Last Little Bit

Cora Lakes to Isberg Pass Trailhead (5 miles, +200/-1,700 feet). Today was pretty simple: a downhill hike back to the car.  But it still had its moments. Here’s a map of the whole trip:  

Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Hemlock Crossing

Isberg Pass Trailhead to Hemlock Crossing (9 miles +2400/-1900 feet). Ever since we had to alter our Sierra High Route section hike last year, MixMaster and I have wanted to go to Bench Canyon and Lyell Fork.  It is supposed to be one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Sierra. This summer,…

Sand Point Loop

West Ridge Trail to Aptos Creek Fire Road (12 miles, +2400/-2400 feet). My buddy MixMaster recently moved to NorCal, so I went up to see him and his family after they got settled in.  And of course we had to hike!  He showed me a nice loop in Nisene Marks State Park.  It was so…

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…