Tag Archives: Photography

Return to Mishe Mokwa

By Heather

Our visit to Mishe Mokwa was not intended.

We woke up early and drove a long, long way to our intended destination: La Jolla Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.

Sure wish I had checked this first.

That’s right. The trail has been closed for years and parts of the trail are entirely washed out. Too bad, because it sounds like it was once a delightful hike. Also, who’s been paying attention? Not me.

Fortunately, the Mishe Mokwa Trail is just down the road and I was a hike I knew Darren would enjoy in both scenery and length (on the shorter side).

It was a gorgeous day with all the right things: not too hot, not too cold, not too many people.



Afterward, we hit Neptune’s Net and had breakfast on the patio, believing the whole time that it just looked like the place in “Point Break” but was not the actual place

It was the actual place. So, I guess we have to go back.



2017 Hike for Heroes

american flag on mt baldy summitBy Heather

As much as I enjoy hiking solo, I always feel a twinge of sadness when I see photos of groups of hikers on their trips, having a great time and making memories together.

So, when SoCal Hiker announced the SoCal Hiker Team for the 2017 Hike for Heroes to Mt. Baldy, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do this thing. Plus, it’s for a great cause,  supporting The Heroes Project, an organization that helps wounded vets redefine their limits after an injury.

My cousin Jessie, an Army nurse, decided to come along, too, so my introverted self didn’t have to face swarms of strangers unassisted. Phew! I’m a baby, yes.

The cause moved me in particular because hiking has taught me an unbelievable amount about myself. I had no idea that a shred of anything I do now existed in me before.

Thinking of those vets having that same realization, especially after once thinking their life might be over… it makes me tear up. It’s a great feeling to realize what you can do despite whatever obstacles you think might be in your way. It is quite literally life changing.

It got even better a few days after the hike – in a thank you email from the Heroes Project, I learned that as a direct result of the Hike for Heroes, USMC Sgt. Kirstie Ennis will climb Mt. Carstensz Pyramid and USMC Cpl. Carlos Torres will climb Mt. Ojos del Salado. Aw, yeah, I am so excited for them! Follow The Heroes Project on Instagram to keep track of Kirstie and Carlos!

I can’t wait to do this again next year, and I’m pumped to try and raise even more money next time!

Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats Trip Report

darren on the mt wilson gabrielino trail

By Heather

It’s been a long, rainy winter. That has put a fork in California’s drought, and it put a fork in a lot of my hiking plans over the last few months.

Since the high peaks are still covered in snow, Darren and I decided to make Mt. Wilson (elevation 5,710 feet) the first hike of the 2017 season (there he is above, wearing his brand-new Teton Daypack!). The route from Chantry Flats is a death march, so we girded ourselves for a long, hard day.

Fortunately, the burpees I’ve  been doing at the gym paid off big time. Maybe Darren will disagree, but I feel like we just about glided up that mountain. The hardest part, just after Spruce Grove camp, didn’t feel very hard at all. It was a challenge, but it was not the struggle I was prepared for.

Water and wildlife

Thanks to the aforementioned rain, the forest was greener than I’ve ever seen it and there was rushing water everywhere. There were at least four stream crossings, which are so much fun, especially when you have waterproof boots.

mini waterfall mt. wilson

The only wildlife sighting we had was of this cute boy trolling for treats:

dog at spruce grove campground mt wilson california

dog at spruce grove campground mt wilson california
We tried patting him, but he only wanted food. Nothing else. Okay, then!

Cairn box snacks

For my last birthday, mom gifted me with a four-month subscription to Cairn, which I absolutely loved. Darren also received a subscription for Christmas. We enjoyed both so much, we’re now officially subscribers ourselves! Not a word of that was sponsored, by the way.

Since I haven’t hiked much since getting the boxes, this was my first time trying some of the treats they come with.

hiking trail mix
First up was this trail mix by Play Hard Give Back, which appears to be out of production.

It was all right. The ingredient mix was skewed heavily toward dried bananas and less so the more fun things on the list.

It was disappointing to find only a couple of peanut butter cups and protein bites in the whole bag.

Later on down the mountain, I had some JoJo’s Chocolate Bark, which actually held up decently well for it being a warm day.

The chocolate was really good, but I have issues with some of the claims. Mainly, how can a product that contains sugar also help you kick your sugar cravings? I’m skeptical. But I’m also not very concerned about sugar when I’m hiking, so for that purpose, it was a delightful treat!

chocolate nut bark

The one really hard part on Mt. Wilson, no matter what, is the end of the switchbacks just before the summit. They’re steep and have no shade.

It was a beautiful day at the top – sunny, the perfect temperature and clear views of the San Gabriels for miles and miles.

We had photos taken of us and shot photos for others.

darren heather mt wilson

Darren’s Pop Tarts were the talk of the summit, and there was some debate about whether another hiker’s suggestion of putting a frozen burrito in your pack to enjoy later, thawed and possibly warm, would really work.

I say no, and regardless, it sounds disgusting.

echo mountain hiking

Sam Merrill Trail to Echo Mountain

By Heather

The last time I saw my friend Eric, we realized we had similar hiking styles – go fast, few breaks, little talking. When he said he would be visiting recently, I naturally suggested we go hiking and he agreed.

Echo Mountain seemed perfect – not too long, not too short and some fun historical sights at the end of the trail. Continue reading

mt. whitney summit

How to Get to the Summit of Mt. Whitney

By Heather

Part of what I love about my hiking adventures is all the planning I get to do. Many people may love to wing it, but I don’t. Not every moment must be planned, but I like having a general idea of what I’m getting into and, most importantly, I like a plan that ensures success.

Mt. Whitney differed in one big way from all of the other hikes I plan for: It’s the highest I’ve ever gone to date.

Continue reading

mt. whitney summit

Mt. Whitney via the Mt. Whitney Trail

By Heather

Oh, did you think we were dead?

After roughly a year of planning, making lists, thinking, dreaming, panicking, training, more planning… our Whitney Adventure has come and gone. I’ve put off writing about it because aside from my day job having been so crushingly busy and exhausting that I haven’t wanted to do much of anything (other than hike), I don’t know how to put the whole experience into words that would be the poetry it all deserves.

Continue reading

moon cathedral peak yosemite

Hiking the Four-Mile Trail to Glacier Point

By Heather

When you’re in one of the world’s premier hiking destinations, you’d be insane not to take advantage of it!

We arrived in Yosemite on Sunday afternoon. Our hike to Half Dome was that Thursday, so I used Monday morning to tackle the Four-Mile Trail. The trail starts on the valley floor and switchbacks all the way up to Glacier Point.

Continue reading

wildflowers joshua tree national park

Review: Indian Cove Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

By Heather

Forget everything I’ve ever written about other campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park.

Our inaugural trip to Indian Cove had it all: Beautiful weather (though hot during the day), gorgeous views, peaceful drives, quiet neighbors, good friends, good food and good booze. It doesn’t get any better than that! It was the perfect kickoff to the 2015 camping season and I think this bodes well for our year.

Continue reading