California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

In late June I returned to California for the third time this year. There’s just something about the sunny state that keeps drawing me back. My husband and I had a 10-day adventure planned that would see us traverse from the beach to the mountains and back to the beach again.

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

There were many trip highlights, though one day in particular really stood out… We were dead asleep when our alarm went off at the end of our dark tent. It was 5 am and we were exhausted from multiple late nights and early mornings shooting in the best light Yosemite had to offer. But that golden light was calling so we crawled out of our warm sleeping bags and into the frosty morning.

That morning we decided to explore the many meadows that make the Yosemite valley so picturesque. It was the start of peak season and the day before the park had been buzzing with people. Being up before the crowds and having the valley almost to ourselves was just part of the magic. The meadows glowed and invited us to explore, shoot way too many images, and then stop for breakfast with those ginormous granite walls surrounding us in nearly every direction.

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

The glowy morning turned into searing hot sunshine. We retreated to a secret watering hole some locals had told us about. We sat in the refreshing shallow pool with the water cascading down the granite wall behind us, whilst looking out over the valley.

After cooling off we met up with a friend from social media, Christina Warburg, to shoot the sunset. This is one of my favorite things about social media. We hadn’t met Christina before that afternoon, but by the end of the night, we had made an awesome new friend. We all jumped into one car and set out exploring.

We first stumbled along a meadow filled with wildflowers and naturally had to stop and take it all in. Springtime was in full bloom up along Glacier Point road. The sky was looking promising for an epic sunset so we moved on to a lookout just before Glacier Point.

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

And what a sunset! We witnessed lightening in the distance, a rainbow next to Half Dome and then the sky exploded into every shade of pink, purple, orange and yellow. We retreated back to our campsite absolutely buzzing and once again set our alarm for 5 am. Needless to say, we were high on life but incredibly tired after 10 days of living like this.

Some other trip highlights included stand-up paddle boarding in Santa Barbara, hilltop sunrise soaks near Mammoth Lakes, and sleeping under the stars at Alabama Hills.

We were treated to another out-of-this-world sunset at our campsite in Alabama Hills. To the east, there was a dooming lightening storm, to the west a distant glowing grass fire, and all around us was the most insanely fluorescent yellow and pink sky. I sat journalling and pinching myself because surely skies like that can’t be real?! We fell asleep to the starry sky through the mesh of our tent, enjoying the complete solitude before sunrise beckoned again.

Here are some more images from the trip

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies California Road Trip: Golden Mornings & Painted Skies

21 comments

  1. Such beautiful pictures!! Just went to Yosemite and a lot of the other national parks in the US this summer and I fell in love. Until this point I never though the outdoor life was for me, but how wrong I was.

  2. How inspiring. I need to capture the California sunsets and sunrises. I am in love with CA ever since I moved here. It’s so smitten with me as well. Hahah. Lovely photos and interpretation of this golden state. Thank YOU!

    1. I believe that is among the so much imratpont info for me. And i’m glad studying your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The website style is great, the articles is in reality nice : D. Good task, cheers

  3. Hi Renee,

    Lovely outfits with all your pics! I would love to inquire what kind of footwear you have for all these treks. Did you make up Yosemite in those sneakers? (which brand are they?) I love so many hiking pictures of popular bloggers and always wondered what shoes are comfortable for long hikes yet still look stylish. Please help! Thank you!

    1. Thank you Faye! The hike to Taft Point was short and easy so shoes like Converse are okay. For longer hikes (or in poor conditions) I wear my hiking boots or my trail runners. Danner Boots make stylish shoes to hike in and I also love my Salomon boots for longer treks. Good luck!

      1. Thanks for clearing this up! This has always baffled me. Instagram is full of people in beautiful, haunting places and dangling from cliff edges, wearing shoes that make me wonder how they got there in the first place! Your photos are absolutely stunning.

        1. Haha no worries. Everyone prefers to hike in different styles of shoes so I think it really depends on the person. I prefer to be practical and comfy for the most part ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hey Renee,
    it’s such a delight to scroll through your pictures, you are so talented! I’m going on a 6 months solo travel soon and I definitely hope to spontaneously make friends there like you! I also will try to implete your secret of going to places in the early morning, so few people will be around ๐Ÿ™‚
    Enjoy your future trips, I will love to read more about your adventures!
    Kind regards, Korinna

  5. Love this! All the shots from this trip are so dreamy. It can be hard to get out of your sleeping bag but so worth it sometimes. Ya never know. xo

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