Chilnualna Falls Trail

UC Yosemite Field Station to View of Wawona Dome on the Chilnualna Falls Trail (5 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). The University of California has some sweet facilities for hosting conferences, including some at Yosemite, so I reserved one of them in late October for our annual “Human Nature Group Masters” conference of colleagues and UCSD alumni….

The Devil’s Punchbowl

Saddleback Trailhead to Cedar Creek Falls (5 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet). Today I did a short hike with some folks from the Human Nature Group, a research group I belong to.  We carpooled to the Saddleback Trailhead, where we headed down Eagle Peak Road, an abandoned jeep trail. It’s pretty easy downhill, but there is a junction after about…

Day 4: A Bambi Wake-Up Call

Monarch Lake to Sawtooth Trailhead (4.5 miles, +0/-2,600 feet). Last night, Nick, Meredith, and I found a nice open flat area to set up our tents with a view of the lake.  When I woke up this morning I heard some scuffling and leaned over to look out of my tent. Peering into the early…

Day 3: A Spectacular Mirror

Big Five Lakes to lower Monarch Lake (8.1 miles, +2,600/-2,000 feet). As beautiful as the last two days have been, there is nothing that quite prepared me for my first exposure to a Sierra reflection on a calm alpine lake.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures!  It seemed like every angle revealed something new about this wondrous…

Day 2: My First Sierra Pass

Pinto Lake to Big Five Lakes (7.2 miles, +3,000/-1,800 feet). We started the day with a 3000 foot climb up to Black Rock Pass at 11,700 feet.  I was very excited because I had seen many pictures online from Sierra passes, but this would be my first experience in person. Slowly but surely we made…

Day 1: Beware of Marmots!

Sawtooth Trailhead to Pinto Lake (7.9 miles, +3,500/-2,500 feet). Today was Day 1 of the HNG “advanced” backpacking trip to Mineral King I organized.  I originally had about 12 people sign up for the trip, but everyone got busy and in the end there were only three of us. Nick, Meredith, and I arrived at…

HNG Beginners Backpack

Penney Pines Trailhead to Noble Canyon Trailhead (10 miles, +200/-1,900 feet). When I started going crazy with backpacking, I originally looked for trips organized by the Sierra Club, or self-organized trips by groups on meetup.com and elsewhere.  But when I started talking to my friends about backpacking, many of them said they were interested in…