A pink sky, dotted with the shadows of palm trees will be eternally etched in my memory. The sunsets and sunrises I witnessed while exploring the Golden state were hypnotizing, reflecting the aura of California itself; dreamy, unique and inspiring.
Our journey began in San Diego, where I observed my first California sunset. Sitting at Pacific Beach, I watched the colors on the horizon transform from gold to pink to deep blue, eventually blending with the ocean. At that moment, I was determined to catch as many California sunsets as I could, while simultaneously exploring this amazing state.
After San Diego, my friends and I headed to Joshua Tree to camp out. We set up our tent on the property of a hippie commune, in the middle of the desolate park. The night was clear, exposing a bright, full moon and starry sky. We fell asleep to the refreshing sound of silence, only interrupted by the distant howl of a coyote. I set my alarm to wake with the sunrise, which stretched for miles, illuminating the countless cacti and infamous Joshua trees.
Once our campsite was packed into the car, we continued our journey through Joshua Tree. At Keys View, we peered over the cliff, admiring the panoramic view of Coachella Valley. Fortunately, the day was relatively clear, allowing us to view both the San Andreas fault and Signal Mountain, which is part of Mexico.
The next stop on our impromptu Golden State tour was the Imperial Sand Dunes, which stretch for nearly 40, barren miles. It was hard to comprehend how we could possibly be in California. I had always thought that this type of geological site only existed in Morocco or Egypt.
The sand dunes were like a massive playground; providing ample room for sand boarding, dune buggy-ing and fire spinning. As the sun started to set, my friend Christina turned on her music and began to spin fire poi, with only the glow of the amber sky providing visibility. It was the perfect way to experience the imperial sand dunes and another California sunset.
The last stop on our road trip was Yosemite National Park. Since Yosemite is located in Central California, we conquered the 7 hour drive overnight, giving us a full weekend to explore the park. Our Yosemite excursion brought together countless visionaries in the California area to embark on a weekend getaway intended for connection and creation. The mountain house we shared was about an hour outside of the park, surrounded by the perfect autumn ambiance. Burnt orange leaves dangled from the trees, tousled by the cool, crisp breeze. The house was warmed by the fireplace, where we all gathered in the morning with sweatshirts, blankets and giant mugs of coffee.
When we weren’t savoring the coziness, we were frolicking through the fields of honey-yellow flowers and gazing at the surreal, monstrous cliffs that posed as the perfect backdrop for every photograph. Glacier Point, in particular, was the ideal spot to appreciate the rigidity of the Sierra Nevada, blanketed by ancient, mystifying sequoia trees.
Though Glacier Point was captivating, the most memorable experience was witnessing the sunset at Taft Point. The plunging cliff was simultaneously humbling and haunting. Sitting at the edge of the mountain, with my feet hanging over the 7,500 foot drop, I watched the sky light up in rainbow hues as the sun set on another day. I was reminded how insignificant I am in this incomprehensibly vast universe, in which the sun will always set and rise. Though, I am convinced that when it happens in California, it is a little bit more sensational.