Where Have I Been? (At the Halfway Point)

Sawtooth Peak

I’ve been writing for Modern Hiker, that’s where. My own personal blog has slipped off the radar as I’ve focused on a number of different things at once. Fortunately, I’ve been hiking a ton, and will use this post to look back at what I’ve done over the past six months.

Mt. San Jacinto from Cutca Valley

1. Hiked. To date, I’ve hiked 596.3 miles, gaining 107,030′ of elevation. Many of these hikes were done either to cover San Diego for Modern Hiker or to prepare for the High Sierra Trail and John Muir Trail.

These are the hikes I have done. If the hike is in bold, it indicates that it was a particularly awesome hike:

1/2/2014 Daley Ranch 9.2 1100
1/6/2014 Rodriguez Mountain 9 1760
1/9/2014 Soapstone Grade/Green Valley Loop 12.3 1250
1/10/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
1/13/2014 Chiquito Basin 8.5 900
1/16/2014 Sweetwater River/Green Valley Falls 7.5 850
1/16/2014 Granite Springs Campground 5 1200
1/17/2014 Return 4.4 200
1/20/2014 Nate Harrison Grade 6 1420
1/20/2014 Boucher, Baptist, Doane Valley Loop 7.1 1500
1/23/2014 Eagle Crag via Cutca Trail 18 4200
1/27/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
1/31/2014 Mt. Gower 8.4 2600
2/4/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
2/7/2014 Santa Cruz Island 8.5 1800
2/8/2014 Fisherman’s Camp 3.7 600
2/10/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
2/13/2014 Bluewater to San Mateo Canyon 13.9 2450
2/14/2014 San Mateo Canyon to Ortega Hwy 9.3 2300
2/21/2014 Murray Canyon 6 500
2/22/2014 San Jacinto: Tram to Deer Springs 11 1500
2/23/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
2/24/2014 Modjeska Peak 18.3 4440
3/1/2014 Engleman Oak Loop 5.1 800
3/2/2014 Palomar 4.5 350
3/2/2014 Eagle Rock 10.2 1000
3/6/2014 Clevenger Canyon North 3 900
3/7/2014 Boden Canyon 11 500
3/9/2014 Middle and Cuyamaca Peaks 16.1 3100
3/11/2014 Clevenger Canyon North 4.5 1200
3/14/2014 Ramona Grasslands 3.2 200
3/15/2014 Torrey Pines Extension 2 200
3/16/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.4 50
3/17/2014 Barnett Ranch 4 400
3/18/2014 Penasquitos Canyon 5 100
3/19/2014 Penasquitos Canyon 6.5 250
3/22/2014 Lower Doane Valley 3.5 250
3/23/2014 Doane Valley Nature Trail 1 100
3/23/2014 Volcan Mountain 5.5 1200
3/26/2014 Clevenger Canyon North 5.3 1400
3/29/2014 Wood Canyon 10.1 900
4/4/2014 Devore Campground 8.4 2355
4/5/2014 Return 8.3 1565
4/9/2014 Iron Mountain 5.4 1000
4/12/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.4 50
4/13/2014 Big Laguna Trail 10.6 1200
4/17/2014 Seattle Urban Hike 5 300
4/18/2014 Ranger Falls 8.4 800
4/19/2014 Green Lake Park 2.9 0
4/20/2014 Cougar Mountain 5.4 600
4/22/2014 Boulder Loop 4 800
4/23/2014 Boden Canyon 6.4 500
4/25/2014 Cedar Creek Falls 5.7 1000
4/26/2014 Cuyamaca Peak 14.3 1750
4/27/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.4 50
5/2/2014 Mt. San Bernadino 10.1 4500
5/3/2014 Return 5.9 500
5/4/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.5 100
5/5/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
5/6/2014 Piedras Pintadas 5.4 400
5/7/2014 Mt. Woodson 6.8 2030
5/10/2014 MSJ 11.1 5600
5/11/2014 MSJ Return 11.4 1200
5/17/2014 Agoura Local Hike 2.7 560
5/17/2014 Mishe Mokwa 7.1 1800
5/19/2014 Blue Sky 5 925
5/20/2014 Bernardo Mountain 7.3 1100
5/24/2014 Century Lake 4 650
5/24/2014 Santa Rosa Plateau 4.6 500
5/26/2014 Mt. Baldy 11 3900
5/30/2014 Stonewall Peak 3.8 950
5/30/2014 Lake Cuyamaca 2.8 350
6/1/2014 Santa Anita Canyon 9.5 2400
6/6/2014 Trail of the Sequoias 6.3 850
6/6/2014 Moro Rock 0.5 300
6/6/2014 Tokopah Falls 3.8 630
6/6/2014 Little Baldy 3.4 600
6/6/2014 Congress/Circle 6.2 600
6/7/2014 Alta Peak/Meadow 15.8 4200
6/7/2014 Congress Trail 3.3 400
6/7/2014 Round Meadow 2.3 200
6/9/2014 Batiquitos Lagoon 3.2 50
6/12/2014 Palomar 3 500
6/13/2014 Palomar Point-to-point 4.5 350
6/14/2014 Observatory 5.2 1000
6/23/2014 East Mesa 9.1 1370
6/27/2014 Eagle Lake 6.8 2700
6/27/2014 Cold Springs/Farewell Gap 4.5 850
6/28/2014 East Fork Grove 3.5 1175
6/28/2014 Sawtooth Pass 11 4700
6/28/2014 Cold Springs Nature Trail 2.3 650
6/29/2014 Eagle Lake/White Chief Bowl 8.8 2700

