One of the more obscure and strange hiking destinations in San Diego is located on the Eastern border of the county, and sits right on the border of the Anza-Borrego State Park and the Cleveland National Forest. In addition to being one of the strangest hiking destinations, the spot has some of the best views in the county as it is located on the edge of the Laguna Mountains.
One of the best places to see waterfalls in the United States is relatively unknown, and a little off the beaten track. However, if you are willing to explore a bit, and have the flexibility to spend at least a day adventuring about without a set schedule, you will be amazed by what you will see; and by what you can discover. The location is the North Umpqua River, located in South-central Oregon.
That title should actually read: “Current Conditions May 2013, Vivian Creek Trailhead to San Gorgonio Summit to Jepson Peak”, but that’s way too long. Long time readers of this blog know that there are three mountains I climb on a yearly basis – Mt. Whitney, San Gorgonio, and San Jacinto. The reason I climb these mountains yearly? Well, number one, I don’t need a reason, and number two, if I needed a reason, my reason is that I like mountaineering. But, if I’m being serious, the truth of the matter is that they are the three largest peaks closest to me, and I like to get out on the “larger” mountains. While climbing these mountains never gets old for me no matter how many times I’ve done it, what does get old is writing trip reports with the same or close to the same trip conditions. With respect to Gorgonio, there’s not much I can tell you right now that I haven’t already told you in past years trail reports (See 2012, 2010); and if you feel you really need more information on the mountain, I suggest you read them.
So, you’re looking to climb Mt. Whitney? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve climbed Mt. Whitney a number of times – without snow, with snow, on the mountaineer’s route, on the Mt. Whitney trail, under sunny skies, and under cloudy skies with thundersnow. I’ve seen bears, lots of marmots, and all sorts of hikers, mountaineers, and climbers. While I’m not going to say that I’ve seen it all, I’ve seen a lot, and I’ve written a lot, so this is a great time to recap all of the resources that are present on this site (and off this site). So, without any further ado, if you want to know how to climb Mt. Whitney, here’s what you need to know!
Directions: The trail to White Mountain is located at the end of the aptly named White Mountain Road. I talked about directions to the Schulman Grove last week here, and these directions would get you to the trailhead of White Mountain, as all you have to do is follow White Mountain Road to the end. As I said last week, White Mountain Road from the Schulman Grove on is unpaved, and is sometimes in poor condition due to either snow or ice. While it is not a far distance from the Schulman Grove to the trailhead, chances are that the road conditions will prevent you from arriving there quickly. I would allow forty-five minutes to an hour of driving from the Schulman Grove to the Barcroft Station. Even though this section of the road is short, don’t feel like you’re in a rush – this is an interesting drive, and one with many beautiful things to look at as you head down the road.
In Southwestern Nevada, there’s a place where some of the purest, clearest, cleanest and most pristine water bubbles to the surface. Shocked? You shouldn’t be. As I’ve discussed before, large swathes of Eastern California used to be glacial lakes, such as where present day Trona and the Trona Pinnacles are located. There’s also an oasis in the former town of Zzyzx, and groundwater at Salt Creek in Death Valley and Badwater. Even cooler, Death Valley has salt pools that randomly appear and disappear across the Valley floor proper in random locations (one of the more accessible pools is currently located by the Devil’s Golf Course, but it is closing – slowly!). When you look at it like this, through the lens of time, geologic change, as well as the interconnected nature of the environment, crystal clear desert oases really aren’t that surprising.
So, you want to climb Mount Shasta? Be warned, like anything else in life, it is a task fraught with perils, challenges, and heartbreak. But, like anything else in life, should you have the mental fortitude to address each of these tribulations, you will be rewarded with an enormous sense of accomplishment and the glory of a fine view. Whether Mount Shasta is the first major mountain you are attempting to summit, or the thousandth peak you have bagged, in my opinion, your best chance of reaching the summit is the tried-and-true Avalanche Gulch route. Full disclosure: the Avalanche Gulch route is the most popular route on the mountain, bar none. But let’s pause for a second here: there’s popular routes like the Mt. Whitney Trail, which have a packed lottery system and actual hordes of people on the trail; and there’s popular routes, which just mean that it’s the best and quickest route to the summit.