SA Guide: Modjeska Peak

Route: Everytrail

We make the mistakes so you don't have to. What can I say...we're just givers, you know?

Climbing Modjeska Peak, the second highest point in Orange County, had been on our to-do list for quite a while. Modjeska is the hump next to Mt. Santiago. Together they create the saddle in Saddleback, a name one finds attached to many things in this part of Orange County, including, of course, the Saddleback range in the Santa Ana Mountains. You can recognize Modjeska by its relative baldness. Its partner, Santiago, is virtually covered with various towers and structures. We wanted to climb Modjeska before tackling Santiago, a longer hike with more elevation gain. 

Well, we've checked it off, but we could have had a lot more fun doing so.

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Guide: Calcite mine/slot canyon

Route: Everytrail

I’ve always thought of myself as pretty well organized and prepared. In a recent post I began to question this assumption, and now I have to say that I’m starting to wonder if I have a real problem. After a two-hour drive last Sunday ended with us discovering that our proposed hike was preempted by something fairly easily foreseeable (for the second time in a month), I’ve begun considering whether I should turn over trip-planning to Laura’s cat. She could hardly do a worse job.

On the bright side, however, we were once again lucky enough to stumble onto a challenging and memorable hike. Preparation shmeparation?

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Guide: Bear Canyon/Bear Ridge Loop

Route: EveryTrail

I have this problem. I need to be hit over the head several times to learn a lesson. For example, there are days I resist the idea of hiking somewhere we've already been, especially if we've been there many times. Of course this stubbornness misses one of the great truths of getting out into nature - it's a dynamic environment. Every hike, even in the same place, is different.

Laura wanted to see some plants that were expected to be in bloom, and a great place to do this was a trail we'd hiked often; Bear Canyon. So I dragged my backpack along the ground like a big baby and went, wishing we'd found some place that would kill both the "blooming" bird and the "new trail" bird with one stone. Turns out it was a great hike. Whaddayaknow?

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SA Guide: Jackson Flats (dayhike), Mormon Rocks (dayhike)

Route: EveryTrail

Sometimes my enthusiasm gets the better of my organizational instincts. We wanted to hike Mt. Baden-Powell, in the Angeles National Forest, so I began checking the weather and conditions in preparation for the weekend. The forecast looked promising (not a given this time of year) and what little I could find out about current conditions suggested there wasn't much in the way of snow to worry about. I have to admit, though, that "what little I could find" was really quite pathetically little (a webcam view). In any case, we went ahead and made the two hour drive to the San Gabriel Mountains north of L.A. ready for what we thought would be a demanding hike with great views. We were half right.

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Guide: Northview / Maze / Window Rock Loop - (dayhike)

Route: EveryTrail

Living in Southern California offers the opportunity to get out of doors year-round. Sure, there are a few brief rainstorms (okay, sometimes they actually seem pretty interminable) during our short winter months, but being able to enjoy sunshine the rest of the year helps put this "indignation" into perspective. As long as you’ve got some decent cold and wet-weather gear, there’s no reason to put away the boots, pack and tent. We don’t have to deal with three feet of snow here, we just have to learn how to put on a few extra layers (of course if you’re like me, you give up the shorts and sandals reluctantly).

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