Monthly Archives: May 2011

Hiking the PCT to Blue Ridge via Inspiration Point

On Sunday we hit a section of the PCT that passes through Inspiration Point off the Angeles Crest Highway. I figured the hike from there to blue ridge would make for a nice day hike.

From the very start of the hike you get great views of the surrounding mountains: Blady, Iron, Badden-Powel, ect.  But as you go down the trail you also get views at the back side of the Mountain High Ski Area.

The trail traversed through brush and exposed areas, but also passed through shaded areas with trees.  There were even some patches of snow still on some parts of the trail.

When we got to Blue Ridge there was a great view of Mount Baldy, however there was a cloud hanging around it’s summit most of the time we were there.  Still, it was a nice area to stop, have a snack, and take in the views.

On the way back we took some of the Blue Ridge Truck Trail (3N06) and passed through the Blue Ridge Campsite which seemed pretty nice.  All together the hike was about 7 miles round trip.  You can see the route in the map below.

Backpacking the Upper Bear Creek Trail

The trailhead for this trail is off the newly re-opened portion of Highway 39 at mile marker 32. The trailhead is pretty easy to spot on the side of the road.  There is a parking lot with some signs and a bathroom.

Almost from the very start of the trail you are pretty much constantly climbing up towards Smith Saddle.  This part of the trail is nicely maintained but some areas are kind of steep.

After about 3 miles you make it to Smith Saddle where you can get a close up view of Smith Mountain.  The trail to the peak is just straight up.  There were some day hikers at the saddle that were getting ready to make their final push to the summit.  We, on the other hand, continued down the other side of the saddle to make our way to trail camp.

Almost right after the saddle you cross the wilderness boundary.  As the trail winds it’s way down you get great views of the mountains beyond.

Some parts of the trail going down were washed out and in disrepair, however you could still negotiate these areas with a little caution.

Once we got down to where trail camp was supposed to be we found that the whole area had been overgrown.  There was also lots of poison-oak all around.

We ventured up and down the stream to see if we could find any other clearings but to no avail.  We ended up squeezing our tents in on the banks of the stream in between rocks and plants.

It ended up working out alright and in a short time we had a pretty decent camp set up. When the sun started to go down we made some dinner and kicked back at our little camp spot we had set up. Later that night while I was wondering around in the dark I noticed this little caterpillar munching away on some leaves.  I could actually hear him munching, which I thought was kinda cool.

As I was checking out the caterpillar this millipede came cruising by outta nowhere and kinda caught me off guard, but it was kinda cool to check out as well.  I tried to pick it up but it wrapped up into a little ball,  I guess that’s it’s defense mechanism.

During the night I started hearing rain drops on my tent.  I thought it was probably just a passing sprinkle, but I was wrong.  In the morning we awoke to it still raining outside and our whole camp was wet.  We ate a really small, quick breakfast, packed up, and headed out.

Hiking through the rain wasn’t that bad, it was actually kinda cool.  It gave the trail we saw just yesterday a whole new appearance.

The clouds drifting through the surrounding mountains was also awesome to look at.

Once we made it back up to Smith Saddle we were out of the rain. You really get a great view from the saddle.

The last few miles from the saddle were pretty much all downhill with no more rain. We were back to the trailhead in no time.

I had never been on the Bear Creek Trail before but it was a great little piece of the San Gabriel Wilderness. The trip was about 12 miles all together; the perfect distance for a quick weekend backpacking trip. Below is a map of the route we took, the milage is only one way.

Arizona Part 2: David Allan Coe in Cave Creek

Saturday Ryan and I woke up and got breakfast/lunch at this place called Pita Jungle in Chandler.  The menu had an awesome variety of food but I ended up getting this spinach quesadilla thing.  The service and the food were both pretty great; I’d go again.

Later in the day we eventually headed up to Cave Creek where we were gonna see David Allan Coe preform at a bar/restaurant called Harold’s Corral. When we first got into town it was still early so we decided to hit up this place called Frontier Town. It had this little bar in the back called “The Pour House” where I thought it would be cool to kill some time. When I walked in I saw the bar tender making a margarita and thought that sounded good so I ordered one.  It was probably one of the worst margaritas I’ve ever had and was like $8.  Oh well.

Mike made friends with the piano man at least.

We were going to head over to the Horny Toad Saloon next but decided to just go drink some beers in the parking lot to save some dough.

When we got to Harold’s the place already seemed like it was bumpin’.  We got inside and ordered some drinks and then found a sweet spot on the porch outside. We got helped right away and ordered more drinks and a pizza.  The pizza was surprisingly really good, not the sub-par bar food I was expecting.

The band opening that night was some douchey band called Young Country. They played a bunch of lame cover songs and looked like a bunch of dorks. Is that guy Orange? Totally not what I was expecting as an opener for David Allan Coe. That’s cool though, it gave me more time to go back to the car and kick back another beer.

Once Suck Country was done playing I squeezed inside to secure a good spot to see David. The other dudes were still out on the porch but they came in after a while.  It seemed like forever until DAC and his band finally came out.  It looked like the poor old dude needed some help getting up to the stage but the crowd was going nuts none the less.

I must say I was a little starstruck to see him live on stage.  David Allan Coe is an outlaw country legend and is up there with Waylon, Willie, Hank Jr., ect. as far as I’m concerned. I believe he wrote some of the best real country songs of all time; some of which he played that night.

Some of the notable songs I remember him playing that night were:  The Ride, You Never Even Called Me by My Name, If that Ain’t Country (Part 2), and Leave Ole Willie Alone. He also did a cool sample of a bunch of songs he’d written that other famous artists had covered.

For being 72 I thought he put on a pretty damn good show, he even had two shots of whiskey on stage (that I was able to count anyway).  By the end of the night I was feeling my own fair share of whiskey after taking many pulls off my flask that I had snuck in; I mean, c’mon, it was a DAC concert after all!

When the show was over we walked outside only to find someone had a little too much fun and had to be taken away in an ambulance.  At first I was worried that maybe it was David, but luckily it wasn’t.

I must say the show and the trip up to Cave Creek was some good times.  I’d definitely love to go back!

Arizona Part 1: Mill Ave. in Tempe

Last Friday I headed out Arizona-way with my buddy Ryan to visit one of our old friends, Mike, who lives in Chandler. We saw this accident on the way there when we pulled off to get gas.  Pretty ridiculous.

We heard about a pool party that was supposedly happening at the Valley Ho Hotel in downtown Scottsdale, however when we got there we saw no such party.  We decided to go in the pool anyway.  Mike finally met up with us and then we headed on over to his place.

Friday night Mike took us out to Mill Ave. in Tempe near ASU where there were lots of bars.  There were also a lot of people there and it kind of seemed like where all the college kids go to party.

While venturing around this area we came across a handful of interesting characters. First there were the homeless traveling hippie punx who had a dog.  Why do they always have dogs???

And there was this guy jamming on guitar.  I think Mike and Ryan got him to play some Pantera song or something.

We finally came across this guy who wanted us to go drink Absinthe with him that he had in the trunk of his car.  We said sure, right after we get some pizza.

He never made it through pizza though.

We left the poor guy to sleep his woes away in pizza.  After we left the pizza place we had to find Mike’s roommate, “B-Money,” who we lost somewhere along the way.  When we finally found him, he was on fire.  He decided for whatever reason to start jumping into bushes and physically injuring himself.  I’m not going to lie, it was pretty funny.