Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lyon's Ranch Loop - Redwood National Park

I hiked a 10 mile ridge-to-valley-to-ridge loop in Redwood National Park during a sunny late October day. The hike began at the parking lot for Lyon's Ranch...it vectored north down Bald Hills Road, then branched off onto a ranch road that curved back to the north...eventually hooking up with the Lyon's Ranch homestead. Abundant sunshine, cool breeze, golden California grass, and ridge top views of rolling mountains for miles and miles...perfect way to spend a day-off from work.

At the beginning of the hike two Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies stopped me as I was slogging down Bald Hills Road. They informed me that a lunatic wearing an orange jacket was flashing a knife at motorists driving by. They asked me if I was the person doing that...I said no, and they let me continue on my way. Needless to say, I was turning around every 10 minutes during my hike looking for a crazy man ready to knife me. Luckily I survived. However, when I was at the Lyon's Ranch Homestead, I heard a loud rustling in a group of trees.  I thought to myself, perhaps, the crazy man was watching me from afar. It turns out it was a mother black bear and her cub, who dashed out in front of me five minutes later and ran down a hillside. The mother stopped as the cub climbed up a tree for safety...the mother started eyeing me, and I got the hint, and picked up the pace back towards my truck, which was still a mile away.  Great hike!

Prairie Creek Redwoods - Fern Canyon

Those looking for a moderately long (12 mile) day hike might want to consider the trail that leads from the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park headquarters out to Fern Canyon. The 6 miles out to the canyon go by fast as you marvel at the tall trees always-towering-above. The terrain is moderately rugged, the undergrowth is from a prehistoric movie, and the mist swirling through the trees enhances the mystical spiritual connection with a truly special natural wonder. I hiked this route during mid October. The canyon itself is not all that awe-inspiring...though there are several subsidiary slot-canyons spanned by bridges--with tiny streams embedded deep within the earth below. Nevertheless, the hike was fantastic. I truly appreciated reconnecting with the woods and forgetting about the human condition for a while.  As I've said before to many people, Prairie Creek State Park is hands down the best Redwood Park in Northwest California--both for hiking and for marveling.

Monday, September 17, 2018

San Francisco - 2018

San Francisco International Airport
California Street
China Town
Saints Peter and Paul Church
Lombard Street

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Black Butte - Northern CA

I hiked Black Butte, an extinct volcano located near Weed, CA, with Tamara Lopez during early August 2018. After a dusty back-road drive to the trailhead (which yielded a nail in my tire), we started a moderately steep spiral west up the north side of the volcano, and then a second spiral back to the east, followed by a final third spiral back toward the west. The hike seemed to go by relatively quickly, possibly because of the distracting views that were at all times fantastic, though greatly obscured due to wildfire smoke (we could barely see Mount Shasta, which was located only a few miles to the east). The summit of Black Butte is very exposed, with the very top located at the end of a rocky ledge that requires a bit of class 3 scrambling to stand atop.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Mount Eddy

I hiked Mount Eddy with Tamara Lopez during late July. Eddy is located within the Trinity Horn in Northern California...basically the next major mountain peak west of Mount Shasta. The hike was 10 miles round trip, and ascended several thousand feet from trailhead to summit. The trail begins by following the Pacific Crest Trail as it traverses across a wooded mountain slope that eventually gives way to a broad valley containing several alpine lakes. A steep ascent up Eddy's south shoulder follows, but numerous switchbacks provide some relief from what would otherwise be a major slog straight up the mountain. The views from the top of Eddy are fantastic...though thick forest fire smoke blocked the best views. Nevertheless, Shasta still managed to peak out from behind the haze and building cumulus.

Rock hut at the summit of Mount Eddy.
Mount Shasta, partially obscured by forest fire smoke.




Mount Eddy, viewed from an alpine meadow west of the summit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lassen Volcano

I summited Lassen Volcano a year ago, but at sunrise, and thus didn't get a chance to fully view the crater (click here to see last years post). I returned to Lassen a week ago with Tamara Lopez, during mid July, for a daytime hike to the summit. It was a pretty amazing site to gaze upon the crater, which only 100 or so years ago was experiencing a violent volcanic eruption. And of course, the views from the top were outstanding, with the Central Valley laid out to our west, and Mount Shasta to our north. A picture of the crater, and Shasta on the horizon, is posted below (click the image for a larger version).


Thursday, July 05, 2018

Punta Gorda Lighthouse

I hiked out to the Punta Gorda Lighthouse during June 2018. The lighthouse was operational between 1912 and 1951, and has survived countless Pacific storms, as well as tectonic events such as the January 1923 magnitude 7.2 earthquake (see here for additional information on the lighthouse: http://lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=63).

During my trip, I was greeted by a large colony of sea lions upon arrival to the lighthouse.  They didn't mind my presence at all, as they were preoccupied with throwing sand across their backs in order to block damaging UV rays as they sunned along the beach. Pictures of the lighthouse, sea lions, and a rusted navigational buoy are below.

Rusted navigational buoy.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Marin Headlands

I drove west from the Golden Gate Bridge to hike out to the Point Bonita Lighthouse on Saturday April 21st. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is only open on Sundays. So, I made the best of it and hiked the hills overlooking Rodeo Beach. Some relatively easy uphill hiking brought me to what I believe was Hill 88, which was ~1000 feet above the nearby ocean. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday...a few pictures are posted below.
View looking east from Point Bonita. The Golden Gate Bridge is on the horizon.
The Point Bonita Lighthouse is situated behind this sea stack. Unfortunately, the tunnel giving access to the lighthouse was closed.
Looking down on Rodeo Beach.
The hills towering above Rodeo Beach and Point Bonita.