San Juan Islands Washington 5 Day Paddle Adventure!

June 30th to July 4th, 2018
Day 1: 11.75 miles - Smugglers Cove To Jones Island
Day 2: 8.6 miles - Jones Island To Turn Island
Day 3: 12.4 miles - Turn Island To Posey Island
Day 4: 18.5 miles - Posey Island To Stewart Island
Day 5: 12.5 miles - Stewart Island To Point Gilligan
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

This trip is a little different from my usual mountain related activities but it's something that I've been talking about doing for quite some time. Ever since Kristen, Jen, and I bought our sea kayaks we've been wanting to do more kayak touring and destination paddling in general.

So this 4th of July weekend off to Washington we went! 5 days! Winds! Currents! Islands! And a Gilligans Island style stranding / minor marine rescue which put us in danger of not making our flights back home!

Smith, Jackass, & USGS Crag Peaks Sierra Club I Provisional In Golden Trout Wilderness

June  23rd & 24th, 2018
Smith Mountain (9,520')
Jackass Peak (9,280')
Crag Peak (USGS) (9,480')
13.08 miles, 3,000'
13.24 miles, 1,800'
[Pics] [Caltopo] [Map]

This was the last of the Southern Sierra trips for the season as it gets pretty hot and dry down there after about mid June.  We had just enough time to sneak in one more Sierra Club "I" provisional which this area works well for thanks to faint or missing trails, ample opportunities for cross country travel, and the lack of useful landmarks in the distance.

It's also an area I hadn't been back to since I did these peaks originally in 2010 and I had really fond memories of hiking through the meadows and the views from the peaks.  When Lubna mentioned in when looking at provisional options I jumped at the chance to go back.

Mount Hilgard From Pine Creek

June 15th to 17th, 2018
Mount Hilgard (13,361')
Day 1: 7.1 miles, 3,800'
Day 2: 11.5 miles, 4,800'
Day 3: 7 miles, 150'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Originally Jen and I intended to lead this officially for the Sierra Club and we'd grabbed a 9 person permit to that end only to realize we'd likely need ice axes and crampons this early.  So instead it became a private outings and our first real trip to high altitude this season with all the associated joyous struggles that that entails.

Our plan was to hike in via Pine Creek and cross Italy Pass to camp at Lake Italy.  Day two we'd climb Hilgard and Gabb and then we'd have day three to hike out.  What happened instead is we camped on the closer side of the pass due to the amount of snow we hit and only got Hilgard but it still made for a great weekend.

Hockett Peak From Jerky Meadows Sierra Club I Provisional

June 9th & 10th, 2018
Hockett Peak (8,552')
Day 1: 8.7 miles, 1,800'
Day 2: 16.8 miles, 4,300'
[Pics] [Caltopo] [Map]

Hockett Peak is a named peak on the USGS topo that is located in the Southern Sierra along the Kern to the west of Jordan Hot Springs.  After passing by it a number of times over the years Kristen Lindberg and I led a WTC trip to climb it in 2017 to great success.

Hockett towers above Trout Meadows which is one of those incredibly green and scenic meadows you find all over in the Southern Sierra.  It's full of nice camp spots with legal fire pits, ample wood, and multiples options for access to water.  The best trailhead is Jerky Meadows, aka the same trail we used for this years Massacre trip and one that opens reliably early every year.

This was also another Sierra Club provisional this time an "I" rating for Victor Gomez.  The I rating is for cross country travel so we had to do something that had a decent amount of it and where the navigation wasn't obvious.

Hence why our summit day for Hockett would be a little more circuitous than the route we took last year.  Instead of climbing the western flank we'd come around from the south and hit a few points along the way.  This would make for a fairly long day considering we had to return to camp, pack up, then hike out which involves an uphill climb to the cars.

Victor also had us camping at the Trout Meadows FS Station after verifying with the Kernville rangers that it was ok.  This gave us a reliable water source, a nice fire pit, logs for sitting, and even two rather nice outhouses.  It was almost too comfy...

Pat's Backcountry Beverages Backpacking Beer Review

Pat's Backcountry Beverages Beer Kit

I'm a little late to the party here since this product was released years ago and can currently only be found at a few retailers.  In fact it had been on my radar as a curiosity that I wanted to try out for years but I never pulled the trigger until I realized it had been pulled from the market.

As of early 2018 the website ( seems to have gone offline and you can only find the product in stock in a few online stores.  What appears to have happened is they shut down Pat's and reformed as Sustainable Beverage Technologies focusing on using the same technique to sell soda like beer dispensers to resteraunts.

According to someone I corresponded with on their end they currently do not offer the backcountry kit and while they may do so again at some point in the future they currently have no plans.  So if you're interested in experiencing this particular backcountry oddity best do it soon!

Overlook Mountain & Tower Rock Golden Trout Wilderness Solo Sojourn

June 2nd to 4th, 2018
Overlook Mountain (10,220')
Tower Rock (8,520')
Day 1: 13.8 miles, 1,000'
Day 2: 14.9 miles, 3,200'
Day 3: 18.4 miles, 3,700'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

I came out of last weekend's three day Memorial Day Massacre trip sore but feeling surprisingly strong compared to previous years.  That left me ready for another significant trip and as it turned out this weekend was one of those rare ones that I didn't have a solid commitment for.

After debating options I decided to do a solo backpack out in the Golden Trout Wilderness.  It's rare for me to do trips solo as I'm fortunate to know a ton of people who are always up for adventures of various sorts and I think this was probably my first full solo since my JMT fastpack back in 2013.

I'm a huge fan of the Golden Trout Wilderness since it's relatively lightly traveled, it's low enough to allow campfires, and there are some really spectacular camping options along the various streams and rivers.  And the meadows out there are just spectacular!  After looking at different options I eventually settled on going out of Cottonwood Pass and aiming for some remote named peaks called Overlook and Tower that I'd had my eyes on for quite some time.