I ended up having a very busy late summer, so I didn’t get into the outdoors as often as I would’ve liked to. This wasn’t helped by having my backpack and gear stolen, either, but I did get several trips in that I really enjoyed this year, and I’m hunkering down and saving money for a really exciting, longer trip next year. Here’s a list, in a rough order of time, what trips I did starting in May and continuing into mid-September.
This was one of those trips. I intended to do a 3 day trip through the San Gorgonio wilderness, and this is what happened:
The middle of May when wildfires were burning up other parts of SoCal.
I didn’t want to hang around too long in a thunder-snow-hail storm above 9000 feet, so I didn’t. The weather was supposed to be partially cloudy in the morning with a 30% chance of rain, so this was very unexpected weather! It was snowing down to 7500 feet, so I bailed on this trip.
This is the corollary to ‘failed San Gorgonio trip’, and it turned out to be two of my favorite days in the outdoors all year. I yo-yoed the California trail in Joshua Tree, and it was a solid decision because the cold front that came through the mountains lowered the temps in the Mojave as well. I’m aware the California trail isn’t the most exciting or challenging trail in the world, but it was a relaxing walk across the desert, and I had it to myself 95% of the hike. After the mountains, I thoroughly enjoyed being dry! I also enjoyed the wildlife I saw, too, although they moved quickly, and I didn’t get any good pictures of the lizards, snakes, and rabbits. Bonus: there were still some flowering cacti. These are some of my favorite photos, too, because the light mid-morning was so perfect.
New Hampshire: Presidentials
The next several are out of order, but I’m posting the Presies first, even though I did them a bit later in the summer. New Hampshire is easily the nicest place to hike and climb out East, even though I didn’t have the energy or time to do the drive more this year. I tend to take less pictures when I do more scrambling and harder hikes.
Adirondacks: Great Range
There’s a reason this hike is infamous, but it did bump me over the two dozen mark for the ADK 46er list. This was a hard hike, but it was the perfect early summer day for it, although I ended this thing looking like I’d done Tough Mudder.
Maine: Grafton Loop
Bailed on an original New Hampshire plan to hike this loop and bag Old Speck. It’s a bit more weedy than most people would like, I think, but I did enjoy having the blue blazed trail mostly to myself. This, however, was a hike where I got a rude note left on my car, so that makes me think less fondly of it.
I went into this trip with negative planning, especially for me, but that’s kind of what I needed that weekend. I went to the sea shore at 6am, went for a slow, small starter hike, and then proceeded to do a hike/trail run around the major ‘mountains’ in Acadia. The best thing about the hiking there is that the tree line starts at ~600 feet, and there are some wonderful slab ridge lines with endless views of the coast and inland Maine. It’s quite nice, but also a bit crowded, which is why I trail ran–to get away from some of the slower walkers and more crowded areas.
I ended up with an UTI during the last day of this trip, but there’s a reason this trail is super famous. It’s a well-maintained hiking trail with spectacular views. The best part was that we saw an entire herd of mountain goats, including 6 babies. Lovely trip overall. This is also the last trip my overnight pack went on, RIP Mariposa 2012-2014.
I did this last one for a work conference, and my gear was stolen shortly after this trip, so this is the last one I’m posting. The area was lovely, but it was overcast for most of the time I was there. I’d love to go back and ski there, too.
My final notes on these trips is that I did most of them solo, which was something I didn’t anticipate doing this year. I found I really liked the solitude and control I had while hiking solo, although there is a certain motivation and comfort that I get hiking with other people, but being able to go out and do my own thing ended up being the major theme of this hiking season for me. The bonus of doing some of these trips is what I was able to work into running half-marathons and several days of 8-12 miles of running on a weekly basis, which gave me the best aerobic performance I’ve had in years.