Monday, January 1, 2018

Slide Mountain Attempt 1

I love fire towers. I don't know why but I do. The towers are like little cabins on top of mountains but serve as the front-line defense during these tough and dry conditions in California. There are a few fire towers in SoCal and I definitely want to check out as many as possible. One I have had my eye on for awhile is the fire tower on Slide Mountain.

The hike is really like 4 hikes in 1.

Hike 1:

For the first mile or so, the hike gains elevation on an old paved road (Old Goldenstate Highway to be exact). It sounds like a boring hike and in some ways it is but the scenery surrounding the ol Goldenstate is awesome especially at daybreak.

Hike 2:

The second part of the hike is your classic California fire road hike which starts with some ironworks

and wends its way up the canyon looking to gain the saddle. You are gaining about 600 feet a mile which will definitely get your legs and calves working although there are a bunch of flat sections of the trail which will help you out.

Soon that glorious saddle comes into view and you have just a few more minutes until you get through to a relatively flat section.

Hike 3:

The third hike is really the tester on the hike although you are not gaining as much elevation as during the second part. What makes this one so tough is that there so many switchbacks with no end in site. You have completely lost sight of the fire tower at this point and you just have to trust that the switchbacks will lead you somewhere.

Hike 4:

The final push to the fire tower is one I can't fill in right now as I didn't make it. I am coming back after a recent foot injury and while I had energy to do it, I thought I should turn back at mile 9 rather than ambling to mile 11.

I could have pushed through but I wanted to "hike my own hike" on this one and I know I will be seeing that tree on the way to the firetower on my next time up the mountain.

There WILL be a next time as this is one great hike. Despite being long, the hike is varied and interesting and I can't wait to see the tower in person.

For more information on Slide Mountain check out this great write-up!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

SoCal Fires- How To Help

California has a history of big wildfires but the fires at the tail end of 2017 have really taken a toll both on the landscape and the houses, animals and people of SoCal. The breadth and the scope of the  wildfires striking various parts of SoCal at the same time have been taxing resources at every level and people need our help.

It is early days at the moment but here are a few organizations that you can donate to in order to help the people of SoCal recover from these devastating wildfires:

Thomas Fire:

Ventura County has suffered untold losses due to the wildfire ripping through neighborhoods and landscape alike. There is a fund set up for those impacted by the Thomas Fire that you can donate to:

Rye Fire:

One of the stories I have been hearing a lot in relation to the Rye fire affecting Santa Clarita and the surrounding area is the rescue of animals and how various shelters and charities and helping to take care of them. If you want to help these organizations during this critical time please donate to the following:

Creek Fire:

The Red Cross is often on the front lines immediately following a natural disaster and it is no different for the victims of the Creek Fire as they have been providing shelters and much needed supplies to the victims. You can find out more information at the following link:

However you spend your time, whether donating or helping in person, the people, animals and places of Southern California need your help and any is appreciated, thanks!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Arc'Teryx Virtual Backcountry Experience

Arc'Teryx is one of the leading outdoor companies making some of the most technically advanced gear out there. They make a ton of great gear that lasts a long time and checks a lot of boxes, not the least of which is the Proton LT Hoodie which is something that I would suffer through 3 hours of Mall Santa to ask for.

The company is from Canada and they aren't about to forget their Canadian roots any time soon as they have partnered with Hello BC for a killer VR experience, which I got to recently check out at their store in Los Angeles.

The cool thing about VR/Virtual Reality is that it takes you to wherever the camera is in a way 2 dimensional filmmaking can't. Arc'Teryx's film "Hut Magic" takes you into the backcountry of British Columbia to ski and explore incredible terrains and even puts you close to a crevasse where you can stare into the abyss, look up at the ice or wherever you want.

The VR experience is only 6 minutes long but it gets you really excited to get hutting in British Columbia and Arc'Teryx also arranged for a rep from Backcountry Lodges of BC to fill me in on what the deal is.

These lodges look like top of the line places to stay but are so remote, most either require a helicopter to get to them or an extremely long trek into the mountains. I have never heli- anything and I can only imagine how rugged the terrain is to getting to these lodges but once you are there, man you can just chill out and hike or ski to your heart's content.

As if the food and killer photos of the BC backcountry weren't enough, Arc'Teryx laid out a true BC spread with fondue, sliders and some sour beer from Dry River Brewing. The La Brea staff was so nice and accommodating, I want to go back just to hang out with them!

This was a cool event and if you live in Los Angeles or near a participating Arc'Teryx store, you should definitely check out the VR experience. It is kinda trippy to go from 72 and sunny to powder and crevasses but it is definitely worth checking out. Now I am off to make sure my passport is in order to get up to British Columbia, eh!

For more info on Arc'Teryx check out the link:

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