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Tag: backpacking

Hayduke Trail Tips

(updated fall 2019, fall 2020, winter 20/21, spring 2022, spring 2023) These are organized section by section, east to west. I’ll probably add a few more things as they pop into my head, but these are the ones that stood out today. All things that weren’t obvious to me at first… Please do not cairn this route unless you are very lost and have no other way of back-tracking. Some folks seem to think they’re smarter than other hikers, sorta like they’re the only one who “gets it,” and the only one who has found the “correct way.” Great, fine, but do not leave permanent record of your supremacy (you may later cringe to discover you were wrong). Most hikers… continue reading

french spring trail flowers

Lonesome Miner Trail

I finished a solo tour of old mines in the Inyo mountain range of central California west of Death Valley. The “Lonesome Miner Trail” — what the late Wendell Moyer* called it — is 40-50 miles of rough, hard-to-follow disused trail involving somewhere near 17,000 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss. Because I didn’t have shuttles arranged, I added about 50 bonus miles (and 14k more vertical feet) to the route: I walked thru Death Valley to the Hunter Cyn trailhead. That was 18 miles with 7.5 liters of water on my back, only to experience torrential rain the first night in San Lucas Canyon. Ugh! I didn’t have to carry all that water! To avoid what was pretty heavy snow… continue reading

High Sierra Access Passes & Transportation

Minor updates to this snow report and trailhead access information page were made Spring 2023 because of the high snow (water content) year. Basically what I’m pointing out is that hikers should plan to carry extra food as they might have to spend an extra day or two just accessing trail towns from the trail. In other words, be prepared to WALK MOST THE WAY TO TOWN. In snow. PCT/JMT High Snow Alternate Route I mapped out a bypass route which I myself would gladly hike (and which I have indeed hiked and explored a lot of) instead of hiking in the High Sierra summer 2023: https://caltopo.com/m/ER3HU. The Owens Valley is wet and green, something some of us might not… continue reading

View of High Sierra March 28

Dear PCT class of 2017

2017 snow pack is the biggest whomper we have seen in 20 years. Forget about 2005 and 2011, we are entering new territory with just about as much (well, more) snow but more heat from our warming planet. Snow is not only STILL falling in the Sierra, but has begun to melt, with significantly high and early – dangerous – runoff.

stevens canyon exit canyon

Hayduke Desert Panoramas

My 850-mile backpacking trip this Spring took me through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, through all these National Parks and wild lands I’d never seen before. What better way to see them for the first time than to walk through them and sleep in their dirt? I couldn’t think of one. I took some neato panoramic photos, so maybe the next best way to look at them is to click on them, blow them up in your browser, look around, and pretend you’re there. Most these iPhone panoramas were taken in remote areas, difficult to get to by car or foot, and most of them were on detours or alternates off the main Hayduke route. Get yourself an eye full… continue reading

More Sierra High Route “Bonus Miles”

Abram – the mysterious fellow I met on my L2H hike in October – introduced me to the concept of “bonus miles.” We’re lucky enough as it is to be hiking, thus, any extra miles hiked to get here or there that aren’t on the itinerary are “bonus miles.” Bonus Miles – Pics These are shots from the bonus miles tagged to the end of my Sierra High Route trek. I was done with this epic route at around 1pm October 21st, but I was still deep in the Sierra. A matter of note – the old Taboose Pass trail is very cool. It’s marked on topo maps but little-traveled, a tiny bit hard to find in spots, and quite… continue reading

Sierra High Route Part 1: Roads End to Taboose Pass

October 19 – Road’s End to Granite Basin This 35-mile bit of the SHR took me 5 days (an extra day to hike 20 miles to the trailhead, and an extra day to hike 10+ miles out). On the afternoon of October 19th, I made it to Road’s End. I had already covered ten miles in the morning; here are the next ten. Going up Copper Creek Trail made for one of the more difficult days I’ve had on trail. It was a gorgeous, groomed trail, even after angry storms blew through the week before. But this trail is straight up. From 5036 feet at the trailhead to of something like that to the 10,347 feet at the Granite Basin… continue reading

A Walk from Onion Valley to Road’s End

In the middle of October, after having finished an amazing L2H hike with two great guys (Bulldozer and Abram), I was looking at wrapping up my season and heading back to Portland to spend the holidays with my mother. But it was driving me crazy that I hadn’t finished my Sierra High Route hike. I walked around Mt. Williamson, summiting two 14ers to compensate, and I made some excuses, but still it was driving me crazy when I wasn’t trying to put it out of my mind. I’m not sure I’d feel right if I didn’t complete the SHR in one season as I intended. LoveNote showed up in Lone Pine and planted the seed again, a few days later…. continue reading

Making Steve Roper Proud

The Sierra High Route is a 195-mile long route charted through the backcountry — and along some existing trails — of the High Sierra Nevada. It was devised by noted Sierra climber and historian Steve Roper, and originally, discreetly, published in book form in 1982. I first learned about it in 2013 during my thru-hike when the wonderfully thought-full hiker “Manchurian.” Manchurian hiked a section of the Sierra High Route between Reds Meadow and Tuolumne, I’m not sure how much of it he conquered but I remember him telling me it wasn’t too hard, and that the only sign of humanity he found out there was a deflated helium balloon. When the Pacific Crest Trail and it’s burgeoning “culture” totally… continue reading

SHR me and the muir hut

Sierra High Route Part 2: Taboose Pass to Piute Pass

Day 1: Taboose Pass to Taboose Pass August 16th. I started the day having leftover apple pie, cinnamon rolls, and fresh hot coffee with LoveNote and Burly White’s wedding party near South Lake. This was a beautiful wedding, a marriage of two great people who met while hiking the Continental Divide trail and fell in love. They crowned their hike and sealed the deal by adopting a puppy together, and this great dog, “Huckleberry,” dug holes between the two as they voiced their oaths. Behind them the backdrop of the Inconsolable Range and Bishop Pass Mountains Mt. Goode, Mt. Johnson, and Mt. Thompson seemed only painted on canvas — it was that perfect. I was watching them get married and… continue reading

Little Package