Category: Random Musings

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.

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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.

PCT Days 2014

I’m two naps in today. PCT Days was a really good time.

We had a great turnout, raised a lot of money and had beautiful weather. I really believe that our trail community benefits from, and needs, opportunities to gather. PCT festivals, like this one in Cascade Locks, are something that I’d like to see proliferate up and down the west coast.

The largest vendor fair that our community has hosted. PCT Days 2014.

The largest vendor fair that our community has hosted. PCT Days 2014.

It was great to see so many old friends and meet a bunch of new people.

I also snagged the chance to play tourist in the Gorge. I’ve been to the area quite a number of times now, but I’ve always been narrowly focused on the PCT. Yesterday, driving the old cascade highway, was a great peek into how truly special the place is.

GGG-West 2014 in Henry Coe State Park

I went to my third GGG-West last weekend. As in the past, it was a good time.

The ~3 mile walk to the campsite was a late night affair, mostly done with my headlamp off. The stars were great and the dark outlines of gargantuan oaks made it a neat way to start the weekend. Once at camp it was the usual GGG: catching up old friends, meeting new people, checking in with the “hiking celebrities” in attendance, drinking, avoiding gear talk, being absolutely blown by some people’s gear geekery (in a good way). I spent much of the weekend chatting with Bobcat – a cool dude.

I looped down to China Hole for some exercise.

Ron from Six Moon Designs showed off his new line of packs. It was interesting insight into how a garage gear businesses shifts to a more professionally produced product. Ron and I chatted late into the night. Fascinating stuff.

Early Sunday. There were probably about 100 people at the gathering.

Early Sunday. There were probably about 100 people at the gathering.

SUPing the Feather River and Crissy Field

I’ve paddled twice so far this vacation.

Finally did the long, interesting levy drive north along Garden Highway. Well over an hour later I put in on the Feather at Boyd’s Landing just south of Yuba City. While it was nice, it wasn’t markedly different that paddling closer to home.

Paddling off of Crissy Beach was choppy and I didn’t make it far. There was a nice sunset beyond the Golden Gate though.

It turns out that my small Honda Fit is perfectly capable of carrying a 12'6'' SUP.

It turns out that my small Honda Fit is perfectly capable of carrying a 12’6” SUP.

Hiking Joshua Tree: Wonderland of Rocks, Geology Tour Road, Hexahedron Mine and Old Dale Road

I celebrated my 30th birthday with a trip down to Joshua Tree. It was a perfect desert fix: two hikes, camp time, dirt driving, taking pictures, and walking on rocks.

The closest I got to breaking a sweat was the hike up into the Hexi Mountains. Perfectly flat walking along Fried Liver Wash led to a climb on an old mining road. A few shafts, lots of old cans, lunch relaxing against the stone miner’s cabin, and plenty of cactus. We found two tortoise shells (and one tortoise foot) on the way.

The Wonderland of Rocks hike to Willow Hole is a great easy day hike in Joshua Tree.

The Wonderland of Rocks hike to Willow Hole is a great easy day hike in Joshua Tree.

The joshua trees are obviously a highlight. Our walk to the Wonderland brought us through a dense stand, but otherwise much of our time was spent above or below the zone that they grow in.

This was my second (third?) trip to the park. I really wanted to get off the main road and we succeeded at that. The days are short. It was dusk before five.

Saw a good number of shooting stars, and learned later that it was part of the Taurid shower. The wildly different night temperatures (chill, to cold, to warm) on the three nights were a surprise. Saturday night was especially marked by the large number of insects landing on our faces.

Other things of note:

  • Great food. Especially the spear caught blue rock fish.
  • It was a full days drive each way.
  • We drove Old Dale to the park boundary where it got rougher. We couldn’t start the truck when the alarm’s key fob died. Luckily, we found a charger and got the Xterra moving again.
  • Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. Thanks guys.
  • Once again I’m pining for a trip to the Basin and Range east of Reno.
We stopped at the Cholla Garden twice.

We stopped at the Cholla Garden twice.