 

Doane Valley Nature Trail
2. Write for Modern Hiker. I’ve started covering San Diego County for Modern Hiker, which is the oldest, most-read, and most thorough blog covering Los Angeles County. Given that there’s a lot that I’ve been re-hiking to get GPS tracks and re-familiarize, I haven’t taken on a ton of new stuff, hence a lack of posts. You can find most of what I’ve written here.
Log Meadow
3. Prepared for the HST/JMT. That’s High Sierra Trail and John Muir Trail. I will combine substantial portions of both trails starting July 20th and finishing on August 5th. All told, I look to hike approximately 190.1 miles and gain around 37,000 feet.
So that’s that. As this is the halfway point, I’ll briefly summarize my favorite hikes of the year so far, counting backwards:
9. Doane Valley: I took this hike following the only major rain storm this winter. Not only was Palomar sopping wet with the creeks running at full force, but I saw a huge herd of deer at least 25 strong. I’ve seen Palomar many times, but this may have been the most beautiful yet.
Lower Doane Valley
8. San Jacinto Tram to Deer Springs Trailhead: This rare point-to-point hike occurred during an exceptionally warm and dry February. I climbed up over Wellmans Divide from the tram and came down to Idyllwild via the Deer Springs Trail. This was a really unique way to get in a little MSJ.
Strawberry Valley from the PCT
7. San Mateo Canyon Backpacking: Also during the exceptionally warm and dry February, I backpacked down into and back out of San Mateo Canyon with my friend Taylor to camp at a large pool beside the creek. It was about as perfect a campsite as I’ve ever found backpacking, and I hope to go back there again when it gets cool.
San Mateo Canyon
6. Sawtooth Pass. The pass itself was absolutely grueling and tortuous, and I’m still not sure I even got to the right spot. The pass also didn’t add a lot to the hike, but the stretch from Badger Meadow to Monarch Lake was absolutely brilliant – minus the mosquitos.
On the way to Monarch Lake
5. Alta Peak/Meadow: I re-covered this for Modern Hiker, and this time I tacked on lovely Alta Meadow. It was a lot harder than I remember, but the views at the top were even more brilliant than I remembered.
The Great Western Divide
4. Santa Cruz Island: Taylor and I took the boat out for Santa Cruz Island and enjoyed a nice hike up to Montanon Ridge. Between the westward views of the island and the eastward view toward the mainland, this had some great vistas. Plus, riding through a pod of dolphins a thousand strong never hurts.
From Montanon Ridge
3. Ranger Falls, Mt. Rainier National Park: I did this with Kelly in April during a trip up to Seattle. The whole place was dripping wet with huge trees and hanging mosses. The waterfall at the end of the hike was sublime, pushing this up to one of the most memorable hikes of the year.
Ranger Falls
2. Eagle Crag/Cutca Valley: This hike was a revelation. It’s probably the best hike in San Diego County, running the gamut of every kind of environment from desert to oak woodland to chaparral to mixed-conifer forest. Factor in some great views, and this is a hike of the highest quality. Bonus points: I got called in to interview for my new job while sitting atop Eagle Crag.
Eagle Crag
1. White Chief Bowl: This hike exceeded my expectations in so many ways and featured so many stunning sights that it has to be number one. Taylor joined me for the first 3/4’s and I walked the rest of the rocky use trail back into the bowl. With gorgeous meadows, mountain views, waterfalls, marble outcrops, and a beautiful glacial bowl, this may have been the richest 9 miles I’ve hiked all year.
A lone juniper
On deck: The High Sierra Trail and John Muir Trail.

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