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…