hike La Luz Trail, New Mexico

Marc Witkes posting to Inside Outside Magazine on the best trail out of Albuquerque:

And of the many ways to enjoy the Sandias, my favorite is running or hiking up the La Luz trail and taking the Sandia Peak Tramway down.

… The trail begins at 6,559 feet elevation, skirts a residential area for two miles, climbs 800 feet, turns east and descends to the junction of La Luz trail. A “5 mile” sign marks the beginning of a series of 19 switchbacks, many of which are cut through rocky sections made up of layers of shale and limestone. At the Y near the top of the trail, turn right and proceed to the top terminal and High Finance Restaurant (10,378 feet elevation).

While moving up La Luz Trail, you’ll notice dramatically different weather patterns and topographical features. There are four different climatic zones in the Sandias. The Upper Sonoran Zone lies at approximately 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation, the Transition Zone at 7,000 to 8,000 feet, the Canadian Zone at 8,000 to 10,000 feet and Hudsonian Zone above 10,000 feet. In layman terms, you’ll start in the desert, travel through a wet area and finish in a spectacular alpine setting. Because of these transitional zones, taking off and putting on your jacket, gloves and hat is a common occurrence.

None of this matters that much as you struggle with a shortness of breath while climbing trail sections with a 12-percent grade, but try to pay attention. Juniper, pinion, Gambel and Gray oak, aspen, Douglas and corkback fir, Englemann spruce and limber pine, all quake along the trail. Wildflowers also rage from May to August.

La Luz trail is open year round with the best time to visit in the spring and fall. In summer, temperatures are hot. In winter, you’ll need snowshoes and hiking poles.

Inside Outside Magazine

If you want to make the trip yourself, click over to Backpacker’s Review for logistics – LA LUZ TRAIL – CIBOLA NATIONAL FOREST (8 MILES)

 

 

Resurrection Pass Trail, Kenai, Alaska

The 38-mile Resurrection Pass Trail through the Kenai Mountains is by far the most popular multi-day backcountry route in Southcentral Alaska. Ideal for backpackers and mountain bikers—and a great destination for skiers and snowshoers during snow season—the trail links historic gold mining areas near Hope with a trailhead near Cooper Landing close to the Kenai River.

It is a true classic, drawing hundreds of visitors over the entire year. Many Alaskans return annually—often taking at least five days to traverse the route. …

You have two options for accommodations on multi-day trips: rent cabins or carry a tent.  …

If you want to hike from one end to the other, you need to set up a shuttle or book a trip on a local trail taxi. …

The Kenai Mountains feature prime brown bear habitat, and the forests abound with black bears. So take all the usual precautions—including storing food in bear lockers or portable vaults, keeping a clean camp and carrying bear spray for deterrence. Make noise and pay attention. Hikers regularly report encounters with or catch sight of both species. Having said that, the trail gets regular human traffic and does not have a reputation for unusual bear problems.

Mid-June through early September is the window.

Kraig Adams expanded on the standard route. And put together a video which reveals the massive landscape very well.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

(via Adventure Blog)

Ausangate Circuit, Peru – Aug 2018

Our friends at Travel2Walk posted an excellent independent trip report and video from one of our top 10 hikes in the world.

It’s gotten a LOT more popular since we were there in 2005.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

AT A GLANCE

Peru
Peru
  • circle the sacred Ausangate massif (6372m, 20,905ft), the highest peak in southern Peru
  • 4 high passes between 4757m – 5165m!
  • 70km (43.5mi) plus sidetrips
  • almost everyone does Ausangate with a guide, but it’s quite doable independently if you are acclimated 
  • many options to extend this trek
  • best months are the May-September dry season
  • Tinqui is 5-8 hours now only about 3.5hrs by bus on a new road, about 100km S.E. of Cusco
  • sidetrip to the “rainbow mountains” of Vinicunca

glacier

To learn more, click over to our Ausangate information page.

Related – Cam Honan – Ausangate Circuit: Independent Hiker’s Guide

John Muir was a racist

Michael Brune for the Sierra Club:

Muir was not immune to the racism peddled by many in the early conservation movement. He made derogatory comments about Black people and Indigenous peoples that drew on deeply harmful racist stereotypes, though his views evolved later in his life. …

Other early Sierra Club members and leaders — like Joseph LeConte and David Starr Jordan — were vocal advocates for white supremacy and its pseudo-scientific arm, eugenics. …

For all the harms the Sierra Club has caused, and continues to cause, to Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, I am deeply sorry. I know that apologies are empty unless accompanied by a commitment to change. I am making that commitment, publicly, right now. …

… we are redesigning our leadership structure so that Black, Indigenous, and other leaders of color at the Sierra Club make up the majority of the team making top-level organizational decisions. We will initiate similar changes to elevate the voices and experiences of staff of color across the organization. …

Pulling Down Our Monuments

I commend the Sierra Club for taking action to make outdoor adventure more welcoming to everyone.

Of course it’s not entirely fair to measure the racism of John Muir by today’s standards. For his time, Muir was comparatively enlightened. And did far more good than bad for all hikers.

His story reminds me of the racism of Mark Twain.

I still support the good works of Muir and Twain.  But let’s not put up any more statues to either.

(via Adventure Blog)

 

 

 

The wonderful Otter Trail, South Africa

msmap

AT A GLANCE

  • South AfricaTsitsikamma National Park
  • 42km
  • 5 days, 4 nights
  • clean huts, no tent needed
  • permits are difficult to get as only 12 hikers start each day. December and Easter holidays are highest demand.
  • Recommended to book 12 months in advance. (Because folks book so early, it’s often possible to get a last minute cancellation spot.)

Deborah Schäfer and Hugo Vincent posted a lovely trip report on the Arcteryx blog.

They loved it.  But warn us of the dangers crossing the bigger rivers such as the Lottering and the Bloukrans.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

On the other hand, we’re advised to bring a bathing suit as there are plenty of fresh water and salt water opportunities en route.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

It’s one of our top 10 coastal hiking trails in the world.

Hugo Vincent, South Africa, Otter Trail

If you want to organize it for yourself, check our Otter Trail information page.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD battery

Though I’m now bikepacking with solar, to be SURE I’ve got enough juice to get my devices through a weekend hike I’ve also purchased the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W.

This is the largest portable battery currently allowed for airline carry-on baggage.

26800mAh of power charges most phones over 7 times, tablets at least 2 times or notebooks at least once.

There are two parts: battery and USB-C wall charger.

Charging devices from a wall socket (including the battery) is claimed to be up to 3x faster.

On longer cycling trips when I’m carrying a laptop, this unit IS powerful enough to recharge a MacBook Pro. That will help me keep up-to-date with photos, video and trip reports.