Category: Backpacking (Page 1 of 2)

Coyote Flats and two 13k Peaks

While the crowds flooded Yosemite and other National Parks this labor day weekend, I had my eyes set on a beautiful piece land that falls under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) called Coyote Flats in the Easter Sierras outside of Bishop California.

We started in the desert, drove up an amazing dirt road to a mountain plateau, drove through the forest and came out with an amazing view of the eastern Sierra Nevadas.

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Photographing Reflection Canyon

A roughly 10 hour drive to Escalante Utah, brought me to Hole in the Rock Road where I drove 50 miles down a dirt road to hike 10 miles through the desert to see the beautiful Reflection Canyon.

Reflection Canyon was the high point of the trip, but it was one heck of an adventure to get there!

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22 Hours of Driving, 1.5 Days of Snowshoeing

Since I have moved out to Southern California, I have been dreaming of making a trip up to Yosemite.  My one caveat is, when I go out in nature I like to be away from crowds, and I have heard some horror stories from friends waiting hours to get into Yosemite National Park. So how could I go visit Yosemite National Park and avoid the crowds? Go camping overnight in  the cold snow!

Before this trip I have never gone snowshoeing before in my life. While planning my trip up to Badger Pass ski area and Glacier Point road I debated the idea of Cross Country Skiing vs Snowshoeing. In the end, I chose snowshoeing because it essentially walking with bigger shoes, and I believed cross country skiing is more of a skill I would have to learn.

My Gear layout before the trip:

Snowshoeing Gear List for Yosemite

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Always Have a Plan D

This past weekend, I had Friday off from work and me and my friends really wanted to go camping. We had epic plans and wanted to go hiking on something with spectacle views, we had our sites on Half Dome and Yosemite.

Plan A

Our first plan was to go to Half Dome, I was really excited but also nervous the crowds would spoil my opinion of Yosemite. I mostly like to go camping to get away, I loved the vast solitude I experienced at the Grand Canyon, and the beautiful untouched wilderness in the High Sierras.

Half Dome is this dream hike of mine, but that fact that permits are so hard to obtain make me weary of crowds. Either way, I still want to hike Half Dome, and me and my friends entered the lottery. According to the lottery rules you can enter yourself two days before the day you want to hike for the daily lottery. I stayed up till midnight to enter my permits on Thursday, for the hike on Saturday. Come Friday morning, I was greatly disappointed to see that I had not one the lottery and am now officially 0/2 for Half Dome. Plan A was a bust but we still wanted to go camping.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 6

Today was finally the day, it was time to wake up and push my body one last time. After 5 days and 56.5 miles of beautiful views and hard hikes, it was time for 15.6 more. Today was the last day of the hike, the longest day of mileage and arguably the toughest day of climbing. It was finally time to climb Mt Whitney the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, standing a tall 14,505 feet. Between the snow, the climb and the altitude, this was going to be a tough day.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 5

I woke up on the morning of day 5 happy to have not met any bears in my sleep. Day 5 started the climb toward Mt Whitney. We would hike from Junction Meadow to Guitar Lake, the last water source before climbing Mt Whitney. I thought it would be a hard day of climbing, but it really was not too bad of a day at all except for one water crossing.

 

The morning started off with a climb, and we slowly rose above the pine trees and were met once again met with amazing views of the Kern River Valley down below.

Our campsite last night was just below in the pine forest

Our campsite last night was just below in the pine forest

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 4

When we woke up at Moraine Lake we were treated to an awesome gift…. the water on the lake was absolutely still. The reflection of the mountains and trees in the lake was absolutely stunning.

Beautiful Moraine Lake

Beautiful Moraine Lake

I always wanted a sweet lake reflection picture so this, was a real treat to wake up to. Like I said in my last post, I would have been totally fine going absolutely no where this morning. I did not want to leave Moraine Lake, but Mt Whitney was calling my name.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 3

On day 2, we did not make it to Arroyo junction as planned. Day three started with us waking up on top of the beautiful Kaweah Gap.

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Today was supposed to be a recovery day. We were supposed to be waking up in Arroyo Junction and hiking 8 miles to Moraine Lake. We did not quite make it to Arroyo Junction and were waking up at Camp 2, and would have to hike to Arroyo Junction and continue past to Moraine Lake

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 2

After some much needed rest after day 1, we woke up in beautiful Bearpaw Meadow with the sun breaking through the pine trees canopy.

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Day 2 of our High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney trip was when things started to get a bit challenging. Our goal was to wake up in Bearpaw Meadow and hike roughly 11 miles to Arroyo Junction. Looking at the map below, you can see our proposed hike for the day, and see where we actually stopped. We made it maybe a little over half way before it got late and we ended up making camp 2 on cliffs in Kaweah Gap above Precipice Lake.

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High Sierra Trail to Mt Whitney: Day 1

After finally arriving at Sequoia National Park and dealing with the logistics of planning a through Hike, we had our permits in hand and were ready to hike!

Crescent Meadows

Crescent Meadows

Unfortunately we did not start hiking till 1:30pm so it was a late start. We woke up a little later then planned in Alabama Hills, met some nice climbers the night before and stayed up talking about, bears, marmots and self arresting technique. We also stopped for lunch/breakfast a little longer then planned at Chick Fil A in Bakersfield…..

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