Big Bear Exploration

11-13 January 2021 11 miles (+2,000/-2,000 feet) The pandemic rages on, and Half Cookie and I have been going stir crazy.  So we jumped at an opportunity to stay at a friend’s cabin in Big Bear, where we could change the scene and do some hiking. Big Bear Lake hosts ski resorts and snow parks,…

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…

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…

Red Canyon

8 September 2020 Pink Ledges Loop (1 mile, +200/-200 feet) and Arches Loop (1 mile, +200/-200 feet). Well it was super cold and windy today, so no need to burst out the door at the crack of dawn!  We slept in and then decided to go explore nearby Red Canyon.  We’ve always been in such…

Riggs Spring Loop

7 September 2020 Riggs Spring Loop (9 miles, +1,900/-1,900 feet). The weather was *really* spooky today.  It was extremely windy, and we got an early start because it was supposed to be very hot.  We could barely see the sunrise through the morning haze of smoke from the California fires that followed us here from…

Cedar Breaks to Bryce

6 September 2020 Alpine Pond Loop (2 miles, +200/-200 feet) and Bryce Point to Sunset Point (2 miles, +300/-300 feet). Today we are moving on to Bryce Canyon.  We were supposed to do a backpack on the under-the-rim trail there, but today we’ll see highs in the 80s and tomorrow we’ll see lows in the…

Ramparts Overlook Trail

5 September 2020 Ramparts Overlook Trail (4 miles, +800/-800 feet). It was really hot at Great Basin National Park, so we decided to press on to our next stop, Cedar Breaks National Monument, since it sits at a nice cool 10,000 feet. Of course, everyone else had the same idea: the campground was full! But…

Baker Lake / Johnson Lake Loop

4 September 2020 Baker Lake / Johnson Lake Loop (13.1 miles, +3,200/-3,200 feet). I originally thought we might backpack in Great Basin, but the distances are quite small, and longer trips tend to go on ridges that sound a bit sketchy (at least they did when we spoke with a ranger at the Visitor Center). …

Glacier Trail and Alpine Lakes Loop

3 September 2020 Glacier Trail and Alpine Lakes Loop (6 miles, +1,200/-1,200 feet). Half Cookie and I wanted to do a Sierra trip this September.  But then all of California caught on fire.  So we searched the map for places that were a similar distance by car from San Diego. One place we have always…

Day 14: Down in the Valley, the Valley So Low

1 August 2020 JMT Cloud’s Rest Trail to Happy Isles (8.9 miles, +900/-3,200 feet) Today was our triumphant finish!  Bishop to Yosemite Valley, nearly 150 miles in two weeks. But it was a very strange ending.  This is obviously some of the most dramatic scenery on Earth, but it was sometimes hard to appreciate with…