Friday, July 18, 2014

July Adventures

Oh my god, has it really been almost two and a half years since our last update? There have been many adventures in that time, but mostly one huge update... his name is Henry.

Anyway, let's pretend this blog has been updated on a regular basis. This month, we had a few fun adventures. These included Henry's 2nd time hiking in the Sierras (his 1st peak, Donner Summit at 7057 feet and his first few miles on the PCT), his first overnight in the Sierras (not camping... cabin-style), Henry's first time on a plane, everyone's first time to the tar-y beaches of Carpenteria, and Henry's first time in the Pacific Ocean. It was a blast.

Hopefully I'll have more adventures and photos to share here soon. In the meantime, hit the link for lots of pictures or see below for just a few.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Taken in Mindo, Ecuador (Oct. 2010) and without any color alterations or editing (but a bit of cropping to center the bird).

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Big Sur Backpacking Trip

Just the photos:

Bottcher's Gap

But if you read all the way through, you'll be treated to a new feature on this blog: videos!

We went backpacking in the Big Sur Ventana Wilderness area, from Bottcher's Gap to Pat Springs over the weekend. We got a bit of a late start on Friday, but it was also kind of cool because we got to hike through a beautiful sunset and into the dusk.

From Bottcher's Gap

It was a pretty grueling hike for Justine and I - pretty much straight up hill for the first 3 or 4 hours. Yikes!

When we finally made camp the first night, it was just on the side of the trail around 7 pm. We stopped near a spur that lead to a small trickle of water, which was enough for the evening and the next morning.

From Bottcher's Gap

Following some amazing mac-n-cheeze+broccoli, we went to sleep intent on getting up early the next morning to finish our walk to Pat Springs. Unfortunately, only one of us managed to get up at sunrise.

From Bottcher's Gap

Oh well... everyone did eventually get up and we at some tofu-scramble-breakfast-burritos. After cleaning up the camp, we headed off (even if some of the crew wanted to pretend we'd already been walking for hours!):

We marched on for a short while through madrone and manzanita forest

and were soon pumping fresh water again at Pat Springs.

From Bottcher's Gap

We took a campsite a few hundred feet uphill from the spring, overlooking Botcher's Gap, the Pacific, Pico Blanco, and Ventana Double Cone... I must say that it was probably one of the best campsites I've ever seen.

From Bottcher's Gap

We had an orienteering lesson:

From Bottcher's Gap

celebrated a birthday with cupcakes:

From Bottcher's Gap

were treated again to a gorgeous sunset:

From Bottcher's Gap

and were so high in the Ventana Wilderness that we could literally jump over the moon!

From Bottcher's Gap

All in all, an excellent weekend.

Can't say enough about how fun this weekend trip was... beautiful weather, great company, and stunning views. Get out there if you've never been.

From Bottcher's Gap

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I'm trying to post video a bit more often on this here blog? Here's one:

Friday, October 07, 2011

Mt. Adams and Trout Lake (Washington)

I just realized we never posted these pictures, so here they finally are (along with a fancy pants new design). Enjoy!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Castle Pass Hike

Castle Pass - Click for Photo Alubm

Knocked out another section of the Pacific Crest Trail back on July 17th, the section that adjoins this part, near Donner Pass. The area is called Castle Pass, named for the big black rock formations that look like a giant fort. It was an excellent easy hike, despite being so close to the highway and so snowed in. I guess we shouldn't have been surprised, given the amount of snow this year and the relatively cool summer, but it was surprising that some of the areas were several feet deep with snow!

From Castle Pass

We started the hike very late (around 1pm), bagged an ~8000 ft. peak, and had time to come down and eat an awesome dinner at Lattitudes in Auburn.

From Castle Pass

I said it before and I'll say it again: I love being so close to the Sierras!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

King's Canyon National Park

King's Canyon National Park

Clicky above to see the photos.

King's Canyon National Park, located an hour east of Fresno, CA, is very similar to Yosemite in that both are glacier-carved valleys in the Sierra Nevada. Both are also very beautiful. But where Yosemite fails (crowding and difficulty getting a campsite or backcountry permit), KCNP totally succeeds. We went on Memorial Day weekend and found an excellent car-camping spot. Justine and I went on a 10-mile hike to Mist Falls, and saw almost nobody the whole way. The whole lot of us took a 5+ mile hike through Zumalt Meadow to Roaring Falls and really only saw people at the waterfalls (which you can drive to). It's a really good find for us, since it's also very easy to get to, despite being further south.

King's Canyon also didn't disappoint in the awesome beauty of the Sierras: Racing rivers and waterfalls, huge granite peaks, and of course giant sequoias. I will definitely be back to KCNP... hopefully before the summer is over.

Afterthought: In reading about giant sequoias on Wikipedia, I made it to the "List of Trees," which is really a list of famous/named/record-breaking trees. I was reading down the list of famous trees in Asia and realize that I've seen several of them.

There's the Great Banyon in Kolkata
The Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India
The Killing Trees near Phenom Penh, Cambodia
The "Tomb Raider" tree at Angkor Wat's Ta Prohm temple in Cambodia

Which brings be back to King's Canyon: When we were driving to KCNP, we stopped at a drug store for snacks. Justine was wearing a t-shirt from Angkor Wat, and the cashier there asked if we'd been there; she really wanted to see the "Lara Croft tree!"

Full circle :D

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Briones Regional Park Hike

The rest of the pictures here

We used GPS tracker called "Move!Bike Computer" to log the data from our hike; you can view it using GoogleEarth. The batter on our phone only lasted long enough for the hike in (from parking lot to summit), so you can get an idea about where we went and the elevation changes. File here.

Briones is part of the East Bay Regional Parks system. This hike up Lafyette Ridge to a 1350ft. summit, which we took about 3 weeks ago now, was really excellent. Gorgeous day and a nice little climbing challenge over picturesque rolling CA hills with scattered oaks. We did 8 miles round trip and gained a total elevation of about 1000ft, but since the trail was so hilly (see GoogleEarth data above), it ended up being almost twice that. Some of the hills were literally 40% grades... yikes. I really regretted wearing jeans that day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Yosemite in Winter

I know this is a bit old, now, but I wanted to post these pictures of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Yosemite National Park. The snow was crazy and it was so cold on our long snow shoe hike, but it was totally worth it. Enjoy!

New Year's - Yosemite

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ecuador: Western Andean Slopes (Mindo)

Ecuador - Mindo Cloud Forests

Click above for all the photos.

The last place we visited in Ecuador was the town of Mindo, about a 2-hour drive north of Quito. We spent three nights at the Mindo Gardens lodge, which itself was a 45-minute walk from the center of the very small town of Mindo. Mindo is a one-street town with loads of eco-lodges, but little in the way of food. What the area does have going for it is extensive bird activity and zip-lines through the canopy of these high-altitude "cloud forests." Mindo is especially famous for one resident, the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock. Each morning (in secret places only the $100-per-person guides know about) dozens of the male COTRs gather to court lady birds. Rarely do the ladies show up, but it's supposed to be quite the spectacle. However, due to a lack of sufficient funding, we didn't get to see real live Cock-of-the-Rock. We did see lots of other great animals, though, which you can see by clicking through the album.

From Ecuador - Mindo Cloud Forests

From Ecuador - Mindo Cloud Forests

We also engaged in Mindo's other two activities: visiting the butterflies

From Ecuador - Mindo Cloud Forests

... and hurtling through the canopy on what I'm sure are very safe metal cables

From Ecuador - Mindo Cloud Forests