Catalina Island

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I’m a government employee these days, but during the shutdown I was considered “critical staff” because part of my job is to manage active construction. Those projects didn’t stop so neither did I. But going into week #3 of being the only person in the office, I needed a break and asked one of my co-workers to take over. And then what did I do with that time? Went backpacking of course!
One of the magical things about California is camping on the coast in the winter. The temperature is great, there are no mosquitos, and… it’s the ocean! …

Channel Islands

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While the government is shut down and I’m only working part time (while so far not being paid) I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the wonderful National Parks I visited in 2018!
For no particular reason I’m starting with the Channel Islands. I hadn’t heard about them until I moved to California, which is strange because of how interesting and beautiful they are. Technically there are 8 Channel Islands, including Catalina which is a rather developed resort island 22 miles southwest of LA. The rest of the islands are less developed, and …

Big Pine Lakes

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For the first time in my life, I had Columbus Day off and decided to go on a solo hiking trip for the long weekend. One of my most favorite areas of California is the Eastern Sierra – the valley between the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains which run along the California/Nevada border. The area is beautiful; full of sage brush, aspen, hot springs and mountain views. There was one place in particular that I’ve been wanting to get to for a couple years and figured this was as good …

John Muir Trail – Day 7 & 8

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Our last full day on the trail was the one I was most excited about, and which others had been the most worried about. I was excited because we were heading out through the Dusy Basin, a place I heard was incredibly special and beautiful. We were also worried because it was the steepest climb of the trip – 2,400 ft in 2.5 miles – and when we told people we were going that way the reactions ranged from “Good luck,” to “I saw a mule fall off the switchbacks and get eaten by bears.” So, …

John Muir Trail – Day 6 Muir Pass

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After waking up in beautiful McClure Meadow we packed up early and headed for the high peaks. We climbed past Evolution Lake, above treeline, and then into the moonscape around Wanda Lake at 11,500 ft. This was one of the most exposed hikes I’ve ever done and the sight distances were incredible. Because it was so rocky the only way to make out the path above was watching to see other hikers creeping up like ants.

Eye Spy two marmots on the rocks!

Up, up up all the way to Muir Pass at 11,955 ft and the famous Muir Hut, …