Memorial Day Massacre 2017 - Jerky Meadows Kern Backpack

May 27th & 28th, 2017
[Pics] [Caltopo] [Map]

Historically I try and go big on Memorial Day and do a Sierra backpack with an aggressive plan.  It is after all the first "free" long weekend of the year and I'm always raring to get into the Sierra after a long season of desert trips and teaching outdoor classes.

It's also early enough where weather and other factors make things difficult more often than not.

A brief summary of the Massacres so far
2010 Walker Pass - The trip that inspired the name. Went at Chimney Creek to get a number of peaks and hike south to Walker Pass. Jen and I were the only ones that completed most of the peaks after more limited water sources than anticipated.
2011 Williamson Turnaround - Planned to be a Williamson are cleanout. Went in on a bad forecast which proceeded to get worse. Retreated from Shepherd Pass due to 100 mph winds to set up near Anvil only to have our tent ripped open by gusts. Spent the night in a bush getting snowed on. No peaks but we day hiked Olancha as a consolation prize.
2012 Golden Trout - Some weather but highly successful. Lots of miles & peaks. Started with 3 people, ended with two, and drank the worse water I've ever had the mispleasure of forcing down.
2013 Courtright In A Kilt - Spectacular weather, lots of peaks, lots of miles. All in a kilt!  (That summit shot won me an award)
2014 Skip Year - Didn't happen due to the job switch and moving back full time from Boise.
2015 Kibbie Ridge - Snowstorm hit on day one and high river crossings made the loop impossible.  Scaled the plan back and later did the loop over the 4th of July 2016
2016 Durrwood Crossing & Rincon - Scaled back to three days due to work challenges and recovery from knee surgery.  Three day loop north of Isabella involving a rotting cable crossing, one peak, and so many foxtails we had to throw out multiple pairs of socks.  And an armed man in a cave looking for murder gold.

This year I was recovered from surgery but had to stick to only three days due to a combination of work and an the fact I had to move my home the following weekend.  Also a record snow was making trailhead access difficult unless we wanted to haul in more gear and do the snow.  Eventually we settled on a 50 mile ish loop starting at Jerky Meadows, crossing the Little Kern and the bridge, following the Kern north to the crossing and grab Tower and Overlook to the east, then swing west camping at Coyote Lakes (a bucket list thing) and grab Coyote and Angora on the way out.

Aggressive.  As usual.  And also as usual things didn't go quite to plan...

Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle - May 2017

May 18th, 2017
[Pics] [Map]

Once a month a group of us get together and paddle Newport Harbor after work. We launch from the beach next to the Newport Aquatic Center and paddle over to Pizza Nova in the main harbor in a combination of kayaks and SUPs. There we dock our boats, partake in feast of pizza and beer, and then paddling back to the cars. We do this all year round and in pretty much all conditions. Light, dark, rain, and the dead of SoCal winter where you're tempted to put a sweater on with your flip flops.

You can find writeups of other pizza paddles here. For notifications on when we're doing the next one see our facebook group Pizza Paddle Associates. (Send me a message so I know you're not a spam bot!)

It's prime time for after work paddling right now since we get to launch in the light and it's warm enough even Kristen isn't wearing a jacket. And aside from a malfunctioning kayak everything went great!  

Crag Peaks (SPS & USGS) From Kennedy Meadows Campground PCT

May 13th & 14th, 2017
Crag Peak (9,480')
Crag USGS (9,440')
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

It's May and thanks to the record snow in the Sierra I'm currently stuck with conditions where it's too hot to do much in the desert but the amount of snow in the Sierra makes backpacks a challenge.  So that leaves snow climbs (which are a ton of fun but a different tempo) or heading to the lower elevation areas like Golden Trout.  And with the latter you're still looking at high stream crossings and trailheads which haven't opened yet.

There is a trailhead at Kennedy Meadows I've been wanting to try for a while.  It's where the PCT heads north from from the Kennedy Meadows Campground which is accessible year round.  (The campground itself was shut down a few years ago but reopened by the General Store in Kennedy Meadows and just asks for donations.)  Even more importantly for this time of year the trail has a footbridge to get you across the South Fork of the Kern so you're not limited to one side or the other.

The goal of the weekend was to do a quick two day to go climb Crag peak and possibly look at some other nearby bumps.  Crag is one of those funny peaks where the Crag marked on the USGS map isn't the one that the Sierra Club Sierra Peaks Section has on their list and for good reason.  The northern bump is only a slight bit lower but significantly more interesting than it's governmentally recognized neighbor.

Hiking Cameras: Olympus TG4 vs Sony TX30 Hiking Camera vs Apple iPhone 7+

I'm outdoors a fair amount and I really like to take pictures.  More for the joy of taking them and to help me remember better over time what I've done but nonetheless I like them to look halfway decent even when I take them in slightly challenging conditions.