Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Guerneville camping

Camped up in Guerneville in a campground that was pretty much in town.  As a campground it was cool that it was close to town, but there wasn't much privacy.  I'm glad I brought earplugs or the screaming children would have woken me up every morning.

We did a hike at Armstrong Redwoods, which is supposed to be almost as majestic as Muir Woods.  I enjoyed the hike, but I feel like Big Basin is really the place to go for Redwoods in the Bay Area.

We did a lot of fancy eating.  We only brought smores and ate out in winecountry for every meal.

Big Sur Camping

I drove down to meet the crew on Friday afternoon, we did a big hike up Manuel Peak.  And generally just camped and had a blast.

Camp dog!

McWay Falls

I used the binoculars to get a good view of a sea otter floating on it's back over here.  Also spent some time climbing on rocks.

Mountain biking

I got a little behind on some of these posts.  I've been doing some mountain biking lately.  China Camp to warm back up.  Skeggs because it's awesome.  And I rode UCSC for the first time recently.  UCSC was good fun.

Sunset above the fogline after riding Skeggs.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Monte Bello Hike

I did an 8 mile loop at Monte Bello today to catch some wildflowers.  I recently bought a pair of binoculars, so I took those along with me.  I was able to use the binoculars (and a birding app) to identify a Stellar Jay, a Spotted Towhee, and an Acorn Woodpecker.  Plus I watched some Turkey Vultures soaring for a while.  Overall I'm pretty stoked about the binoculars, definitely a good decision.

Monday, May 14, 2018

San Bruno Mountain Summit Loop

This is a short hike which is very close to SF.  I found it on within a list of the best wildflower hikes.  I knew that the wildflowers in the Bay Area have been blowing up lately, so I figured we would give this one a try.  We were really impressed with this hike.  Huge variety of flowers, lots of them, short distance from SF, and not that well trafficked on a weekend.  One thing to note is that the flowers were mostly in the first half of the loop if going clockwise.  You could do a condensed version of this hike, and still see some really good stuff.

Eileen found this weird fruit growing on the trail. 
It has the size and shape of a lemon, the skin color of a watermelon, and spikes.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Skyline Wilderness Park

I was up in Napa at a work retreat.  After hanging out by the pool for a few hours, I had to get moving.  The concierge at the hotel recommended that I check out this park.  I did a 7 mile loop, and was almost late getting back for dinner.  I would have loved to stay out longer.  There were some really cool trails out there.  I liked the overgrown ones the best.  Lots of great wildflowers.  Hardly any people besides a few mountain bikers.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Big Basin Redwoods Hike

I did the "waterfall loop" yesterday, which ended up being about 13+ miles.  I got a late start, and hurried to beat sunset.  In the end, I had plenty of time, and could have taken it a little easier.

So many Redwoods.  I've never seen so many.

Banana slugs are cool.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mussel Rock Park and Shiloh Ranch wildflower hike

On Saturday, we took a stroll around Mussel Rock Park.  There were a few paragliders out, but the wind wasn't strong enough for any of them to really take off.  We did spot a red tipped blackbird, which was pretty cool.  The flowers were in bloom, and the weather was fantastic.

I found this keyhole that I never knew existed.  Tobin's Tunnel.

View looking back from the keyhole

Afterwards we had some beers in Precita Park.
On Sunday we went for a hike at Shiloh Ranch in Sonoma.  Supposedly the burned areas from the 2017 wildfires were supposed to be an extraordinary wildflower bloom.  We went to one of the trails that we heard about.  We saw a lot of wildflowers, but I wouldn't have called it that extraordinary.  The day before was better.  I brought my real camera, but I never even took it out of my bag.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Last Tahoe trip of the season

Our ski lease goes through the end of the month, but I have other plans.  So it looks like I won't be up again this year.

Kirkwood closed the week before, but they are cool with ski touring this year.  So we skinned up Sentinel bowl, rode that one lap.  Skinned back up again, and came down under chair 6.   Then we skinned over to chair 2, and rode that one time.  It had snowed a few days before, and the snow needed time to consolidate.  Still good weather for touring even if the snow wasn't quite right.

Back at the house, one of the guys invited us to go on his boat the next day.  So instead of re-doing the mediocre conditions, we drove down to the delta and went on a boat ride.  It was too cold to do any water skiing, but always a good time to be on a boat.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Hike in Sunol Regional Wilderness

It rained in Tahoe, so I stayed in the Bay Area this weekend.  Given the recent rains, I thought that today would be a good time to hike in the East Bay hills while they are still green.

We hiked to "Little Yosemite" in the Sunol Regional Wilderness.  I'll admit that I the name was part of the reason that I picked this hike.  And in retrospect, I think the name is a bit of a reach.

