Weminuche 2021 – Day 5 Over Columbine

December 22, 2021 § Leave a comment

It rained most of the night, but when I awoke it had abated long enough for us to break camp and grab some breakfast. Though the rain had abated it wasn’t done for the day, and we’d be lucky to see the sun at all on this day. We didn’t really have all that far to go with the pass at maybe 2-2.5 and then another 1.5 down the other side. Remember from an earlier post that we were advised to take a site in the upper Chicago Basin where few, if any, of the Needleton access 14er-seekers will bother to hike up to. With a sense of urgency we broke camp while our water heated, and with no sun to dry anything, packed all our wet gear as it was. Sure it would be heavier, but we didn’t have to go far. With the main gear packed we took in our morning breakfasts and coffee drinks; we took care of our morning business and then we were off for Columbine Pass.

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A Return To Michaux

December 15, 2021 § Leave a comment

The plans for a late Fall adventure began to take shape during the 3 day Indigenous Peoples Day weekend in October when I accepted an invitation (I invited myself) to spend some time with my longtime friends Larry and Melanie Butler at their cabin in the woods behind Woodward, Pa. As it so happened, this was also the weekend of Pennsylvania’s tremendously successful gravel bike ride UnPaved, which Larry and I planned to “Bandit Ride” a shorter segment. I brought all my Pennsylvania Lizard maps with me so we could take some time to glance at “possibilities”.

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Weminuche 2021- Day 4 Up, Up and Away

December 11, 2021 § Leave a comment

If you recall, we broke two long days into three shorter days, and today was the second of those days, and this day would be nothing but regaining most, if not all of the elevation we lost yesterday. Distance-wise it was a little shorter, but terrain-wise we would hit some big gains in two sets of switchbacks, where I believe each set was 20-30 turns. The feeling was that we would find something between the second and third set where we could pitch our tents, but until we got there, we wouldn’t know. We hadn’t seen anyone we could ask.

The morning was another fine morning where the mountains to our East shielded us from direct sunlight until long after we hit the trail. Our fourth morning, and everything is very routine by now. Before I even leave my shelter, I have dressed, re-stuffed my sleeping bag, deflated the air mattress and returned it to its carry sack, deflated my pillow, and broken down and rolled up my tarp. Then it is time for hot water and a little relaxation while I watch everyone else do their thing. Of course Kevin is already up, as is Jim, and by the time I sit down, everyone is up and moving.

The Morning Sun is High Above Us
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Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 3 Easy Peasy

December 9, 2021 § Leave a comment

We met a lot of people on this adventure. Way more than in past adventures excepting Banff. The least number we ever saw was in the High Uintas where we met a Ranger, and then a guide with two charges, all on horseback. After that, nothing. This day would not be a high volume people day, but the two characters we did meet (Father/Son) were a real eye opener.

Our second morning was a little different than our first. For one, we weren’t in a hurry to get over two passes as all we had on the agenda for the day was mostly all downhill, or perhaps it is better to say our net elevation gain today would be a loss. About 1000 feet (304.8 meters) loss. No need to hurry for that. We would probably be done by 1 or 2 and then have the rest of the afternoon to relax, and maybe even cleanup a little in Vallecito river/creek. Another difference was our tree cover was greater, so the view of the surrounding mountains was obscured. That wouldn’t last long once we started to hike, but until that began, we were in the shade of mountains we couldn’t really see, and it was a cool night. I had my usual 3 times up for personal business, and my usual sleep issues, but that doesn’t keep me in bed.

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Weminuche Wilderness 2021 – Day 2 A Two Pass Day

December 7, 2021 § Leave a comment

It’s been awhile since I last climbed the Continental Divide under my own power. I crossed it as a bus passenger in June, but that doesn’t count in my book. We were in the Pacific drainage when we both started and ended this day, but we hiked in the Atlantic drainage for a short while, which meant that we had two passes ahead of us. I can’t find a name for the first pass, and maybe there is a definition of “Pass” that I am unaware of that this first “Pass” doesn’t meet, but I feel like if I cross from one side to the other, say from one valley to another, that is a pass. The second for our day would be Hunchback Pass. A real name.

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Mid Fall Long Weekend New Jersey AT Hike

November 30, 2021 § 3 Comments

I was preparing a Purple Carrot dinner when the first group text came in.

