For my 30th birthday, I went hiking to the ol’ stomping grounds up Lake Ave, but with some newness.
I parked at the trailhead and decided to explore some of Las Flores Canyon (I’ve never really explored it much). I went up near the water tank and started to ascend that little erosion canal trail… but it was so eroded that I didn’t feel safe… so I turned around and went up the normal Echo Mountain Trail. I made Echo in about 40 minutes which, for me, is a good hiking pace. There were few people up there but everyone was cool. For Echo, that’s not always the case 🙂 But alas it was good. From there, I ascended the Upper Sam Merrill towards Inspiration Point. On the way, I saw a little california striped racing snake (see pics) and also a pretty good bear track next to what appears to be a trail created by an animal going up the mountain (this was about half a mile west of Inspiration Point). I intended to hike up Muir Peak, but there is a sign just past Inspiration Point that communicates that the road is closed. I was freezing at I.P. and so I pulled a cornholio and pulled my jacket over my head. The winds were probably in the 30 mph range and the wind chill was definitely colder than the 50 degree air temp. I met some cool people at the shelter, then began my descent via Castle Canyon. Castle is usually a very well maintained trail but today… that was NOT the case. There are probably 10 trees down across the trail. What is this from? The last storm? I didn’t think it was really that bad. Nonetheless, it was still beautiful and I ran down the last two miles of my hike back to Lake.
Duration: 5 hours (that number includes two 15 minute breaks)
Total Distance: about 11.75 miles
Calories burned: 3767
Elevation Gain: a little over 3,000 feet
Terrain: Well defined trail over granite. Castle Canyon is tricky but the rest of the trail is easy.
Backpack: Salomon XA20 (inaugural journey)
Shoes: Salomon XA Pro Ultra’s
Trekking Poles: Black Diamond Contour Ellipticals
Water consumed: 1L
Electrolyte beverage consumed: 1/2 L of Hammer Heed/Perpetuem and Wild Strawberry Crystal Lite
Food consumed: 5 servings of Hammer Gel and 1 Kind Bar (about 600 calories)
and now the pics (thanks to Norma for suggesting to do a slideshow instead of a gallery!):