Hamilton Lake

Kaweah Mile 72 to Hamilton Lake to Middle Fork Trailhead (19 miles, +5,000/-8,000 feet). Wow. Just wow. Today was one of the most epic days of hiking I have ever experienced. I’m not sure I want to repeat some parts of it, but I feel really psyched to have achieved a crazy-hard goal and to…

Middle Fork Trail

Middle Fork Trailhead to Mile 72 on the Kaweah (14 miles, +6,000/-3,000 feet). I had originally planned to knock out 48 miles on the PCT this weekend, but it was supposed to be extremely windy in the Mojave and I have been really craving a return to the Sierra. The weather gods helped me out,…

Butler Canyon

Rockhouse Canyon to Butler Canyon (10 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). My buddy Quercus just got some new GPS toys to take with him on an upcoming trip to Baja, so he decided to do a test hike in the desert and he invited me to come along.  It’s a good thing he drove, too, because I…

Back to Scissors Crossing

Third Gate (PCT Halfmile 91.2) to Scissors Crossing (PCT 77.3) (13 miles, +2,000/-3,000 feet). MixMaster and I both slept really well and awoke about 45 minutes before sunrise. Perfect! I really, really, really love hiking in the predawn light!  The cotton candy sky made the trail look completely different today than it looked yesterday. At…

Carrizo Gorge Plan B

Arsenic Spring to Tule Canyon and back, then Scissors Crossing (PCT Halfmile 77.3) to Third Gate (PCT 91.2) (18 miles, +4,000/-3,000 feet). Carrizo Gorge is the site of the famous Goat Canyon Trestle, reportedly the largest wooden railroad bridge in the world.  I have always wanted to see the gorge up close and personal, and…

Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain (5 miles, +2,000/-2,000 feet). When my good friend Dan organized an academic mini-conference at his family’s vacation home in Whistler, I jumped at the chance to attend and do some winter hiking.  I didn’t even need to bring my own gear! I originally aspired to make it up to tree line to get…

The Unbearable Lightness of Morning

Maxwell Trail Camp Guzzler (PCT Halfmile 493) to San Francisquito Canyon Road (mile 478.2) (14.8 miles, +2500/-3500 feet). Last night the wind came on strong a little after sundown.  I was camped in a thick wood so there wasn’t too much breeze at ground level, but the trees flailed around wildly.  I was glad to…

Gnat Attack

Hikertown (PCT Halfmile 517.6) to Maxwell Trail Camp Guzzler (mile 493) (24.6 miles, +5500/-3900 feet). For this hike I originally planned to drive to Hikertown and get an Uber around to my starting point at San Francisquito Canyon, hiking north on the PCT.  But I woke up at 2am last night and couldn’t get back…

Vasquez Rocks

Vasquez Rocks (PCT Halfmile 453.5) to Indian Canyon Trailhead (PCT 444.2) (9.3 miles, +2,000/-2,300 feet). One thing I didn’t realize about my campsite last night: I was about a mile from the 14, which is busier than many interstates I’ve travelled.  It wasn’t too bad, but it did remind me of what it sounds like…

Agua Dulce

San Francisquito Canyon Road (PCT Halfmile 478.2) to Vasquez Rocks (PCT 453.5) (24.7 miles, +4,000/-4,900 feet). Time to continue my adventures on the PCT! Except for the Mountain Fire Closure, I have completed everything up to Acton KOA, so ideally I would have started from there and headed north.  But I only had two days…

The Kelly Ditch Trail

William Heise County Park to Lake Cuyamaca and back (11.5 miles, +2,900/-2,900 feet). BarnFinder was back in town for the holidays and I haven’t seen him that much because of his work schedule, so we decided to do a day hike nearby.  We’ve both hiked just about all the main hikes that are within a…

Mortero Palms

Mortero Palms trailhead to saddle with Goat Canyon (4 miles, +1,600/-1,600 feet). Half Cookie and I wanted a nice day hike for the holidays, and since it’s been pretty cold for us here in San Diego (below 60!) we decided to go to the desert. I’ve always had my eye on a cross-country route to…