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”

Yosemite’s North Rim

In the Footsteps of John Muir [Part II]

John Muir described two single day Yosemite hikes in Chapter 12 of his book The Yosemite. The chapter is titled “How Best to Spend One’s Yosemite Time.” By today’s standards, these hikes are very difficult – about 20 miles with around 5000-ft of elevation gain.  We followed his advice and completed the first recommended hike back in October 2013.  It was probably the hardest day hike we’ve ever done.  We were game for the second one. Muir’s second single day hike takes you up Yosemite Falls to Eagle Peak, over to the top of El Capitan, then back down to the Valley via the (now abandonned) Old Big Oak Flat Road Trail (OBOFRT).  Continue reading “Yosemite’s North Rim”

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”