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