Car camping the Mono Lake region

Lindsey and I headed to the rain shadow for MLK weekend. It’s mid-winter, but it’s a drought and temperatures are mild. We had a great weekend.

With ice and snow at elevation, and curiosity trumping fitness goals, we did more exploring than exercising. The list of places we visited is long:

  • Travertine hot spring: where we soaked and camped the first night
  • Lundy Canyon: where we drove over snow and then walked up canyon just a bit
  • South Tufa: where we lunched and said hi to the lake
  • June Lake area: where we walked up from Silver Lake, hit ice again and played a riddle
  • Mammoth: where we went to the store
  • the green church: where we went to Hilltop hot spring
  • Mono Lake: where we returned to disperse camp
  • Pickle Meadow: near the Mountain Warfare Training Center, where we walked, crossed the river and climbed a basalt monolith

It was a really rejuvenating and grounding weekend marked by good company, asking lots of questions and comfortable nights camping.

I hardly took pictures but I did take this one. Mono Lake, Calif.

I hardly took pictures but I did take this one. Mono Lake, Calif.

Hiking Stebbins Cold Canyon loop at Lake Berryessa

We loaded up the car and headed to Berryessa for an afternoon hike. Fun company, nice light and just the right amount of casual effort make it one of our best local hikes.

The day was marked by emergency responders descending on the canyon as we were heading out. Two helicopters, a plane and two volunteer firefighters from Vacaville were the first wave. It was hard to really know what was going on – what they told us was that they thought that a climber had fallen. I helped in a minor way by finding and directing them to a game trail that they could follow. It’s not a crag that I know to be on climber’s lists. After quite a bit of searching, the helicopter found one person and lifted them out before returning to the accident site. We left before seeing full resolution. It all seemed fast paced – a worrisome sign. Back towards the trailhead, probably a dozen fire trucks were starting their response.

Lake Berryessa in the background.

Lake Berryessa in the background.

SUPing and hanging out at Sutter’s Landing

New Year’s day started with brunch. Then, to kick 2015 off right, we headed to the American river with my paddle board and took a plunge. Having such a clean and calm river, with free access, right in my neighborhood is a huge perk. When the days are long and hot, it’s my go-to spot. Swimming in the cold of the new year was sort of a symbolic way to emphasize that fun in up to me this year. No obstacles are in my way.

Walking back to the Sutter's Landing skate park after a chilly afternoon swim.

Walking back to the Sutter’s Landing skate park after a chilly afternoon swim.

Road biking the Paradise Loop around Tiburon

I generally don’t document my road bike rides. But maybe I should do it a bit more often.

The day after Christmas I rode from home in SF and looped around Paradise drive. I was surprised to see so many cyclists riding the loop clockwise. It seemed to be a better idea to ride it on the ocean side.

Crossing back over the Golden Gate was pretty chaotic with large numbers of holiday visitors. They really should keep the bike lane open all the time. Hundreds of bikes and thousands of people don’t mix well on a sidewalk.

bridge

Crossing a nearly empty bridge on my way into Marin.

 

Snowshoeing to Euer Valley, Tahoe Donner

Ben, Brent and I went snowshoeing to Euer Valley yesterday. The conditions were pretty darn good considering it’s still early season in a drought year. A half a foot of snow had fallen the day before so we had plenty of heavy powder to tromp through.

MSR snowshoes

Tromping is how I think of snowshoeing. And that’s what we did for a couple of hours. Tromp, tromp, tromp, choosing our own adventure and breaking trail. Euer was recently purchased by Tahoe Donner and it was my first time in the area. Their cross country ski network is really growing and it seems excellent.

We went up a ridge, then dropped down to the creek in the valley before returning to the cabin for meatballs.

Beyond snowshoeing, it was a great two nights at a cabin in the mountains with college friends from all over, beer and games.

Another car camping trip in Big Sur

After a week of very heavy rain, about twenty of us headed down to Big Sur for a joint birthday celebration. It was a damn good time.

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We pulled into Big Sur Riverside Campground the back way – the main concrete bridge was deeply flooded by rushing water. A small landslide had just come through the campground. Our cars rallied through mud to get us to camp. It all made for an interesting and empty camp.

Basically, we celebrated and went to the beach. The river at Andrew Molera was too high for a group our size to cross reasonably at the parking lot. We took off pants and crossed at the beach instead. Walked the bluff, swam, looked at big waves and played. Watched clouds. Played more.

Another great trip to Big Sur.