Monday, July 27, 2020

Truncated Sequoia NP Backpack

I had a nice, remote 4 day/50 mile backpack planned in Sequoia NP.  My loop started at Lodgepole and went clockwise through Deadman's Canyon. However, due to various reasons (AMS, skeeters, so-so trails), I bailed after one night.  Still had a great time though.

Mandatory park sign selfie

Mountain creek

Green tunnel

Twin Lakes

Looking over Ranger Lake

Cowboy camping


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Parsons Landing Overnight

Well before current travel restrictions were in place, we had reserved a spot at Parsons Landing on Catalina Island.  However, the the boats were shutdown until right before our scheduled departure.  We took the morning drive up to San Pedro and took the 1:15 hour ride over to Two Harbors.  After checking in, we started hiking along the road to Parsons Landing.
As the crow flies, it is probably only a couple miles to Emerald Bay, but you have to traverse all the intermediate canyons and landings to it ends up being a 2 hour hike to Emerald Bay.  From there, you head overland a bit to get to Parsons.  We got there early and without shade it was kind of boring although the views were great.  All eight sites were booked but it didn't seem crowded at all.
After a great night's sleep, we slowly packed up and hiked back to Two Harbors to catch the boat back.  There were lots of people at Two Harbors on Sunday morning.  They even used a big boat to fit everyone.  We got in line early to ensure we got an outdoor spot.
Overall, it was a fun little overnight backpack.

View from site 8

Our tent

Jyoti hiking in the grasslands

No summer camp this year :(

Overlooking Two Harbors

Enivornment Pushback

A couple of interesting items in environment news.  Its seems that some folks are having seconds thoughts about the "end of the world" narrative about "human-cause" climate change.

Interesting take on herd immunity

Peak Prosperity has some of best commentary on COVID-19 and this article has some good analysis of herd immunity.  If you aren't interesting in asset prices, scroll towards the bottom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Oregon Wine Country

Travel has opened up enough to allow us to reschedule our Oregon wine country trip that was canceled earlier in the year.
Leaving San Diego, the airport was pretty empty.  The only shop open was a coffee shop and everyone was wearing masks.  We flew on a brand new Embraer E75 which has 2+2 seating.  Couples and families occupied the same side but others were had empty seats next to them.
Once in Portland, we headed south to McMinnville, our base camp for the trip.  We stayed at a renovated old building that was very nice.  About half of the business still looked to be closed.  The restaurants that were open were doing pretty good business and were glad to have customers.
Over the next 3 days, we visited many wineries.  I overdid the tasting the first day but remembered to use the spit bucket later.



Tuesday, June 09, 2020

San Gorgonio Overnight

A couple friends and I headed up to the San Bernadino mountains and San Gorgonio Wilderness for a long awaited return to backpacking!  The plan was to drive up to Forsee trailhead and hike to Trail Forks and camp for the night.  Then, hit the summit and see how many of the 9 peaks we could bag before camping at either Shields Flat or Trail Forks again.  Next morning, quickly hike down and drive home.  Things didn't go quite as planned.

Weather

The weather this trip was the most difficult I have had to deal with. It was lightly raining the entire drive up.  Then at the trailhead, it was sunny and warm.  We sweated the first several miles.  Then a bitter cold wind started up.  By dinner time, it was very cold (low 40's) and windy (~20 to 30 mph gusts).  Thing is none us were really prepared for much colder temperatures.  Night was nice for a while until the wind picked up again.  We estimate it was mid 30's by morning.  At the summit, it was even colder and we only stayed for a few minutes to take pix before rapidly heading down to find shelter among the stubby pines for lunch.

Gear

Everyone had forgot some piece of needed gear.  I forgot my rain jacket (grabbed my rain pants by mistake) and took my warm weather quilt.  I would have been fine in warmer base layers but don't own any; that might be my next gear purchase.
The Ray-way tarp did great.  I pitched it perpendicular to the wind at the lowest I have pitched it.  I avoided most of the wind and didn't get any flapping.
I carried my BV500 in my new Zpacks Arc Blast.  It fit nicely and wasn't a bother.  I think the arc in the pack does a great job of keeping the hard plastic away from your spine.  I did get some rubbing along my hip bones but that always happens.  Overall, the Arc Blast is welcome replacement pack.

Hiking

I have been keeping in good shape during the lock down but nothing compares to alpine hiking.  Rich and I bagged the summit and Jepson but were too beat to try any other peaks.  The ups and downs along the ridge trail between Anderson and Dollar Saddle were tough.  There were also many snow patches to cross which slowed us down some.

Food

I found a great website for backpacking recipes run by a nutritionist: Backcountry Foodie.  It is vegetarian focused which I am trying more and more.  I also enjoy the thought put into each recipe and the instructions.  I tried out the Garlic Parmesan Ramen and White Chocolate Coconut Pudding.  They were very good.  I highly recommend getting a subscription.

Get the gear!

Crossing a snow field

Above the clouds

At the summit

Extra low tarp pitch

Trying to keep our stoves out of the wind




Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tucson Road Trip

We finally got out of the house and made a road trip to visit my parents in their new home in Tucson.  it is a bit of a drive but not too bad.  The weather was hot but quite nice with cool mornings and breezes.
My parents' house backs up to Tucson Mountain park and they get quite a bit of wildlife passing by.  We saw deer, quail, coyotes and many types of birds.  They have seen bobcat and javelina as well.  We did some hikes in the park, played games and had a good time with my parents and my aunt and uncle.