San Jacinto Aug 2014

TR: Little Round Valley and Nearby Peaks, Labor Day 2014

Normally Vicki and I go out backpacking together, now that our kids are grown, but this time she was away for a week visiting relatives. I decided that backpacking beat the heck out of staying home alone, so I enlisted my son and three of his friends, and the five of us set off for the Fuller Ridge Trail, Little Round Valley, and a three day weekend full of peak bagging. Bro’s Only. Sorry, ladies.

The only problem I foresaw was that these four dudes were all 25 years younger than me, and that I might not be able to keep up the pace. That they wanted to climb every rock along the way was merely an added bonus!

Sunset silhouettes in Little Round Valley

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North Cascades August 2014

This year we decided to avoid draught-stricken California when planning our big summer trek. We reasoned that the Sierra had received so little snow the previous winter that the grass would be brown and the streams reduced to trickles by early August. We wanted to go where the flowers would be blooming, so we headed fifteen hundred miles north to the Cascade Mountains in Washington. After some research online, we narrowed it to the Pasayten Wilderness in the Okanogan National Forest, just east of North Cascades National Park. We would be hiking on the final, northernmost section of the Pacific Crest Trail. This felt right to us, as we’d been hiking so many sections of the PCT these last two years. It was like visiting an old friend in his new home.

PCT sign where it meets Harts Pass road near the Brown Bear Mine

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