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The off season

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The off season

Postby sirlight » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:17 pm

I know this topic probably gets brought up every year or two, but let's get it going again. I know a number of people just switch into "winter mode" sierra trips this time of year. For those of us who don't, how do you get your backpacking fix when the snow is piling up in the mountains? I usually change to desert hiking out in Anza-Borrego. It's a completely different experience, and keeps me in shape for the spring time.

What do the rest of you do?



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Re: The off season

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:30 pm

I go to the coast. Perfect time of year - no fog, no people.
IMG_1241.JPG
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Re: The off season

Postby quentinc » Mon Dec 20, 2010 5:02 pm

If the 40 days and 40 nights of rain stop by Dec. 30th, I'll be doing a 4 day trip on Catalina. Sirlight, where do you backpack in Anza-Borrego? I've been up Sheep's Canyon a couple of times; what other areas have water?
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Re: The off season

Postby sirlight » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:44 am

Hi quentinc,

Borrego has so many great areas to hike. I been EVERYWHERE out there. Water is a really big problem though, it's usually just what you can carry on your back. In fact, I am planning a 3 day trip to villager and rabbit peaks starting this friday. No water out there! Hope the 3 gallons I plan to bring will be enough.

If your hikes must include water, try Sheep canyon, cougar canyon (right by sheep canyon), upper Borrego palm canyon, and upper rockhouse canyon are good.

During the right times of year, carrizo gorge, upper hellhole canyon and bow willow canyon all have water.

Here is a picture of the famous goat canyon trestle. It's about 4 miles from the mouth of carrizo gorge.

GoatCanyon1108 020.JPG
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Re: The off season

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:56 pm

I usually like to go out east of the Whites and Inyos, Piper wilderness south and east thru Death Valley and those ranges.

My problem with doing it now days (now years...???) is that its dark, and many times cold, from 5 pm until 7 am. I am too old to be sitting around for so long. Oh I read, play cards, dream over topos, etc. but its still too dern boring.

I have bagged many a good desert peak in Death Valley and the greater region, and the light is fantastic. Last Chance Pk. is a good winter walk. But you have to pick a peak that doesn't take all day long or you'll get caught in the dark.

I'm an old softie these days.
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Re: The off season

Postby quentinc » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:52 pm

Sirlight, thanks for the tips. Yeah, as for water, I suppose I could carry enough for a 3 day trip. When I did the PCT around Owens Peak in November, I took 6 liters, which turned out to be enough for the entire 3 days (I expected it to last for 2 -- there was a running creek near my 2nd night camp site).

Have fun on Rabbit and Villager. I've heard so many "we had to turn around" reports, so it will be an accomplishment.
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Re: The off season

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:59 pm

In all honesty, I'm not a winter sports guy, so my "off season", up to about age 45, was spent playing basketball (indoors, of course), but by the late 30's the wheels were coming off the hoop game and 6 years ago it was time to quit. Now the "off season" means some very nice strong and warming winter beers and lots of daydreaming over topo maps. I'd always do that anyway, except that I suppose I let myself get a little slothful in the off season over the past few years. I keep up my strength training, but the off season cardio was not too good until this winter, when I decided I needed to keep in better hiking shape year round. The reason this year was that I was doing solo geologic mapping for the first time in several years, an experience I very much looked forward to and I wanted to be in tip top shape so that I could in fact do in 2 days what others might not get done in 7. It paid off. Those 2 days were into the teeth of a serious rainstorm (Sunday and Monday), but with my nice waterproof/breathable gear (I am a big Marmot Precip fan as many of you are) and my totally waterproof mapping system I carried on as if it was sunny (almost). I think I sat down for a cumulative total of 5 minutes during those 2 days of mapping. I then did a moderately strenuous hike with a colleague and two of my students in western Marin (beautiful waterfalls!) to collect samples yesterday, before taking a leisurely hike in fog and rain to look at some magical geology today (more or less showing two of my students the highlights of my mapping from Sunday and Monday). I need to do this more regularly during the "off season".
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: The off season

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:22 pm

While I don't get any winter backpacking trips in, I do try to hike a couple days a week. I'm fortunate that I live on the edge of the American River Canyon about a quarter mile from the top of the trailhead. I can walk out my door and do a quick 5 mile hike down to the river and back, or take my 3-year-old son with me, reduce the mileage, and carry him half the way on my back. (He's pushing 40 lbs. so this might be the last year I can use him as a training weight. :D )

I was pretty good with some strength and cardio training this year, but when my busy season at work ramped up I started letting that slide. Perhaps after the holiday I'll get back on that. I used to downhill ski a lot, but since settling down with a family, I'm lucky to get one day a year.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: The off season

Postby mokelumnekid » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:13 pm

Like Giantbrookie I'm not so much of a winter sports guy (GB- please fill me in on your waterproof field mapping rig- I've tried various things without a lot of success). I never took the time to become more than a half-a** skier, and having done my share of winter camping and mountaineering, don't enjoy spending so much time in the tent. Where I live now the days are really short in Winter.

For me winter was, 1) when I lived in Calif. a time to explore the foothills and coast range and, 2) when I lived in Nevada to explore the Basin and Range. The B&R is *amazing*. I live in Seattle now and Winter means white water kayaking in ice cold freaking water with snow on the ground, or exploring the islands now that the tourists are gone.

But generally during a Pacific Northwest winter I eat well (smoked salmon, fresh crab), work out- cardio and weights, catch up on work projects, watch sports, stoke the fire, and hunker with my woman \:D/
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Re: The off season

Postby sirlight » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:08 am

Yep, that’s the ticket. Just keep moving, no matter what activity you are doing. Continuing to hike is obviously the best choice, but that’s not practical for all of us. I am very fortunate living here in San Diego. There is the desert, foothills, and beaches that can all be hiked this time of year. We even have some “mountains” that can be hiked in the winter, not that I consider 6000’ very impressive compared to the sierra.

giantbrooke,
Excuse My ignorance, but what is this mapping you are talking about? Is this just reconnaissance for future hikes, or some kind of service you are doing for the USGS?
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Re: The off season

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:38 pm

For me, I keep in shape by doing hikes on Mt. Diablo every chance I get. Eagle Pk. and Mt. Olympia are good steep walks, and if you make loops out of the hikes, they can get you some miles.
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Re: The off season

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:01 pm

sirlight--this is geologic mapping for academic research I am doing.
MK--I use a mylar overlay completely taped down over my basemap with mailing tape onto an oversized map board (needs to accommodate entire map without folds). The mylar will take pencil even when water is sheeting off of it.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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