The Kelly Ditch Trail

William Heise County Park to Lake Cuyamaca and back (11.5 miles, +2,900/-2,900 feet). BarnFinder was back in town for the holidays and I haven’t seen him that much because of his work schedule, so we decided to do a day hike nearby.  We’ve both hiked just about all the main hikes that are within a…

Mortero Palms

Mortero Palms trailhead to saddle with Goat Canyon (4 miles, +1,600/-1,600 feet). Half Cookie and I wanted a nice day hike for the holidays, and since it’s been pretty cold for us here in San Diego (below 60!) we decided to go to the desert. I’ve always had my eye on a cross-country route to…

Icy Falls

Deer Springs Trailhead to PCT Halfmile 201.7 (22.3 miles, +4,300/-6,700 feet). As I have slowly creeped my way north on the PCT, there has been a missing section that has nagged at me.  On past trips I have explored all around San Jacinto Peak and the San Gorgonio Wilderness, but I never connected the dots,…

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…

Down to the Superbloom

Villager Peak to S-22 Trailhead (7 miles, +0/-5,000 feet). After a tough climbing day you might think it would be nice for it to be all downhill from here.  But down can sometimes be even harder, especially for someone like me who occasionally experiences knee problems.  The key is to take it slow, especially the…

A Rascally Rabbit

S-22 Trailhead to Villager Peak to Rabbit Peak to Villager Peak (14 miles, +8,300/-3,300 feet). Modern Hiker calls this one of the most challenging hikes in Southern California — maybe even more so than Cactus to Clouds.  At 14 miles it’s not that long, but 8,300 feet of elevation gain in one day is a lot,…

Pretty Little Desert Flower

Bow Willow and Rockhouse Canyon Loop (8 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet). On Friday morning I heard a story on KPBS that this year is supposed to be the best wildflower season in Anza-Borrego since the late 1990s.  So that sealed the deal — Barnfinder and Rockit Man and I would head to the desert. We arrived at…

Same Time Next Year

Noble Canyon Trailhead (mile 48.7) to Sunrise Trailhead (mile 59.5) (11.5 miles, +1,000/-1,400 feet). My friend Scott and I would like to hike more together but he’s a busy guy!  With four kids and two full time jobs it’s hard for he and his wife to keep up.  But we do manage to find a time to hike,…

Dehydration Before Desolation

Marlette Peak Campground to Kingsbury (25 miles, +3,000/-4,000 feet). Well, I did it again.  I’m leaving the trail today because I went too fast. On these solo trips I am always in such a hurry.  Eight days is a long time to be away from my family, so there is no way I want to…

Lost in the Snow

Mount Rose to Marlette Peak Campground (15 miles, +1,700/-1,600 feet). Today I started a solo attempt of the Tahoe Rim Trail, 165 miles of beautiful ups and downs that encircle Lake Tahoe.  My plan is to try to finish in about 8 days. I drove up from San Diego this morning, leaving at 2am (as…

Snow Camp!

Devil’s Slide Trail to San Jacinto Peak Loop (22 miles, +5,700/-5,700 feet). My friends BarnFinder and Karpo and I have been enrolled in the Sierra Club’s Wilderness Basics Course this spring.  It’s very thorough, and I can see how it would have been super useful a year ago when I was backpacking for the first time.  But…

Crushing My Knees

Tule Spring (mile 136.5) to Highway 74 (mile 151.9) (15.4 miles, +3,000/-1,700 feet). Today was day two of a two day trip.  Overnight it was really cold, in the 20s.  I kept my water bottle near me in the tent and as soon as I got out this morning it started freezing up. We decided…