A Change of Plans


Last weekend I was supposed to finally go on my two day trip but I got food poisoning so I had to post pone to this weekend! But now it looks like Strawberry Meadow is going to be completely snowed in… I had two options of either postponing it another weekend or choosing somewhere new.  Since I don’t know if the weather is going to be better by next weekend so I think I’m just going to be spontaneous and try to find a new place…


UPDATE:  I am going to go back to Joshua Tree. Since I won’t be close to home and my parents can’t just drop me off, dad will be joining me. I’ll be on my own with carrying my own stuff and taking care of myself, but it will be nice to have his company. We are going to go on the California Riding and Hiking Trail: Covington Flat to Keys View, Quail Mountain which looks like it will be about 9 miles roundtrip and will end at the top of Quail Mountain.  This route also incorporates cross country hiking which means I’ll get to use more of my new navigational skills. Also, since Joshua Tree is a desert, there isn’t any source of water on our route which means we will have to bring our own water which will add a lot of weight. However, we won’t need to bring water filtration anymore.


Finalizing my gear list

Above is everything that is going to make up part of my pack weight, which includes everything except food and water.  Some steps I took to cut down on weight was switching from a five pound tent to a 350 gram tarp and brought dehydrated food.  

A day on Pixie Rock

Topping out on “Who’s First” (5.6)  – photo by Geoff Albert

So I know the whole reason we went to Joshua Tree was to test equipment but in reality I could have done that in my backyard.  The real, real reason I wanted to go to Joshua Tree was to go rock climbing! My dad used to go rock climbing all the time when I was little and I’ve always wanted to try it.  Two things: It’s so unbelievably fun but it is so much harder than it looks.  I took a seven hour class which at the time seemed a little excessive but I was excited and nervous.  It’s crazy how much you can learn in seven hours.  I thought we would only learn basic bouldering and nothing really scary or tall. However we not only covered bouldering but also moved on to top rope climbing. The first time I tried the top rope climbing I was terrified.  My first couple attempts I made it to the top but they were stressful and frustrating.  I decided that I was glad I had tried it but that maybe rock climbing just wasn’t for me. I opted out of trying the final, most difficult climb of the day however I had a last minute change of heart and decided I would only do half of it.  Except for the first time, something clicked.  Suddenly I wasn’t nervous anymore, I could think clearly, I knew where to go. I was actually having fun. Even though it was the hardest climb of the day, it was my fastest time and my cleanest. After ending on that note, I’m really excited to go out and try some more climbing.

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Testing out the gear in JT

Tucked in at Indian Cove in Joshua Tree Natl Park

Cold seems to be a theme with me >.<


We went to Joshua Tree!!! I’ve never been before and it’s so amazing. The mountains were so cool! Over the hundreds of thousands of millions of years the wind has eroded the mountains leaving behind rock formations that are pretty much just huge granite boulders.  The other thing I had always heard loads about Joshua Tree were how amazing the stars look at night. I love stars and astronomy has always been an interest of mine so getting to camp out under the stars without a tent was astonishing.  I got to see constellations and even planets that I never get to see in Pasadena due to the light pollution. The stars were so bright you could move around our campsite without a headlamp.


Even though the stars and rock formations were stunning the practical reason we went to Joshua Tree was to test out our backpacking equipment!  I wanted to test and practice with certain items like my sleeping bag, camp stove, and Esbit cubes. I wanted to make sure that I would be warm enough in my sleeping bag, a long sleeve, and tights because the conditions at Joshua Tree were supposed to be similar to when I do my trip. They were definitely not warm enough! I could barely sleep all night because I was so cold.  But now I know that I need to find warmer clothing for the night.


My dad and I also decided to have a mini competition between Esbit cubes and our IsoButane to see the difference between weight and how long they took to boil water.  The Esbit cubes are squares of hexamine which when set on fire can be used as a stove. The cubes are lighter than the butane burner but ended up taking much longer to heat water.  For my backpacking trip I think I’ll carry the little extra weight and take the IsoButane burner.

I have a route!


Strawberry Peak. It looks like a Strawberry on its side, maybe?


Get Dropped off at Red Box and hike to the meadow
Hike from the meadow and get picked up at Switzer
Full Route on Gaia GPS/ Cal Topo

If you’ve the title of this blog post, you’ll know that I have a route! I am planing on going on about a 10 mile, 2 day trip.  I was originally planning on doing a slightly longer trip but due to the fact that I’ve never gone backing or hiked that long carrying almost ⅕ of my body weight I thought it would be best to start with something a little less daunting.  On the first day, I plan to get dropped off at Red Box in the San Gabriel* mountains then hike from there to Strawberry Meadows which circumnavigates Strawberry Peak.  On the first the day I will travel about 4.7 miles with an 877 foot elevation gain.  On the second day, I will continue with about 535 feet of climbing and another 4.7 miles to Switzer Falls which where I will be picked up! Also, an advantage of this route is that  due to snow melt I won’t have to carry much water because I can just filter the water available which will cut down my pack weight considerably.