We completed a four day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. We explored the Ansel Adams Wilderness area, which included hiking along the John Muir Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. After the four day trip we were fortunate to get some last minute permits to climb Mount Whitney. Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the continental United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) so we were happy with our achievement.
It’s been a while since we’ve been on a hike. Having recently moved to San Diego, we decided to research hikes available locally. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is East of San Diego and has camping and a number of different hikes. We decided to hike up Cuyamaca Peak, which has an elevation of 6,512 feet. The starting point is located in the Pasco Picacho campground. In total we hiked almost 6 miles and the beginning was a steady uphill climb. We enjoyed the views which included the desert and Lake Cuyamaca, all of which was well worth the climb. We are planning on returning at a later date to go camping and to check out the other trails. After the hike we headed to the town of Julian to try some apple pie, which was great and we watched a free wild west show.
We went to Nepal planning to trek in the Gokyo region and Everest Base camp. We planned two weeks of trekking and wild animal spotting in Bardia. We started off well but some of us has mild symptoms of attitude sickness and all sorts of stomach issues that were probably due to something we ate. Then we got snowed in for one night and decided to turn back. We reached around 4000 metres. As a result we plan to return to get our revenge on the Himalayas and finally finish what we started. In the meantime we saw Everest and many other peaks in the area, and generally had an amazing time. It will be pretty difficult to name all the mountains in the photos as they all look the same to me but they were stunning. Here are some photos taken from our time in the mountains.
We spent a few days in Kathmandu, both at the start and towards the end of our time in Nepal. It is the kind of city where a few days would be sufficient, and it is usually best treated as a gateway to the rest of Nepal. It is highly populated and polluted. After a couple of days there, it would not be unusual to develop a cough and have a constant tickle in your throat. If you spend a week there you will certainly feel the effects of the smog in the atmosphere. A harsh contrast from the fresh mountain air if returning from trekking.
Day 2 – Drymen to Rowardennan This day was a 24km walk in total. The path was mainly forest tracks and moorland. There was one reasonable climb up Conic Hill. We didn’t see much wildlife at this point but deer and red squirrels are usually spotted in this area. It was towards the end of summer and approaching the end of the midges season. Thankfully, at this stage we hadn’t been attacked by them too much. The moorland we passed through was rich and luscious in color and, there were views around Loch Lomond. The climb up Conic Hill was rewarded with impressive views around the Loch and of the hills in the distance. Then we walked down into the town, Balmaha and had some lunch. I ate many beef pies on this trip, it was good that I was doing so much walking.
It was great being back in the UK. Before we went to London to see family, we decided to visit Scotland. As it was the summer, it was ideal. The West Highland Way is a 96 mile walk (154 km) that can be completed in 6-8 days. It finishes at Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Overall, it is an easy to moderate path and there are pubs, restaurants and hotels to stop at along the way. You can also arrange for your luggage to be taken to every hotel you stay at, by a baggage transfer service. So there are no heavy backpacks to carry and you can avoid camping. Camping and backpacking is another option if you want more of a challenge or, are on a budget. There are campgrounds along the way and you can still avoid carrying food, as you will pass through different towns. It was not a complete wilderness experience, like the other hikes we have done. Rather, is was a nice mix of hiking, awesome scenery, good food and the pick of different hotels, pubs and restaurants, along the way.
Day 6 – Windy Ridge, Narcissus Hut and Cynthia Bay We decided to walk out, rather than take the ferry. Two other people were also walking out, so we agreed to meet at Echo Point. We set off on day six towards Narcissus hut. At this point the walk was very relaxed, it was a short distance to the hut and we didn’t do the side trip to Pine Valley. This would have required an extra night. This portion of the hike was mainly forests, with huge eucalyptus trees. On occasion we would hear a loud creaky sound as we walked through the trees. This was the sound of tree trunks breaking and getting ready to fall. It was a little scary at first but we soon got use to it and we didn’t witness any trees falling, thankfully. We arrived at Lake St Clair as we approached Narcissus Hut. We decided to have lunch there and continue on towards Cynthia Bay. Many people were using the radio in the hut to contact the ferry service. At this stage most people take the boat across Lake St Clair, which, operates several times a day. We settled down to have lunch and discussed whether or not to continue on to Echo Point. This hut is known for its resident rats and possums. This was very concerning but I agreed to continue, especially as we had arranged to meet the others there. For the rest of the hike, we crossed the long raised bridge and walked along the lake at times. By this point […]
Most of what was covered in the last post was day 4. Day 3 was actually Windermere Hut to Pelion Hut. It was pretty straightforward. The main attractions of the hike was passing by the old Pelion Hut and a nearby river, which had beautiful cascades. We were told we could swim in it but the water was absolutely freezing. My husband decided to have a dip for about two minutes. The modern Pelion hut was the biggest hut and seemed like luxury accommodation compared to the other huts. We felt like we were cheating a little. Day 5 – Kia Hut to Windy Ridge This day was all about the waterfalls. We even had a theme song; Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls, by TLC. We were looking forward to seeing three in total. It was a rainy day, but we didn’t mind as this meant impressive waterfalls. Besides, at this point we were use to walking in wet clothes and having wet feet. I especially like the point where your feet warm up the water in your boots and it is no longer freezing. That’s what I kept telling myself anyway. We passed the Du Cane Hut, which was extremely rustic. People are allowed to rest in it but it is not recommended that you stay there overnight. Our first waterfall was the Fergusson Falls. It was an hour round trip from the signpost. The track was pretty well-marked. From there we were able to go to the D’Alton Falls, […]