Rolling Off Baden-Powell

Ridge below Mount Hawkins (PCT mile 381.6) to Vincent Gap (mile 374) (7.6 miles, +1,400/-3,200 feet). Well today had some surprises in store for us! Overnight the wind shifted from blowing up one side of the ridge to blowing up the other, but it was never much above 10 miles an hour so our tent…

A Ridge with a View

Camp Glenwood (PCT mile 400.6) to ridge below Mount Hawkins (mile 381.6) (20 miles, +7,000/-4,700 feet). Holy cow. Today was…. really hard.  Although we got a super early start, leaving camp around 5:45am, we needed nearly every hour of a very long day to achieve Half Cookie’s personal record: 20 miles in a single day. In hindsight,…

Half Cookie Rides Again

Mill Creek Summit (PCT mile 418.6) to Camp Glenwood (mile 400.6) (18 miles, +4,200/-3,500 feet). Thanks to my lovely and supportive parents, Half Cookie and I get to do a backpacking trip about twice a year.  They come down and party with our kids while we hit the trail. This year we were going to…

Ten by Ten

PCT mile 228.0 to Whitewater Preserve (10 miles, +1,200/-1,900 feet). Thankfully, the wind died down last night around 8pm and it was calm and warm and not-too-uncomfortable in my sleeping-padless tent.  I slept well. BarnFinder and I packed up and got ready right after daybreak this morning.  I ate my last piece of pizza (it’s…

Pizza Time in Gorgonio

Onyx Summit (mile 252.1) to PCT mile 228.0 (24.1 miles, +2,000/-6,500 feet). Time for another adventure on the PCT!  My buddy BarnFinder and I were originally going to do a section near Mount Baden-Powell, but part of Highway 2 was still closed this week due to snow (what a crazy wet winter we’ve had in…

Cuyamaca Peak

Paso Picacho to Cuyamaca Peak via Lookout Fire Road and Azalea Glen Trail (8 miles, +1,700/-1,700 feet). Sometimes we make big plans.  And then life happens. Mixmaster and I originally planned to go check out the record snowfall in the Sierras with a trip to Olancha Peak, but work obligations, birthdays, and even ER visits chipped…

Day 3: The Surprisingly Beautiful Lower Paria

Bush Head Canyon to Lee’s Ferry (12 miles, +0/-400 feet). I was not looking forward to today.  I imagined that the lower Paria would be a very wide canyon with monotonous red walls far away on either side and ranch land in the middle.  I also thought we would continue to have lots of route…

Day 2: I Just Met a Gorge Named Paria

Paria Mile 10 Spring to Bush Head Canyon (16.5 miles, +0/-600 feet). In case you are wondering about the title of this blog entry, remember that “Paria” rhymes with “Maria” and think: West Side Story.  🙂 I slept SOOOO well last night.  It was about 20 degrees warmer than the night before and there was no…

Day 1: Buckskin Gulch

Wire Pass Trailhead to Paria Mile 10 Spring (18 miles, +0/-800 feet). Today was a truly extraordinary day.  Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the world and the deepest in the US, and I suspect it also may be the most beautiful. The hike through Buckskin was surprisingly challenging.  There is no significant…

Oops, I Did 28!

Hwy 173 (PCT mile 314.3) to Cajon Junction (mile 341.9) (28 miles, +4,200/-4,400 feet). It’s been a wonderful wet winter here in Southern California, so I was eager to get back to the PCT to take advantage of its unusual lushness.  I thought I would pick up where I left off with Barnfinder, finishing the 28 miles of…

Down to the Superbloom

Villager Peak to S-22 Trailhead (7 miles, +0/-5,000 feet). After a tough climbing day you might think it would be nice for it to be all downhill from here.  But down can sometimes be even harder, especially for someone like me who occasionally experiences knee problems.  The key is to take it slow, especially the…

A Rascally Rabbit

S-22 Trailhead to Villager Peak to Rabbit Peak to Villager Peak (14 miles, +8,300/-3,300 feet). Modern Hiker calls this one of the most challenging hikes in Southern California — maybe even more so than Cactus to Clouds.  At 14 miles it’s not that long, but 8,300 feet of elevation gain in one day is a lot,…