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Archive for March, 2012

I was browsing the National Geographic website a few weeks ago when I came across a post for the ultimate hiker’s gear guide written by the famous long-distance hiker Andrew Skurka.  I read the synopsis of the book and within a few minutes I purchased my copy from Amazon.  Anyone who is interested in long backpacking trips should read this manual as it is an amazing resource written by an experienced backpacker and hiker.  Andrew covers all the tools and techniques, reviews different gear models with its pros and cons, provides his recommendations, and offers sample gear kits for trips in different parts of the United States.  Although it’s written from the perspective of a male hiker, I even found it very useful.  This is a great guide to add to one’s hiking/backpacking collection!

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My friend Byron and I decided to meet up on Sunday morning for a return visit to El Cajon Mountain.  We had done it last weekend, (with 85-90 degree temps!) and we wanted to do it again for training.  The hike to El Cajon Mountain is notorious for being up and down to the summit, and then up and down back to the trailhead.  My first time was back in January and I was amazed at what a butt-kicker the hike was.  It’s about 10-11 miles with 4,000 ft. gain, a great training hike for Mt. Whitney and other summer adventures.  We met at 8:30 a.m., or 7:30, and this time the temperatures were a lot cooler!  I was actually wearing my fleece.  And surprisingly the parking lot was empty.

Empty lot

Empty lot

One would think there would be more people since it was cooler, but there were only a few cars.  Last weekend the lot was nearly full!  In any case, Byron and I were really happy with the weather conditions.  We started out under overcast skies, but it burned off and the sun made its presence.

Fog burning off

Fog burning off

San Diego River Valley

San Diego River Valley

Clear view looking north

Clear view looking north

We took plenty of pictures, more so than last weekend, and continued to thank the weather gods.  Finally, we made it to the summit around 11:30 a.m. We rested, had lunch, talked about summer trips and took pictures.

Byron at the top!

Byron at the top getting ready for a break!

Going back down on the trail can be dangerous as some sections are very steep.  I recommend wearing hiking boots with sturdy traction and bringing trekking poles for stability.  The trail is well-maintained with trail markers along the way.

Trail markers by Adventure 16

Trail markers by Adventure 16

Going back down

Going back down

It’s not as crowded as Mt. Woodson, but I can see it becoming so in about a year.  If you’re looking for a great workout with great views, then this is the hike for you.

Spring is almost here

Spring is almost here

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