Mokelumne Wilderness: Winnemucca Lake

Hike: Winnemucca Lake and back
Where: Mokelumne Wilderness
Trailhead: Carson Pass trailhead off of Highway 88. Look for the bathroom!
Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours and 58 minutes roundtrip
Gear: CamelBak Aventura pack, UNIQLO Heat-Tech tights, REI Sahara Convertible Pants, Icebreaker Oasis Crew, Triple Aught Design Artemis Hoodie, Ahnu Montara Waterproof Boot, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, MSR Denali snowshoes, Black Diamond FrontPoint gaiters
Cost of Parking: $5 for a SNOPARK day permit ($25 for the season)

Mokelumne Wilderness is a pretty sweet gem off of Highway 88 near Kirkwood. Compared to its neighbor, Desolation Wilderness, it’s relatively unknown; I’ve rarely seen more than 10 other people on the trail.

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Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew Long-Sleeve

Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew Long-Sleeve Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew Long-Sleeve

The Icebreaker BodyFit 200 Oasis Crew is my body’s new best friend.

It’s an incredibly versatile baselayer that keeps you warm and dry on slopes and on top of peaks, and cool and dry-ish on weird, warm, 70 degree) California winter days. It’s been accompanying me on almost every adventure since it’s a little cold for my Tech T Lite shirt.

It’s made of blah blah merino wool which has magical properties of supreme odor control, which came in super handy on my recent backpacking trip. Oh and because I think I wore this shirt for three days straight before the trip and was too lazy to wash it. I didn’t smell that bad. Really. And of course, merino wool has antimicrobial and moisture wicking properties to keep you feeling fresh throughout your adventure.

One more thing that’s kind of cool about Icebreaker is you can trace the origins of your shirt back to the very sheep that spawned the wool. Feels nice to be connected to what you’re wearing and supporting, right?

They’re kinda pricey, even on sale, but it’s worth the splurge for a do-it-all shirt. You don’t even look that weird wearing it around every day. And they come in lots and lots of colors. I want them all.

Buy through Icebreaker for $89.99.

Ventana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat

Hike: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat
Where: Ventana Wilderness
Trailhead: Kirk Creek off of Highway 1
Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 days and 2 nights
Length: Approximately 20~ miles out and back
Cost of Parking: Free on the side of Highway 1

Fun fact: I’ve never really hiked in Big Sur until this holiday break. I got the chance to tackle Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Cone Peak! Not all in one day though.

Peakbagging in the Santa Lucia Mountains is something that has been on my to do list for a while, but I’ve been putting it off with trips to bag peaks in the Sierra Nevadas instead. With a few days off before 2014, what better way to ring in the new year than traversing across mountains?

I originally planned to start this hike at Limekiln State Park and taking the Stone Ridge Trail to Vicente Flat, but couldn’t park my car at Limekiln. Ended up starting at Kirk Creek, which knocked a few miles off the adventure.

It has been unusually dry this winter, so I was a little worried about water sources along the trail. However, the creeks are flowing above Espinosa Camp (2.6 miles in) and above Vicente Flat (5 miles in). The hike in to Vicente Flat starts with switchbacks ascending above a breathtaking view of the coastline. It then descends into second growth redwoods where the campsites are located.

From there, I took Vicente Flat up to Coast Ridge Road. The majority of this section of Vicente Flat follows a gorgeous creek, and then makes way for spectacular views of Cone Peak. Coast Ridge Road is currently open for motorized vehicles, so Cone Peak was a little busier than usual. Cone Peak was amazing with views of the coastline and Ventana Wilderness.

I then retraced steps back to Vicente Flat for another night, then back to the trailhead.

Ventana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente FlatVentana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat

Arc’teryx Delta LT

Arc'teryx Delta LT Arc'teryx Delta LT

I stopped by Sports Basement with a 20% off coupon a few days ago with the sole intention of picking up my Western Mountaineering sleeping bag and some Christmas presents. But then I walked by the display of Arc’teryx things. Then curiosity got the better of me and I tried on the Delta LT. And it all went downhill from there.

Yes, I have only had it for three-ish days, but if you have the cash to spend and the spot for it in your closet, this lightweight fleece is a must have. If someone took the world’s comfiest pajamas and made it into technical outdoor apparel, you have the Delta LT. At 9.3 oz with high breathability, it’s great for hiking, backpacking, climbing, and more. It’s also great for every day wear and lounging around the house. It’s that versatile.

This jacket is made with Polartec® Classic Micro Velour small Grid, and the best part is it’s full-zip jacket, complete with pockets. Two zippered hand pockets, and a zippered sleeve pocket! Oh, and the hand pockets are located so you can get into them with a harness or a hipbelt on, which is awesome in my book. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable. I’ve been hiking with it on in 50-70 degree weird, sunny California holiday weather paired with a baselayer, no sweat. Get it? Get it? Bad joke. But really, it does a good job of helping me stay warm and cool. Comfortable, like the description on the Arc’teryx website. It dries quickly, too. No sweaty pits or backpack straps lines for prolonged periods of time.

I’m a fan, big, big fan so far. No complaints here. I just hope that after excessive use and washing, it doesn’t pill and it maintains its shape.

Buy through Arc’teryx for $129.