Sunday, July 15, 2018

May 1-6 Rafting Trip at Grand Canyon

Our group of 13 friends from Hiking Club did this upper half-canyon 5-day trip with hike out on day 6.   Below are a few representative photos, but you can see Mark's photos or Sharon's photos online too, and I'd encourage you to have a look at them also.
This outfitted trip offered a daily choice between oar boats, paddle raft, or a hard shell dory. We were accompanied by 8 fun new friends who stayed on the trip for the entire canyon. We were sad to say bye to our new friends, but the big climbout on the Bright Angel Trail awaited.
Our first photo on the river!  The paddlers depart Lee's Ferry.  Does it look cold? Umm, it is.

Meanwhile, at the South Rim... (key the sad trombone)
So Day 2 was freezing cold and it sucked and I won't bother posting photos until Day 3.
We're back!!  Day 3, in Mile 31 we stop for a hike in the Redwall Limestone layer
Yes, that's more like it
In Redwall Cavern, the largest in the canyon

We celebrated Tohru's birthday, and he got cake and a psychedelic hula skirt. The props came from an endless bag that the guides brought.
floating down the inner gorge, where the rock is 2 bn y/o
On day 6, out of the boats and ready to hike out on the Bright Angel Trail! I had fun hiking behind Tohru and watching incoming hikers laugh at his skirt.
The Devil's Corkscrew, in the lower end of the BA Trail. Thankfully, high clouds helped dent the heat today. The South Rim is a 4500' climb from the river in about 7 miles
Our group got greatly spread out, but here's our subgroup after 5 hrs, ready to reach the South Rim. A shuttle back to Flagstaff, showers, and beds await.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

March 17 - Hiking Club in Solstice Canyon, Malibu

We were out for an 8-mile hike on the first sunny day after a week or so of intermittent storms.
Looking downcanyon
 Solstice Canyon once was a ranch, but the area burned out in 1982, and the family sold or donated it to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. They had a really nice home in the canyon, next to a waterfall and surrounded by tropical trees they planted.
Malibu coastline and LA
The view of Santa Monica Bay is superb from the hike's high point, a thousand feet above the ocean.  Those big houses are owned by movie stars, including Charles Nelson Reilly, Larry "Bud" Melman, and Mister Ed.
Santa Catalina Island, 44 mi offshore
Point Dume jutting out

Sunday, March 4, 2018

February 24 Hiking Club in Downtown LA

The art deco LA City Library, against a backdrop of office buildings from the last 50 years, including the newly built, spired Wilshire Grand Center in back
The 73-story US Bank Tower, center, is the tallest habitable building in LA

On Broadway: the Orpheum Theater and the art deco Eastern Building
We had a group of 21 on this year's LA Conservancy guided tour.  This year it was the art deco buildings tour, and though we saw a dozen great examples, it was such a great day for picturetaking that I'm posting some of the other buildings. Our 'urban canyon' hikes every February are some of our funnest outings.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December : Supermoon Night Hike to Mission Point

In LA, November and December are the best months for night hikes.  The clear, warm days are followed by early sunsets and cool evenings. One can get out for dark and still be home by 7pm. And there's Christmas lights. This night also offered a supermoon, bright enough to see by on the hike down. I only switched on my headlamp in the shadows.

At center is Glendale, left of center is the Verdugo Hills; right of center is Mt Lee, downtown LA thru the gap, and Hollywood Hills to the right. In the foreground is the beautiful San Fernando Valley.
Mission Point is the last big bump on the east end of the Santa Susana range that divides the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys but one can hike to this spot from either valley.

Thanksgiving: Vasquez Rocks ramble

Beautiful sunny skies and we had the park all to ourselves

November 11 night hike to Echo Mtn

The sun sets as we climb the switchbacks

It's dark by the time we arrive on summit

We made hot chocolate for everybody

That's Pasadena down there

Our group was 28, plus a doggie

Sunday, November 26, 2017

October: Long Weekend in New Mexico

After my friend Nina's recent move to Albuquerque, I thought it was time for my first visit back to the area in 20 years. We  hiked in the southernmost tip of the southern Rockies, the Sangre de Crostos, also the Sandias and in Petroglyph National Monument.

It was just past peak color in the Sangre de Cristo range

On another hike to the Sandia Crest. That's Albuquerque in the background
Dinner in Old Town Albuquerque
On a hike in Petroglyph National Monument

October: Canyoneering in the San Gabriels

I got an invite from the canyoneering group at one of our LA sites, and jumped at the chance to join them for a day in Big Tujunga Canyon.
Our off-trail route is highlighted
The day offered three quick drops (25', 50', and 130') before bottoming out into Big Tujunga Cyn, then a short bushwack to where the trail crosses the canyon bed and returns to the highway above. Upper Big Tujunga Cyn is riddled with short, quick descents that can be done in a day.
First rappel
Sandra on 2nd rap, with a pool at the base
2nd rap
Andy on the 3rd rap - 130'
At 130' the third descent was probably the longest rappel I've done to date. As Andy went over the brink he disappeared from sight. Once he was off the rope he blew his whistle to signal.

My turn

Everyone at the base of the 3rd rap
Ready to hike out
Hiking back to the road, looking back down into rugged Big Tujunga gorge

Friday, November 17, 2017

August Backpack Trip in the Sierra

Day 3, Admiring the view in Big Whitney Meadow
2017 was supposed to be the year of completing the John Muir Trail. But after a heavy winter, even though our trip was planned for late summer, the trip's five passes were all still buried in snowpack, with perilous creek crossings (three deaths on the PCT this summer, two in our segment).  So in July I replanned an alternate five day loop trip in Golden Trout Wilderness and southern Sequoia NP. The trip would be 6 days, totalling about 41 miles.
It's partly cloudy as we start out from 9800' Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead
Two hours out, after crossing Trail Pass, we get a bonus rainstorm, with hail
All's well that ends well. The rest of the trip was clear skies
Camp for first and second night
Day 2 we climbed 11000' Kern Peak for a tremendous view
Back in camp for sunset. That's Kern Peak behind.
Morning, Day 3, an uphill hike all day
Camp at the end of Day 3 was a dry camp below Siberian Pass. Few people come this way.
Day 4 - over Siberian Pass, we drop packs, make a camp, and hike into beautiful Miter Basin in Sequoia NP. Because it's off the beaten path, Miter Basin gets very little visitation
At Sky Blue Lake in Miter Basin
Looking up, LeConte Pk on the left, and one of those spires is Mt Corcoran
On Day 5 we hike over Army Pass into the Cottonwood Lakes Basin
Final sunrise on the trail
Last morning, packing up, but with smiles because the bear cans are empty of food
Midday finish back at Horseshoe Meadows
A good time was had by all