Tuesday, March 31, 2015

After Work Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle

[Pictures] [Map]

Last year Kristen and I bought an inflatable tandem kayak and started paddling around Newport Harbor some evenings after work.  We found it's ideal since the water is usually smooth, boat traffic is limited, and there's plenty of light from the shore to be able to see.  Soon we were going enough that we upgraded to sea kayaks along with Jen.

We'd been going semi regularly until WTC hit in January and things got busy.  With class ending last week we've all been excited to get back on the water.

We kept the inflatables as loaner boats and after sending out invites and this time we ended up with 14 people in for a Pizza Paddle.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fish Lake Valley Hot Well

FCoTM: [Pictures] [Map]

We stopped and camped at Fish Lake Valley Hot Well the night before attempting nearby DPS Peak Mount Dubois.

We arrived about 1:30 am after leaving OC around 8 pm.  We were exhausted but hoping to jump in the pool right quick and find someplace to throw out our sleeping bags.

We arrived to find multiple RVs including one camped right on top of the only pool which discouraged us from any nocturnal swimming.  In addition there were three other parties all set up nearby in a mix of RVs and tents.  

Sunday, January 4, 2015

El Dorado Hot Springs In Tonopah Arizona - Desert View Pool

This was the tail end of the annual New Years trip which this year involved driving all the way out past Tucson to grab Cave of the Bells, climbing Muggins Peak near Yuma, and some assorted sightseeing / mine exploration around Tucson.

Now on the way back we'd planned to make a pit stop west of Phoenix at El Dorado Hot Spring to help break up the drive.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kayaking The Newport Harbor Christmas Light Parade

What: Newport Christmas Light Parade
When: December 18th, 2014
Where: Newport Beach Harbor
Who: Matthew Hengst (kayak), Jen Blackie (kayak), Gracia Delavida (kayak), Kristen Lindbergh (kayak), Karyn Strong (SUP), Steve Kotzbauer (SUP), Paul Ludgate (boat), Alan Bennenbroek (boat)
Pictures: [Matt]

I kayak in Newport Harbor quite a bit after work.  It's been one of the perks of being back in Orange County full time after years spent working on the road.  It's a nice bit of exercise and the water is usually pleasantly glassy at night.  Not to mention we can paddle over to Pizza Nova, dock, and have pizza and beer!

This time of year the harbor gets decked out in some impressive Christmas displays and each night for a week there's a parade of decorated boats.  Viewing locations along the shore are all packed and restaurants and hotels with a view all charge a premium and fill up.

I've a few times riding through with a bike club during my cycling days or just walking through the houses on shore but since we've bought the kayaks I've been thinking it would be neat to see it close up from the water.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Monument Valley & Valley of The Gods

What:
   Monument Valley
   Valley of The Gods
When: November 30th, 2014
Where: Utah-ish
Who: Matthew Hengst, Kristen Lindbergh, Jen Blackie
Pictures: [Matt]

Day 3 of the 2014 Turktacular found us camped rather close to a cliffside at Goosenecks State Park between Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods.  See the previous day for more details about the park but the short version is it's a great place to camp if you're passing through.

Today was going to be mostly vehicle touring covering Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, and then heading back over towards White Pockets.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Navajo Mountain DPS & Goosenecks State Park

What:
   Navajo Mountain (10,346')
When: November 28th, 2014
Where: Utah
Who: Matthew Hengst, Kristen Lindbergh, Jen Blackie
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Map]

Navajo Mountain is a peak on the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list of 99 peaks stretching from Mexico to Utah.  It has the distinction of being very far away and the only peak on the list you can drive up.

Sound awesome?  Well that's not all!  It's located on Navajo land and depending who you ask climbing it is either forbidden or just discouraged.  See the Summitpost page for Navajo for details.

Despite this DPS hasn't seen fit to de-list the peak (despite doing so for Kino, Ajo, and Maturango all of which I've also done and have far less access issues) so I figured it was worth a shot and started calling around.

After getting transferred umpteen times the best answer I was given was "Not everyone likes you up there and you can't leave the road but if you stick to that you should be fine"  I was also able to contact someone through Peakbagger who had just been up there and said he'd had no issues.

So day 2 of the 2014 Turktacular found us driving across Navajo land towards a very big mountain...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mollies Nipple & Thanksgiving Dinner

What:
   Mollies Nipple (7,271')
When: November 27th, 2014
Where: Utah / Arizona Border
Who: Matthew Hengst, Kristen Lindbergh, Jen Blackie
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Map]

Thanksgiving time and once again the plan was to escape civilization and go someplace awesome for the annual Turktacular trip.

This year we decided to head toward Monument Valley out in the Utah/Arizona border area and fill in the other days with Mollies Nipple, Navajo Mountain, Valley of the Gods, and finishing up in White Pockets.  Mostly due to having seen cool pictures of these places or liking the names.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Silurian Hills High Point and Silver Lake Mine

What:
  Silurian Hills High Point (3,738')
  Silver Lake Mine
When: November 22nd, 2014
Where: North of Baker, CA
Who: Matthew Hengst, Jen Blackie
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Map]

After yesterdays jaunt up Avawatz we got moving at a reasonable time and went hunting for access roads.

I had no beta on the Silurian Hills and it took Jen and I eyeballing topos to determine what the highpoint even was.  To get there I checked satellite shots and maps to see what old roads headed back that way and made sure to have plenty of alternates.

This was a really really good idea it turns out.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Avawatz Peak DPS From Sheep Creek

What:
  Avawatz Peak (6,155')
When: November 22nd, 2014
Where: North of Baker
Who: Matthew Hengst, Jen Blackie
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Map]

I'm closing in on the end of the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list and there's a few peaks left out by themselves as a result of odd pairings or minor misadventure.  Avawatz is one of those and I'd been eyeing it for some time making eventual plans to pair it up with something off list like Ibex.

I'd heard through the grapevine that the standard DPS route up Avawatz was so washed out so as to be terrifying even in a Jeep so that put it out of consideration for trips like the Mustache Mosey.  So when an open weekend came up we decided to knock it off.

The northern route listed in the DPS guide is significantly longer (15 miles vs 6 miles) but avoids the access issues and starts out of something labeled Sheep Camp on the map which sounded interesting and fulfilled my strong preference for desert trips of having nice camping!

We made plans to explore the nearby Silurian Hills the following day to round off the weekend and we were off!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mount Izaak Walton Northeast Ridge via McGee Creek

What:
  Mount Izaak Walton (12,077')
When: June 13th to 15th, 2014
Where: Sierra Nevada, North of Bishop
Who: Matthew Hengst, Jen Blackie, Kristen Lindbergh
Pictures: [Matt]
GPS Track: [Map]

A combination of factors had delayed the initial Sierra trip of the season but finally it was time for a peakbagging weekend at altitude.  With a job switch imminent I needed to take advantage of whatever vacation time I could manage so we planned a last minute 3 day up McGee Creek to get Mount Izaak Walton via the northeast ridge which Secor at least described as a "good" 3rd class route.