Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hike to Haddock Camp

I've been wanting to thru-hike the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail. The trail is 18 miles long but I have never seen the whole thing. I had hoped to do the whole thing this week but it turned out I was only able to do an overnighter. There was a lot of snow.

We started the hike from Reyes Creek campground and hoped to get to Pine Mountain Lodge. That would make it a completion of the trail as a section hike for me. We only made it to Haddock Campsite, about 8 miles. There was a lot of snow and we wallowed in it most of the day.
Haddock Campsite
Here is our camp at Haddock Camp. This is the first time I ever pitched a tent on snow. It was very cold.
Warming and drying our feet
It was hard to find wood because of all the snow so our fire didn't last as long as I would have liked. We tried to dry our socks and warm up before bed.
Hiking in the snow
It was hard to sleep because it was so cold. I brought two quilts so I had enough down on top of me but I didn't have enough padding beneath me. The cold seeped in from below and I struggled to stay warm. We tried to cuddle up together and share body heat. Here we are in the morning hiking back. We postholed up to our shins in some places but it wasn't too bad.

I have to add that the 2nd quilt I brought, a Jacks R Better wearable quilt, is the bomb. In the morning I stuck my head through the headhole while it was still warm and then wore it around camp as we drank coffee and put things away. I highly recommend such a great piece of gear. I was skeptical at first, but it was pure luxury and so sensible.
Following the bear
Finding the trail in the snow had been easy. We just followed the bear. Here is a picture of Trailhacker following my foot prints, the bear prints are the larger ones to his left and heading off in another direction are deer prints. The deer and bears seem to follow the trail, even the switchbacks, perfectly, so rather than search for trail in the snow we just followed the bear the whole way.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hike to La Cumbre Peak

Today I hiked to La Cumbre Peak via Tunnel Trail. I don't think many people have any idea what hiking is like in Santa Barbara. Hopefully this set of pictures gives a little peak into it. Tunnel Trail is about a 10 minute drive from downtown. We are so lucky. It's not even the only trail so close to town, either. There are several other trailheads this close and the trailhead for Tunnel Trail leads to several trails, loops and destinations.

Here's the view looking down into downtown from about 1/3 of the way up the trail. You can see the ocean, too. The trail-like squiggly line is a dirt road that you can also hike that has nice views.
Tunnel Trail

Looking at Arlington Peak. There is a trail that goes up the spine of the ridge to the top. It's one of the more strenuous hikes locally.
Looking at Arlington Peak

Arlington and Cathedral peaks from behind. Cathedral Peak is the little notch sticking up. Most locals call Arlington Peak Cathedral Peak as a sort of short-hand. Cathedral Peak is then often called "The Thumb." There's a cave at the base on the front side of Cathedral Peak called the Horse Cave. Urban legend is that horses were stolen and hidden in there. I don't think it's quite big enough to store horses. Maybe one horse can fit in the cave.
Arlington and Cathedral peaks from behind

We've reached the top of Tunnel Trail. Now we can see the wilderness behind Santa Barbara. The wilderness back there is incredibly remote and rugged. Trails get swallowed by the chaparral. You often have to hike with not just a GPS or map and compass, but also with a saw, loppers and heavy leather gloves. It is lonely back there on those trails. Often I will not see other people. Often the only tracks on the trail belong to bears and lions.
The wilderness behind Santa Barbara

We hiked along East Camino Cielo Road for a mile or so to La Cumbre Peak. This is another view of the wilderness behind Santa Barbara, looking toward Mission Pine where The Man and I hope to take a backpack trip in a few days, weather permitting.

From the tops of the mountain ranges on the horizon, you can stand and look at the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands in one direction and look at the snowy peaks of the High Sierra around Langly and Whitney in the other. When we camp at Mission Pine Spring, we will sit out on the edge of a rocky cliff and watch cars way off in the distance driving over the Cold Spring arch bridge as the sun sets. You feel so close but at the same time, so very far away, isolated and alone.
Looking toward Mission Pine

The view of Arlington/Cathedral Peaks and downtown Santa Barbara from La Cumbre Peak. It was about 5.5 miles to get up here and about 3200' elevation gain. I live near the base of that small hill on the horizon against the ocean, near the notch in the hill, on the downtown side of the hill. That hill is called "The Mesa."
The view from La Cumbre Peak

Arlington and La Cumbre peak on the way down. I always like this view of the notch in the mountains. The mountains are all sedimentary layers and where there is a layer of shale between the sandstone, there's a notch. The layers are all upside-down, meaning the bottom is to the left and the top of the layers is to the right. They can tell that from embedded fossil shells. There was a fire here in 2009 which is why the scrub is somewhat barren. It used to be more green with chamise and scrub oak. There's a lot of morning glory choking everything.
Arlington and La Cumbre peak on the way down

Friday, November 18, 2011

My new JRB quilt

I got a Jacks R Better wearable quilt. Here I am wearing it.
JRB Wearable Quilt JRB Wearable Quilt

It's a summer weight sleeping quilt. I plan to use it inside my 20 degree quilt as an extra layer of warmth on trips where it's going to be down in the 20s. When worn like this, it's pretty warm, if pretty stupid looking. I think I could leave my down jacket at home and just wear some fleece sleeves and throw my wind jacket or rain jacket over it. That would make up for the extra weight. I can also use this instead of the 20 degree quilt on hot summer trips.

