Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Memorably Good Runs

Recently I was thinking about memorably good runs, where I was very happy during and after. No doubt it's not just the trail, it's the weather and frame of mind I was in that day too. But that's okay. Here they are. If any are interesting to you, good chance I blogged it - but you'll have to use the search box as I'm too lazy to link to all of them.

  • The Anti Ranger Run in Muir Woods - multiple times including this year (so I've heard) - Marin
  • Marin Reservoir - Yolanda Trail around Phoenix Lake and back via Eldridge Grade
  • Point Reyes Estero Trail, Marin Coast
  • Point Reyes to Mt. Vision, Marin Coast
  • Point Reyes Red Barn to Mt. Wittenberg to the old Arch and back, Marin Coast
  • Point Reyes Palomarin to Red Barn (that was in the rain), Marin Coast
  • From the Clayton side of Diablo to the top, East Bay Mountains
  • Tilden along the ridge to Redwood Preserve - anything including French Trail, East Bay Mountains
  • Soda springs in Purisima (didn't they re-name this? I'm old and can't learn the new name), Santa Cruz Mountains
  • Pomo Canyon, Sonoma Coast
  • Big Basin - to Wadell Beach, Coast
  • Yosemite - Half Dome (duh), Sierras
  • Yosemite - Curry Village past Half Dome, past Vogelsang Peak, to Tuolumne Meadows, Sierras
  • The K2 Loop at the North-Middle Fork of the American River Confluence area near Auburn at the end of the Western States Trail, Sierra Foothills
  • Red Star Ridge and Lyons Ridge on the Western States Trail, Sierras
  • Pioneer Trail in Auburn (from China Bar to Folsom), Sierra Foothills
  • Darrington Trail in the spring along the South Fork of the American River/east end of Lake Folsom, Sierra Foothills
  • Up Mt. Lassen from forested lower forested area of park - Cascades
  • Feather Falls, Northern Sierra
  • Desolation Wilderness - from Echo Lake past Lake Aloha to Emerald Bay

  • Big Sur - the one that goes back to the hot springs
  • Pismo Dunes
  • Up and over Santa Barbara front range to Gibraltar Reservoir
  • Santa Monica Mountains, ie Boney Mountain
  • Up San Gorgonio, most under-rated hike in Socal
  • Cactus to Clouds (up Mt. San Jacinto)
  • Crystal Cove, Orange County Coast
  • Around Trabuco Ridges above Silverado (inland O.C.)
  • "The Secret Valleys" - east side of Miramar Marine Air Station in San Diego, unfortunately now much better patrolled
  • Rancho Penasquitos - to the falls, connecting to an adjacent canyon (eg McGonigal) or all the way to the coast

  • Bryce Canyon (not big but unbelievable)
  • Grand Canyon South Rim
  • Canyonlands - crossing/scrambling up and down several canyons to get to the Colorado River, through the Needles unit of the park. This is actually the run that started me thinking about this.
  • Glacier Natl Park - including the Garden Well (twice!)
  • Grand Tetons (to the west/above the lakes)
  • South Sister, Oregon
  • Bandera, Texas Hill Country

  • New Jersey Pine Barrens
  • State College - the only road run on this list, all the way from downtown to Shingletown Gap

  • La Palma - up along the original caldera toward the summit
  • High Tatras in Poland/Slovakia
  • Ermei Shan in Sichuan Province, China
  • The road at the top of the island in Hong Kong. I will be back to hike from HKK up to the Buddha on Lantau Island.
  • Routeburn Track, New Zealand. IMO blows the rest of the (also awesome) treks out of the water.

I am fortunate to be able to say that I am certainly missing some, and will add them as I think of them.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Tahoe Rim Trail/PCT and Iron Maiden

Continuing my circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe on the Tahoe Rim Trail, this weekend I went in at Bayview TH above Emerald Bay, and came out at Glen Alpine. I hadn't done a piece since last summer when I went from Kingsbury North to Spooner Summit. This was the most spectacular piece I've hiked so far, granite and forests and meadows and lakes and wildflowers - unsurprisingly, since the second best segment is immediately adjacent. It also featured the maturely named Dick's Lake, Dick's Pass, and Dick's Peak. (Not to be confused with Bloody Dick Peak in Montana.) Read on for pictures of Dick's Peak thrusting skyward. After this past big winter, no surprise that there is still some snow at the higher elevations even in September.

Emerald Bay below with Lake Tahoe in the background.

Far to the northeast I could just barely make out a smoke layer from the fires burning near Red Bluff.

Snow plant, appearing quite late this year.

Above: tee hee! Below, the climb up to the pass begins.

Come on guys.

Above: it's not a real weekend unless you get to the snowline, or at least 10,000'. Next few pictures: Dick's Pass probably just melted out as of early September, hence the barrenness, and just two days after I was up there, it got its first snow of the new season.

Above: a closeup reveals the clarity of - I think Dick's Lake, but there are so many lakes back there. Below, I had been telling myself there would be few wildflowers this late in the year, but descending from Dick's Pass toward Glen Alpine I discovered that I was quite wrong. The meadows were just breathtaking, like the way children draw pictures of heaven. I have the feeling I've used that metaphor before, but there are many places in the Sierras where it applies.

Above: I believe this is Pyramid Peak, which is approached by an unofficial trail that comes up from the 50, is not fun at all, and is an ugly rubble pile at the summit. Not recommended. Looking at it from far away like this is the best way to experience it.

On the way back I saw Iron Maiden with Mr. Black* in Sacramento - the second time I've seen them, and for a bunch of sixty-plus year olds they show absolutely no sign of slowing down.

*Why do I have to be Mr. Pink?