Climbing The Stawamus Chief-Squamish BC

On June 9th, we drove north up the Sea to Sky Highway from West Vancouver to Squamish to hike The Stawamus Chief, well known for its climbing and hiking trails. It was a beautiful sunny day with brilliant blue sky, affording spectacular views of the coast and Howe Sound. Arriving at Shannon Falls Provincial Park around 10:30am we began our hike from the base of the falls. Shannon Falls is composed of series of cliffs, rising 1100ft, making it the third largest falls in the province. The hike to the First Peak was through the beautiful forest of Hemlocks and Douglas Firs, and then ascending steep rocky cliffs to the top, at (610m) 2001ft. We enjoyed wonderful 360 degree views of the mountains and Howe Sound below. Back to the trail we continued on to the Second Peak with even steeper rocky cliffs where we used chains and ladders to help pull us up the cliff face. On the Second Peak at (655m) 2150ft, we stayed and ate lunch with the chipmunks who would not leave me alone, and took in the wonderful views. Then it was on to the Third Peak, passing by a rock ledge where the climbers rappel down hundreds of feet to the base of the mountain. The Third Peak at (702m) 2300ft, was the final peak, and we could see Mt Garibaldi rising high above the valley covered in clouds, and great views of Squamish nestled at the end of Howe Sound. Continue reading

Lake Tahoe

May 17th, Saturday, we hit the road for Carson City, Nevada and stayed at the Comstock Country RV Resort for two nights. The next day, May 18th we drove in the jeep, (R BEAST), only a 30 minute drive to Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, it’s depth is 1,645 ft making it the second deepest lake in the US after Crater Lake, and it never freezes. It is known for its clear fresh water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. Lake Tahoe has a surface elevation of 6,225 ft, located along the border between CA and Nevada, west of Carson City. The drive around the lake was breathtaking with mountain vistas and panoramic lake views. We stopped for lunch in Tahoe City on the west side, called “Jakes on the Lake”. Continue reading

Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park

After leaving Mammoth and the June Lake loop we drove route 120 to the Tioga Pass, 9,943 ft; a mountain pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the highest highway pass in CA. It serves as the eastern entrance for Yosemite National Park during the summer months. Tioga is named after Tioga Mine, and Tioga is named for an Iroquois term meaning “where it forks.” It was a spectacular winding road with amazing mountain views all the way over the pass. At Olmsted Point lookout we had our first view of Half Dome in the distance. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft above the valley floor and is a spectacular sight to see from a distance. Continue reading

Convict Lake Near Bishop CA

May 14th…Finally back on the road again. We left San Diego and drove north to Bishop, CA on Hwy 395 which was beautiful, no traffic and spectacular scenery. This is what RVing is all about!

We stayed at the Highlands RV Park in Bishop. On the morning of May 15th we started the day at Erick Schat’s Bakkery, a must stop in Bishop, home of the original Sheepherder bread since 1907. Then we drove north to Convict Lake where we hiked the 3 mile loop around the lake. It was a beautiful hike, the lake is surrounded by mountains standing majestic against the bright blue sky and reflected in the calm waters of the lake. A few fishermen were floating on the lake in boats waiting for the strike of their line. The lake is stocked once a week during the summer with rainbow trout. When we finished the hike we read the signs on how the lake got its name. Back in 1871 a group of convicts escaped from prison in Carson City. A posse encountered the convicts near the head of what is now Convict Creek. From here we drove north to Mammoth Lakes where we stopped again at Schat’s and bought sandwiches for lunch. From here we drove to June Lake and drove the June Lake Loop Road. Continue reading

Trek Day 3- Exploring Khumjung and Khunde

Climb up to Everest View Hotel

Today is a ‘rest day’, we are staying in Namche for another night to help with our acclimatization. So far everyone is feeling great with no headaches or altitude sickness. So on our ‘rest day’ we hiked up another 1300 feet to The Hotel Everest View situated at 12,400 feet in the Sagarmatha National Park and is the highest located hotel in the world and commands a spectacular view of Mt Everest and many other awe-inspiring peaks including the most beautiful mountain on this planet Ama Dablam. Most of the hotel’s clientele arrive by helicopter from Kathmandu for 2or 3 days to enjoy the view of Mt Everest. We hiked straight up along the edge of a mountain with a steep drop off into the valley below. The views looking back to Namche were spectacular the higher up we climbed. You cannot see the hotel until you are almost there. Hidden on a ridge overlooking Mt Everest, Lhotse, Ama Dablam, Thamserku and Tawoche, the hotel blends gracefully with its surrounding. We sat on the deck of the hotel and ate chips and drank ginger tea while we enjoyed the spectacular view of the mountains. Continue reading

