Exploring California 1: The Merced River Valley

A lot has changed. I live in California now. I changed out my Massachusetts driver’s license for a CA one. I own a sweatshirt that has the California bear on it. I am at least three shades darker than I was a few months ago. And oh yeah, I’m a budding Anesthesiologist.

It’s different here — I miss Massachusetts for a lot of different reasons — friends, familiarity, the Charles, our house, it will always be one of my homes (added to AZ and TX), but I love it here for so many other reasons: the weather, the food, the music, the ocean, the national parks, the weather, did I mention the weather? Yeah, it’s not so bad.

The best way to start a camping trip: grilled cheese and puppies!

Intern year was fun. MGH IM was an experience that I would recommend to most anyone — it was incredibly rewarding and educational and exhausting. I’m happy I did it, I’m happy it’s over. Now onto very different pastures, the art of taking away life sustaining body functions and keeping someone alive, safe, and comfortable while someone else cuts into them!

Speaking of different pastures — I am so excited to explore CA. In that vein, I’m hoping to keep up with a “Exploring California” section of this blog — hiking / camping / food / CA-type things.

Part 1 is the Merced River Valley. South and east of the bay area, the Merced River Valley is near Yosemite and is the river that run through Yosemite. While Yosemite is an awe-inspiring experience that I visited on my first weekend in CA, if you’re not into the crowds or the heavy traffic, and just want some nature and some river and some hiking — try the MRV.

The river right now was pretty fast moving after the heavy rains that this area had last winter apparently, but it’s a good area for kayaking / white water rafting generally. We kept it simple: hiking with the dogs on BLM (bureau of land management) land, cheap camping right on the banks of the river ($10/night), and looking up at the stars from our tent.

Thoughts:

-We stayed on BLM land. There was a clean toilet, a bear locker, a table, and a fire pit (though that was not in use given the high fire risk). There was NO running water, so bring your own water. Bring $10 cash/night.

-Our site was the second of three sites on the south fork of the river in the MRV, you can find some awesome areas right on the banks of the river essentially which allow for some pretty incredible sights/sounds to go to sleep to and wake up to.

-Dog friendly! We brought Rain and Krinkle and attached Rain to her long leash to let her roam free…ish

-Hiking is pretty simple here. We drove down to the area where there was a previous fire and hiked around there with the dogs. It was lovely.

-No fires, it’s high fire risk. Camp stoves are okay.

Overall, highly recommend it for a non-strenuous hike, chill camping weekend, and a beautiful river.


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