We took the fireroad there, and took the singletrack to form a loop.  I would recommend skipping the fireroad, and just doing an out-and-back along the singletrack.

Sweet sweet singletrack

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tahoe Corn

On Saturday, we skied Steven's Peak.  We got a late start, since someone forgot their skins and we had to drive back to the house.  It ended up working in our favor.  There was a strong refreeze overnight, and it was overcast all morning.  We watched a pair ski down from mid-mountain, and it sounded really icey.  When we got to the top, the sun finally came out.  We had lunch while the snow softened up, and had some decent corn.  Then we did another run on a more NE facing line.

A random bee was buzzing me while I took this photo.  I'm not a flower!

I took this picture off Red Lake Peak from the shoulder of Stevens on Saturday, but we actually ended up skiing it the next day.

On Sunday, we skied Red Lake Peak.  We started from the Carson Pass snow park, and ended up at the Steven's Peak parking lot.  We did not take the most direct route.  We got some solid corn off the summit, and then we bootpacked back up to the north face.  The north face had an old avalanche crown. 

More panorama.

This wooden ladder was randomly deposited on the summit of Red Lake Peak.  It looks like it is excellent condition.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Powder chasing in Tahoe

We skied Kirkwood on Friday.  It was real good.  We got in line for chair 6 around 8:30am, and I think it finally opened about 10:30am.  The roads on the way in were in bad shape.  Carson Spur was closed for a few days, and Carson Pass kept closing and opening throughout the day.  Since the resort was hard to get to, it wasn't too crowded.  The picture below shows a big crowd, but that's almost everyone who was skiing that day waiting for the chair to open.  Once it opened, the crowd thinned out.  It was nuking snow all day, and so lines that were tracked were getting refilled.

One annoyance is that while we were waiting in line for "avalanche control" a film crew got to do four untracked laps.  One or two would have been reasonable, but four was excessive.  Ski patrol even said that the film crew was slowing down their operations.

Waiting for chair 6.  I'm with the group near the gap in the line.  We got something like 12th chair.
After the day was over, we checked the status of Carson Pass and it was open.  But when we got there, we ended up waiting in a line of cars for 105 minutes.  Later I learned that one of my coworkers had put his Tesla into a snowbank, and that was one source of the delay.

On Saturday, we went to Powderhouse Peak.  Damn did it live up to it's name.  We did 4 laps from top to bottom for a total of 6.5k vertical feet.  It was exhausting, but the snow was so good.  I didn't take any pictures that day, because it's all glades.

I was exhausted after Powderhouse, but I got a second wind and managed to dig out my car.
On Sunday, we skied some resort + side country.  I'm going to be purposefully vague, since I don't want to blow up anyone's spot.  When we got to the resort a ski patroller noticed our gear, and asked where we were planning on skiing.  We told him what we were considering.  When I asked about wind slabs, he said that they had done a lot of blasting, but hadn't gotten any of the snow to react.  That was excellent news, and confirmed our plan.  First we did a little inbounds hike, and then we left the boundary and did some excellent chutes. 

The main objective was the doglegging chute on looker's left.

View from the bottom
We did a second lap on a different chute.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rodeo Beach Hike

I decided to pass on Tahoe this weekend.  I might go up there mid-week to catch this upcoming storm.  A friend was in town, and Easy E has been travelling so it was good to spend the weekend together.  We did a hike by Rodeo Beach and then burgers at Joinery.  It started off very foggy, but it burned off by the time we were coming back down.

Wildflowers are starting to bloom.

Part of me wonders if it is safe to climb down to this secret beach.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tahoe's first big storm of the year

It's crazy that it took until March to finally get a big snow storm in Tahoe.  I drove up Wednesday night when the roads were still clear.  I worked remotely on Thursday, while the storm was in full swing.

On Friday, we decided to head to Kirkwood.  But Carson Pass was closed.  We waited in a line of cars for over an hour.  Eventually we heard that the pass was going to be closed for at least a few more hours for avalanche control.

Waiting for Carson Pass to open.
After waiting for an hour, we drove to Heavenly.  Of course, we got there late and the primary parking lots were full.  Heavenly was packed, but we got some good turns in.  The coverage was spotty and we hit a lot of rocks.  But still it was worth it.

On Saturday, we skied Kirkwood.  The spur was still closed, but there was a large crowd of powder chasers there.  I got split up from my group after the first run, but I had a good time.  Plenty of good snow in the usual stash spots.  Everything opened except for the backside.

Loading up the car

Lots of people waiting for chair 6 to open.
On Sunday, we skied Echo Peak.  It was great to get away from the crowds, and just have some fun.  We were able to click into our skis on the deck, and skin down the stairs.  The snow was fantastic.

Skin track right to the back deck.