The Trail Not Taken: Misadventures on the Smithbrook Trail to Lake Janus

We found ourselves with some unexpected free time this past weekend and so Daniel and I decided to take a last minute backpacking trip. The night beforehand , I spent hours pouring over maps agonizing over what route to take. I was hoping for a trail near an alpine lake or with alpine views (or both!) – but with a relatively easy level of difficulty. Daniel is slowly recovering from a torn meniscus in his right knee and I’m worried he may re-injure it if we push too hard.

Homecoming: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Windy Pass to Mirror Lake

Last year I called the Pacific Crest Trail home for six glorious months. I’ve wanted to return to the trail many times since then but, alas, circumstances have prevented it. This past weekend I finally got my chance. On Saturday I planned a trip to Mirror Lake along the PCT starting from the Windy Pass Trailhead, which is a relatively easy 6-mile jaunt roundtrip with only 1000 feet of elevation gain. I first hiked this trail 3 years ago when I was only dreaming of hiking the PCT. It seemed like a fitting way to make my homecoming.

PCT Day 168 – Thursday, September 28

PCT Day 168 – Thursday, September 28  Lyell Fork Creek Mile 931.2 to Tuolumne Meadows Mile 942.5 PCT Miles Hiked Today: 11.3 Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1812.8 Feet Ascended Today: 285 Feet Descended Today: 1936 Current Elevation: 8100 When I awoke this morning I was COLD. It’s one of the few times on my hike…

PCT Day 167 – Wednesday, September 27

PCT Day 167 – Wednesday, September 27  Mile 915.9 to Lyell Fork Creek Mile 931.2 PCT Miles Hiked Today: 15.4 Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1801.5 Feet Ascended Today: 3796 Feet Descended Today: 2340 Current Elevation: 10203 Steps:  It was cold when I awoke this morning – another night below freezing. I packed up as quickly…

PCT Day 166 – Tuesday, September 26

PCT Day 166 – Tuesday, September 26  Red’s Meadow Mile 906.7 to Mile 915.9 PCT Miles Hiked Today: 9.2 Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1786.2 Feet Ascended Today: 1986 Feet Descended Today: 769 Current Elevation: 8758 Steps: 31039 I woke up today feeling discouraged. I had hoped to hike all the way to Sierra City and…

PCT Days 164 & 165

PCT Days 164 & 165 Sunday, September 24 Iva Bell Springs – Cascade Valley Trail Mile 7.8 to Red’s Meadow – PCT Mile 906.7 PCT Miles Hiked Today: 0 Non-PCT Miles Hiked Today: 11 Miles Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1777 Feet Ascended Today: ~1300 Feet Descended Today: ~300 Current Elevation: 7705 Steps: 35692 I hit…