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9

American black bears They are somewhat common in some wilderness areas of California, mostly in the mountains. In their natural state, black bears are thinly populated on the landscape because it takes a large area to support one, and they are also shy of humans. Black bears are not very large; females can be the size of a large dog. There are certain ...


6

What you want to do seems to be referred to by the Forest Service as "dispersed camping," and you can find a lot of information by googling on that phrase. Different jurisdictions seem to have different rules, but this blog post has a nice attempt to summarize how the rules usually work in national forests and on BLM land. Basically what they seem to want ...


5

The US doesn't have anything like the Scandinavian right to roam (Swedish allemansr├Ątten, etc.). Private land is usually fenced, and it's against the law to enter private land while hiking without the landowner's permission. The US term for wild camping is "backcountry camping" or "backpacking," as opposed to car camping, where you pay to park your car in a ...


5

Bug Spray: Unless you're backpacking in and are extremely weight conscious of how much you're carrying, if you think you might need bug spray, why wouldn't you bring it? Better to have it and not need it then the other way around. How to stay cool when climbing: Wake up early and climb from sunrise until it gets hot. Then, take a break through the heat of ...


4

We didn't go to Mickey's beach, but we did boulder at Castle Rock and the Berkeley area. Hindsight is 20/20: Yes, if you're bouldering near Castle Rock. There were TONS of bugs there and they love to bite your face. No, if you're bouldering in the Berkeley area. I would guess the answer is also no for Mickey's beach. Climb in the early morning and late ...


3

Maybe Pinnacles National Park. Or if you go across the Golden Gate, Point Reyes is gorgeous. Watch out, because some of the trails in the more remote central coast backcountry areas have not seen any maintenance for a long time, partly due to government budget cuts. I tried to do a long-distance trip there a few years back, and had to turn back due to stuff ...


2

The Henry W Coe State Park is within reasonable driving range, and offers many hiking trails with good vistas and surprisingly few people. I go into more detail here.


2

If you want to do this as a hobby, there's lots of places you can go. The American, Yuba, & Klammath rivers have the most gold. A lot of the parks have something in place to allow to do a little panning. You should be able to find a few flakes to show your friends, but you won't make any substantial money doing it. Also, using any kind of mechanical ...


2

I live in Sunnyvale and my favorite place for hiking is Rancho San Antonio near the Los Altos Hills. It butts up against the Santa Cruz mountains, and there are a network of trails including some that venture into the mountains. I like this area because there are some great views of the bay, and much of the hiking occurs among the trees (more shade) and ...


2

Different parts of California have different wildlife, so you should probably narrow the region. Anyway, I'll talk about the areas I'm familiar with. In the Santa Cruz mountains, there are a lot of pumas (mountain lions.) Encounters are very rare. The advice is that if you do encounter one, make yourself appear large and noisy by waving your hands and your ...


2

To add to what others have mentioned, reptiles do indeed go into hibernation, but not in the thought of "traditional" hibernation, such as that of a bear or other mammals. Reptiles usually do burrow down, but they can certainly be awoken. Here in the southeast, if the temperatures rise just a bit, we have plenty of snakes and lizards around sunning ...


1

The mountains in the West are larger, higher elevation, and therefore possibly more strenuous than what you're used to. So: extra physical preparation and altitude climatization. Generally the Western mountains are drier than the East, so you don't need as much of the equipment for rain than you would out East (unless you're backpacking in western ...


1

You can visit Columbia, CA (also near Yosemite) to check out a historical state park where they offer gold panning activities. This might be a fun place to go since you can see a lot of history for the CA gold rush. Link to CA Park website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=552



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