Before purchasing a GPS device and/or a locator beacon, consider the new inReach Explorer from Delorme.
This past weekend marked our last chance for a long training hike before our Whitney climb beginning the 18th. We wanted some distance some elevation and some different scenery, we get stuck on our favorite hikes and have vowed this year to branch out on our weekly hikes. I had never done Ice House Canyon before, Saveria had done it in winter as a snowshoe but it was the first time for both of us in dry conditions. We roped in our trusty mountain partner Adam and dragged him out at 6 am to get to the trail head for a 7 am leave, with a snooze or two we were on the trail by 7:30. The day was amazing and it was our second big test with the fantastic new Delorme inReachSE. We had packed our full kit for Whitney and headed to the saddle, 3.5 miles with about 2000 feet gain getting to about 7600ft. We got there in pretty good time so we headed out a little further towards Cucamonga Peak. We climbed up to about 8300 ft. and then had some sandwiches, courtesy of Adam, his pack was smaller so we guilted him to carry our lunch. We turned around due to a time constraint because I had a bourbon tasting that evening, so we turned around and back at the saddle.
TRAIL SHOUT OUT: Back at the saddle we met a nice couple from Hollywood and Mt. Washington. Saveria handed out some stickers and so we give our trail shout out to these two who had hiked up from Chapman.
We are now supposed to be ready for Whitney. We are currently in Lone Pine getting ready for our climb tomorrow. We will be posting updates from the trail on our Facebook page.
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 https://share.delorme.com site. You can see an example of our hike at https://share.delorme.com/SaveriaPaulTilden
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. :)