Tuesday, June 7, 2011

England's Coast to Coast Route

Near Ennerdale Bridge


Little Hiker

Fun Walking

Yet Another Farm

Excited to be Finished

A number of people told us he was the youngest to complete the Coast to Coast route, at 15 months old. We're not sure. And that's certainly not why we went. It was a blast!

Want to see more from our trip? Here are 200 more photos over at Flickr.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mineral King Loop #2

Atop Sawtooth Pass

For the second year in a row, we've done a 2 1/2 day backpacking trip in Mineral King over the 4th of July weekend. This area of Sequoia National Park is accessible by a narrow, windy, dead-end road that takes you to what we refer to as "Backpacker's Paradise."

Mineral King Valley

Last year, we did the southern 30 mile loop of Franklin Pass, Soda Creek, Lost Canyon and returning over Sawtooth Pass (trip report and photos). This year, we hiked the northern loop including Timber Gap, Black Rock Pass, Little Five Lakes, and repeating the section with Lost Canyon and Sawtooth Pass.

Mineral King Loops

As usual, it's intoxicating to get away and reflect, cut loose from all responsibility and soak in the magnificence of the Sierra. Our photos, of course, do no justice.

Relaxing at Camp

Lauren Crosses the Snowfield

But our trip wasn't without challenge as well. This year, our loop was similar in mileage, although a bit more rugged, with significantly more elevation gain and loss. Lauren's new insulin also took some getting used to, which slowed our progress down when her blood sugars were too low to hike. Hiking can take a lot of effort, but we love it, and love experiencing these spectacular wild places.

Sean with Ray-Way Pack

We met a few interesting folks, one of them being Sean, while on our way into the Little Five Lakes Basin. When we passed, I said "Nice pack," and we stopped to chat about sewing gear. He's showing off the Ray-Way pack that he sewed with additional zipper and ice axe loops of his own design.

Our Camp by Columbine Lake

Our lightweight packs and gear that we sewed for the A.T. are still going strong. Even though we carry a shelter, the weather was mild so we didn't use it either night — but we don't regret carrying it since it's only one pound. This time we also carried an ice axe, which wasn't entirely necessary, but it was nice to have for a couple of the snowfields.

Adam and Jasmine Take in the Alpenglow

Although our weekend was exciting, it might not compare to our friends Matt & Kim who stayed here in town to deliver their healthy baby, Noah. Congratulations guys! Can't wait to meet him.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Trip


We're headed out in less than an hour for some fresh air, adventure and refreshment in the Sierra. Looks like the weather is going to be 70s high /30s low. Alrght!

Here's a interactive map from NOAA where you can click on the exact spot you'll be for a local forecast;

Saturday, June 20, 2009



Lauren and I watched this movie online last week. Jaw-dropping footage of our planet, with slow-panning aerial shots that depict the landscape and inhabitants of earth in a unique and beautiful way.

The movie is 1.5 hours, and available over here on YouTube. Make sure you watch it full screen in HD.

If the alarmist tone turns you off... you can always watch it with some other music on. We live in an amazing place!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Springer Fever

Yeah, it's that time of year. Exactly two years ago we set out on the Approach Trail to the Appalachian Trail from Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia. I wouldn't exactly say that I'd want to be out there hiking this year (I love what we're up to right now!), but remembering those first few weeks on the trail sure is enticing.

April 30th is, and I imagine will always be, a special date.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

GPSies for the JMT

GPSies: JMT Route

I can't say that I enjoy hiking with a GPS, but the technology sure is fascinating. GPSies is a slick little web site for you to post and swap your travel routes.

If you follow this link to the John Muir Trail , you can see where Lauren and I will be hiking this summer, and even explore some photos that other people have taken in the area. You can also search through their growing database of hikes in your desired area, which come complete with an elevation profile and time estimate.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Ben, Lauren, Nicole and Comet

This weekend we headed to Lake Morena for our second Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off. The sendoff event for the current class of PCT hikers is basically a great excuse to get together with friends and enjoy some crisp mountain air and walk a few miles of the trail. As always, it was great to catch up with Comet & Nicole and Clearwater.

