Noble Canyon

6 January 2021 Noble Canyon Trailhead to second stream crossing and back (10 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). Well, here we are still in a stay-at-home-order, with even dispersed camping banned in much of Southern California.  So no backpacking for now.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t day hike! To open up “birthday week” for Half Cookie, we…

McCain Valley

16-17 November 2020 (10 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet). Now that the pandemic is raging again, my options for trips are limited.  It’s too cold and dark to go north and Cleveland National Forest is still closed.  Fortunately, Anza-Borrego is still open, so I decided to check out a corner I had never been to before: the…

Paradise Valley

18 October 2020 Upper Paradise Valley to Roads End (10 miles, +500/-2,000 feet). The name of this part of the Rae Lakes Loop always raises my expectations too much.  “Paradise” is mostly below treeline, so not exactly what someone who loves the Sierra is looking for.  Nonetheless, it *is* a pretty walk past the South…

The Good Stuff

17 October 2020 Junction Meadow to Upper Paradise Valley (21 miles, +4,000/-5,000 feet). Whee!!! Today is exactly the kind of day that I live for.  I started hiking before daybreak, was above treeline by sunrise, and spent most of the day gawking at barren rocky passes, gorgeous alpine lakes, massive granite domes, and intensely yellow…

Bubbs Creek

16 October 2020 Roads End to Junction Meadow (10.3 miles, +3,000/-500 feet). I had several trips planned to the Sierra this August and September.  But then California caught on fire, and I had to seek several alternatives in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.  Those trips have been great, but I was feeling really sad that I…

Northgate Peaks

12 October 2020 Wildcat Canyon Trailhead to Northgate Peaks and back (4 miles, +500/-500 feet). Today was definitely my favorite day of our short trip to Zion.  We hiked to the Northgate Peaks through a lovely ponderosa forest and had great views of Russell Gulch, the Left Fork, Pine Valley Peak, and the eponymous domes…

West Rim Quickie

11 October 2020 West Rim Trail to Left Fork Canyon and back (5 miles, +500/-500 feet). Given the difficulty we had yesterday, we decided to go up in altitude for cooler weather and find a day hike that was pretty flat.  The West Rim Trail was perfect.  We hiked it until we had a nice…

Coalpits Wash

10 October 2020 Coalpits Wash (5 miles, +800/-800 feet). Like most people these days, my buddy Jay who is also a professor has been going a little stir crazy, cooped up due to COVID.  When I suggested we do a small backpacking trip he jumped at the chance. We are both busy with teaching and…

South Kaibab Trailhead to Mather Point

28 September 2020 South Kaibab Trailhead to Mather Point (2 miles, + 200/-200 feet). This morning wasn’t much of a hike — it was more of a stroll to stretch our legs before getting in the car for 7 hours to return to San Diego.  But it’s hard to complain about a hike of any…

Hermits Rest to El Tovar

27 September 2020 Hermits Rest to El Tovar (8 miles, +500/-500 feet). Flagstaff was fun with its cute downtown, excellent latin cuisine, and numerous breweries, but we thought it would be a shame not to do some hiking at the Grand Canyon since we were already so close.   So we booked a room at Bright…

Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments

26 September 2020 Lenox Crater, Lava Flow, Wukoki Pueblo, Wapatki Ruin, and The Citadel Trails (~4 miles, +500/-500 feet). Today was more of a car touring day, but we were able to do a series of very short hikes to get out and enjoy one of the youngest cinder cones in the United States and…

Kachina Trail

25 September 2020 Kachina Trail (8 miles, +1,000/-1,000 feet). California is still on fire, so Half Cookie and I decided to do a quick trip to Flagstaff.  This morning we did a there-and-back hike that starts near the Arizona Snow Bowl ski resort and then contours around Agassiz Peak in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness.  It…