California Trip Reports

July and August 2019 - Northern California

Summer 2019 Photos

Christy and I returned to California in the summer of 2019. We flew into San Francisco and spent four weeks hiking, camping, and backpacking in Northern California. We started our trip with a weekend in Big Sur.     (Photos). Next, we did a couple of hikes in Pinnacles National Park.     (Photos). From there, we drove to Jackson, CA to visit Christy's Uncle Ed and Aunt Carolyn. We then spent two nights at their camper at Lower Blue Lake. We did a couple of short hikes together there, and I did a longer solo hike combining the Pacific Crest Trail and several other roads and trails. Highlights included The Nipple, Lost Lakes, and Granite Lake.     (Photos). The next day, I did a solo hike to the summit of Pyramid Peak in the Desolation Wilderness.     (Photos). From there we headed north, to Lassen Volcanic National Park. We spent 4 days there car camping and hiking. First, we hiked to Bumpass Hell.     (Photos). I followed it up with a solo hike to King Creek Falls.     (Photos). The next day, we did two short hikes in Warner Valley, to Devils Kitchen and Boiling Springs Lake.     (Photos). I followed it up with a solo hike to Mill Creek Falls.     (Photos). The biggest highlight of our visit to Lassen was the hike up Lassen Peak.     (Photos). That night we car camped at Manzanita Lake, and the next morning we hiked up the Cinder Cone. in the northeast part of the park.     (Photos). That afternoon we drove north, stopping at Burney Falls, three waterfalls on the McCloud River, and Castle Lake.     (Photos). The next day, we hiked from Castle Crags State Park into the Castle Crags Wilderness Area..     (Photos). From there we drove through Medford, Oregon, and on to Redwoods National Park. We visited the beach and several redwood groves before doing a short backpacking trip along Redwood Creek.     (Photos) and     (more Photos). Next, we spent a weekend in San Francisco, so Christy could do the swim race from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco for the second time.     (Photos).

Lassen Peak

We started the second half of our trip with a few days in Yosemite National Park. On our first day there, we hiked together to May Lake, and from there I scrambled up to the summit of Mount Hoffman.     (Photos). We spent the next day in Yosemite Valley, hiking the Mist Trail and Panorama Trail from the valley to Glacier Point.     (Photos). Next was a one night backpacking trip from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest.     (Photos). We spent our last day in Yosemite exploring off-trail near Mount_Watkins.     (Photos). We left Yosemite that evening. We spent the next day in the Mono Lake area, checking out slot canyons, volcanic craters, and hot springs.     (Photos). Next, we spent four days backpacking in Humphreys Basin in the John Muir Wilderness. On the first day, we backpacked from North Lake to a campsite just beyond Piute Pass, where we witnessed the most amazing sunset I've ever seen.     (Photos). The next morning we hiked over to Muriel Lake and Goethe Lake before breaking camp and moving over to Lower Desolation Lake.     (Photos). The next day was a layover, and we did a fun hike exploring the ridges and passes west of Desolation Lake.     (Photos). On the final day of our backpacking trip, we backtracked out over Piute Pass.     (Photos). We finished the trip with a few days of dayhiking and car camping. First, I climbed White Mountain Peak, a 14er.     (Photos). The next day we hiked to the Gem Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness.     (Photos). My final big hike was the Mammoth Crest Loop.     (Photos). We finished the trip with another visit with Ed and Carolyn at Blue Lakes. That final morning, Carolyn and I hiked up to the base of Jeff Davis.     (Photos).

Sunset from Piute Pass

January 2014- Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Photos

In January of 2014 I returned to Victorville, CA on another business trip. I stayed an extra day so I could make a brief visit to Death Valley National Park, car camping and doing several short hikes. I hiked to the highest dune in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and did the 4 1/2 mile loop combining Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch. I also visited Badwater Basin and Zabriskie Point, and toured Artist's Drive.

Zabriskie Point

Summer 2008 - The John Muir Trail

Summer 2008 Photos

San Francisco Photos

In June and July of 2008, Christy and I vacationed in California. We started the trip in San Francisco, and visited Alcatraz. The next morning, Christy competed in the Escape from Alcatraz swimming race. After the race, Christy's Uncle Ed and Ed's wife, Carolyn, took us on a tour of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Recreation Area. The next day, we relocated to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Over the next 3 days, we did some hiking in the Redwoods, visited Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and relaxed at Natural Bridges State Beach.

I returned to San Francisco in September, 2017 for a work assignment. I did a hike combining Mount Tamalpais State Park and Muir Woods National Monument. I also stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge, and visited Sausalito, Haight Asbury, and Lands End.     (Photos)


Yosemite Photos

After spending a few days in San Francisco and along the coast, we picked up Bob at the Amtrak station in Merced and drove to Yosemite National Park. We had two free days to spend in the park before beginning our backpacking trip on the John Muir Trail. Highlights of those two days included hikes to Yosemite Falls and Lembert Dome, and a visit to Mono Lake.

Lembert Dome

John Muir Trail Photos

We began our thru-hike of the John Muir Trail on Friday, July 4th in Yosemite Valley. We spent the first three days hiking from Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park. Highlights of the first section included Nevada Falls, massive Jeffrey Pines, and a side trip to Half Dome. The next section of the hike took us through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, from Tuolumne Meadows to Devil's Postpile National Monument and Reds Meadow. Highlights of this section included Lyell Canyon, Garnet Lake, and a side trip to Rainbow falls. From there, we hiked three more days through the John Muir Wilderness to Lake Edison and the Vermillion Valley Resort. Highlights of this stretch included Chief Lake and a dazzling display of wildflowers. From there, we spent 3 days hiking to our final resupply point at Muir Trail Ranch. Along the way, we took a rest day to explore the Three Island Lake Basin. After picking up 10 days worth of food, we spent the next 7 1/2 days hiking through Kings Canyon National Park. Highlights of this stretch included Evolution Basin, Mather Pass, and the Rae Lakes. We concluded our thru-hike of the John Muir Trail spending the last 2 1/2 days in Sequoia National Park. Highlights of this stretch included a fantastic campsite on the Bighorn Plateau and reaching the summit of Mount Whitney - the highest peak in the contiguous United States.

Mount Whitney from the Bighorn Plateau

January 2007- Joshua Tree National Park

Southern California Photos

In January of 2007 a business trip gave me the opportunity to finally hike in California for the first time. Christy had visited Anza Borrego State Park in southern California a few years earlier, and I briefly considered checking it out. Joshua Tree National Park was closer though, and I already had a map. I ended up spending a day and a half in Joshua Tree, car camping and doing several dayhikes. While I was there, I hiked to the top of Ryan Mountain and the bottom of Willow Hole, in the Wonderland of Rocks. I also did some short hikes to Cap Rock, Arch Rock, and Barker Dam, and made a couple of tourist stops at the Keys View and the Cholla Cactus Garden.

Joshua Trees

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