Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lone Pine Lake, Mt. Whitney Trail / Lone Pine, CA / November 2020


Length: 7 miles / Elevation gain: 1,800' / Highest Elevation Point: 10,000'
The original plan was to head up to the Mt. Whitney Trail (the trail that leads to Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain, at 14,506', in the lower 48) to Lone Pine Lake, roughly 3.5 miles in and up. The final destination on that trail without requiring a permit to tread further into the John Muir Wilderness, and to hit Mt. Whitney itself.

A sudden snowstorm overtook the area - not uncommon this time of the year, or in this part of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains - which means we would be hiking into the unknown. And literally into the clouds. Winds, snow and very cold temperatures.

Here's how it played out. Sun and brisk in the Owens valley and the foothills (and the Alabama hills) at the base of the Sierras. At 'basecamp' (Whitney Portal campground and the location of the trailhead) - cloudy with snow clouds lingering not far above. About 30º - very cold, but not a deal-breaker. Heading up the trail, the snow started to fall - just flurries, really - and as we ascended into the snow clouds (literally) the intensity picked up a bit, as did the snowpack. Wasn't impassable though... the the temperature was dropping precipitiously, from 8,600' or so to where we finally had to stop - probably less than a half mile from the lake at around 10,000' - due to intense cold.

At this point the snow was persistent and the temperatures in the single digits, and basically unbearable with the winds. So the decision to turn back was basically a no brainer.

But this is the Sierra Nevada at any point in any season, though especially in the fall/winter. Storms can arrive and depart at any point. Sunshine can peak through the storm clouds and the weather can change in mere fractions of a mile.

Got some great photos out of it though!

We will be back.


Monday, September 21, 2020

Hike: Saddle Peak / Santa Monica Mountains / September2020

Hike: Saddle Peak  / Santa Monica Mountains / September2020

Length: 4 miles / Elevation gain: 900' / Highest Elevation Point: 2,850'


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Hike: Mesa Peak (and beyond), Santa Monica Mountains / September2020

 Hike: Mesa Peak (and beyond) / Santa Monica Mountains / September2020

As many activities are off limits or shuttered because of the pandemic, much of our weekend (and extended weekend when applicable) plans consist of hiking in the amazing outdoor lands that nature provides us all over California. And as those options are even further limited as ALL national forests are currently shut down due to the unprecedented wildfires, we are temporarily forced to stay close to home... which in this case means, hiking around LA - not a bad thing of course!
So it's time for a trip to Mesa Peak hike, Santa Monica Mountains.
One of the only wilderness areas in California - at least the greater LA area - that is not closed. This is 6 miles, not 4.3. I would add the views are great - except with the recent fires all over southern, central and northern CA, the blanket of lazy ochre-colored haze that is covering the area most certainly hinders the views you would get - in any direction. I can only imagine how nice and distant they would be if we weren't getting an awful lot of that smoke from the east and north. Regardless the hike itself is a good leg burner. Not too strenuous, but it definitely makes you work for those 3 miles up (and down.) At the top (at the picnic bench) you can extend the hike in numerous directions if you are feeling adventurous (which I was.) Definitely worth doing at least once.
Length: 9.6 miles / Elevation gain: 1,500' / Highest Elevation Point: 2,250'



Friday, September 4, 2020

Hike: PCT: Sonora Pass to Latopie Lake / Sonora Pass, CA / August 2020

Hike: PCT: Sonora Pass to Latopie Lake / Sonora Pass, CA / August 2020

Length: 7.5 miles / Elevation gain: 1,500' / Highest Elevation Point: 10,700'



Hike: Hetch Hetchy to Wampama Falls / Groveland, CA / August 2020

Hike: Hetch Hetchy to Wampama Falls / Groveland, CA / August 2020

Length: 5 miles / Elevation gain: 300' / Highest Elevation Point: 4,055'