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    Gordon Alexander reviewed Trans-Catalina Trail

    4 days ago

    Great backpack trip if you park your solitude and wilderness expectations at the door and just enjoy it.

    We did it in six days: Day 1: Hermit Gulch, Day 2: to Blackjack, Day 3: to Little Harbor, Day 4: to Two Harbors, Day 5: to Parsons, Day 6: Home.

    We did the exact route provided by the Catalina Conservancy, but we did the west end of the island in a counterclockwise fashion instead of clockwise.

    Caveats: 1) one segment of the westernmost trail from miles 28.5 to Mile 30 is called Fenceline Road. That part of the trail topped out at 30% grade and was very steep. There is an alternative route if you continue toward Silver Peak, and I'd recommend it as this part was just brutal (uphill) and would be dangerous on the downhill. 2) Fox boxes are provided at all campsites. Use them. A fox tore a hole in our tent to try to take our food bag. Our fault for listening to others who said it was okay. (The foxes are adorbs!)

    Okay, that said, what a great romantic trip! Restaurants in Avalon, airport, and Two Harbors. We enjoyed being trail-trash and hanging out in Two Harbors as we awaited another couple joining us (who missed the early boat). We did this over Memorial Day and the weather was good for the whole trip except at Little Harbor where it was windy. The holiday weekend made for better music in Two Harbors. (A knowledgeable local says Little Harbor is the place to be in August).

    Solitude whenever we were on the trail was interspersed with the tourists in Avalon and Two Harbor. The buffalo were mainly a) at Black Jack (one slept 25 feet away from our camp site [#1!]) and b) near and after the airport. Talk loud and they'll move off the trail.

    Day 1 we took the 1:30 boat from Long Beach to Avalon and did the tourist thing. Hiking 5 miles between going to Hermit Gulch, going back to downtown for dinner, and back again with some exploration.

    Day 2 is lots of up, followed by lots of up and down. It would have been excessively hot if the weather were so, but it wasn't. so. Views were nice. Blackjack campground is fun.

    Day 3 You get to hoof it for a few miles to the airport, then have a giant breakfast! How cool is that? The ladies at the restaurant have trained the local ravens and squirrels, so there's a floor show too. After that you get to see the actual herd of buffalo. Again pretty cool. Others noted how they'd avoided the buffalo herd because they were on the trail. We just talked loudly as we approached and the herd lovingly moved for us. More amazing views as you cross the island and drop down to Little Harbor - Catalina's answer to car camping. Gorgeous views though. Too cool to swim, unfortunately. I will be back to set up a camping trip here at the beautiful giant group campsites.

    Day 4: Two Harbors. Easy hike to Two Harbors where we'd meet our friends for their first backpack trip. The views just astound as you hike along the giant cliffs. The trail drops down and you reenter the madding crowd. But hey: grill and bar and shower. Our friends missed the 12:30 boat, so we had to sit there and eat tons, and drink (moderately) and dance to the live music. (Oh and hot showers!) Not bad.... Stayed at Two Harbors Campground. We had one down near the water. Maybe one of the sites up the hill would have been a bit better (but windier?)

    Day 5: When we hiked from Two Harbors to Parsons, mostly on road (sad face) we passed Emerald Bay. I think we passed a church service in one of the anchorages consisting of many dingys cuddling up to a big yacht. Emerald Bay looked so amazing that we hiked down and ate and chilled and swam all afternoon. Once you pass the Boy Scout Campground, you are in the wilderness again with great shore views and the relatively secluded Parson's Landing. (Why did he land here, it's all rocks?)

    Day 6: We split up with the girls roadwalking back past Emerald Bay while we tough guys climbed up to FOG. Yeah, no views, and that caveated blankety blank Fenceline Road. But we were done. Back at Two Harbors, we got food, got on the earlier boat and slept back San Pedro, where we got our friends to drive us to Long Beach (very near by, a cab would do as well.)

    We didn't get to do the final beach because our friends were not up for the additional mileage to Startlight. So, that said, I'd likely extend this trip to include starlight beach for sure, since it seems cheezy not to go to the other end of the island.