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The Weminuchi Wilderness – 2021

June 27, 2021 § 4 Comments

Before we even finished The Eagle Cap Wilderness, we had our next destination decided. It started with a discussion around one of our camp fires where Larry (and maybe Drew) brought up the subject of “Where next?” Now, they came prepared to propose the Weminuchi, but they pretended to let me think I was in control of future destinations. Like I am some kind of adventure tyrant who says “This is our plan, take it or leave it”. In fairness, that is how the 2012 Grand Canyon played out. I chose the route, the dates, and simply said “Be there or be square!”, and they all complied. On a return from Phoenix, my favorite brother-in-law, Walt, gave me a copy of Backpacker magazine which had a lengthy article on The Highline Trail that crossed the expanse of the High Uintas, and I was immediately taken with it, and that is where I picked, and that is where we went in 2014. Banff was next, as Mike B asked me if we could target that and bring him back to the mountains he visited many cycles of the sun earlier in his life. There might have been a woman involved, but I investigated, and picked a route, and that is what we did. Scott attended that trip which his partner home pregnant and a baby girl in their future, and while we were on that trip he mentioned the Wallowas, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and that is how 2018 came about. The idea of Oregon allowed our Oregonians (Scott, Mike S, and possibly Dan) to attend, however circumstances always get in the way, and Scott was unable to join us except on our last night in Oregon after the trip before we all flew out. Dan and Mike S camped with us before we went into the back country.

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On a Roll

April 3, 2021 § Leave a comment

Having purchased my own snowshoes from REI, I was ready for a more challenging adventure. I had already been to High Point 3 times, the first written about here, and then two more follow up trips, the weekend prior where I introduced the activity to Robert Risberg and his family. Robert had actually mentioned that he and his family were taking some time up outside of New Paltz, NY and asked whether I would be interested in a snowshoe hike in the Catskills. I was very interested, however when I checked in with him, he no longer had the time in his schedule, so I looked to Mike to see if he wanted to give the Catskills a go. Now keep in mind, getting to High Point takes about 90 minutes, maybe less when there is no traffic, however getting to the Catskills is 3 hours, so if plans aren’t made to spend the night up there, and they weren’t, then that is 3 hours up, hike all day, and then a 3 hour drive home. Six hours driving in one day is lot for anyone. Add the efforts of a snowshoe hike, and chances are high, I would get a good nights sleep when it was all over.

Micro Spikes are terrific
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Snowshoeing Again

April 2, 2021 § 1 Comment

An unusual thing happened this winter. It snowed! It didn’t just snow, but it snowed a lot. I live at the Jersey Shore, where I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t snow, because it does, but the Jersey Shore just isn’t a place where it snows a lot. At least not consistently. Occasionally there are storms that come, and dump, and the conditions are right, and a lot gets dumped, but those conditions are rare. This year, the snow gods aligned their energies, and the conditions were right. That isn’t necessarily enough though, because sometimes, when it snows a lot at the Jersey Shore, it doesn’t snow a lot where it’s better to have a lot of snow. Like in the mountains. That wasn’t the case this year. While the Jersey Shore got 10 inches of snow, High Point NJ got almost two feet! With two feet of snow, there are a lot of options on the winter sports table.

The day after the storm ended, and the roads were clear enough, I drove over to my local hiking park, Hartshorne Woods, and donned my micro spikes, and set off into the normal loop I do with Mike and Jed. The going wasn’t too bad. There was about 8 inches of snow, and only a few people had been on the trail, however that included one brave soul who took in Laurel Ridge on cross country skis. A cross country skier, I am not, but Laurel Ridge seems like a pretty challenging route on skis, but this skier was perhaps a very experienced one, and able to make a go of it, as the tracks looked to be fairly stable, and I didn’t see anything that looked like the person had suffered for their choice of route. There were no broken trees, or bloodied bushes, so control seemed to have been maintained.

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The Persian Prince and The Bird

October 29, 2020 § Leave a comment

Ali used his normal a.k.a. as his trail name, The Persian Prince, and I saw no need for yet another alias in my life, so I simply used my cycling nickname, Big Bird, or just Bird. It’s the culture of thru hiking to have an alias. One it gives you a little bit of anonymity, but in another it actually better identifies you. You tell your family you are going to “off the grid” (though that really isn’t the truth anymore), for a long period of time. You tell them where you are going in, where you expect to come out, and more importantly when you expect to come out, and if you are diligent, you sign all the registers along the way, so that should you not come out when you are expected to, then authorities can scan those registers and try and find the last place you checked in.

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