Just Gotta Get Away (Part 3)
September 15, 2013

Just Gotta Get Away (Part 3)

Thus far in this little series about fun long-weekend trips, I have discussed places in the West (click here to see that one) and New York (click here to see the other). Now I want to move onto the last two great weekend places, both of which are in California. Truckee, California, and Santa Cruz, California, are the last two areas mentioned thus far on National Geographic’s webpage for its series called Long Weekends Like A Local.


Truckee is one of those locations that most outdoors-folks know well. For me, Truckee is a place to fly fish along with its surfeit of other activities. It is the outdoors expo with great hiking, climbing, biking, and paddling. In fact, the favorite adventure of the locals is what the article calls the spring trifecta, which consists of “spending the morning skiing or snowboarding, the afternoon mountain biking, and the evening stand-up paddleboarding.” If that doesn’t sound like a call to be active and in nature, I don’t know what is.

For hiking and biking, locals suggest a couple of places. For hiking, the 15-mile stretch from Donner Pass to Squaw Valley is a favorite, but make sure to plan for 8-10 hours for this hike…at least. For biking, check out the newish path and roads of Hole in the Ground. This “fun, challenging 17-mile loop quickly became a Truckee classic. Topping out at 8,000 feet, the trail serves up scenic vistas and high alpine lakes along with steep climbs and technical descents.”

And for something great that not many visitors take part in, go for an early morning stand-up paddleboarding outing where the views will awe and the wildlife will amaze.

Santa Cruz

The final location to check out according to National Geographic is Santa Cruz, California. In the article’s words, “Even among the most sought after Golden State cities, Santa Cruz stands out for its vibrant surf culture and a rich wave-riding history dating back to the 1800s. O’Neill is headquartered here, as are many surfing legends both young and old. The town is part of the World Surfing Reserve and home to the only major seaside amusement park on the West Coast, an attraction as unique as the locals.” This is one of the surf meccas of the US…and probably the world. But it has much more to offer.

For instance, with state parks like The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park and Wilder Ranch State Park, to name a couple, visitors can definitely enjoy hiking, biking, trekking, and climbing. For other water fun, Monterey Bay area just near Santa Cruz provides a place for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, and sailing. This is because it is one of 14 national marine sanctuaries.

And I can attest to the beautiful Monterey Bay sunsets and sunrises. Stunning.

As LL Cool J says, “Going back to Cali, Cali, Cali!” These words definitely inspire us to get back to Cali, and Truckee and Santa Cruz are two great places for that California-inspired weekend trip.

In the upcoming months, when you just have to get away, think about the locations I mentioned in this series. But also think about what’s local to you. In my part of the country, I easily can do a quick trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, or down into southeastern Oklahoma, or up to the northern parts of the state, and even down to Dallas, Austin, or San Antonia, Texas. I could make it out to northern New Mexico for some camping, hiking, fishing fun. We all have places to check out for long-weekend get-aways not all that far from where we live, and going like a local makes it even better.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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