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…

Nancy Pass

Devil’s Postpile to forest camp above Ediza Lake (13 miles, +4,700/-2,900 feet). Time for my annual hike with UltraShuffle!  Only this time we added two to our party, MixMaster and UltraShuffle’s son Rainbow T.  We drove up to Mammoth yesterday to acclimatize and then headed off on a section of the Sierra High Route.  Our…

Isabelle Glacier

Isabelle Glacier Trail (11 miles, +2,500/-2,500 feet). It was great to have a zero day yesterday after our backpack around the Maroon Bells!  But since we finished a day early, we had a chance to do a day hike today.  We decided to hike up to one of Colorado’s disappearing glaciers, the beautiful Isabelle. The…

Day 3: Buckskin, ‘Bundy’, Willow, and East Snowmass Passes

West Maroon Creek to East Snowmass Trailhead (17 miles, +3,800/-6,200 feet). Okay, let me apologize right away.  There are over 90 pictures in this post!  I spent a lot of time deleting pictures, but this was one of those days where I just couldn’t kill my darlings. We awoke to crystal clear skies and a…

Day 2: Hasley, Frigid Air, and West Maroon Passes

Lake Geneva Trailhead to West Maroon Creek (18 miles, +5,800/-4,700 feet). So I guess it was a little too slopey last night.  MixMaster and I kept sliding towards the river.  I got good rest but not much sleep.  Oh well. We got an earlier start this morning and that was a good thing because we…

Day 1: Trail Rider Pass

Snowmass Creek Trailhead to Geneva Lake Trailhead (17 miles, +4,600/-3,400 feet). Time again for my annual trip with MixMaster and ChiaGlyph.  Woo hoo! So far we’ve done the Trans-Zion Trek and Paria Canyon.  This time we decided to head for Chia’s home turf, Colorado.  Chia has had his eye on the famous “Four Pass Loop”…