Category Archives: Backpack Trip Report

California Wildfires

Jenks Lake Fire 2015-06-19
Smoke moving from the San Bernardino Mountains toward the San Jacinto Mountains. Without the fire it would have been a blue-sky kind of day. To the left of the picture you can see the smoke moving south past Palm Springs heading towards the Salton Sea. Smoke also covered Joshua Tree National Park.

When you are in the forest and see a forest fire, it is disheartening. But wildfires are a natural phenomenon and normally healthy for forests. But there are times when wildfires are destructive and cause irreversible damage. Such is the state of affairs in California. For someone on a long distant backpacking trip of several weeks or months, forest fires are often considered by backpackers as a minor inconvenience. One has to re-route their trip, sometimes walking on roads, until they can get back on the trail. However on a short trip, a forest fire often ends the trip, which happened to me last week when I was forced to turn around and bail when a fire that broke out on Wednesday grew out of control and moved into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Currently the fire, which is near Big Bear, has consumed 27 square miles and is about 20% contained. Already it is the largest fire in this area in over one hundred years. Smoke from this fire has traveled all the way to Arizona and reportedly is visible in the Grand Canyon.

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Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 6)

In November and December of 2000 I backpacked from my house in Palm Springs to Lake Mead and back.

Part 5 can be viewed here.

Mojave 500 mile map

DAYs 20 & 21

It had been over a week since I had a shower and day off from walking. I had planned on spending a day in Laughlin to rest and eat. Fortunately the last two days of hiking had gone according to plan, so I checked into a hotel. Two nights were only $38 plus tax.

Continue reading Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 6)

Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 5)

In November and December of 2000 I backpacked from my house in Palm Springs to Lake Mead and back.

Part 4 can be viewed here.

Mojave 500 mile map

I purposely had a short day as I left the shore of Lake Mead. I needed to stop at the Alan Bible Visitor Center and research the next section of the hike. I would be heading south generally following the course of the Colorado River. My conundrum was whether to walk on the west of east side. I knew the Black Canyon Wilderness Area just below Hoover Dam was rugged and access to the river for water wouldn’t be worth the effort. So I had to walk around it.

Continue reading Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 5)

Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 4)

In November and December of 2000 I backpacked from my house in Palm Springs to Lake Mead and back.

Part 3 can be viewed here.

Mohave 500 mile map

Rest day in Stateline, Nevada.

I checked into Whiskey Pete’s Hotel. Rooms were cheap. Buffets were cheap and all you can eat. Besides cleaning up and doing laundry, I spent a day and a half eating pizzas, steaks, ice cream and just about anything that didn’t move on its own. That is part of long distance hiking – the appetite begins to overwhelm your brain.

  Continue reading Backpacking 500 miles in the Mojave Desert (part 4)