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…

To Tule Spring

Warner Springs (mile 111.4) to Tule Spring (mile 137.0) (26.2 miles, +4,500/-4,000 feet). Today was day one of a two day trip to finish up my section miles that currently reach from Mexico to the Mountain Fire closure. It was very cold and the day was extremely short since the winter solstice just happened.  As a result,…

24 Miles!

Scissors Crossing (77.3) to Barrel Spring (101.2) (24 miles, +3,700/-4,700 feet). This was a spectacular north to south PCT day hike transitioning from damp chaparral to dense cactus garden by the end.  It was extremely dry! MixMaster and I started walking 15 minutes before daybreak with our headlamps. We shortly passed a 100 mile marker for the…

Summit to Sand

Stephenson Peak to Agua Caliente (12 miles, +500/-5,000 feet). Ever since I started going to Mount Laguna and Agua Caliente hot springs, I have wanted to do this trip.  Even though these two lovely spots are less than 10 miles apart as the crow flies, the topography of the area means you either have to go…