Mount Baldy

Manker Flats trailhead loop to Baldy Summit then Devil’s Backbone (12 miles, +4,000/-4,000 feet). Time for another hike! I was supposed to go back to the Sierra today but I have been fighting a minor cold and my buddy MixMaster has been having some minor knee issues. We have another trip to the Sierra coming…

Kearsarge Pass

Bullfrog Lake to Onion Valley (7 miles, +1,000/-2,700 feet). So, last night was my worst night ever in a tent. All night long I was tortured by the fear that Kearsarge Pass was wrapped in a wall of ice just like Forester. The words of the thru-hiker I met before my trip rang in my ears:…

Forester Pass

Tyndall Creek (PCT mile 774.7) to Bullfrog Lake (14 miles, +3,000/-3,700 feet). Today was a life-changing day for me. Don’t get me wrong.  I am not claiming that anyone else would have my experience.  In fact, in talking to others today who did Forester Pass, I’m pretty sure my experience is unusual. But I am…

Racing Past Whitney

Rock Creek (PCT mile 760) to Tyndall Creek (mile 774.7) (14.7 miles, +3,600/-2,400 feet). I slept pretty well last night, though it’s always a little annoying to deal with cold and wet shoes, socks, clothes, tents, and sleeping bags.  I was also starting to worry about Forester and felt the need to cover lots of…

High Snow in the High Sierra

Horseshoe Meadows to Rock Creek (PCT mile 760) (14 miles, +1900/-2200 feet). It’s a record snowfall year in the Sierra and I have been dying to get out there and see it for myself.  None of my hiking buddies were free this week, so I decided to set out on my own to tackle the…

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…