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…

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 Colin 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…

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…

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…