Friday, April 25, 2014

Eagle Lakes trailhead to Fordyce Creek, Tahoe Nat'l Forest. Overnight.

April 23-24

First backpacking trip of the year!

Organized through a local Meetup group, our group of six met at the Eagle Lakes trailhead at 9:30 on Wednesday morning. It was good to see my friend Laura, the trip organizer, again.

I had hiked this very trail with her 5 years ago and this go-around was a lot easier, with a lighter load on my back and on my body. Two couples, one retired, and one not, were the other four merry hikers, with a charming Airedale terrier thrown in for cuteness.

It was 40 degrees at the trailhead. It did not freeze at night, as far as I could tell.

The first section of our hike is on (legal) off road vehicle trails. On a weekday, it was very quiet, but we did see a handful of 4WD heading for Driveline Hill. One of the drivers was happy to explain what they were doing. The black truck in the background made it up with only one or two false moves.

Then we crossed a beaver dam and left the drivers to their fun, crossing Fordyce Creek on a bridge just before arriving at our campsite. I think our hike was about 4 miles.

We had a lovely campsite among pines very near a wide gravel beach on Fordyce Creek. Campfire, marshmallows, tall tales. The usual.

The next morning felt warmer than the night before. We hiked out after breakfast. I was home by 2pm. So it was a well-spent 30 and 1/2 hours (including driving time).

Random gear photos

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hidden Valley Cutoff, Cronan Ranch Regional Park, Pilot Hill, California

Went out with two others of the Four Yoginis to hike Cronan Ranch this morning. (The fourth is an honorary Yogini since she came along last year on another yoga-class-organized hike).

It was nice and cool when we set out, but rather warm galloping up the hills back to the trailhead. Galloping, at least, compared to my usual dawdling pace.

We took the ranch road as far as the kiosk, then turned left onto the Up and Down trail, then staying to the right twice to catch Hidden Valley Cutoff. Eventually, we hooked up again with U&D, to get down to the river proper.

4.1 miles per my Strava app, and a moving pace of a 20 minute mile average - just right!


Lots of flowers today, only one of which I managed to capture: one of the famous Yellow Flowers.

Great views of the green hillsides, some grayed over with invasive thistle plants.

One annoying landscape blight in the distance (taken with my little Canon point and shoot at max zoom) but we soon hiked to where we didn't notice it so much.

Some wildlife signs (turkey, here).

And some more pretty pictures to finish it off.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

West Ridge again, with a pack!

I boogied over to Cronan Ranch Regional Trails park just before dawn, to beat the heat, give the doggo a little trail time, and to see how my homemade backpack carried. It carried well!

I made a version of the G4 pack, shortening the body and removing the bulge on the bottom half of the pack. It is about 38 litres capacity, not including the top collar and the three outside pockets. It holds my stuff nicely, with room for more than one day's food if I so desire.

My baseweight (the pack and contents minus consumables like food, water, and fuel) is a lovely and light 13 pounds. That's half what I used to carry 10 years ago. This will keep me comfortable, warm, and dry down to about 30 degrees F at night. I'm so excited!

I promise I'll get out somewhere other than West Ridge Trail real soon now.