I love to travel, hike and photograph all of the beautiful places this world has to offer and live by the motto "you will never regret the times you chose memories over money.”
What inspired you to create CaliforniaThroughMyLens.com?
I am always traveling and have a hard time stopping, as I am sure my wife could attest to. So I was looking for an outlet for that adventurous spirit. I had just gotten into photography and knew I wouldn't make a name for myself just by creating another generic travel blog, plus I didn't have the money to travel the world. So because of that I just set out to document and see as much of California as I could see. This was almost 4 years ago and was one of the best decisions I ever made. This blog has introduced me to good friends, let me be a part of amazing things, pushed me to test my athletic limits and was seen by over one million unique people in 2014. All of that is a testament to the amazing things California has to offer and I am truly blessed to be able to inspire others to see what their own state has available to them.
What are your top 3 favorite parks in California?
Dang that is like picking a favorite child, plus I have probably only been to half since California has so many! I will disregard national parks for this but for state parks I would say:
1. Anza Borrego - I am blown away by the beauty this park has to offer. I keep finding myself enjoying the desert type spots more then I used to and every time I go I see something different. Once you see the wildflowers lining the desert floor you wont forget it, plus the park has mines, slot canyons and wind caves.
2. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - I will never forget the first time I saw McWay Waterfall and the way it cascades beautifully down to the beach below. It looks like something you would see on a tropic island, not in California. Add to that the amazing Ewoldsen Trail that is right across the street and you have a perfect state park.
3. Emerald Bay State Park - I love this spot because it is both physically beautiful and historically unique. Emerald Bay is a cove in the Southwest portion of Lake Tahoe that has a mind blowing collection of blue and green hues as you look out over the water. You can even rent a kayak and head out to the island that is in the middle of the cove if you are feeling adventurous. Also, across the street from this park is the trailhead for Eagle Lake which is one of my favorite places in all of California.
Really though, California has so much to offer and its state and national parks should not be missed.
What is your favorite local park?
Only 10 minutes from where I live is Citrus State Park. It is a park that is dedicated to citrus tree history in California and it is beautifully maintained. There are a few short trails at the park and it is dog friendly so I always like going over for a few hours with my bulldog and just exploring.
Do you have any advice for travelers wanting to experience California's parks?
I would recommend you just see what is around you and go explore. There are more State Parks then you can imagine in this state and all of them are a park for a reason so go find out what it has to offer. You can find a good map here (http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/862/files/pm_dpr_map20140701.pdf). If you are a traveler like I am then consider picking up a yearly pass for the parks system. This helps give the parks money for maintenance and allows you to go to almost every park in the state. Even without a pass most parks only cost 5-10 dollars so there is never a reason not to check one out.
What does being a "park steward" mean to you? What can we do to preserve our parks for future generations?
I feel like the quote “with great power comes great responsibility” rings a bell for me. We have so many amazing spots all around us and it is up to us to make sure they are still there for future generations. People often have a hard time seeing the value of picking up a small piece of trash but if everyone just passes trash by when they see it then it will eventually get worse and worse, until fixing the issue is a lot more difficult.
I just believe we should all do our part to try to improve what our world has to offer, so that everyone can benefit from it. I always remember this old greek proverb when I need some conviction "A society becomes great when old men plant trees of whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” It is up to us to make sure the next generation can enjoy this world as well.
Where to next?
Anywhere, haha. I am always on the move and looking for a new adventure. I have the opportunity to visit a friend of mine who is starting a new clothing company called Ara Collective (http://ara-collective.com/) in Guatemala in the next few weeks and am planning to hike a 13,000 ft volcano when down there, so that should be a good time.
Keep up with Josh if you'd like!