Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tahoe, Jan 19-21

Saturday was a fun day at Squaw, even though there was a lack of new snow.

On Sunday, Dylan and I skinned up 1600 vertical feet to the shoulder of Mt Rose Junior.  We dropped the cornice (Dylan doing so with quite a bit of air), and we were back at the cabin by noon.

We hung out for the rest of Sunday.  This was the view from the cabin!

Cori and I skied on Monday, and got some dinner with friends in South Lake afterward.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sykes Hot Springs, Jan 12-13

The hike to Sykes follows the Pine Ridge Trail, which is a roller coaster of elevation gain, loss, wooded forests, and exposed views of mountains and ocean.  I separated from the main group early, and hiked much of the initial 10 miles alone.  We had divided up the supplies, but when I wanted a snack, I realized I only had green peppers, onions, and an orange.  Damn that orange tasted good, but when I caught up with Sara and Ryan, I could not have been happier to eat some Kettle Chips.
I was surprised by the rocky peaks in Big Sur.  In this case, the distant mountain looked strikingly like a miniature version of something you would find in the Sierras.

We arrived at the campground in the waning daylight with enough time to setup camp, but cooking happened in the dark.  Four people slept in a massive six person castle, another under their ultralight backpacking tarp, and Cori and I setup my two person tent along the river.  After some relaxation and food, a bunch of us headed to the hot springs where we were greeted by two extremely drunk guys in their early twenties.  One of them, Nemo was lamenting that someone had strewn his clothes around and he didn't have a headlamp.  Someone in our group lent theirs for him to get back to his camp, which we later realized meant it was probably not coming back.  Regardless, we got in the 100 degree water, and relished in the quiet solitude perched high above the river on a steep hill watching stars through the leaves of giant redwood trees.  It was idyllic, and we didn't know how long we spent there, and the only distraction was when Seabass (who we thought was Nemo, but was actually a very drunk friend of his) came to give the headlamp back.  After relinquishing it, it was clear he had no idea how to drunkenly stumble back to his camp in the dark, but luckily a passerby helped him out.  We stayed in a bit longer, then went back to camp where everyone was asleep.

The Big Sur River is nestled among the trees and has a beautiful emerald green tint to the water.

As beautiful as the water was, it was painfully cold to cross.  Jen was on her first backpacking trip, and got the chance to sample a frigid stream crossing when we found the steep log crossing we had done on the approach too dangerous in the opposite direction.

The trail often curves around a bend, revealing beautiful landscapes, often including the distant Pacific Ocean.  These views became even more striking as the sun got lower in the sky on our hike back.  We ate dinner at Nepenthe, which offered decent but expensive food, along with an insultingly post-hike climb up stairs to the restaurant.  In all I was expecting an easy 1000 foot elevation gain jaunt through the woods, but it was closer to a knee-burning 5000.  I'd love to get back there and try some of the other hot springs, and leave more time to hang out and relax.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Road Trip Rule Out in the Wild!

My picture from my packrafting trip to Thousand Island Lake make it on the cover of the 2013 Alpacka Raft Calendar!! 

Unfortunately, my name was spelled incorrectly as Devon Penne instead of Devon Penney.  While I'd like to think my name has a likeness to a particular variety of pasta, it is closer to a a non edible, low value piece of American currency.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Squaw, Jan 4

I did a solo day trip to Squaw to get some turns in.  I had forgotten how much more difficult skiing on the west coast was since I had just spent three days in VT.  By the end, I was feeling comfortable on the steep snow, but it took some time!
I hiked up to the left of Granite Chief to get some fresh turns in.  Since there had been no freeze/thaw cycle, the snow was quite good!

Big avalanche off Granite Chief!  I see tracks down the middle...what happened there?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Killington, Dec 30-31

This was cold cold COLD skiing up in VT!  My toes hurt more than they ever have.  We stayed in a cheap hostel that smelled of body odor and icy hot.  Nasty.  Luckily, we got quite a bit of nice snow, and some deep untracked powder in the trees.
Playing tree limbo