Walt, Lauren, Ben and Pat

Our highlight was when our A.T. trail angels Walt and Pat (Waynesboro, VA) appeared on the trail during a morning stroll, having kept it a secret from us that they drove across the country in the PCT XPRS to attend the kickoff.

Gear Contest

Besides catching up with friends, we enjoyed the home made gear contest, Squatch's fourth movie Walked, Shooter's rough cut of Tell it on the Mountain and a few trail seminars. I also managed to grab a pretty good sunburn under the clear dessert sky.

Good luck, class of 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Route to Katahdin

Google Maps GA to ME

I like the new-ish feature on Google Maps that calculates walking routes and times between landmarks. Should take 18 days and 10 hours to walk from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Could have used this and shaved about a thousand miles from our trip.

Walking directions to Mt Katahdin

There you go. Now we know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Adventure Travel with Children

Aiken/Widom Family

In preparation for our 2009 John Muir Trail hike, my research daydreaming led to the travel log of the Aiken/Widom Family, who completed the JMT together in 2007. (photo gallery)

Actually, the JMT was just the final leg of their year off adventure, which included world travel with their 10 and 12 year old children to Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

Alex and Jennifer have been taking ambitious trips with their children for many years, and have generously posted some essays from their experience:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The $800 Million Ride

Phil and Blake

Today I picked my Uncle Phil and cousin Blake up from LAX and was able to spend a few hours with them as they prepared for their cross country bike tour. After driving them to their hotel, we unpacked their bikes and then headed to the Omelette Parlor for some brunch and story swapping.

Beginning Tuesday, they will dip their tires in the Pacific at Newport Beach and spend the next 32 days making their way across the country, ending north of Boston, MA. In their words, they'll be learning from past trip experience and won't be pushing too hard, especially early on. They expect to cover over 120 miles per day, maybe averaging a pace of 15 MPH.

Phil called it his “$800,000,000 ride,” explaining that if he had a terminal disease with a short life expectancy, he wouldn't blink an eye about spending a ridiculous fortune just to make it happen.

Priorities. I love it.

If you're interested in following their trip, you can get (hopefully) daily updates over at philandblake.blogspot.com.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Deep Creek with the Family

Wading Across Chilly Deep Creek

On Friday we took a hike down to Deep Creek. Crossing the chilly creek took a bit of courage, but everyone made it easily.

Soaking in the Big Tub

We had the big hot tub to ourselves for a few relaxing hours, and enjoyed a perfect day.

Deep Creek from the North Bank

The Southern California landscape of dessert scrub, Joshua Trees and massive boulders were fun to explore with family used to the green grass yards on the east coast.

Hike to Deep Creek

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Biker Band

Heard about these guys on NPR today.

The band Blind Pilot literally rode a pair of bicycles to success. The folk-pop outfit, formed by singer-guitarist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski, has taken two bike tours, playing its music all along the West Coast. The first of these two tours was supposed to run from Vancouver all the way down to the Mexican border. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when the band's bikes were stolen outside San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009 is Matt's Year

Just got a call from Matt a.k.a Hiking Matt, who is finally making his dream of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike a reality in 2009.

Matt A

He's at Neels Gap in Georgia, after having set out from Springer Mountain Georgia on April 1st. Matt said that hiking this year might not be the most 'responsible' thing, due to his fledgling seasonings business, but he couldn't live with putting it off another year. Said something about life being too short to make excuses or worry about finances.

Amen, Matt. And safe journey to you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Almost Like Taking a Leak in the Woods

For all those who competed in the 2007 Pee-A-Tree competition on the Appalachian Trail, here is the perfect urinal for your home.

You're welcome, Hey Man Crew.