Island Pass Perfection

Marie Lakes to Agnew Meadows (14 miles, +1,200/-3,700 feet). After our terrible, terrible experience on Rush Creek yesterday we all agreed that we should not do a there-and-back hike back to Bloody Canyon.  So today we hiked to Agnew Meadows where we could get the bus down to Mammoth.  It was another great day on…

Marie Lakes

Parker Creek to Marie Lakes (16.5 miles, +3,500/-3,500 feet). Today was two truly spectacular hikes that sandwiched a relatively miserable one.  I guess it’s not a coincidence that my emotional energy mirrored the topographical profile of today’s trip…. We awoke energized and ready to tackle the switchbacks headed up Parker Peak. The climb wasn’t bad at all….

Bloody Canyon

Bloody Canyon to Parker Creek (10.5 miles, +3,000/-300 feet). This was an accidental trip. I originally thought about organizing a different hike but I discovered that on the Inyo Wilderness Permit site you can enter a date and group size and it shows you all available trailheads.  I had never heard of many of the ones I saw, so…

A Morning Stroll

Doble Trail Camp (mile 268.6) to Cougar Crest Trail (mile 277.7) (11 miles, +1,500/-1,700 feet). Last night was windy!  There were some power lines above us and they made an eerie low hum every time the wind blew.  I eventually ignored it and went to sleep. This morning we got up before the sun, which is…

Back in a Groove

Onyx Summit (Mile 252.1) to Doble Springs Trail Camp (Mile 268.6) (16.5 miles, +1,500/-3,000 feet). This is day one of a two day trip following catastrophic solo hiking failures for both BarnFinder and me.  Earlier this month I tried to thru-hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, but I got severely dehydrated after just two days and…

Day 4: Hopping to the End

Northgate Peaks Trail to Lee Pass Trailhead (18.2 miles, +1,100/-1,700 feet). This morning we were a little leery of what lay before us.  The next section of the hike was on the “Connector” trail.  It sounded about as glamorous as an urban highway interchange.  But even this part of the route was beautiful, and in…

Day 3: The Spectacular West Rim

Cabin Spring to the Northgate Peaks Trail (16.7 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). All the frustration I felt with the crowds in Zion Canyon melted away this morning with the sunrise.  I never knew that the beauty of the main canyon spills over the countryside into countless gorges and landscapes.  And the West Rim Trail puts you…

Day 2: The Maddening Crowd

Top of Echo Canyon to Cabin Spring (11.0 miles, +3,000/-2,500 feet). I love all the scenery in Zion Canyon, and I love the fact that it is accessible to all different kinds of people.  But when I’m in a frame of mind to go into the backcountry, it can be shockingly repulsive to deal with all…

Day 1: A Tranquil Beginning

East Entrance Trailhead to Top of Echo Canyon (6.6 miles, +1,000/-400 feet). We met ChiaGlyph, who was driving in from Denver, at the Kolob Canyon Visitor Center.  We got our permit and then dropped a car at the Kolob Canyon trailhead where we will return at the end of our hike.  We then shuttled to…

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…

WBC Desert Hike

Juniper Flats to Quail Mountain and back (12 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). BarnFinder, Karpo, and I signed up for a Wilderness Basics Course with the Sierra Club this winter, and it has lots of great information.  Unfortunately, most of it is information we already know—the course is really oriented towards people who have never been backpacking…

Valentine Loop

Indian Creek Loop variation (10 miles, +1,500/-1,500 feet). BarnFinder, MixMaster, and I have not hiked together in a while since I hurt my knee on the PCT.  I’m still not 100% so we thought we would try an easy loop in the Mount Laguna area. And believe it or not, the only day we had…