Sespe & Willett Hot Springs

April 8th & 9th, 2017
Sespe Hot Springs
16.4 miles, 2000' in
18.2 miles, 2600' out (with a side trip to Willett Hot Springs)
[Pics] [Map] [CalTopo]

After last weekend's snow climb of Mount Silliman I was tempted to head back to the Sierra again and maybe do Alta or something similar.  However a big storm was predicted to hit (unusually big for April) and Jen and I ended up looking local.

Sespe Hot Springs is located in Los Padres and only a few hours from OC.  Just drive up to Ojai and then drive a bit further along the 33.  Of the three trailheads listed by the forest service Piedra Blanca was was 16 miles each direction and followed the Sespe River which sounded like a nice way to spend 2 days.

Cottonwood Marble Canyon Loop Backpack In Death Valley

March 24th to 26th, 2017
Canyon Point (5,890')
[Pics] [Map] [CalTopo]

Finally it was time for the first WTC Experience Trip of the 2017 season!  The Orange County section of WTC had just finished snow camp two weeks before which meant two of the other areas weren't even done but I was ready to get out of town.

This counted both as one of the two experience trips students need to complete in order to graduate and an provisional trip for Dave Jahng's Sierra Club I rating.  And even better it was something I hadn't done before!

It's also happen to qualify for the 2017 #HikeDeathValley program giving all the points needed for a super swanky free sticker in one trip.  So extra bonus!

And it was a blast!  Three days! 9-13 miles a day!  Water at both the camps!  1 DPS peak!  Rainbows!  Wild horses  Rain!  Hail!  Oh my!

Mount Wilson Loop From Chantry Flats LB WTC Conditioning Hike

February 4th, 2017
Mount Wilson (5,713')
[Pics] [Map]

This was a free weekend for me WTC-wise falling between the conditioning hike and Joshua Tree for Orange County.  Normally I'd run out to the desert and climb something however those plans were killed at the last minute due to the need to stay local and reserve WTC campsites for next year.

Jack Kieffer was nice enough to invite me along to do the conditioning hike with his group so I decided to take the opportunity to see a new trail.

Wilderness Travel Course 2017 Conditioning Hike To Mount Wilson

January 29th, 2017
Mount Wilson (5,713')
[Pics] [Map]

The 2017 Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course has been running down here in Orange County for three weeks which means it's finally time to start hiking!

For the next 2 months in addition to class on Tuesday night we'll spend every other weekend hiking, rock scrambling, doing map and compass navigation, snowshoeing, and finally backpacking for two nights and three days into the snow at 9000 ft.  And if you've been paying attention to the snow levels this year snow activity is looking damn promising.

But first we get everyone out for a good long dayhike to prepare them for what's to come.  This year the heavy rains caused us to make a last minute change from Santiago Peak via Holy Jim to Mount Wilson from Sierra Madre.

2017 Mustache Mosey Day 2: Teutonia Peak Scramble

January 15th, 2017
Teutonia Peak (719')
[Pics] [Map]

This was the second day of the 2017 Mustache Mosey and we planned to have an easy day climbing the 3rd -ish class pile of rocks called Teutonia Peak.

2017 Mustache Mosey Day 1: Kelso Peak & Mojave Lava Tubes

January 14th, 2017
[PicsKelso] [PicsLavaTubes] [Map]

The Mustache Mosey (aka The Premier Upper Lip Hair Based Desert Social Event Of The Season) began back in 2011 as a way to spice up a relatively pedestrian pair of peaks with some not insignificant access difficulties.  Peaks were climbed, ridiculous mustaches were worn, and unfortunately several vehicles had tires shredded before we were done.  And we've maintained the tradition ever since.  (Except for the tires.  Mostly...)

New Years At Guadalupe Canyon Hot Springs In Mexico

January 1st, 2017

The first time I visited Guadalupe Canyon Hot Spring in 2014 it was to climb the DPS peak Pico Risco. It was a rough trip and due to various factors we arrived at the camp around 2 am and managed to do just about everything wrong.

We didn't have a reservation and ended up stumbling around other people's camps until we found one that was unoccupied and and had a filled hot tub which we proceeded to soak in until almost 4 am, sleep a few hours, then did a brutal drive back to Orange County that same day.

Despite that it stood out as one of the most beautiful and memorable desert trips I've done and ever since I've wanted to come back when there was a little more time to enjoy the amenities.  Which finally came about this weekend for New Years 2017

We made the plans late and I expected they'd be filled up considering the holiday.  Sure enough the first query we made through got a reply they'd been filled up for 3 months.  However when we tried we were told there was plenty of room and we proceeded to reserve the El Coyote pool for $100 for two nights.

2016 Newport Harbor Christmas Light Parade Paddle

December 18th, 2016

The Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade is a Newport Beach tradition that runs for 5 days every December.  Boats decked out in lights and cruise the harbor while people watch from the shore or other boats.

I used to watch from the shore which has the advantage of letting you roam around and see all the houses many of which are decorated to excessive amounts as part of neighborhood competitions.  Then a few years ago we start paddling in Newport Harbor after work.  This became the monthly Pizza Paddle and when December rolled around we decided why not paddle out and watch the parade from the water.

The first year we tried to go Wednesday (the first night) and ended up delaying it until Thursday due to rain.  We had fun and didn't get run over by yachts.

Last year we planned Saturday (giving friends from others areas the chance to join us)  Rain was forecast and we went anyway.  Despite a rough launch and getting out there a bit too early we had fun.

This year we decided to try Sunday the final night of the parade.  And for once there was no rain forecast!

Palo Verde Peak In Palo Verde Mountains Wilderness

December 12, 2016
Palo Verde Peak (1,375')
[Pics] [Map]

We already hit our main objective for the area yesterday when we did Thumb Peak and Paint Mountain / Wiley BM.  Looking around for other interesting peaks in the area Palo Verde Peak stood out as being more prominent than most of the bumps out there.  And as it turned out it's a pretty interesting peak.

Paint Mountain BM, Wiley BM, and Thumb Peak In Palo Verde Mountains Wilderness

December 10th, 2016
Paint Mountain Benchmark (1,328')
Thumb Peak (1,375')
[PicsPaint] [MapPaint] 
[PicsThumb] [MapThumb]

The original plan for this weekend was to lead a trip to climb Little Picacho with a group of AMP staff and students.  A rash of work and illness related cancellations caused me to reschedule that trip and Kristen and I ended up doing some peaks south of Blythe.

That meant the drive was downright reasonable and we were laid out along the side of Wiley's Well Road a bit after midnight.