It also feels great to just wear it at home, like a snuggy. I should bring it to work sometime. There's no heat at work and sometimes it gets pretty cold.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ordered a JRB quilt

I have a backpack trip coming up over Thanksgiving weekend. We were going to go on one this weekend but it was canceled due to weather. So we're going to try again over Thanksgiving weekend.

We'll be going to relatively high elevation (6000') and I'm worried my 20 degree quilt will leave me cold. I'm not as adapted as I was when I was a lean and mean PCT hiker. I have an older sleeping bag that is rated for zero degrees, but it weighs around 3lbs. So, instead of using that, I ordered a summer-weight JacksRBetter wearable quilt to use as an extra blanket inside my quilt. It weighs one pound and my current quilt weighs one pound so it comes out as less weight overall. It ought to be heavenly, if it works. And since it is wearable, I can possibly also wear it in the morning while people are taking forever to get their shit together. Multiple use with less weight is always better for backpacking.

It has not arrived yet. I'm looking forward to seeing this contraption.

Meanwhile, I have to go to the dentist again today. My third big dental surgery in the last 8 weeks. I am hoping this is the last one. I'm tired of the dentist and I don't particularly like the way my teeth fit together now. Too many changes.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Possible weight loss

week 4 and 7
Week 5 and week 7 (image is wrong)
Could it be possible that I've lost weight?
It's barely perceptible, but I think I've lost some weight in the last 2 weeks. I don't weigh myself so it is hard to be sure. The picture should say week 5, not 4.

On Wednesday, I ate breakfast but no lunch or dinner. I went to the jam session that evening. At the jam, we were told the story, by her husband, of the death of the lady in whose house we jam. The story was haunting and bittersweet. Many of us were in tears. I was certainly crying. It was sort of a magical night. I could not eat dinner after that. I woke up in the middle of the night still crying.

On Thursday, I ate breakfast and dinner.

On Friday, I was not hungry so I ate no breakfast. I ate dinner early and had some hors d'oeuvres at the new REI that opened later in the evening.

Basically I fasted for 24 hours over Wednesday night and about 22 hours over Thursday night. I think this helped for the small amount of weight loss. It was not very hard to go without eating those two times. I think I will try this again next Wednesday if I'm not hungry that day, or on some other day if The Man isn't going to be home for dinner. Apparently this kind of fasting actually improves health in many ways. I won't do it unless I'm not hungry. I hate starving myself.

Friday, November 11, 2011

$70 bucks and a new plan

70 bucks and a new plan
$70 of food again. There's swiss chard, black kale, portabello mushrooms, two cartons of pastured eggs, a whole bunch of grass-fed beef, sausage, bacon, bleu cheese, coffee and a bunch of Trader Joe's products for The Man.

I got all this meat, eggs, veggies and junk food from the IV Food Coop and Trader Joe's. My new plan is to eat the meat and veggies I like and serve The Man the Trader Joe's junk food he likes. More meat for me and way cheaper overall, not to mention WAY cheaper than the farmer's market. Since we take turns cooking, this food ought to last possibly 1.5 - 2 weeks. There's still some left of the other $70 I purchased last time, too.

As far as this low carb diet thing is going, well, 6 weeks and no weight loss seems pretty unfair. So now I'm trying to eat only once a day when possible to see if that helps. It's nice to be able to go 24 hours without eating and not feel like I'm going to die. It's 12:30pm right now and the last time I ate anything (besides coffee this morning) was around 6:30 last night when I went to the opening of the new REI in Santa Barbara. They had hors d'oeuvre. I had some chicken skewers. I feel fine right now.

If I eat once a day, even if only a couple times a week, that will save a lot of money, too.

I think I'll go for a hike right now.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Seventy Bucks

Seventy bucks
This is $70 worth of food from the Farmer's Market. Eggs were $5 a dozen. Butter was $10 a pound! The cheapest meat was somewhere around $6 or $7 a pound. Be grateful you don't live in Santa Barbara. They charge more for everything here. It's like when you go to India and you pay tourist prices. When you live in Santa Barbara you pay rich people's prices.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


I guess what happened to me on Saturday was some kind of dehydration and electrolyte thing. I've since been taking potassium, magnesium and iodine supplements plus even eating salt poured into my hand. Along with lots of extra water, I'm starting to feel pretty good now. I was able to power-walk at lunch today without any weakness. I think I felt at about 95% of normal functioning. Normal being pre-low carb. Maybe I will do okay on my backpack trip later this month and my Ultimate hike in December.

I've never experienced anything like that before. I've become hyponatremic and dehydrated lots of times while hiking. It kind of comes with the territory when you live and hike in So Cal. But nothing like what happened on Saturday, the way it creeped up on me little by little during the week before, then blasted me on Saturday and took until Thursday to feel better.

I finally got a pair of Altra Lone Peak trail running shoes. I've been waiting a long time for them to design, build and sell these things. Sadly, they're actually too narrow for me. But they fit better than most running shoes so I didn't send them back. We'll see if I can hike in them or not this weekend. They were great on my power-walk today. A nice combination of minimalism and non-minimalism.