My Top Ten Hikes Of 2014

This year was a difficult one for me on many levels. In regards to hiking, I was constantly injured and at just over 430 miles hiked this year; I hiked 479 miles less than my best year (2012 when I first hiked Mt. Whitney and was in my best shape). I didn’t even make it half way. I missed many planned trips and didn’t even post about some of my favorites. As I look back though, I see I still managed to have lots of great experiences. My favorites were:

10. Little Jimmy Backpacking Trip in Angeles National Forest with Lorenzo
One of my many returns to hiking this year after enduring an injury time out. This was my first overnight at Little Jimmy Campground but I’ve day hiked in the area numerous times and knew the surroundings very well. The point of this trip was to take things slow and begin to get back into shape. What made this trip special was the different perspective I got on the second day hiking familiar terrain to Throop Peak much earlier in the morning than I had before. Post: Mountain Mornings.
Morning at Little Jimmy Campground

Morning at Little Jimmy Campground

9. Pallett Mountain Backpacking Trip with Etienne

Pallett Mountain is along Pleasant View Ridge which I hiked up to for the first time earlier in the year from Burhart Saddle from the west. I found it to be a great peak with nice places to camp. I hadn’t yet hiked the entire way from third bump on Mt. Williamson to Pallet Mountain from the east. I learned my friend Etienne also wanted complete that segment of Pleasant View Ridge, so we decided to camp on Pallett Mountain which was a great call. The night view from there is outstanding and it’s one of the lesser traveled places in the forest.

Sunset on Pallett Mountain

Sunset on Pallett Mountain

8. Limber Pine Bench Backpacking Trip In San Bernardino National Forest With Scott
My first backpacking trip of the year over familiar terrain but still one of my favorite trails even though I tend to run into some kind of “problem” every time I go. Post: My First Backpacking Trip Of The Year.
Late afternoon at Limber Pine Bench

Late afternoon at Limber Pine Bench

7. Limantour Spit, Point Reyes National Seashore With Debbie
This is one of the larger of several small hikes I did with my wife on the way back from dropping my daughter off at college. What made this hike so memorable for me was it was the first time I’ve ever been at the end of a spit. I really enjoyed the edge condition where the waters of Drakes Bay, Drakes Estero, and Estero de Limantour meet.
The end of Limantour Spit

The end of Limantour Spit

6. PCT at Three Points to Winston Peak

I hiked to Winston Peak for the first time earlier in the year and it became one of my favorite peaks. The main reason this peak isn’t as popular as peaks nearby is it can be reached by a 1.2 mile round trip hike from the parking lot at Cloudburst Summit. Who wants to drive all the way up there for such a short hike? On my first trip I extended it by also hiking to Winston Ridge. However, I like this peak so much that I decided to think about how to make it the furthest point on a much longer hike. I had never hiked following the PCT from Three Points to Cloudburst Summit before largely because being so close to Angeles Crest Highway (crossing it four times before starting up the trail leading to Winston Peak) didn’t appear that interesting. This is another example of the map not being the territory. I found this to be a great hike with expansive vistas throughout yielding another great perspective of the forest. This is now one of my favorite hikes which I’ll return to often and look forward to trying one day in the snow.

View heading down from Winston Peak

View heading down from Winston Peak

5. Point Lobos State Reserve With Debbie

This was my third time visiting Point Lobos. Being conveniently located off Highway 1 near Carmel, I’m not sure I’m capable of driving by it in daylight and not stopping in. There are so many ecotones in such a small area and pretty much a guarantee to see some combination of Southern Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, and California Sea Lions.

View from the North Shore Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve

View from the North Shore Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve

4. Baden-Powell Snow Hike In Angles National Forest

This was a fantastic day hiking a trail I know well, but this time in snow. Clouds made this one especially interesting. Post: Snow Hiking In LA: Vincent Gap to Mt. Baden-Powell

Limber Pines near the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell

Limber Pines near the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell

3. Founder’s Grove and Mahan Loop, Humboldt Redwoods State Park With Debbie

This is a short hike off Avenue Of The Giants (a detour off Highway 101 I doubt I will ever miss again driving that stretch of highway in daylight). The only place I’ve experienced that I can compare it to is Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park and I’m torn between which one I prefer. I have a modest preference for giant sequoia trees and a modest preference for the quality of light in this redwood forest.

Forest floor at Founder's Grove/Mahan Loop

Forest floor at Founder’s Grove and Mahan Loop

2. Methuselah Walk, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest With My Daughter

This hike was part of a trip where my daughter and I camped at Grandview Campground. Knowing that many of the trees were thousands of years old (one over 5,000 years old) had me thinking of timelessness as I walked through the dramatic variety in texture this forest yields. Post: Camping And Walking Along The Ancients.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine on Methuselah Walk

Ancient Bristlecone Pine on Methuselah Walk

1. Emerald Ridge Trail in Redwood National Forest

This was my first hike after an extended hiatus due to injury. It was a unique experience as I needed to get the day’s combination to unlock a gate to drive to the trailhead. This loop trail included hiking down Emerald Ridge, along Redwood Creek, through Tall Trees Groove, and up the Tall Trees Trail. Along the way I crossed several ecotones which made this hike exceptionally diverse for a short hike. Post: Combination Lock Access To Towering Redwoods.

Tall Trees Grove

Tall Trees Grove

7 thoughts on “My Top Ten Hikes Of 2014

  1. Hello Kyle, I came across your blog last week. Very beautiful and inspiring. Thank you. Going to try Vincent Gap to Mt. Baden Powell. Hope there is still snow. I can’t go too long without snow 🙂 Happy New Year!!!!!

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    • Thanks, I hope you do get snow on Baden-Powell. Be sure to go there from Wrightwood as Angeles Crest is closed between Islip Saddle and Vincent Gap until sometime in the spring.

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