Rockbound Pass: Desolation’s Desolate Side

Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. The hike over Rockbound Pass is far less crowded than many of the trails on the eastern side of the wilderness. This 24-mile loop offers some of Desolation’s best scenery with numerous alpine lakes and stunning views of the Crystal Range. Continue reading “Rockbound Pass: Desolation’s Desolate Side”

Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Loop

On August 21st at about 10 in the morning, the moon cast its shadow across northern Oregon. In the weeks leading up to this solar eclipse, several unfortunate events caused the closure of virtually all designated wilderness areas along the PCT in the path of totality. (The excuse was fire danger, but it was most likely due to the hysteria surrounding the apocalyptic amount of visitors Oregon was predicting for the eclipse.) We had originally planned to be somewhere on the PCT, but in a short amount of time we needed to come up with an alternative. With the help of Google Maps, we randomly settled on the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Continue reading “Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Loop”

Carson Pass to Lost Lakes

The area surrounding Carson Pass is beautiful and far less crowded than the neighboring Lake Tahoe basin. This hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail, climbing the ridge under Elephants Back, through the Mokelumne Wilderness and into the heart of Toiyabe National Forest. In late summer, it’s possible to reach the Lost Lakes with an OHV. If you’re on foot, it’s best to visit when snow still covers the dirt road. We planned our hike for July 4th weekend- when Tahoe is overrun with visitors- and we found plenty of solitude. Continue reading “Carson Pass to Lost Lakes”

Hiking the Lost Coast Trail

The Lost Coast is the most rugged, undeveloped stretch of coastline in California. There are no highways or major roads in the area.  It was named the “Lost Coast” after the region experienced depopulation in the 1930’s, but the name still seems appropriate today considering the isolated nature of the place. Continue reading “Hiking the Lost Coast Trail”

Hiking the West Coast Trail

For Rob’s birthday (and his one and only week off between school semesters) we wanted to do something kind of epic.  After tossing around a few different vacation ideas, we settled on hiking the West Coast Trail – a 75 km trek along Vancouver Island’s beautiful coastline.  We spent 6 nights and 7 days on the trail.  The following is a description of our experience.  (Planning to hike this?  Visit our West Coast Trail overview page for more info!) Continue reading “Hiking the West Coast Trail”

Snow Mountain

Last week, as I was making plans to visit the Snow Mountain Wilderness, I discovered that the vast majority of people I talked to had never heard of Snow Mountain. This is too bad because efforts are underway to create a Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. This would protect the land for future generations while improving coordination between the agencies who plan for fires, manage recreation and clear out invasive species and/or marijuana grow sites. There is already a lot of support for the proposed National Monument, but if more people knew about the area, there might be greater momentum behind the cause. Continue reading “Snow Mountain”

Point Reyes – Mount Wittenberg, Glen Camp & Arch Rock

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Point Reyes National Seashore offers a vast network of hiking trails, four backcounty campgrounds, and plenty of opportunity to get outside.  It’s possible to bike, ride a horse, trail run, or kayak all around this area.   On this particular trip, we hiked to the highest point in the area (not worth it), camped at one of the four backcountry campgrounds, and visited the very popular Arch Rock.  We hiked approximately 16 miles (9 miles on Day 1 and 7 miles on Day 2).  We spent most of the weekend in dense forest – no sweeping ocean views.  It was not what I expected but it turned out to be a relaxing weekend with beautiful scenery. Continue reading “Point Reyes – Mount Wittenberg, Glen Camp & Arch Rock”

Mount Williamson via Shepherd Pass

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There is nothing easy about climbing California’s second tallest peak. The approach is long (over 26 miles round trip) and involves climbing nearly 10,000 ft. Some super humans have day hiked this peak. We took three days to do it and it was still quite a challenge. Continue reading “Mount Williamson via Shepherd Pass”

Backpacking Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley

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It’s no surprise Yosemite is one of the most visited National Parks in the country – the place is beautiful. Backpacking is a great way to get away from the crowds of Yosemite Valley. The trails are still more heavily travelled than many others in the Sierras, but the scenery is unbeatable. There are several different ways to get from Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley. Our route took us over Clouds Rest and up Half Dome. Continue reading “Backpacking Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley”