Over the 4th of July weekend some friends and I set out to go camping in the Sequoias. The first campground we had originally wanted to camp at was full, but luckily we found an even better one which was more secluded and had some great swimming holes. Pictures from the trip can be found here.
Pictures from three days in the Mojave Desert can be found here. We spent most of our time on The Old Mojave Road with stops at an old mining area, a lava tube, and the “Mojave Mailbox.”
After flying into Austin-Bergstrom and picking up our trusty rental car we made our way into the city for lunch at Mr. Natural which is a vegetarian store and restaurant on E. Cesar Chavez Street. We ordered a couple of their sandwiches which were good, but it seemed that most people were there for the lunch buffet. We finished lunch and made our way more into downtown Austin to stop at REI for some camping fuel and Whole Foods for some dinner and breakfast items.
I also had to check out the walk-in beer fridge where you could build your own 6-pack, so I created my very own “local roundup” of Texas brews. Among them were a Shiner Black Lager, Shiner Farmhouse Ale, Austin Amber, Independence Pale Ale, Alamo Golden Ale, and Real Ale Brewhouse Brown.
Whole Foods was even kind enough to supply some free ice to keep them cold! With supplies all loaded up we headed out to Pedernales Falls State Park, which was about a 45 minute drive out of the city.
The drive through the green Texas countryside was beautiful despite the weather being totally overcast. When we arrived at the ranger station to check in they let us pick out our own camp spot, rather than just assigning us one, which I thought was nice. With a recommendation from one of the rangers, we chose camp #36 which was near one of the trails that led down to the river.
Before setting up camp we decided to drive down to where the falls were and check out that area. From the parking area there is a short hike to an outlook over Pedernales Falls and the river.
The river seemed to be a little low, but it was still a very scenic area. We explored down in the rocks and near the water for a while and then headed back to camp.
Back at our campsite, we got everything set up and then decided to go down the trail that was right next to us before it got too late. At the time, we weren’t even really sure where the trail led to but it seemed worth checking out since I had overheard some other campers talking about something they saw down there.
We followed it down to a part of the river which was further downstream from the falls we had just visited. The trail followed the river downstream for a little bit and then came to an area called “Trammel Crossing” where it was shallow enough to wade across to the other side, however we did not feel in the mood for wading so we headed back to camp. On our way back we came across a family of deer that were out for their evening snacks in the foliage and I realized that this was what I had heard the other campers talking about.
Back at camp we made our dinner which consisted of the soup and biscuits we had bought at Whole Foods earlier. Not very extravagant, but it was a quick and simple meal to prepare and eat.
Somehow we were able to stay up somewhat late despite running on only 3 hours of sleep from the night before, but this made it easy for us to fall asleep. In the morning we awoke to the sound of raindrops on our tent, but luckily it was not a heavy rain, and it let up eventually so we were able to get out, make breakfast, dry the tent out, and pack up. Then we were off to Luckenbach!
More pictures from this trip can be found here.
A buddy of mine asked me if I wanted to go camping soon, and of course I was game. I looked up some trail camps in the local mountains that looked like they might be good for a short backpacking trip and finally decided on Cooper Canyon Trail Camp off the PCT. We drove out on Saturday morning, met up with some people in LA and drove up the 2 to Cloudburst Summit. The camp is about a 2.5 mile hike from the highway but we decided to take the trail up to Winston Peak first for a small detour.
It was a bit of a workout hiking straight up that small peak with our packs on, and coming down it wasn’t all that easier either. The other side of the peak descended sharply and had lots of lose gravel and rocks.
We started hitting our first large patches of snow here.
After coming down from Winston Peak we met up with the PCT trail and had a quick snack break.
After meeting up with the PCT the trail descended down into the canyon. This area was a beautiful place to hike through. I wanted to take like a million pictures.
It didn’t take long to eventually arrive at the trail camp. We were happy to find that the stream nearby was still running enough that we could use it as a water source.
We were also happy to see that no one else was occupying the campsite so we had it all to ourselves! What, no one else wants to camp in the mountains in the middle of January??
After a quick lunch at the campsite we decided to take a day hike down to the nearby falls before it got too late in the day. We took the PCT/Silver Mocassin Trail from camp down about a mile where we spotted the top of the falls.
It took us a second look to figure out how to get down to the falls but we eventually found a trail that led down to a spot where someone had installed a convenient rope (that was actually in good condition).
There was a good amount of water still coming down the falls, but I’m sure it was nothing compared to what it would look like in springtime.
After hanging around the falls a while we decided we should head back to camp to set up our tents before it started to get dark. I took my time getting back to camp taking a bunch of pictures on the way; I really loved this area.
By the time we got back to camp it had already started to get chilly so we started a small fire in one of the stone stoves. It was nice to have something to warm your hands over.
Before the sun went down we had camp set up pretty well. The sky during sunset was awesome looking from camp.
As night rolled around it started getting quite cold, but of course by this time we already had a nice campfire roaring to keep us warm as we stayed up into the night.
The moon and stars were everything I would expect from a crisp, clear mountain night.
In the morning we restarted the fire for some warmth. We could tell the temperatures dropped below freezing as some of our water that was left out froze over night.
The morning sun peaked through the trees as we readied breakfast and coffee.
After downing our hot coffee and getting down on some excellent breakfast we packed up and headed out. We decided to take a cross-country route up out of the canyon.
It was a little strenuous but we eventually met up with a forest service road which took us back to the trailhead at Cloudburst Summit. Below is the GPS track to the camp, the falls, and back to the trailhead.