October 24, 2020
Cold Boiling Lake
Bumpass Hell forms the largest geothermal area in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The thermal features sit just southeast of Lake Helen, via a short, flat trail. But I decided to access the very popular (and crowded) area via a longer hike with more vertical, from Cold Boiling Lake.
Continue reading “Bumpass Hell via Cold Boiling Lake”
October 24, 2020
Arrival at Butte Lake
California lays claim to nine national parks, as of 2021—more than any other state. Some parks attract millions of annual visitors: Yosemite and Joshua Tree clocked 4.4mn and 3.0mn visitors, as of 2019. Luckily for NorCal adventurers, Lassen Volcanic flies comparatively under the radar. The park has seen just over half a million visitors, annually, over the past few years.
Continue reading “Cinder Cone Nature Trail (Lassen NP)”
September 26, 2020
Dawn on the Slopes of Mount Tallac
I arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunrise. It was hot and dry as ever down in the Bay Area. But near the shores of Lake Tahoe was a refreshingly different story. The days were growing shorter. And 6000 vertical feet above sea level, with a chill in the air, things finally felt like a proper Fall.
Continue reading “Mount Tallac Trail (Lake Tahoe)”
September 18, 2020
A Jaunt to Santa Cruz
A few weeks before this hike, I dinged my bumper on a log while attempting a three-point turn on an old dirt road through the mountains around 5 am. With my car in the shop, the sponsored rental company had just two choices: a giant white pickup truck or a tiny Mustang convertible. I chose the convertible.
Continue reading “Ohlone Bluff Trail at Wilder Ranch”
August 22, 2020, Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds: Off the Beaten Path
Imagine the state of California in your head. Picture its shape on a map. Now try to think about the corner of the state you’ve likely spent the least time even considering the existence of. Congratulations: You now know where to find Lava Beds National Monument.
Continue reading “Spelunking in Lava Beds National Monument”
August 6, 2020, Lone Pine
Alabama Hills amidst California Mountains
The morning after successfully summiting Mount Whitney, I joined a friend for some rock climbing in the nearby Alabama Hills. We had spent the night in Lone Pine, roughly 4000′ below the trailhead for Whitney.
Continue reading “Rock climbing in the Alabama Hills”
August 5, 2020, Whitney Portal
A month before this ascent, I had zero intention of summiting Mt Whitney in 2020. Hiking Whitney requires a permit, drawn from a lottery back in March, that I did not possess as of Mid-July. I hadn’t entered said lottery because in March I didn’t even know I’d be living in California, let alone hiking the Sierras.
Continue reading “Mount Whitney in a day”
August 2, 2020, Twin Lakes Campground/Dragon’s Back Trailhead
I snagged a pretty excellent parking spot in an otherwise fully packed lot at Twin Lakes Campground. I arrived mid-morning on a peak late-summer Sunday. The place was humming with campers and paddlers and hikers. The journey began with a walk across a bridge between the two “twin lakes” towards the various camping and RV spots under tree cover. The scene was gorgeous, with a broad stream of water cascading down grassy boulders into the lake below.
Continue reading “The Dragon’s Back Trail to Mammoth Mountain”
July 18, 2020, Rhus Ridge Trailhead
Having lived in the Bay Area for just a few months now, I’ve already hiked Black Mountain quite a few times. The first of these hikes took place, in fact, during a job interview that brought me out to California for only a couple of days.
Continue reading “A gorgeous inversion from Black Mountain”
July 12, 2020, Devil’s Postpile National Monument
I drove the winding roadway towards the Devil’s Postpile National Monument around the crack of dawn. I had spent Saturday mountain biking at Mammoth ski area, staying overnight right near the main base. As luck would have it, the roadway to Devil’s Postpile runs right past the base lodge, underneath the gondola. The road promptly narrows from a standard 2-way state highway to a winding, unstriped mountain adventure. And the views from this drive are nothing short of stunning. Jagged stone peaks rose up from the rolling hills of conifers, snowfields, and rushing waters—the Eastern Sierras in mid-summer!
Continue reading “Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls (Mammoth Lakes)”