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From time-to-time I enjoy looking at some of my older photos to remember bygone adventures. It’s from one of these periods of reflection that today’s blog germinated.
When I lived in Southern California, I enjoyed spending time each summer exploring the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains — John Muir’s Range of Light. While much of California is hot as an oven in the summer, these mountains offer a pleasant climate and excellent backpacking opportunities. In the summer there’s enough water in the lakes that you don’t need to carry more than a day’s worth — very different and much easier than what’s required when backpacking in the Mojave desert. The weather is warm in the day, cool at night, and almost without …
Ostrander Lake is a popular destination in Yosemite National Park, both in the summer and winter. The lake is situated south of Yosemite Valley and lies about 8500 feet (2600 m) above sea level, just below the treeline. Bridalveil Creek flows from this lake, eventuating in lovely Bridalveil Falls that you readily see from Yosemite Valley’s famous lookout. It’s just over a six mile (about 9 km) trail to the lake from the Glacier Park road, easy at first, the last half quite steep. In the summer the trail is used by both backpackers and day-hikers. The hut at the lake is much in demand during winter with people who cross-country ski and snow-shoe, but is closed during the …
There are few things that liven up a hiking day more than stumbling on a shipwreck. At least that’s my life’s experience (based on this one wreck)!
One of my most interesting backcountry backpacking experiences was hiking the East Beach Trail in Haida-Gwaii’s Naikoon Provincial Park. Haida-Gwaii are a string of over 100 island’s off B.C.’s central coast that formerly were called the Queen Charlotte Islands, a day’s ferry ride from Prince Rupert. Naikoon Provincial Park is a large, fairly flat park on the east shore of Graham Island. The East Beach Trail was a long flat beach walk, almost 90 kilometers over 5 days (with full packs) during which our group encountered only 5 other hikers. There were parts of the trail that were very easy to …
We had spent the past week slowly working our way up the slopes of Kilimanjaro via the Shira route, an experience I’ve previously described in blog posts here and here. Finally, after a chilly night’s camping beside the Furtwangler Glacier on the Summit Plateau, the Roof of Africa was only a few hours away.
We were up before dawn, enjoyed hot tea and a light breakfast and were eager to tackle the 800′ climb separating our camp from Uhuru Peak (19,340′). It was slow going in the thin air and steep slope but what an experience to watch the early light of sunrise on the eastern horizon! The sky above us was mostly …
We had ascended the western base of the volcano this past half week, had hiked through jungle and moorland, as I’ve described in a prior blog post here, and were now entering Kilimanjaro’s alpine desert zone, characterized by wide open spaces with sparse, small plants. We began feeling the altitude as our pulse and breathing grew more rapid in the thin air. The views were unobstructed and wonderful — it seemed like you could see all of Africa from here. But in reality we enjoyed the African plains, the Shira plateau to the west and the iced peak of Kilimanjaro to the northeast. Often the clouds would roll by thousands of feet below our camp (Like …
Mt. Kilimanjaro has fascinated me ever since I read Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro“. Little did I know as a schoolboy that I would one day walk its slopes. As it turned out my journey to the Roof of Africa was one of my greatest travel experiences.
Some facts about the mountain: At 19340 feet (5895 m) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. Even though the mountain is near the equator, it’s so tall the summit is always covered by ice and snow (“Kili” means cold.); this snow-pack is an important source of water for the foliage and animals living around its base. The lower slopes …