While I’m mulling another Yosemite or other national park getaway sometime in the near future, some miscellany to share from on and off the trails……

Maybe you’ve heard about this spring’s new trend. It’s an unsurprising, but sad, occurrence – the scalping of permits to camp at Yosemite and to climb Half Dome.

The climbing permits are issued by the National Park Service for virtually no cost (a $1.50 processing fee for the website, but the park gets nothing from that), but since there are a limited number and demand is high, voila! A re-sale market is born. On Craigslist and eBay, you can find people offering to pay $100 (or more) for permits and/or campground spots, which aren’t free but are being scalped well above the $20 cost.

This Sunday, May 1, (at 7 a.m. PT)  is when you can put in your permit requests for any Half Dome visits in August. Be warned if you get up early to try and grab a spot though that the reseller market may be morally deficient but it is tech-savvy. Automated programs have been gobbling up the available permits immediately. Kind of sad that such a cool place now has an amusement park-like setup to visit it, but on the bright side, there are many, many other less-crowded, just as amazing sites in other national parks around the West, such as here and here.

Or try a state park, which are still open until they’re not. I’ve used the cool CalParks iPhone app a couple of times, and it’s worth the cost. Well, it was free, but a really solid app regardless. Very useful, both for the trail info as well as the general maps and ability to share and save trip details.

Or if you’re in Sonoma County, the park system here is in a bit of an activity blitz with a burst of 100 events between now and June 21. Many hikes are included. Go here to see the complete list.

Finally, a shout-out to one of my colleagues who has the newest (the 9th) edition of her guidebook just published about ways to explore Napa and Sonoma counties. It has a bit of everything for local explorers, from outdoors picks to the food, wine and culture stuff. Nicely done, Peg.