Backpacking The Trans-Catalina Trail

March 30th to April 3rd, 2018
Mount Orizaba (2,125')
Mount Torquemada (1,136')
Silver Peak (1,804')
61 miles, 14,000'
[CalTopo] [Map]

Santa Catalina is one of several islands located a relatively short distance off the coast of Southern California.

It's permanently inhabited by around 4,000 people most of whom are centered around the main settlement / tourist attraction known as Avalon.  Most of the rest of the island is controlled by the Catalina Island Conservancy and has a more rustic feel to it despite the existence of dirt roads and cell service almost everywhere.  They do control vehicle access but you can pay to get almost anything including yourself delivered to one of only 5 campgrounds.

The island is also famous for the buffalo herds that were originally transported to the island for a movie only to be abandoned and have lived there ever since.  And there's also a unique species of fox that is only found on the island.

There is a trail that runs from one side to the other called the Trans-Catalina Trail that's been on my radar for years.  Since I'd only ever been to Avalon it seemed like an ideal way to see more of the island.  I never got around to it before now mostly due to the cost and extra hassles involved vs my usual Sierra or desert based weekend adventures.  You have to reserve campsites, pay for a boat ride, and I'd heard from others that it was mostly a steep hike on fire roads.

Then this year I let Jen Blackie convince me to finally take a precious four day weekend in between WTC and AMP and head out there.  And it turned out to be one of my favorite trips of the past few years despite the odd mix of civilization (cellphone coverage, vehicle access to the entire island) intruding into the wilderness-y experience I'm generally looking for.

Kaweah WTC Snow Camp 2018 Goes Negative!

March 16th to 18th, 2018
[Pics] [Map]

Each year the 10 week Sierra Club Wilderness Travel Course builds up to a three day two night winter backpack outing into the Sierra Nevada.  And each year the staff nervously watch the snow forecast hoping we don't have a repeat of 2015 where we barely had enough snow to set up tents on.

This year it looked grim until right before the snow travel outing at which point a series of storms starting hitting both the local mountains and the Sierra.  By the week before snow camp we knew we were in for something memorable.

Even if the weather fizzled (which it didn't) this was looking to be the coldest snow camp in years!