Trek Day 1-Lukla to Monju

April 17th. Our Epic Trek begins, flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, where most people start their trek to Everest Base Camp and to the summit. At the Kathmandu Airport we boarded a small plane with single rows of seats on either side, and we were told to sit on the left side for the best views of Mt Everest and the Himalayan range. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport also known as Lukla Airport – the most extreme and dangerous airport in Nepal , is the world’s scariest airport. And we were going to land there in about 35 minutes. The runway is 1506 x 66 feet with a 12% gradient. The elevation of the airport is 9,200 feet. At its southern end is a 2,000 foot drop into a valley and the northern end a stone wall and hairpin turn. Luckily for us the weather was perfect and our pilot landed the plane without incident. We could feel the difference in the air as soon as we stepped off the plane and walked up to a small tea house for breakfast. All our bags, and there was a lot of them, were collected from the plane and distributed among the porters who were carrying them to our next stop. A few expedition bags for Kevin and Brad went straight up to Base Camp. The trek starts right in Lukla following the stone pathway between the buildings. There are no vehicles in the Khumbu Region, only yaks, donkeys, cows and a few horses for transportation. From Lukla we descended 1,500 feet to the Dudh Kosi (River of Milk). We passed through several small villages before stopping for lunch at Thado Koshi with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, as we sat outside eating our meal of Dal Bhat veg curry and ginger tea. Continue reading

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is the capitol and largest urban agglomerate of Nepal. Kathmandu metropolis alone has 5.2 million inhabitants. The streets were crowded with bikers, autos, buses and pedestrians hurrying to-n-fro in all directions. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 4,600 ft. in the bowl shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. Kathmandu is the gateway to the tourism in Nepal, and it’s economy is focused on tourism, sometimes called the ” third religion” of Nepal. The city has a rich history spanning nearly 2000 years. Religious and cultural festivities form a major part of the lives of the people residing in Kathmandu, most of the people follow Hinduism and many Buddhism. Continue reading

Trip to Nepal

Sunday, April 13th, the day has arrived when we leave for Nepal to hike to Everest Base Camp while Kevin continues his journey to summit Mt Everest. Bob and I leave Santee around 9am and drive the rental car into Del Mar to pick up Kevin and his four bags of gear. We had to rent an SUV to fit all the bags and the three of us in for the drive to LAX. We said farewell to Ericka, Harper, Linda and Panda and took off for LA arriving in plenty of time to catch our 4:20pm flight to Kuala Lumpur, 10 1/2 hours with a stop off in Tokyo. We met Brad Horn and his friend, Brad Holcroft from Brisbane, in Kuala Lumpur and we all got on the plane to Kathmandu, arriving at 11:30am on Tuesday, April 15th, having missed Monday all together. The highlight of our flight to Kathmandu was the great view of Mt Everest rising above the clouds. What an amazing mountain and to think that climbers are actually able to to reach the summit, standing on top of the world! Continue reading

Painted and Ladder Canyons, Mecca CA

On Wednesday, March 26th, after saying farewell to Rick and Lynn Hannay, the four of us, Bob, Ralph and Dawn White and myself, climbed into the jeep and headed out on another hike to Mecca Hills and the Painted Canyon. We arrived at the end of a dirt road to the trailhead around noon and started up the Painted Canyon. Not long into the hike the trail turned a sharp left into what looked like a huge rock face, fortunately there were people coming out of the canyon so we headed in up the Ladder Canyon, named becauswe there are ladders that you have to ascend and descend through the slot canyon. As we climbed are way up through the canyon it became very narrow with steep rock walls jutting up about 100 feet on either side. Once we arrived at the summit we had a great 360 degree view of the painted mountains surrounding us. Continue reading

Indian Canyons, Palm Springs CA

On March 23 we joined Ralph and Dawn White along with Bob Ogilvie to spend a day hiking in the Indian Canyons area. As early as the 1890’s Palm Springs and the surrounding area have been described as a recreation oasis, the Indian Canyons are listed in the National Register Historic Places. Palm Canyon the area we chose to hike is considered the world’s largest California Fan Palm Oasis. Palm Canyon is 15 miles long and its indigenous flora and fauna are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. We started on the moderately graded, foot path winding through the palm trees, the trail ascended up over some rocky bluffs to a view of the surrounding mountains. It was very hot but we continued on to Fern Canyon and finally stopped for a lunch break under more palm trees. After 9 very hot miles we made it back to the Trading Post at Palm Canyon. Continue reading