Nic Barth has published some fairly loose GPS tracks for his “alternates” or shortcuts on the Hayduke. Some of them might be worth looking into. Myself having hiked the route back and forth more than twice, I frankly don’t think you’ll be missing out if you ignore Barth’s KMZ/GPS input entirely. If you want to miss out, his alts are in fact generous shortcuts. Barth’s “Arches Slickrock” route is popular. I see scenic advantages to both the Slickrock route and the official Hayduke route. Unfortunately publishing the “Slickrock” route opened the door for significant negative environmental impact. Some people have tried to tell me they have hiked it without killing cryptobiotic soil but they are 101% full of shit. There… continue reading
Learn more about the GCNP bison plan, and possible lethal culling, here. I felt a little guilty rousing these giants from their sand baths. After all, they became a part of me overnight after I gave up on finding clean water and drank a broth of their poop from a drying-up spring gone foul. It was a bad water day from the start. Despite some other hikers offering to leave me behind half a gallon of jug water, I walked out of my way to a spring and filled up 3L to last me to the next spring (which later turned out to be dry). When I got to the jug it reeked of mold and despite attempts to flavor… continue reading
I’ve noticed the Star Wars window sun shade seems to be popular amidst Westy owners traveling the Owens Valley this summer! The bling peace sign grill emblem is more unique to Chief Pete, though. Takes guts! Hey… If you’re going to hash tag delicate places such as hidden away hot springs, please also consider PICKING UP YOUR TRASH and WRITING LETTERS TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES to ensure they stay protected. Heck, pick up other people’s trash. I just spent two mornings doing it! Hashtagging is causing a real impact on previously quiet places. This place I stayed last night was crowded and littered. People are ignoring signs meant to protect restoration areas and private land. It wouldn’t be surprising if the… continue reading
In my last feverish post, I totally missed some really good points about hiking in snow – really crucial stuff like navigation. A 2011 nobo thru-hiker made me aware right away (but doesn’t necessarily want to be credited). So without further ado here are more tips from someone who has gone through the difficult and uncomfortable, but very survivable process of trudging through the High Sierra in a high snow year: “GPS/phone = major time saver. THERE IS NO TRAIL. Forget the trail being avalanched away. It’s just not there” (until many people walk it first). Learn how to read a map and navigate by it (that is an invaluable link to a precious map-reading resource, BTW). “Carry a paper… continue reading
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.
I’m alive. At South Rim Grand Canyon after five nights camped below the rim. I’ve now been hiking alone for 49 days I think, but at one of my most vulnerable moments, sitting on the shore of the Colorado near the Little Colorado confluence waiting for someone to ferry me across and getting ignored by commercial floats (I’m not used to being ignored while hitching), I made a friend. I was worried about my food and my itinerary (which I had to keep to keep my mother happy), and yet settling into the idea of never getting a ride, so maybe spending a night there. So I started looking around for places to hole up in the rocks for the… continue reading
On this hike through Utah desert in this wet(ter) year, finding water isn’t the problem. It’s just that you can’t choose when and where you find it, it may or may not taste like it’s run through 10,000 cow pies (and it likely has), and it might be just a tiny trickle. I found this shortly before booking myself a nice little cabin near Bryce (for my second zero in 31 days) and was torn. But not so torn that I didn’t tear off my backpack and half my clothes and get under it immediately. Pretty cold, way too much water pressure, uncertain soft sinking sandy pool bottom. But for the second time in a month I was wetting my… continue reading
I’ve been shopping for new gear for 2016 and something is bugging me… So here’s my call out to manufacturers and users of tents and sleeping bags and camp stoves and other camping gear. All outdoor folk who love nature. (Hopefully that includes you.) Stop advertising gear with images that clearly violate the Leave No Trace ethic. Stop glamorizing these violations. Instead, set great examples of people camping using LNT principles. Dude. What are you talking about?! More specifically, I’m talking about images of camps set up right on the sides of lakes. They’re so pretty, but they’re so… wrong. Please stop posting photographs of tents pitched less than 200 feet from idyllic lakes. Less than 100 feet from lakes…. continue reading
In 1901 Joseph LeConte married Helen Marion Gompertz, a fellow member of the Sierra Club. In 1902 they backpacked up the little known Cartridge Creek and discovered a beautiful unnamed lake. LeConte named the lake Marion after his wife, and when she died in 1924, a formal plaque was placed on a rock on the shore (it’s still there), with this view. ?? Marion Lake might be one of the most gorgeous and unique alpine lakes in the Sierra, and is fittingly extremely difficult to access – high and remote. I was charmed by this sweet love story, and camped near the lake outlet* *But not too near! I was at least 200 feet away from the water, @elisabitch!
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