A Surprisingly Beautiful Low Route

Dry Lake to San Bernardino Peak Trailhead (18 miles, +3,000/-6,100 feet). When we woke up this morning, we finally got to see a little better where we ended up in the dark last night. Oh well.  We were pretty careful to avoid vegetation and I packed out an old tent pole we found nearby to…

Dry Lake

Onyx Summit to Dry Lake (19 miles, +4,000/-3,200 feet). MixMaster and I were planning to head up to Kernville to do a Spring Hike/brewery combo today.  But the road to Forks of the Kern Trailhead is still closed today with the monster snows we’ve had this year.  So we decided to keep it local. I…

Cactus Spring Trail

Cactus Spring Trail to trailhead (8 miles, +2,500/-1,700 feet). Ahhh, the last day of a trip is always so much fun.  Beauty in the morning and civilization (ramen and beer!) in the afternoon. It was much warmer last night and calm, and we both slept well after our long cross country adventure yesterday.  I awoke…

Santa Rosa Traverse

Stump Spring to Ebbens Valley to Cactus Spring Trail (12 miles, +2,500/-5,500 feet). Wow today was hard. But also spectacular. I guess that’s the way it usually goes. We awoke to get our first real view of our surroundings since it was well after dark last night when we arrived. We discovered we had narrowly…

Sawmill Trail

Sawmill Trail to Stump Spring (7 miles, +4,000/-300 feet). MixMaster and I set out on an ambitious traverse of the Santa Rosa Mountains today.  The goal is to walk the ridge from Santa Rosa Peak all the way down to the Calcite Mine in two and a half days.  But the hike today was already…

Borrego Badlands

Inspiration Point to Smoke Tree Wash (6 miles, +600/-800 feet) It was surprisingly calm last night, though it felt a little colder than I expected for high 30s. We decided to avoid the main washes today, and that turned out to be a great choice.  Just north of the badlands, the terrain is pretty mellow,…

Vista del Malpais

Coachwhip Canyon to Inspiration Point (12 miles, +1,200/-1,000 feet). We’ve had a crazy cold and wet winter in San Diego.  And that means something special in the Anza Borrego Desert: Superbloom! This year there are actually going to be two “pulses” to the superbloom.  There is one that just peaked along S-22 due to a…

Rockhouse Canyon

Cottonwood Springs to Rockhouse Canyon Trailhead (8 miles, +300/-2,200 feet). It was colder last night than I expected, though we got absolutely no wind so we were both comfortable in our tents.  We awoke to a beautiful conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. In an extremely unusual move for both of us, we decided to wait…

Buck Ridge and Alder Canyon

Rockhouse Canyon Trailhead to Cottonwood Springs (12 miles, +3,700/-1,800 feet). It was time for another winter trip with MixMaster, and the cold temperatures usually mean we stay close here in SoCal.  This time we decided to head to Anza-Borrego and explore the region below Toro Peak. We were originally going to head out yesterday, but…

Filling the Gap

Garnet Lake to Agnew Meadows (8 miles, +1,100/-2,500 feet). Our last day on trail was super easy and surprisingly pretty.  The main virtue of today’s route for me (other than the burger and beer at its end!) was to see part of the John Muir Trail I had to abandon on an earlier trip where…

Clinch Pass

Lower Twin Island Lake to Garnet Lake (11 miles, +3,200/-3,100 feet). Today was one of those happy accidents.  I have frequently found that Plan Bs end up being better than Plan As, maybe not because they are objectively better, but because they often involve surprise. I had no idea how spectacular the upper basin of…

Whitebark, Garnet, and North Glacier Pass

Forest camp above Ediza Lake to Lower Twin Island Lake (9 miles, +3,300/-3,000 feet). Today was extremely gorgeous!  We basically spent the whole time circumnavigating the highly photogenic Ritter and Banner Peaks and the lakes below them.  I will definitely need to come back to this part of the High Route. To make things even…