Sedona – A family trip in the outdoors

Descending Chicken Point

Several times a year, I am tasked with one of my favorite things: planning a family trip. This time, I didn’t have to come up with the destination. I asked my wife and daughter where they wanted to go and they quickly came up with Sedona. We hadn’t been to Sedona since the fires of […]

Laguna Meadow – A late winter family outing

Enjoying a view of Big Laguna

  Back in February, it was a gorgeous winter day. There was a chill in the air, but spring was on its way. I carved a day out on the calendar away from Burger Bench. I wanted to take my family on a gentle hike so we could enjoy our time together without gasping our […]

Felicita Creek – Being present in the outdoors

Bernardo Mountain from the bridge

The other day, my daughter and I were walking our dog in the canyon near our home, like we do several times a day. It was hot, so we wanted to get our dog back inside as soon as possible. However, my daughter wanted to get some water, go back outside, and play in the […]

Tunemah Trail Backpacking Trip – A 1987 mystery unfolds

Last day - atop Crown Pass

Warning: Long Blog Post In 1987, I went on a backpacking trip to the Tunemah Trail near the LeConte and White Divides, in the Sierra Nevada. Using photos, maps, and cryptic captions, I performed research in 2015 and slowly found out where we really went. This will probably be the longest blog post I’ll ever […]

Canadian Rockies – A gorgeous change of plans

Peyto Lake and the Misaya River Valley

Sometimes you don’t get the trip that you planned, but you get one that you need. Our trip to the Canadian Rockies started out a little rocky. Our plan was this: The PD and I would fly to Calgary, drive out to Kootenay National Park and leave our rental car at the Floe Lake Trailhead, […]

Sequoia National Park – Where my love of the outdoors began

My first trip to Sequoia National Park - Age 6 in 1978 at Squatters Cabin

Sequoia National Park. The first time I visited was when I was six. From my parents’ recollection, my memory, and faded photos, it was the quiet alternative to the more popular and iconic Yosemite National Park. Is it where I earned my first patch from picking up trash along the trail, ate my first s’mores, and saw […]

Not Every Adventure Needs to be Epic

Sunshine Mountain from the trailhead

On TV, YouTube, and social media, we constantly see images of people trekking over hundreds of miles, scaling ice walls, sailing across oceans, living out of their vans, and traversing crevasse-ridden glaciers. Then there’s the rest of us. Leading normal lives, yearning to taste even a little bit of what these sponsored athletes are doing. […]

Peak 3339 – Peak 71 – A rocky peak at the edge of the desert

View to the east from Peak 3339

Peak 3339 Elevation: 3,339′ Miles: 6.6 Trailhead Agency: McCain Valley National Wildlife Area (BLM) When scanning the list of remaining peaks I have on the San Diego 100 Peaks list, I realized there was one that wasn’t either a 2-hour drive or had double-digit mileage. As you see, I appeared to have saved the best and most […]

Big Black Mountain – SD Peak #70 – My first section hike

The summit of Big Black Mountain comes into view

Big Black Mountain Elevation: 4,051′ Miles: 14.2 Trail head Agency: Cleveland National Forest Section hiking: hiking a trail one section at a time, without continuity and not necessarily in sequence with the other sections. While section hiking usually refers to a method of completing longer trails, like the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail, this time I was […]

Lanilili – A fun and muddy hike to a peak on Maui

The view north from Lanilili

While scanning the map of Maui, I was struggling to see where I could hike to a peak. There’s Haleakala, which is a drive-up peak, and there’s Pu’u Kukui, where you have to know someone in order to get access. I wanted it to be reasonable hike, as I was on vacation, so I found […]