September 10, 2022
Around 3:15 am I drove through Minturn, past empty streets and darkened windows. Then, I began the long winding dirt road up towards the Halfmoon Campground. The sun wouldn’t make an appearance for another three hours at least. But even still, I arrived at a bustling trailhead filled with headlamp beams and dimly lit truckbeds.
Continue reading “Mount of the Holy Cross via Halo Ridge”
August 28, 2022
South Colony Lakes
Our truck ambled slowly up the rough road to the South Colony Lakes Trailhead. It was mid-morning on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday in late August. Puffy white clouds had begun to coagulate as we donned our packs and divvied up the climbing gear.
Continue reading “Crestone Needle via the Ellingwood Arete”
August 8, 2022
Arrival at Highland Center
Tackling New Hampshire’s Presidential Range would form the centerpiece of my recent New England high point road trip. The massive peaks rise head and shoulders above any other peaks in the Northeastern US. A majority of the journey takes place at or above the treeline. And a series of huts, shuttles, and base camps run by the storied Appalachian Mountain Club can make the ambitious journey a touch bougier and more European.
Continue reading “The Presidential Range Traverse”
Into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness
I arrived in the small town of Westcliffe on a sunny Saturday morning. I sped along some dirt country roads towards the ‘lower trailhead‘ for the Crestones. This trailhead sat below treeline, in the open fields at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo range.
Continue reading “Humboldt Peak”
May 23, 2020, Echo Lake Trailhead
Arrival at Echo Lake
In late May, having settled into my new apartment in the Bay Area, I decided to set off on a backpacking adventure. This trip would represent my first wilderness adventure in California.
I decided on a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail near Lake Tahoe through the Desolation Wilderness. From the name alone I knew this would be some sort of adventure.
Continue reading “Lake Aloha, and the Desolation Wilderness”
March 7, 2020, Adirondak Loj
The journey to Mount Marshall began on a largely ordinary weekend in early March of 2020. It was likely the last ordinary weekend of 2020. The novel coronavirus had already begun to increasingly dominate the news cycle. But that was hardly evident on this sunny, beautiful Saturday. Alpine and nordic skiers, snowshoers, and post-holers had already filled the parking lots of Heart Lake. Between the rows of cars, excited conversations took place in both French and English in equal measure. There’s usually one (maybe two) weekends in March where the bright sunshine of nearly-spring and the thick snowpack of a full winter collide. This was that weekend.
Continue reading “Mount Marshall (nearly twice)”
November 2, 2019, Adirondak Loj
I arrived at Heart Lake before dawn on a brisk day in early November. The target, a pair of classic high peak day hikes: Colden and Phelps! My original plan consisted of hiking the Santanoni’s. But torrential rain and high winds had plagued the Adirondacks in recent days, and I decided to target a couple of peaks easily accessible from the relatively dry and well-trafficked Van Hoevenberg trail.
Continue reading “Colden and Phelps”
Approach from the West
Spend time exploring the Adirondacks and you realize the land within the “blue line” encompasses far more than mountains. This is particularly true of the western Adirondacks. Here waterways like the Raquette River (French for snowshoe) meander through countless lakes and marshlands. The whole swampy, flowing mess meanders towards the St Lawrence to the north. That’s the sort of landscape I found myself in as I drove north and westward via NY 30. I was headed towards the westernmost of the high peaks: the Sewards.
Continue reading “The Sewards”
August 29, 2018 — Upper Works
The Iron Works
The day began around dawn with some rough dirt roadways. Blue Ridge Road cuts nine miles from NY 28 to the “Upper Works trailhead” along Tahawus Road. Driving deeper into the forest, I considered just how isolated this corner of the Empire State truly is.
Isolated, and vast. Since the recent purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract, the High Peaks Wilderness now boasts a contiguous land area larger than the City of Los Angeles. And surrounding the “wilderness” itself are miles of private and mixed-use forested lands devoid of connected, improved roads.
Continue reading “The MacIntyre Range: Iroquois, Algonquin, and Wright”
June 30, 2018
The Adirondack Great Range
The “Great Range” spans a number of beloved high peaks in the central Adirondacks. The official definition of the range varies. But it typically includes Skylight, Marcy, Haystack, Basin, Saddleback, Gothics, Armstrong, and Upper and Lower Wolfjaw.
Continue reading “The Great Range of the Adirondacks”