Overnight to Mt San Jacinto via Deer Spring

Mt San JacintoOne of the most important lessons you can learn anytime you head out into the Wilderness is when to cut the trip short and head back to civilization. All outdoorsmen will have to learn this one way or the other at some point in their lives. We learned this lesson ourselves this past weekend on our planned overnight trip to Round Valley Campground on Mt San Jacinto.

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Mount San Antonio via Devil’s Backbone

Mt San Antonio Hike

Mount San Antonio, also known as Mount Baldy, is something of a rite of passage for most hikers in Southern California. At just over 10,000 ft, it’s the highest point in Los Angeles county, and at about an hour from home, makes for a good prep hike for the JMT, not only in terms of elevation gain but also absolute elevation – testing our ability to deal with the thinner air.

We’d also be testing out our new packs, which we partially loaded up to get a feel for. My pack is the Granite Gear Crown VC 60 – at just over 2 lbs, one of the lightest packs at this capacity available. My son has REI’s Flash 45 – in a size large, it’s at 50L and one ounce heavier than my pack. We didn’t weigh out before leaving, but I estimate my pack at around 15 lbs and his at around 10 lbs.

We pulled up to the parking area near Manker Flat around 7:30, put our adventure pass (required!) up, and got started.

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Mt Wilson Loop via Chantry Flat


We set out from our house in East Hollywood at around 7:30 AM on a Sunday, heading out to Altadena and the Chantry Flat trailhead. This was about an hour later than we planned, so I knew parking would be tough.

When we arrived, I was vindicated – no parking in the free* lot. So, we parked in the private lot owned by the Adams Pack Station for the low, low fee of $10.00. We unloaded our day packs, double-checked their contents, and set off.

* The lot is free, but you’ll need a $5 adventure pass to leave your car there.

The information we had stated this hike would take 6.5 hours, and I figured that since we were in decent shape this would be correct. We were wrong – this hike is tougher than you think! Continue reading

Hiking the John Muir Trail (JMT)

My employer graciously offers us one month paid time off in addition to our normal vacation time every three years of employment. Many people use this time off to travel somewhere they’ve never been, and some have used it to work on side projects unencumbered by their responsibilities at work.

I’m using mine to hike the John Muir Trail with my 14-year-old son.

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