Spring in Bloom

Pollination, originally uploaded by jcarter.

Spring is in full bloom in San Diego. These red flowers appeared on a tree in our backyard over the past week. Each bristle is covered in yellow pollen, no doubt partly to blame for my periodic allergy outbreaks this week.

A Vacation in Aruba

Afterglow, originally uploaded by jcarter.

We just got back from a week in Aruba. We had a great time; plenty of excellent diving, good food, and naps each afternoon.

Aruba was nice, but more westernized than we expected and not adventurous enough for what could possibly be our last hurrah before children. It’s probably a great place for families looking for a safe tropical vacation where everyone speaks English and uses the Dollar.

I’m not complaining though. A week on the beach and underwater is better than almost any other week I could think of.

Mt. San Jacinto Hike

Ryan and I went on a camping trip this weekend and tagged the peak of Mt. San Jacinto.

We decided to go light on this trip, with no tent and minimal clothes. We survived and learned a lot for next time.

Mt. San Jacinto is in Southern California, just south of Palm Springs. We summited from the south via the Deer Springs trail and Wellmans Divide. I used the Tom Harrison San Jacinto Wilderness Trail Map, but it appears to be out of print. You may be able to find it at REI or you could also try the Wilderness Press San Bernardino Mountains Map.

We started our hike at the trailhead just north of Idyllwild on Route 243. Stop at the state park HQ on 243 in Idyllwild for more directions and to get any permits you need. If you start at 4-5pm during daylight savings time, it’s possible to make the first campsite at Strawberry Junction before nightfall. The hike from Strawberry Junction to Wellman Divide has amazing views of Strawberry Valley and Tahquitz Peak across the valley. These views are why I prefer this route to the San Jacinto peak.

It is possible to hike from the Strawberry Junction campground to the top of San Jacinto and back down to the trailhead and your car in one day. This is quite a difficult hike though. If you want to take it easy, summit on day two and spend your second night in Round Valley or Tamarack Valley campgrounds. This also give you the option to hike to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a well-deserved dinner and beer after coming down from the summit.

I’ve done this hike twice, in March and late August, and have found running water both times along the section between Strawberry Junction and Wellman Divide. I recommend bringing a pump / filter, similar to this one from MSR, because your only water may be in standing pools that are quite dirty.

It’s possible to summit in one day by taking the Palm Springs Tram to Long Valley. Ryan and I consider that cheating, though, and we will award you no points.

Anza Borrego Weekend

The San Diego Crew had a desert weekend a few weeks ago. Highlights included navigating through the Anza Borrego wilderness, exploring mud caves, surviving Diablo Dropoff and the subsequent boulder-strewn canyon, watching a Jeep flip and re-flipping it while gas was pouring out of the tank, and raising hell at the Lazy Lizard and Iron Door. Only a few pictures made it through all the craziness.

Diablo Dropoff

My 30th Birthday

This past weekend I was treated to a fantastic birthday surprise – a four hour trip around Mission Bay in a rented pontoon boat. Here are some pictures from the day.

The Birthday Boy

Hiking Lawson Peak

In October 2005, I hiked to the top of Lawson Peak in San Diego County. Here are a few pictures from that trip.

Atop Lawson Peak