    Gordon Alexander reviewed Bangtail Divide Trail

    11 months ago

    This is a mountain biking trail that works great for hiking and trail running too. The listed distance of 4.5 miles roundtrip will only get you up to the ridge. I had a plane to catch so I had to set a hard turn around time. My route is 1-1/2 hours in and out. I made it about 3-3/4 miles in to a saddle. Looks like there was one more set of switchbacks before the local local peak - I saw another route here that was about 4.5 miles. The bike route continues 25 miles back down to Hwy 86 and then, I was told (by bicyclists I met on the trail) about 30 or 32 total back to the trailhead.
    Very good trail that was deserted on a Wednesday afternoon. Amazing views and wildflowers. It reaches the ridge at about 1.75 miles and then follows that up and up and up. The top would be about 2200 feet elevation gain up to 7,800 ft. The grading is so good that you can indeed run back with very very little effort. The trail only loses 1 star 'cause you gotta share it with bikes, not to knock our pedaling brethen.

    Gordon Alexander reviewed Waipio Valley Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Fun trail. We rented a 4wd and drove down to the beach, then took the Mulawai trail up the far side to a good view point. Amazing drive. On the way back, we took pity on some of the hikers going up the 25% pitch and gave them a ride. They were grateful. The wild horses are on the flatter part heading out to the beach. They are well accustomed to getting treats from tourists, so watch your fingers if you try to pet them. Bring an apple! Looking forward to coming back and doing the whole Mulawai trail. The beach is wonderful and has a nice break if the swell is not too big.

    Gordon Alexander completed Sheep Canyon Trail

    about 1 year ago

    Gordon Alexander completed The Slot

    about 1 year ago

    Gordon Alexander reviewed Boy Scout Trail To Willow Hole Extended Route

    over 1 year ago

    What a fun, easy backpack trip. It's popular from the parking lot to the Willow Hole, but after that, you have it to yourself. Wildflowers were just starting when I did it 2/10/2017, but should be peaking in Mid March. Trail is clear and there are abundant opportunities to climb on rocks. The trail from the Willow Hole to the Indian Cove Trailhead is absolutely breathtaking. Do watch the water thing, but's that's Joshua Tree, isn't it. At one day, at least I didn't have to carry too much.

    Gordon Alexander reviewed Ramona Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Nice trail. The stated mileage is basically to the ridge, but the views from Mt. Thomas are pretty amazing, but require at 11.5 mile round trip jaunt. We did this in snowy conditions and the trail was easy. Snow got up to our ankles at times, but wasn't too bad or slippery. Things were unclear at the top due to the snow, but we scouted our way to road where 8 out of 10 people then went to the top. A friend and I used our maps and walked up the ridge to the top beating the rest by about 5 minutes. Hurrah! Moreover it gave us more views from the ridge which are amazing as Mt. Thomas has much more prominence than one would expect for such a small peak. The campsites were under snow, but I think it'd be great to come back here in spring/fall for camping.

    Gordon Alexander completed Ramona Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Gordon Alexander completed Morgan Trail

    over 1 year ago

    Gordon Alexander added Big Bear!

    over 1 year ago

    Gordon Alexander added James Dilly Preserve

    about 2 years ago

    Gordon Alexander reviewed Chocolate Lakes Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Fun little loop hike with 5 lakes, optional peak and just a tiny bit of route finding! Take the trailhead from south lake and hike back to Long Lake. You'll pass the turnoff to Chocolate lakes, but that okay, you'll be back. You reach aptly named Long Lake and get a treat as you hike around the lake. Take the time to sit and soak up the view, as you have a bit of climb coming up. To your left looms the brown Chocolate Peak. As you hike alongside the lake, you'll come to the stair/trail to RuWau Lake. Slog up the stairway and trail to this pretty and big lake. Once yo reach RuWau, we lost the trail, but instead just went along the left side (north) of the lake. We found the trail again as it wound up the mouth of the canyon on the north side of the lake. Once you reach the saddle, you are overlooking the highest of the Chocolate Lakes. If you want to summit Chocolate Peak, now is your chance. Head left off the trail and clime 100+ feet of reportedly easy scrambling to the flat top. (We didn't want to get side tracked, but met an oldtimer who gave us the above info about the peak.) The trail zigs and zags down steep slope to the west side of the lake where the trail becomes clear again. You can then wind down through four lakes before rejoining the original trail that brought you to Long Lake. Go right and back to your car. We showed this as 1,900 ft and 7.3 miles. Just a good stretch of the legs.

    Gordon Alexander added Chocolate Lakes Loop

    over 2 years ago

    Gordon Alexander completed Chocolate Lakes Loop Trail

    over 2 years ago

    Gordon Alexander updated Morgan Trail

    about 3 years ago

    Gordon Alexander added San Mateo Peak Loop

    about 3 years ago

    Gordon Alexander completed Black Star Canyon Trail

    over 3 years ago