A Marble-ous Canyon

Marble Canyon to Cottonwood Canyon Road (5 miles, +0/-1,600 feet). The wind last night was eerie.  We could hear it roaring as it snaked its way through the narrow channels up canyon. But as it approached us where the canyon widened, the sound lessened.  By the time the gust hit our tents it was hardly a…

The Death Bow

Cottonwood Canyon Road to Marble Canyon (13 miles, +2,200/-2,200 feet). Winter nights in the tent are long!  It was windy last night but not too cold.  By the time the stars began to disappear, we were both ready to get out of our tents and hit the trail. It was great being on trail this…

Water in the Desert

Cottonwood Canyon Road (8.5 miles, +1,600/-0 feet). I was supposed to be in Big Bend National Park this weekend to hike the Outer Mountain Loop with my buddies Cole and Quercus, but Southwest Airlines cancelled our flight to Austin. We are still working on a reschedule, but in the meantime Quercus and I scrambled for…

Ice of the Woods

Sunset Trail to Big Laguna Trail (4 miles, +500/-500 feet). It’s been a very wet winter in SoCal, and recently very cold too.  The last set of storms took the snow level all the way down to 3,000 feet, so we couldn’t wait to get up to Mount Laguna to hike around in it. There…

We’re Boulderin’

Juniper Flats to Boyscout Trailhead via Johnnie Lang Canyon (8 miles, +500/-1,500 feet). Winter backpacking is always tough more for the dark than the cold.  We did everything we could last night to stay up until the stars came out, but even so it’s 12 hours of full darkness in the tent before light breaks….

Don’t Go Climbing Waterfalls

Boy Scout Trailhead to Juniper Flats via Smith Water Canyon (16 miles, +2,000/-1,000 feet). Once more, into the breach!  After a crazy cold trip to Joshua Tree last week I agreed to do it again with MixMaster and Sobo Baggins.  This was Sobo’s first overnight trip, so I thought I would pick an easy route….  But…

Surviving the Night

Juniper Flats Trail (2 miles, +300/-300 feet). It was cold yesterday, and then last night around 9pm the wind picked up and blew away all the clouds.  The one time I got out to pee the stars were absolutely spectacular, but it was FREEZING! Back in my tent I had every item of clothing on…

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Juniper Flats Trailhead to Stubbe Springs Loop (12 miles, +1,400/-1,400 feet). ZoZoZoom has never been backpacking before.  She was especially worried about being comfortable sleeping and being attacked by wild animals in the dead of night.  But with her spirit of adventure, she overcame these concerns and hit the road with me for an overnight in…

Postholing in San Diego?

Penny Pines Trailhead to PCT to Big Laguna Trail loop (11 miles, +1,200/-1,200 feet). My buddy MixMaster and I were going to do an overnight backpack but life intervened, and in retrospect I am really glad it did.  We decided instead to head up to Mount Laguna where back-to-back winter storms dumped over a foot…

Slip Sliding Away

Canyon Oak – Desert View Loop (4 miles, +800/-800 feet). I almost decided not to go on this hike today.  My recent trip to the Channel Islands really zapped me, and the forecast called for rain, but Half Cookie persuaded me to keep to our plan of a family hike.  And I am really glad…

Smugglers Cove

Scorpion Ranch to Yellowbanks Overlook and back (10 miles, +1,600/-1,600 feet). Today was our last day on the island.  We broke camp before the sun rose and took our packs down to Scorpion Pier.  We then packed water and our remaining food for a day hike out to Smugglers Cove. Today’s hike was much easier, taking…

Montañon Ridge

Del Norte Campground to Scorpion Ranch via Chinese Harbor (16 miles, +3,000/-3,700 feet). After 13 hours on our backs (winter nights are long!) we were very ready to get started with our hike across the island.  Since it was only 11 miles total and we had the whole day, we decided to add a 4…