California is in a drought. Still. This winter we were supposed to receive record breaking rains due to the Pacific Ocean phenomenon known as El Niño. We did receive some good storms, and the Sierra Nevada saw a nice snowpack. But we aren’t out of the woods yet. On a more positive note, the East Bay hills here in the Bay Area turned a lush, verdant, wonderland green. Even the dusty oak trees bloomed brightly, and the hills were covered with orange California poppies and deep purple wildflowers. Spring is the perfect time to explore these hills, before the hot summer sun burns the grass to gold (the namesake of this great state). Along the way, we stopped at a place called Little Yosemite Valley. Though it wasn’t quite as magnificent as the granite cliffed original, it does have a beautiful river with boulders which invite you to swim in the pools below (didn’t seem like anyone was heeding the ‘no swimming’ signs).