All posts by ngatel

Mt. San Jacinto Cheat Sheet

View of Mt. San Jacinto from our house

Confession Time

I’ve been cheating. Actually I’ve been cheating for a long time. You see, for decades I’ve been taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to the mountains; mostly in the summer and winter. I do it so often; I have an annual pass, which currently costs $160 per year.

San Jacinto Mountains

This mountain range is about 30 miles long and is in close proximity to the San Bernardino Mountains and Santa Rosa Mountains (a.k.a. you can walk to either range from the San Jacinto’s). Much of the area is designated State and Federal Wilderness Areas.

Mt. San Jacinto escarpment

The crown jewel of this range is Mt. San Jacinto, which rises more than 10,000 feet from the desert floor making it one of (if not the most) steepest escarpments in the continental United States.

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Set Up Your Compass Faster & More Accurately With A Map Protractor, Part 2

In this post we will learn how to determine our location on the map using any compass and a map protractor. But first let’s review Part 1, with a little different spin so the concepts will start to become clearer.

Part 1 discussed the many steps needed to read a bearing on a map using a typical baseplate compass. It also discussed how many fewer steps were needed to read a bearing using a map protractor. In both cases, we are adjusting our compass by compensating for variance between Grid North and Magnetic North on the compass. The only difference being that using a map protractor requires the user to truly understand how magnetic north relates to the map so the bearing can be adjusted using 3rd grade math.

In Part 1, we described how to take a bearing from a map using a map protractor and transferring it to a compass utilizing the


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68˚ North — Peter Vacco

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post about being famous for being famous titled, How to Become (or not become) A Famous Backpacker. Some of it was driven by tongue-in-cheek satire on modern culture and some of it meant for contemplation. But the last part of the post was about a friend who is section hiking the Arctic Circle through Canada, and I kept his identity anonymous because he hadn’t given me permission to write about him. That part was about hiking for the experience, not adulation. It was also a bit of recognition for a friend.

That friend is Peter Vacco. Among most backpacker’s he is not known by many. Some backpackers may recognize his popular headsets, which he no longer manufacturers.

Here’s a story about his trip from a Canadian news outlet…

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