Sheep and Martinez Backpack Santa Rosa Wilderness

February 23rd to 25th, 2018
Sheep Mountain (5,141')
Martinez Mountain (6,562')
Day 1: 2.4 miles, 300'
Day 2: 10.5 miles, 2,500'
Day 3: 9.7 miles, 2,500'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Wilderness Travel Course season gets pretty busy with most weekends being tied up in class outings but we do have the occasional opportunity to get out.  This trip was snuck in between the Orange County Joshua Tree and Snow Travel weekends.  In addition to just being a good excuse to get out and backpack in the local mountains was as an I Provisional for Jen Jones and had the added benefit of being a variation of something I'd done before that I'd wanted to scout as a potential WTC Experience Trip.

Unlike most trips where we drive out the night before and hike in in the morning our plan was to do the initial 2.5 miles Friday night to a known water source and then fill up in the morning and do another 2.5 miles to a dry camp near Cactus Spring.  We'd then dayhike Martinez, return to camp, and then Sunday do Sheep before hiking out.

And as an added bonus we had a winter storm sweep in dropping the temperatures to a low of 27.  Fun!

Wilderness Travel Course Joshua Tree Weekend With Kaweah Group

February 17th & 18th, 2018
[Pics] [CalTopo]

Joshua Tree is the second of four outings that make up the Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course.  Two weeks ago everyone joined us for a 15 mile -ish dayhike and now we had an entire weekend bus trip out to Indian Cove to focus on rock scrambling skills and navigation!

And since we're Kaweah Group (one of the three groups in the Orange County area of WTC) we like to throw a theme into the mix for our summit shot and potluck.  Themes are suggested and voted on by the class and previous years have run the gamut from simple to elaborate.  This year the winner was Medical Misadventure beating out Business Casual Murder Clowns by a very small margin.  The result is what you see above!

For more information on what WTC is and how to take the course see the official site here. More posts by me about WTC can be found here.

Whale Watching At Laguna Ojo de Liebre In Baja

February 10th to 12th, 2018

This trip was a little different than my normal weekend fare since it didn't involve any peaks, hikes, or hot springs.  Victor Gomez and Lubna Debbini are two friends who came through WTC last year and they put this trip together around whale watching down at Laguna Ojo de Libre.

If you're like me and only ever seen whales Newport Beach style in the distance from the deck of a large boat the experience at Laguna Ojo de Liebre will completely ruin that for you.  Whales migrate here from Alaska to give birth and teach their babies how to swim.  These days it's carefully controlled so that only a set number of boats can go out and only in certain areas for 90 minutes at a time.  It's somewhat famous due to the fact the whales come so close to the boats that if you're lucky you can reach out and touch them.

Santiago Peak Wilderness Travel Course Kaweah Group Conditioning Hike

February 3rd, 2018
Santiago Peak (5,687')
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

It's that time of year again where we start taking the new crop of Wilderness Travel Course students on outings!  After three weeks of classroom sessions we spent Saturday hiking Santiago Peak via the Holy Jim Trail.   It's an Orange County classic it involving 15 ish miles and 4k gain all on trail making it a great fitness assessment before we continue on to the rock scrambling, snowshoe, and finally a winter backpack in the Sierra!