Do you ever feel like disappearing into the mountains for a few days as a way of leaving your troubles behind? Yeah, I do, too. A few days of breathing clean – but thin – mountain air and taking in sub-alpine vistas can really cleanse one’s soul, and even though the journey doesn’t truly offer a permanent escape from whatever ails you, the trip can at least help put life’s crises into manageable perspective.
I lived in California for 12 years, and “escaped” into the mountains whenever possible. The 65-mile Backbone Trail, which I have section-hiked countless times, was no more than an hour’s drive from my apartment. That being said, there isn’t a single hiking experience in California that is on par with hiking in the High Sierra. Yosemite National Park, Inyo National Forest, Sequoia/Kings Canyon…these are special places.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – September 2018”
Are you a desert rat? I don’t ask that question to be rude; it’s a sort of compliment, actually. Desert rats – the two-legged, humanoid variety, anyway – are my kind of people. These are people who prefer sunshine over rain, and dry heat over humidity.
If you consider yourself a desert rat, you might find yourself at home in the western United States, where places like Monument Valley, Joshua Tree National Park, White Sands National Monument, and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve punctuate the parched landscape, making the desert more than just a vast expanse of sand.
Continue reading “Photo Locale of the Month – April 2018”
Once upon a time, I lived in Southern California and took advantage of the state’s mild climate by vowing to hike as many miles as I could and summit as many non-technical peaks as possible. My ultimate goal: the 14,505-foot (4,421-meter) summit of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the 48 contiguous United States.
Although there are several approaches to Whitney’s rocky summit, the most well-trod route is via the simply-named Mount Whitney Trail. Hundreds of hikers tackle the route each summer day, making the Whitney permit business a lucrative one.
It was more years ago this very month than I’d like to admit when I made the climb. How long ago? Put it this way: the pictures I took that accompany this article were on a non-digital camera! (This fact is no doubt reflected in their poor quality.)
But I did it! In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll share my story and give you the latest information on the permit process. If the hike itself interests you, think about some training hikes that you’d like to pursue to get ready; it’s never too soon to start preparing for a Whitney hike or climb.
Continue reading “Reaching for the Sky: Climbing Mount Whitney”
I have been living in Gringolandia for a month now, and the Mexico City chapter of my life is over. This reality only fully set in a few days ago, and I’m filled with mixed emotions. Alas, it is what it is.
My return to the U.S. began in Los Angeles, where I spent a few days running errands – monetary and such – and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in almost two years. I even made it to the beach! From LA, I cleaned out my storage space, loaded everything onto a U-Haul, and drove cross-country to my new home in eastern Tennessee.
The journey went without incident, but it had some logistical challenges and cost more than I expected. As such, I thought you’d appreciate a brief write-up, Loyal Reader. Hopefully it’ll provide some insight should you ever have to make a similar move yourself.
Continue reading “My (Not Quite) Coast-to-Coast Trip Report”