Angeles National Forest

Thank You Veterans.

What better way to celebrate Veterans Day than heading into the wilderness for a hike with friends and Betty the TurboPUP

Driving up a very dreary and moody Hwy 2, we cleared the cloud cover at around 6000' to a perfect Fall day in the Angeles National Forest. With cool temps, blue skies and not another person in site we headed out on the Mt Waterman trail. Over the next 8.5 miles there was lots of friendly conversation, but also quiet as we soaked in the beauty around us. I enjoyed the time to reflect and started thinking about it being Veterans Day.

Almost exactly a month ago on October 10, 2014 this area became part of the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. We are lucky to live in country where preserving and protecting wilderness areas like these is a priority.  Lucky to live in a country not in war, where we can wake up and feel safe to go about our daily lives. We have this this security due to the men and women who serve in the armed forces risking their lives to afford us this luxury.

In honor of Veterans Day I would like to give a special thank you to 3 special veterans. 

The first is Stacy Bare. I have never met someone more committed to getting people outdoors. As Director of Sierra Club Outdoors this is his job, but he goes above and beyond inspiring others and taking a first-hand role in making sure that fellow veterans are getting to experience the magic of the country they fought to protect. As a 2014 National Geographic Adventurer, The North Face Ambassador and a regular blogger on the Huffington Post he tirelessly works to share with others the importance of getting outdoors. I am honored to call him a friend and mentor. Here is his story.


Next up... Kristina Guerrero, Founder and CEO of TurboPUP. Aside from having an infectious smile, great laugh, and an obvious passion for our 4-legged friends, Kristina is a decorated US Air Force Veteran. She currently is the mastermind behind Betty's favorite trail snack and backpacking food, the TurboPUP bar! These bars are a complete meal replacement bar for dogs using premium, human-grade ingredients in a convenient waterproof package perfect for hitting the trail. Leave the kibble at home and bring TurboPUP bars. We are thrilled to be a part of the TurboPUP Team supporting this Veteran Owned Business! 

The final thank you goes to my brother-in-law Lt Commander James Tilden who is spending his Veterans Day serving his country overseas. We are so proud of him and lucky to have him in our lives. A special shout out to his wife, Nicole, and the families of all who serve and have served.




Happy Veterans Day to all of our servicemen and servicewomen... thank you.

3 Rules for Creating a Perfect Weekend

We have 3 days! Where should we go? What should we do? As Memorial Day weekend was approaching I was heading into planning mode. We needed to take advantage of the long weekend... should we head to Joshua Tree? Maybe the Sierra? Road trip down to San Diego, how about up to Santa Barbara? Should we go backpacking or car camp? Hike, climb or both? Dogs coming or dogs staying?

Icehouse Canyon to Ontario Peak

We headed back up Icehouse Canyon today to venture onto Ontario Peak. On the way up we saw over a dozen people coming down after spending the night to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. Unfortunately it peaks tomorrow night so the campers only saw a couple of meteors. We also met a boy scout troop on the way up to Icehouse Saddle. Troop #652

TRAIL SHOUT OUT! We want to congratulate Troop #652 for not only getting to Icehouse saddle, but making their way on to Cucamonga Peak! We hope you all had a great day in the mountains.

We then made our way onto Ontario Peak. I was not feeling great so I hung out Kelly Camp and made friend with a tree to nap under while Jason and Paul headed up to the peak.  They found a nifty treasure and are starting  a new outdoor photo trend in honor of John Muir, "Muiring". We would love to you a pic of you in nature "Muiring" so post them to our FB page if you are so inclined!

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Both guys said the peak was great!

Cucamonga Peak & a Mohawk

Great day hiking to Cucamonga Peak via the Ice House Canyon Trail with our friend Jason. We are all training for upcoming trips. This was just what we needed - 12 miles round trip.... Great weather... Beautiful scenery... Good day! TRAIL SHOUT OUT- thanks to Mike and Mohawk for the great company on the way down from the saddle.








Vincent Gap to Mt Baden-Powell was inReach!

Yesterday was one of those Sundays that make going back to work today hard because it was so much fun!![gallery type="slideshow" ids="482,483,484,485,486,487,488,489,490,491,492,493,494,495,496,497,498,499,500,501"] Our Mt Whitney trip is right around the corner and we needed to get in a good training hike this weekend. We took a friends recommendation to hike Mt Baden Powell which offers almost 3000 feet of climbing in 4 miles (8 miles round trip) following along the Pacific Coast Trail! The hike starts at the Vincent Gap Trailhead Parking area on Hwy 2 about 15 minutes outside of Wrightwood. Having never done the hike before we wanted to get an early start and were the first ones to hit the trail at 8am. Some preliminary research on the hike had mentioned 41 infamous switchbacks to the top so we started counting immediately. The first couple miles of trail is in great condition but there were a few place where you had to cross some patches of snow. About a mile up is a cool bench with a great view. You go through different kinds of trees and forests making for a beautiful hike. After switchback 17 or 18... cant remember exactly... the trail ended in snow with no clear way to tell which way it went. We opted for up which gave us good practice for kick stepping and using our snow travel skills. We had definitely lost the trail and having never been here before were not 100% which way we were join so up seemed like a good choice because we knew that we had to get higher. At one point we saw a flash of red going down a ridge to our right, it was a trail runner who had passed us on the way up earlier. We crossed the snow slope towards where we saw her and discovered an easy to follow use-trail leading up the ridge. At the top of the ridge we found the false summit, but could easily see and find the trail over to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell. The 360 degree views from the Mojave Desert back toward Los Angeles were amazing. The hike down was MUCH easier going (1:20 shorter than the way up)!

