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”

Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak

Camping in the winter? Yes! Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest place in North America, making winter an ideal time to visit. While Bennett Peak (9980′) can be hiked year round, it is especially impressive on a clear winter day when there is snow on the ground. From the top, one can see the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States. Continue reading “Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak”

Tinker Knob in the Winter

When our friends booked out the Lost Trail Lodge for a weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to explore some new terrain. Apparently it’s called the Lost Trail because nobody goes there. I can confirm that very few people venture back in Coldstream Canyon, compared to other places in the Tahoe area. The only tracks we followed all day were from snowmobiles. Continue reading “Tinker Knob in the Winter”

Mount Diablo’s Four Summits

This is probably one of, if not the most difficult day hike in the Bay Area. Reaching all four of Diablo’s summits requires a full day – it’s 15 strenuous miles with over 6000-ft of elevation gain. We knocked this out in 8 hours. And yes, my legs hurt the next day. Continue reading “Mount Diablo’s Four Summits”

Hiking Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak (10,457′)  is the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range.  It last erupted 100 years ago in 1915.  Despite spewing volcanic ash as far as 200 miles away, this most recent eruption is considered very small.  Fortunately for us, volcanoes don’t explode without warning and the USGS now monitors Lassen very closely.  The trail to the top of the peak is one of the more popular hikes in the park.  Most of the trail is above tree-line and the views are stunning. Continue reading “Hiking Lassen Peak”

Mount Agassiz & Mount Price – Desolation Wilderness

Pyramid Peak gets all the attention, but its two sisters in the Crystal Range are definitely worth a visit.  Mount Price (9975′) and Mount Agassiz (9967′) can easily be hiked in one day. The Lyons Creek trailhead offers a direct approach to both peaks from the west side.  The roundtrip hike is approximately 13 miles with over 3000-ft of elevation gain. Continue reading “Mount Agassiz & Mount Price – Desolation Wilderness”