Sunday, July 1, 2007

Marble Mountain Wilderness - PCT

In the summer of 2007, I went with my good friend Luke and my dad on a three-night backpack along the Pacific Crest Trail in the Marble Mountain Wilderness.  One great thing about the route from Etna Summit to Lovers Camp is that you don't have to earn your elevation and accompanying views.  The trail starts high and stays between 6,000' and 6,600' for most of the next twenty miles.

I'm writing this five years after doing the hike, so I will keep details to a minimum and let the photos and map below speak for themselves.  We stayed the first night st Shelly Lake, the second night above Summit Lake (with a trip down to swim briefly in its frigid waters), and the third night at Lower Sky High Lake.  We'd intended to day-hike up to the summit of Black Marble Mountain but opted instead to relax at the lake before taking our time heading down the Sky High Valley to our car.

The coolest part about this hike for me (besides the swimming, hehe get it?) was seeing newts!  I think they were California Newts appropriately enough and it was awesome watching them swim lazily down to nibble plants on the pond bottom and then up to the surface for air exposing their bright orange bellies.

Pops making sure we are still on track

California Newt, Marble Mountain Wilderness
Newt!

Chipmunk on Tree, Marble Mountain Wilderness
Chipmunk and that moss that never comes out in photos but looks awesome

California Newts, Marble Mountain Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail
More Newts!

Marble Mountain Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail

Deer on Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California
Crazed Deer Ate Something Wrong

Snow on Trail in Marble Mountain Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail
Ok, the trail wasn't entirely easy going

Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, Northern California hikes and backpacks outdoors

Newt close-up!

Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California
Even back then I couldn't grow a real beard.


Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California
There was still some elevation change 


Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California

Pacific Crest Trail, Marble Mountain Wilderness, California, lazy, John Chamberlin Black Marble Mountain
Who wants to climb Black Marble Mountain?


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big Bend National Park

I've been to Big Bend three times now and hope to go again soon.  For Arkansans, this is one of the closer big National Parks.  Spring Break is a great time to visit since the big parks out west are still buried in snow and the Texas desert can be miserable in the summer.  

The first time I went, I went on a memorable backpacking trip with my dad around the Chisos to the Southwest Rim.  We spent the first night in Boot Canyon where there is a seasonal spring that is popular with the local mountain lions and then made our way to the rim the next day.  The sheer dropoff and bleak desert scenery below make for an incredible view.   

The park has many other interesting features including deep canyons, the Rio Grande, springs, old mines,  numerous species of cacti, and tinajas.  I have yet to see the famous javelinas but hope you get to!


South Rim, Big Bend, Chisos Range
South Rim

Bird, Big Bend National Park


Canyon, Big Bend National Park

Sunset, Big Bend National Park

Blooming Cacti, Big Bend National Park

South Rim View, Big Bend, Chisos Range
View From Rim

Boot Canyon Campground, Big Bend National Park Texas
Boot Canyon

South Rim, Big Bend, Chisos Range John Chamberlin Johnnie
View From Rim

Deer at Big Bend National Park


Stars at Big Bend, Dark Sky Superstar

Elephant Tusk, Big Bend National Park
Elephant Tusk

Ernst Tinaja, Big Bend National Park
Ernst Tinaja

Headlamp, long-term exposure art. Big Bend National Park fun
Fun With Headlamps and Long Exposures

Rio Grande

View from Emory Peak, Big Bend National Park, Texas
View from Emory Peak



 
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