OK, everybody, do as you’re told and head over to VirtualParks — a collection of more than 1,000 “VR” panoramas of hiking trails and other sites in California and the West.
Getting the VR to work is a bit tricky but once you figure it out: wow. Basically, you click on your mouse over the image, hold down and drag to the left or right and the image moves in a 360-degree panorama. It looks a bit distorted while it’s moving, but when you stop it returns to normal photo mode.
Lots of the ground I’ve covered is covered here. Eric, the guy who made all these panoramas, has a whole page of scenes from Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Here’s one from Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP.
Here’s an alphabetical list of all the parks he’s covered. Vaguely mind-boggling, but most impressive. These maps are clickable, diamonds pointing to the panoramas. Speaking of maps, there’s also a page of local shaded-relief maps Eric has created. You can buy a PDF for $1 and print with your ink-jet printer. Most of the local hiking fanatics I know adore the Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; this is one place to buy a map of this section of the park — I’m not even sure if one’s available anywhere else.
You could easily get hooked on these things, but hey, if you’re hanging around here your jones is beyond repair already.