Tag Archives: thru-hike

Skyline to the Sea Day 3

First glimpse of ocean, on our last stretch of Skyline to the Sea

Sunday, 22 May, 2016. Jay Camp/ Big Basin HQ to Waddell Beach. 10.2 miles.

I woke again to the sounds of birds, trilling at first light, and occasional loud insect buzzing. A woodpecker also made its presence known. Mosquitoes were still out at this hour, though thankfully not as much as the evening prior.

Breakfast (Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon is not as good as Mountain House Breakfast Skillet), camp breakdown, a last scouring of the area to make sure we are LNT, and we were off. Hooray for warm water coming out of the taps in the bathrooms!

Heading out of Big Basin HQ

Big Basin, even at 10am on a Sunday morning, was already crowded with a goodly number of visitors. As we set off from HQ, we passed numerous groups who looked like they were on their own walkabouts, and some who appeared to be headed to Berry Creek Falls.

Unlike the day before, it was a little sunny in certain sections, but the tree cover provided a great canopy and shade so it never really got too warm. The trail thinned out in sections and began to get crowded again as we neared the Falls.

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Skyline to the Sea Day 2

Our little group, ready!

Saturday, 21 May, 2016. Waterman Gap to Big Basin HQ and Jay Camp. 9.84 miles

I woke and dozed intermittently with sunrise, the sounds of the birds, the various creakings and sighings of a camp coming to life. In the night I had also occasionally woken to the sounds of rain pitter-pattering on our tent. The drizzle would last barely a minute before stopping. This would be the pattern for the morning as we made our way to Big Basin headquarters.

We were the last ones out of the camp. We finally emerged from our tents relatively late, ~ 7am, but we were taking our time to be able to wait for Caiti. She arrived ~9:45, and had clearly hustled to get to where we were. She had arrived late last night at Castle Rock parking lot and ended up hiking in the dark. That didn’t bother her so much as a sketchy guy in the parking lot who had put wings to her heels and helped power her to Castle Rock trail camp 2 miles away.

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Backpacking the Skyline to the Sea Trail

Big Tree is Big!

I’d always wanted to get to the Skyline to the Sea trail. Just a month earlier, Justin and DD and trekked 27 miles of it, successfully and quickly, in just a teeny bit over 8 hours. I had peeked at the various trail runs and races out there, notably the Coastal 50k/ Marathon and Pacific Coast Trail Runs races of the same distances, and dreamed of signing up for one of those longer distances someday.

So when my friend Christina pinged us to see if DD and I would be interested in a backpacking trip along the trail, I of course accepted eagerly.

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Hiking the Ohlone Wilderness Trail Day Two

Rolling Hills

Eighteen Miles. Eighteen Miles! I should have figured it out on my own, when DD said that we’d be thru-hiking 28 miles, and completing only 10 in the first day. But I was stunned and demoralized on Day 1 and couldn’t comprehend another day that was longer and possibly as difficult as the first. I’ve run 18 miles in the past, but on relatively flat terrain or in San Francisco where hills were not as prolonged or steep, and certainly not while carrying a full 20+ pound backpack.

DD assured me that today’s route would be easier, that the inclines were not as steep, and there might be points on the trail (such as the Sunol Visitor Center, 10 miles in) where we could cut it short, if we really were exhausted. That cheered me up a bit.

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Hiking the Ohlone Wilderness Trail Day One

Lichenbark Staging/ Picnic Area

It had been a while since DD and I did a proper backpacking trip. It was my first since the West Coast Trail last year; Danny’s first since his solo Yosemite hike.

However, Danny had already hiked a segment of this path earlier in the year, the 12-mile out-and-back to Murietta Falls with Jared and Justin, the one with ~4000 in elevation gain just in 6 miles. This was the hike that tweaked his back again and made him realize that in order for him to hike the John Muir Trail this summer, he had better start taking care of his body properly stat.

I didn’t go along on that hike and stated at the time that I wished I did. At the time, and up until I actually stepped foot on the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, I had absolutely *no* idea of what I was asking for.

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West Coast Trail Day Three

Ditidaht Nation Campsite

Thursday, 30 July 2015. Tsuquadra Point to Carmanah Creek. 16km or 10 miles.

It was damp at the Ditidaht Campsite. So damp that not one piece of the laundry we did the night before dried. But it was going to be another slow morning, as DD wanted to take his time, explore, and let our things give up a little more of their moisture. Thankfully, the sun was cooperating that morning.

The night before, our hosts had warned us of the “mice problem” at the campsite, and they had allowed us to hang our food bags on the hooks of an open shed next to their cottage. Apparently they do not have bear problems and therefore bear boxes were uneccesary. Sometime in early morning, I heard a tiny scuffling noise, and opened my eyes to see a small form clambering along the outside of our tent, inside the rain fly, but still outside our shelter. With a cry, I batted it away, murmured “mouseykins” sleepily to DD’s “what? what’s wrong?!” and fell back asleep almost immediately.

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Rae Lakes Loop Day Four

Roaring creeks make me happy

Bubb’s Creek by our last campsite at Junction Meadow

Friday, 26 June 2015. Junction Meadow to Road’s End, 8,400 to 5,035 feet. 10.4 miles. 

I didn’t take too many photos on this day, perhaps because we were all hustling and ready to be done with the hike. Visions of showers danced in our heads.

We woke to overcast skies and a certain mugginess in the air. We were a little nervous that it might start raining, so out came our rain gear and backpack covers to reside in the most accessible areas of our backpacks.

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Rae Lakes Loop Day Three

The View from Glen Pass at nearly 12,000 feet

Thursday, 25 June, 2015. Rae Lakes, Summiting Glen Pass, Junction Meadow, 10,800 to 11,978 elevation, and back down to 8,400 feet. 8.6 miles. 

We rose late again on Day 3. I woke with a dull headache, which I initially chalked up to sleeping poorly with a badly-stuffed pillow (Zpacks Cuben Fiber stuffsack filled with clothing). Breakfast was the chicken jook that was Danny’s idea  — even reconstituted it was fantastic: chickeny and gingery and topped with bits of sweet-salty pork fluff.

The trail up to Glen Pass would take us around 1,900 feet in elevation gain to a summit of 11,978 all in the space of 2.8 miles. We left Rae Lakes around 9:15am, intending to take it relatively easy, with lots of breaks.

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Rae Lakes Loop Day Two

Wood’s Creek Trail. Photo by Jared Williams

Wednesday, 24 June, 2015. Upper Paradise to Rae Lakes, 6876 to 10538 ft in elevation gain, 11-12 miles. 

We left camp a little later than the day before at around 8:15am. In contrast to yesterday’s 7am start, it seemed very late, and it was already quite warm. A group of girls who had camped (but very quietly) at the campsite south of us had already left. We chatted with a couple of them yesterday and learned that they had made their way up to the lakes, but, at 10,000 feet, one of their group had gotten altitude sickness and they were compelled to turn back.

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Rae Lakes Loop Day One

The Sphinx


Tuesday, 23 June, 2015. Road’s End to Upper Paradise Valley Camp, 5035-6876 feet in elevation, 10 miles. 

On Tuesday, we woke at 5am, as soon as it became light, and quickly got ready. Our plan was to have breakfast at CGV, but by the time we made it to the there, it was only 6:52am, and the cafe did not open until 7:30am.

So off to Road’s End long term parking we went, planning on quickly eating a bar at the start and then taking a longer breakfast/ coffee break at Mist Falls, some 4 miles in.

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