Hamilton Lake

Kaweah Mile 72 to Hamilton Lake to Middle Fork Trailhead (19 miles, +5,000/-8,000 feet). Wow. Just wow. Today was one of the most epic days of hiking I have ever experienced. I’m not sure I want to repeat some parts of it, but I feel really psyched to have achieved a crazy-hard goal and to…

Middle Fork Trail

Middle Fork Trailhead to Mile 72 on the Kaweah (14 miles, +6,000/-3,000 feet). I had originally planned to knock out 48 miles on the PCT this weekend, but it was supposed to be extremely windy in the Mojave and I have been really craving a return to the Sierra. The weather gods helped me out,…

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…

Fantastic Lava Beds

Butte Lake Campground to Cinder Cone and back (5 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet). Last night we drove down to Old Station to spend a couple of days in Lassen Volcanic National Park on our way back from the eclipse.  We were originally going to stay at Crater Lake, but the Spruce Fire has caused lots of…

A Change of Heart

Moose Lake to Wolverton Trailhead via Emerald Lake (12 miles, +1,000/-4,200 feet). Yesterday I had a bit of a meltdown. When I got back to camp I was so tired of walking in the slushy suncups and so anxious about doing icy traverses that I suggested to MixMaster that we just leave Moose Lake the…

The Tablelands

Moose Lake to Kings-Kaweah Divide near Big Bird Peak and back (8 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). Today was exhausting. I mean really, really exhausting. But crazy beautiful. I guess the best things in life are not free. We had originally planned to pack up and head over Pterodactyl Pass to Lonely Lake, but the ranger at…

Moose Lake

Wolverton Trailhead to Moose Lake (10 miles, +3,900/-500 feet). Ever since I hiked the Watchtower Trail to Heather Lake with ZoZoZoom I have wanted to do a cross-country trip in the Tablelands.  They looked so beautiful from a distance, with their gentle granite slopes above the tree line. And what better time to go?  I…

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:…