During March 2016, I hiked 9 times, covering 92 miles and gaining 19,300′ of gain. Where I lacked in quantity, I made up for in quality, as my average distance for each hike was 10.2 miles.
Three major hikes and one moderate hike accounted for the majority of the miles I put in. On my two days on the Pacific Crest Trail, I covered an estimated 31.8 miles. High Point to Oak Grove was 13.5 miles. Dawns Peak was 14 miles, and Santa Anita Canyon was 8.7. The rest of the hikes were local jaunts that I took after work.
Despite this being a relatively light month for hiking, I still accomplished a major milestone. I completed fieldwork for Afoot and Afield in San Diego, and I also sent in the completed manuscript. The ball is now rolling on putting the book together in preparation for publishing, and for the first time in 16 months, I am not currently writing a book. I hope that doesn’t last for too long.
Here’s how I stand on my goals for the year now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2016:
- Complete fieldwork and manuscript for Afoot and Afield – Completed
- Submit a proposal for a comprehensive guide covering Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – Completed (proposal not yet accepted)
- Hike all of SoCal’s 10 high points that I haven’t yet hiked – 6/10
- Spend 30 nights camping – 8/30
- Hike over 100 hikes I’ve never taken before – 20/100
Here are the three hikes that stood out:
I joined Shawnte for a two day trek through one of the hottest and driest sections of the PCT in SoCal. Despite its reputation, the San Felipe Hills section was not hot and not entirely dry either. We walked it on the tail end of a storm, and the constant breeze kept us cool the whole way. We were a bit early for wildflowers, but the vistas and green grass near Warner Springs compensated well enough.
The steep out-and-back route to the summit of High Point from the east side of the Palomar Mountains is a bit of a challenge, but I was pleased with how well my current conditioning allowed me to handle the route. The views here are some of my favorite in San Diego, and on a clear, comfortable day, this can be one of the best mountain climbs in the region.
3. Dawns Peak
The final hike for field work in Afoot and Afield was also the hardest. This might have been the most difficult bit of hiking I’ve attempted so far, with incredibly steep climbs up rocky, cactus-infested slopes under full sun-exposure. Five days later, I’m still feeling tightness and soreness in my quadriceps. This is a hike I will not soon forget, as everything about it – even the difficult parts – is etched into my memory through the sheer intensity of the experience.
Next up. . .
This April, I’ve set the goal of beating my monthly distance total of 152 miles by accumulating 175 miles over the month. To start, I’ll spend four days in the Sequoia National Park foothill area, covering seven different routes of varying difficulty. I’ll add to this with a massive undertaking through a remote and spectacular region of Anza-Borrego/Santa Rosa Mountains National Monument. I’ll fill in the gaps with local hiking in the North County/Escondido area. I’ll set my sites on a pair of peaks near the San Jacinto Mountains that I’ve long had my eyes on: Thomas Mountain and Cahuilla Mountain. And finally, I look to get confirmation on a new book proposal that I sent off a few months back that would have me doing an enormous amount of hiking in one of my favorite places on the planet.