Josiah Swanson

June 10, 2018

A California Road Trip

      The following are journal entries and photos by Jonah and I as we toured California destinations over a period of ten days in May, 2018.

        May 9, Josiah: "Here we are, at a little hotel in Redlands.  We flew out of HNL at 8:00 this morning and were picked up by our grandparents in LAX. ... With fulness of joy and a grand vacation ahead, I say goodnight."

        May 10, Jonah: “… I didn’t expect anything particularly exciting to soon prevail.  After finishing errands, the two of us left to start our trek which would begin at Joshua Tree.  Just as we were getting sick of driving, the two of us hastily stumbled upon that wonderful sight: Indian Cove, Joshua Tree.  We couldn’t believe our eyes.  The views were not limited in their beauty to certain orientations such as up, down or west; rather, the beauty was omnidirectional. Everything reflected the Lord’s handiwork.”

        May 11, Josiah: "Today began slowly.  We read the Bible, ate fried eggs on toast, and stretched our legs.

        "I tested out my backpack as Jonah and I did a morning hike up a nearby mountain. ... [Later], we left for a bit of road we hadn't yet explored.  Here, we found Skull Rock, Quail Springs, Jumbo Rocks, and other fascinating stops!  We decided to do a quick hike at a place called Hemingway.  We had our minds blown by the huge cliff-face there.  A lady was scaling down as we came by..."

        May 12, Jonah: “Josiah and I woke up at three–we were dreadfully tired—and packed up absolutely all of our gear in order that we might collect a couple of rare star photographs in the heart of Joshua Tree.  We even took a photo—’twas thoroughly planned—of myself jumping from one boulder to another before the sun rose.

        "The drive from the beloved Joshua Tree was long and (may I mention?) truly exhausting. ... We [then] arrived at our dear friends’ home in Ventura and, upon arriving, were told of the good waves.  We surfed a nearby wave-break for nearly four hours.  The whole day today was, in one way, a phantasmagorical series of happenings.”

        May 13, Josiah: "After we said bye [to our friends], we left for the North.

        "We stopped at a fantastic little beach where we saw some birds and discussed some Lewis we had been reading.  We got back on the road shortly after.

        "In about an hour we stopped near San Louis Obispo where we walked a pier and ate at Avila Market. ... We made a huge detour around Big Sur due to road closure from the mud slides.  We came from the North.

        "Carmel-by-the-Sea was a charming town (from the car at least).  We made a pit stop here before we continued into Big Sur."

        May 14, Jonah: “Today, we prioritized the seeing and experiencing of the grand Big Sur.  Upon waking up, Josiah and I made some coffee and discussed the day’s plan.  We then left (after strolling by the River Pfeiffer) to see Partington Cove, which would not end up being a regrettable decision. ... We did all according to the plan, and had a wonderful dinner to finish the whole thing—or to put a cherry on the cake.”

        May 15, Josiah: "This morning we ate hot cereal and packed up. ... We drove straight to Carmel where we visited the beach.  After finding out that there was a laundry service nearby, we rushed to get our clothes clean.  While waiting, we went walking around.  We went into an art gallery and ate at a terrific place called Cafe Carmel.  I ate a smoked salmon-and-egg sandwich.  I also had a fantastic vanilla shake.  [Quite the combo, eh?]  We did some grocery shopping and drove east.

        "... After about five hours of driving and some pit stops and lots of rolling hills and desert, we came to the Sierras.  We pulled into Goat Meadow, a dispersed camping zone at the perimeter of Yosemite.  We ate tomato soup, built a fire, and enjoyed ourselves at this grassy resting place.  [I talked to a friendly man in who had just taken his R.V. into the Park.]  Although we were expecting cold and possibly snow, he described the weather as clear and sunny.  We said goodnight, pulled out our sleeping bags, and laid down in the front seats of the car. Tomorrow will be incredible!"

        May 16, Jonah: "Everything was ready.  Josiah and I were sleeping in the car in a place called Goat Meadow, just south of Yosemite.  We planned far ahead of time—while not entirely optimistic about it—to drive into Yosemite at four o’ clock—the drive to the place is an hour from Goat Meadow, you see—and ultimately find a camping spot in the heart of it.  The elevation was five thousand feet, and we were driving in the darkness, descending into that well-sought valley.  Then, like the opening of a present, it [the entire valley] was revealed … El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, the Cathedral Spires, and the sleeping valley beneath them all.  Even without much light, they will easily strike one as ominous.  After taking possession of a camp-site in Camp 4 of Yosemite, I couldn’t help but look up at those mesmerizing towers of granite (ominous, I tell you).  The day would consist of hiking and/or viewing the following: Vernal Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, Taft Point—that was surely a pinnacle, and also El Capitan. ... We were [before sleeping] bodily tired, but not tired enough to give thanks to our heavenly Father …”

        May 17, Josiah: "... we somewhat slept in ... and I packed up my backpack with lunch and a coat and some first aid.  [We were getting ready to hike Upper Falls, a three-or-so mile long hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the U.S.]  [We reached the destination after about three hours.  The trek up was brutally steep, boasting about 2,500 feet in elevation-gain.]  Jonah and I had joked about continuing our trek to a place called Eagle Peak.  We had already accomplished the most difficult hike we'd ever attempted.  By now it was after noon.  'Should we try it?' we asked ourselves.  'There's no shame in turning around.'  Our legs were burning, but we continued on.  After a couple hours and about another 1,000 feet in elevation-gain, we were looking out at what Muir called the 'most comprehensive view of the North peaks.'  It was the fitting climax to our Yosemite leg. ..."

        May 18, Josiah: "... We didn't do further hikes nor see any others vistas.  We just hit the road, bound for Carpinteria.  We stopped at an In 'N Out for lunch.  I ate a 'Double-Double' and a cheeseburger and fries and drank a shake.  I think I was still hungry. ... [Our friend Isaiah took Jonah and I to Rincon Pier and then we did some skating.] ... [Later, we ate some delicious Shepherd's Pie made with Elk that Isaiah's dad had caught months ago.  Apparently, his family's freezer is constantly overflowing with of game meat. ...]

        May 19, Josiah: "Today, we slept in and ate blueberry pancakes. ... Isaiah took us to his dad's surfboard shop yesterday.  Today, we got to choose from a huge array of super cool boards.  Then, we went to 'Little Rincon'.  The waves were really small but we had it to ourselves.  We had a blast!

        "I kept thinking about how the place would be my new home.  It's still sinking in that I'm moving to Santa Barbara.

        "... We had a long, trafficky drive to LAX. ... When I got on this plane, I felt so content.  Though we did so much, our travels were somehow pleasant and somewhat relaxing.  Rather than flying by, the trip seemed to be a long adventure.  The road trip beat our expectations by a whole lot.

        "Jonah and I had great discussions and grew in our relationship.  We made memories we'll never forget.

        "I have much more appreciation for God's beautiful creation.  And, I'm all the more excited to come back."

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." -James 1:17