TRAIL SHOUT OUTS! - On the way down we met a super nice couple of Aussies hiking the PCT, they have already covered Washington, Oregon and Northern California. Each year spend their vacation over here doing sections of the PCT... in case you run into them their PCT trail names are "Ken & Barbie". We also met a cool family from Tustin. They had two super happy and friendly dogs and two kids who are definitely AdventurUs peeps as they had already hike a few miles and a couple of 1000'! One of the things we love about hiking and the outdoors is the people we meet. If you meet us on the trail you will probably get a sticker and a shout out too!

The trip up took a little longer than expected due to the snow and because we were having a bit of fun. As part of the Backpacker Magazine Whitney Climb we have been asked to test a new product from Delorme, the inReachSE. It is a 2-way satellite communication device. It allows you to send & receive text messages from remote, and not so remote places, and anyone can track you on the site. You can see an example of our hike at

Ironically our hikes are usually Paul leading and me playing catch up as I stop to take pictures. This time Paul was catching up to me as he was taking most of the pictures for the blog and he had the inReachSE sending up dates to our friends and family. The first time he had a chance to interact with the inReachSE was on the drive to the hike. He added some contacts and was ready to go. Sending texts and using the device was very easy and intuitive. We probably "over communicated" on this first go as we were so excited about it. He was sending updates from the inReachSE and I was posting to the AdventurUs FB page from my iPhone that was paired to the inReachSE. It was really fun to send out a message from the summit saying we made it and getting excited replies back from friends and people following us.

There are still a few things we need to figure out, but we are SUPER excited about this new device. Not only does it give our family peace of mind to know what we are up to and where... "Starting hike" "At the summit" "Heading back down" "Made it to the car safely", but for the first time my parents in Washington state were able to "see" what we were up to on one of our weekend adventures. I talked to my dad after and I don't think I have ever heard my dad say "awesome" so many times in one conversation or that was "so fricken cool!" We can't wait to have this for our upcoming Whitney climb so that people can follow along. There is also a handy SOS emergency function that sends in Search and Rescue... but I hope we never have to test this feature. :)

Review: Black Diamond WoolWeight Glove


As far as wool versus synthetic, I usually go to synthetic for base layers and the like, but lately I was searching for a good mid-weight glove for use while hiking in the winter, enter the Black Diamond WoolWeight glove. First, I did size up for these gloves, the other Black Diamond gloves I have are size large (except my over mitts), but after trying on a pair I went for the extra large, it was the right choice, it helped with the dexterity I was after. But truly where these gloves shine is how quick they dry and the comfort they provide during hiking efforts.

I wore these on a snow shoe day hike on Mt. Watermann in the Angeles National Forest with Saveria and our WTC class. At the first rest stop I was adjusting my snow shoes and I was easily able to deal with the straps but my gloves did get covered in snow, they felt damp on the outside but my hands were still warm. We began to hike, and the next time I checked my gloves were dry.

The next I wore these as my main gloves was on a three day snow camp in the Sierras. Again the range of these gloves was perfect, from hiking during the day to cold 20 degree nights.

I love gloves and finding the perfect ones for a specific situation is always a fun challenge.  These a great all arounders that pack small and cover a big range.

Snow Travel With WTC

Last Sunday, Saveria and I and our entire Sierra Club WTC Group 4  should have played the lotto, because we were lucky enough to be living the perfect Southern California life. On Saturday we were able to hike and snow shoe in a true winter wonderland in our backyard playground, The Angeles National Forest and enjoying beach weather on Sunday. IMG_3408

The week before our scheduled hike the weather was warm and our snow travel day was looking dry, but then right on cue Wednesday evening it stormed and poured and then poured some more, but up at 7000 ft. that rain was turning into wonderful snow.

It was a perfect day Saveria and I, the leaders and all the students had a fantastic time exploring the winter wonderland. The Mt Waterman area proved to be perfect for our hike. We spent some time getting used to trekking in snow shoes for awhile then moved on to some snow travel techniques, especially the plunge step which is one of my favorite things to do. There has not been a ton of snow locally, so getting out to sharpen our snow travel skills for our upcoming Mt. Whitney trip have been limited and this was perfect for our training. We covered side steps, front pointing, changing direction, and descending, the plunge step as I said. We are just over a month out until our big climb and things are going well with our cardio and weight programs,  this chance to get some good snow practice was just what we needed.

Next step for the WTC class is our three day snow camp in the Sierra's. I think this incredible day in the mountains and snow created a lot of excitement and confidence, more time at altitude and valuable training time in the snow for our upcoming trip....stay tuned for the report back from snow camp.

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