Back in the Saddle

Vincent Gap to Wrightwood (14 miles, +3500/-4200 feet). Ever since Half Cookie rolled her ankle and we had to get off trail at Vincent Gap, I’ve had my eye on the part of Section D of the PCT between there and Cajon Junction.  Today I got a chance to hike some of it with my…

Not 30

PCT Halfmile 424.4 to Indian Canyon Trailhead (PCT 444.2) (19.8 miles, +3,000/-6,400 feet). Today was…. interesting. I’m not sure I would do it again.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t.  But sometimes it is useful to have certain experiences because they are novel and they help define the lines within which we color our future…

Trail Gorilla

Mill Creek Summit (PCT Halfmile 418.6) to PCT 424.4 (5.8 miles, +2,200/-1,400 feet). Over the last two and a half years I’ve hiked about 15% of the PCT.  It’s such a beautifully-designed and well-maintained trail that my buddies and I often use it as a baseline to rate other trails (as in “hey, this is…

Day 4: Columbine Pass

Grizzly Creek to Needleton (15 miles, +3,500/-5,000 feet). Today was our biggest day yet and we needed to be done by 3pm when we expected the train to arrive in Needleton. And just to make things a little more exciting, the weather forecast called for several inches of snow and 50 mile an hour winds…

Day 3: Sunlight Lake

Sunlight Lake day hike then Sunlight Creek to Grizzly Creek (14 miles +4,800/-4,700 feet). It was calm and very warm last night in our beautiful little Vallecito camp site.  Since we  were just doing a day hike up to Sunlight Lake and back and then had easy miles along the river later on, we slept…

Day 2: Up on the Divide

Highland Mary Lakes to Sunlight Creek (13 miles, +1,700/-4,600 feet). Although we camped on a bit of a slope last night, it was okay.  I only had to scooch back up hill inside my tent a couple of times. The wind also was not as bad as I thought it might be.  I could hear…

Day 1: Highland Mary Lakes

Elk Park to Highland Mary Lakes (10 miles, +4,000/-500 feet). When Ultrashuffle and I finished our High Sierra Trail yo-yo last year we immediately started talking about the next trip.  I love the Sierra and proposed a sequel, but Ultrashuffle was really drawn to the idea of a hike in Colorado.  So we decided to…

Spiller Canyon

Stanton Pass to Tuolumne Meadows (PCT Halfmile 942.7) via Spiller Creek and the PCT (19 miles, +2,000/–3,700 feet). I love sleeping high. No condensation, it’s usually (paradoxically) warmer, and the views are out of this world. We awoke this morning to a light show on Whorl Mountain as the moon faded and the sun blued…

Matterhorn Pass

Return Creek to Stanton Pass via Matterhorn Pass (14 miles, +5,000/-3,000 feet). Our campsite last night was lovely, but the proximity to the river made it cold and damp, creating some decent condensation inside my tent. The first order of business this morning was getting across Return Creek, so we waited until 6am when we…

PCT Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows (PCT Halfmile 942.7) to Return Creek (956.2) (13.5 miles, +1,700/-1,800 feet). My buddy MixMaster and I were originally planning to do a 60 mile loop in Yosemite that would take us from Tuolumne Meadows up the PCT, down Rodgers Canyon, and then up the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. But then came the…

Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak Trail (5 miles, +2,000/-2,000 feet). Today was another day intimately tied to my youth.  On one of my cross country trips in the early 1980s between Oklahoma and Oregon my family stopped at Lassen Peak and I climbed it with my dad.  I still remember how amazed I was by the experience.  I…

PCT Taster

Subway Cave to Old Station via PCT (3 miles, +200/-200 feet). We lazed around a bit after our Cinder Cone hike and then decided to do another excursion this afternoon.  A lava tube called the Subway Cave was about a mile away from our airbnb in Old Station and the plan was for Half Cookie…