Yosemite, Day 2: Sentinel Meadow

Distance: 1 MileElevation Gained: negligibleDifficulty: EasyTime: 1 hourCritters: 3 bucksDetails:We had finished Panorama Trail, but, by my calculations, I needed at least 15 miles to reach my goal of 1,000 miles on the year. I was debating whether I would traverse Cloud's Rest and come down the same gory downhill stretch of the Muir Trail, …

Alabama Hills

Distance: 1.7 MilesElevation Gained: 150'Difficulty: EasyTime: 0:48Critters: NonePros:- Weird boulder formations- Not nearly as hot as the desert normally is in AugustCons:- NoneDetails:I got back to my car at the Meysan Lake trailhead just in time to feel the first few fat drops of rain hit my windshield. The threat of a thunderstorm had become …

Yellowstone: Midway Geyser Basin

Distance: 1.1 MileElevation Gained: NoneDifficulty: EasyTime: 0:45:00Critters: A herd of bisonPros:- Ridiculously colorful- Grand Prismatic Spring is kind of insaneCons:- Crowded- People can be really stupid some times- We were tiredDetails:Our last stops in Yellowstone were geothermal in nature. Recalling a trip to Yellowstone when I was just an embryo, I wanted to stop at …

Yellowstone: Mammoth Hot Springs

Distance: 1.5 MilesElevation Gained: 300'Difficulty: EasyTime: 1:00Critters: NonePros:- Bizarre and fascinating hot spring terraces- Good views of surrounding canyonsCons:- Hot- CrowdedDetails:Mammoth Hot Springs sits at the northern end of Yellowstone Park. I've been fascinated with it ever since I was kid. My parents have this book that has a lot of pictures and descriptions of …

Crescent Meadow – Sequoia National Park

Distance: 1 MileElevation Gained: NegligibleDifficulty: EasyTime: Wasn't keeping track, to be honestCritters: NonePros:- Probably the most beautiful place in the Sierra Nevadas, which makes it one of the most beautiful places anywhere.- Some of the most incredible light I've ever seen. Cons:- No such thing when it comes to Crescent MeadowDetails: Crescent Meadow is the …

Tokopah Falls – Sequoia National Park

Distance: 3.4 MilesElevation Gained: 400'Difficulty: EasyTime: 2 hours?Critters: Deer, marmot, rumors of a bearPros:- Easy hike through a beautiful glacial valley- Enormous cascading waterfall- Towering rock cragsCons:- Close to Lodgepole Campground, which is a noisy madhouse Details:Tokopah Falls is one of the landmark trails in Sequoia National Park. The trailhead is located within Lodgepole Campground …

Buena Vista Peak – Kings Canyon National Park

Distance: 2 MilesElevation Gained: 400'Difficulty: EasyTime: 1:00 (?)Critters: NonePros:- Easy hike to a great view of Redwood Canyon- Great granite rock formations- Evening bird community is amazing to hear Cons:- The trail to the top is confusing, especially where the trail switches back to the peak Details:After the Redwood Canyon hike, I waited for Sean …

Tecolote Canyon (plus Torrey Pines Extension)

Distance: 2.5 (Total)Elevation gained: 200Difficulty: EasyTime: 0:46:00Critters: NonePros: (Tecolote)- NoneCons: (Tecolote)- Overdeveloped- Dirty- NoisyJune:6/30 hikesDetails:Ugh.Tecolote Canyon, while not a bad place in itself, is a hike that should probably be avoided unless you live nearby and you need a convenient place to walk the dog. It's also a lesson in the pitfalls of development, which …

Santa Margarita River + Los Jilgueros and Hellers Bend

Distance: 6.8, 1.1, 1.2 (Santa Margarita, Los Jilgueros, and Hellers Bend, respectively)Elevation Gained: 320', 0', 300'Difficulty: Easy + easy + easy = moderateTime: 2:38, :23, :27Critters: Dog of the Day with the cone of shame, a fleet of rabbits and squirrels, coots, bullfrogsPros:- Lovely, easy hiking along the Santa Margarita River- Easily accessed beauty spots …