Total Escape is California, off the beaten path

spring wildflowers

The deep snow that fell in the first week in May has been rapidly melting with the warming temperatures. The snow plow is slow going at Lassen Volcanic National Park and it could be weeks, or a month, before the route through the park is open.

Before the age of digital cameras, traditional cameras had a view port called a 'view finder' - which has been eliminated with digital models. Now you look at a screen to determine your image framing. But outdoors, in the bright sunlight, this small screen is nearly impossible to see the details with all the glare, so you end up shooting blindly in the direction you aim for. Sometimes you get surprises when finally viewing your large images on a computer.

That is what happens when I photograph wildlife. I end up seeing additional animals or birds in the frame that I didn't see initially in the field. Earlier this week, as I sat down quietly on the side of the meadow and within minutes, a bald eagle came down to the ground 50 feet from me. I frantically tried to turn my camera on and captured the giant bird as it flew away.

Bald Eagle

This Total Escape website is DanaMite's creation for California outdoor travels. An independent guide to the back roads of California and a massive small town directory. A labor of love, updated monthly, over two dozen years - and it needs your support to stay alive and online.


Snow is still present in the mountains above 6000' elevation, so be prepared for some closed routes at higher altitudes, as they work on clearing the roadways.

Traveling the rural regions? Check your driving route / road conditions and always have a plan B.

Google Maps is not broken: Always be flexible in your itinerary and do not count on cell phone reception in rural regions. Plan your trip and any side routes in advance - and always carry paper maps!!

California Maps

all local: updated monthly

ancient: 27 years online!

We're still here, thousands of pages and decades later. Way outside the city limits, beyond the county line. No wifi, no smart meters, no gaming addictions, no traffic lights, no city noise. Rural living in California still exist. Hike on the weekends, bike to work, boating mid-week, we have you covered for destinations. Find a new boulder garden, a big waterfall, trailhead or an ancient lava cave. Total Escape - Two whole decades online. Not quite obsolete.

Craving the Wild? Before the tweets, the constant memes and paralysis of our current culture, DanaMite started this travel web site way back in 1996. Catchy phrases like, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) did not yet exist.

Total Escape features abundant real photos of real places. Secluded destinations, camping and lodging, examining the best back roads, side routes, the topo maps (to get you out there). Locals-only travel tips, gear reviews, festivals and events. This unique travel site is updated every month, for more than the past 2 decades!

Juicy content specific only to California. Focusing on outdoor destinations, small towns and budget-minded travel since 1996, we've recreated the weekend getaway - without the crowds. Escape the matrix, the city life, the traffic jams and learn how to avoid the tourist traps. Drive on past the factory outlet malls and the water slides, we've got much more to show you. Way out there, on the back roads, and in the backcountry.

Wilderness in California - more nature, less people.

hike. bike. camp. kayak.

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