Monthly Archives: August 2011

Europe in 3 Weeks

So we are gearing up for our summer trip across Europe for 3 weeks (more like 18 days) where we will visit about 8 different countries.  It’s kind of a tall order but I think we can do it. Every time I mention I’m going to Europe people always ask where I am going so I decided I might as well post it here.

The plan goes as follows:  Fly into Madrid in the morning and that night catch a night train straight to Paris. Stay there for a day or two or more then make our way up to Belgium and the Netherlands. Then we’ll head East through Germany to end up in Prague. We will probably stay there a night or two. Then we’ll meander South to Salzburg where we have a quaint little hostel booked.  The plan is to take a 2 hour train from Salzburg into Munich were it will be the first day of Oktoberfest. After the shenanigans there we’ll head back to our hostel in Salzburg to recover; then move down to Venice.  We’ll only stay there a day and then skip down to Rome, maybe down to Pompei, then up the West coast of Italy hitting up whatever seaside villages we can and swing by Pisa as well. The last part of the journey isn’t quite all figured out yet but ultimately we’ll end back up in Madrid to fly home.

Smith Mountain via Bear Creek Trail

Saturday we headed up highway 39 out of Azusa to the Bear Creek Trailhead for a quick day hike up Smith Mountain.  We got to the trailhead around 7:20am and although it was still early we could already tell it was going to be a warm day.

We headed up the Bear Creek Trail from the highway and started sweating immediately!

Despite the heat we were getting great views of the morning sun coming onto the mountains as we climbed higher on the trail.  It was really nice to be out in the mountains that early in the morning.

After huffing and sweating up the almost all incline trail we made it to Smith Saddle. Here the climb to the summit of Smith Mountain really starts to get hard. The trail practically goes straight up.

Now I guess I kind of underestimated this mountain since you can’t see the actual summit from the saddle.

So when I finally climbed to what I thought the summit was, I saw in the distance a higher point. So I climbed some more and when I got to that point I finally was able to see the actual summit. The last 500ft to the summit was a fairly easy walk through brush and rocks.

Summit views proved worth it however I slightly wished I was still down under all the cool cloud cover I could see below.

The summit register was tucked in a bush behind the rock with the USGS marker on it.

I was pretty hot and tired on top of that mountain so I quickly signed the register and got down as fast as I could without slipping and killing myself on all the loose dirt.

I wasn’t able to track this trip on GPS since technology wasn’t liking me that day but the milage is supposed to be about 7 miles round trip. It took us about 6 hours from start to finish.