Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Finalized West Coast Road Trip Plan 2016 (Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip)

This itinerary took me a few weeks to complete. Most of the time was spent fussing over what I could and what I couldn't miss.

As you can see, most of the places that I will stay at are state parks. Only one of these parks I made reservation for, the others are walk up and follow a first come first serve policy. I don't think I included any beach camping.

The goal of this trip is to enjoy the coastal drive north, sample as many breweries as I can, climb when possible, and most importantly, hike through much green as possible.

Some places that I have planned and am excited to visit are:

1. Crater Lake:

Photo Cred: https://www.thinglink.com/scene/717824184226414594
National Park Site: https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

From Wikipedia: Crater Lake is a caldera lake in the western United States, located in south-central Oregon. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot (655 m)-deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 (± 150) years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. With a depth of 1,949 feet (594 m), the lake is the deepest in the United States.

In the world, it ranks tenth for maximum depth, and third for mean (average) depth.

2. 2-day Backpacking trip into Olympic National Park

Photo cred: http://exotichikes.com/hike-the-enchanted-valley-in-olympic-national-park-pictures-and-video/

Photo cred: http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/enchanted-valley

Photo cred: http://www.hikingproject.com/photo/7010670/narrow-bridge-just-before-entering-the-enchanted-valley
National Park Site: https://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

An easy 30 mile hike, roundtrip, through the forests that ends in a stunning valley where a lone chalet stands as a last resort for stranded backpackers. Minimal elevation gain allows for a leisure hike.

3. Oneonta Gorge and Falls Hike

Photo Cred: http://www.joshuameador.com/blog/

Photo Cred: Michael Matti from http://www.travelphotoadventures.com/category/oneonta-gorge/
Official site: http://www.oregon.com/recreation/oneonta-gorge

An equally beautiful alternative to Multnomah Falls that allows for river walking to a waterfall.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Return to Waterfall Cliff in Castle Rock State Park, California, United States

Coincidentally, a few days after my trip to Waterfall Cliff in Castle Rock, I was presented with an opportunity to go again. Of course I would take it. This time however, we would climb a different face.

Unlike last time, where I had to cross the river that runs above the waterfall as well as feeds it, we simply continued walking instead of going left at the junction of Saratoga Gap Trail and Waterfall Observation. Look for the awkward two pole wooden fence trying to keep you on path and away from the discontinued trail.

After about 5 minutes of walking, you'll quickly find yourself atop the crag. Either set up your anchor system or shimmy down to the base.

On this day, we attempted: Degeneration 10a, Putrefaction 11b, Leading to Death 5.9, and Convulsions 11b.

Most of the climbs on the south face were straightforward and fun, they were a nice warmup that offered a variety of climbing. Degeneration sort of asks you to focus on your feet, Putrefaction demands that move a little more static, and Leading to Death is just an overall fun scramble up the edge of the wall.

One problem that really gave me trouble was Convulsions. I simply could not figure out how to get past the middle. Perhaps it was a technique or strength thing. Next time may be better.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Climbing at Waterfall Cliff in Castle Rock State Park, California, United States

After climbing Indian Rock from 8-12pm, we packed up our gear and made our way across the street, through the parking lot, and onto the Saratoga Gap Trail. Our destination: Waterfall Cliff.

Getting to Waterfall Cliff is easy. Simply get on Saratoga Gap Trail from the  Castle Rock parking lot and follow the signs. It should only take you about 20-30 minutes to get there. Once you are at the observation deck, you have to make your way around the fence, towards the river right above the fall. Cross the river and hike slightly up the mountain and around the crag. Once you come around, you should come face to face with tons of problems. However, don't stop there, the main crag is back down the mountain. Once you get to the top, head down the other side and voila, problems galore.


Climbing at Indian Rock in Castle Rock State Park, California, United States

On Sunday, I somehow found the will to get up from bed and meet some friends at Castle Rock State Park. Sore and tired from the day before at Mt. St. Helena, I figured I would just join my buddies for some conversation and possibly help belay.

Fat chance.

By 8am, the lot outside the official entrance was already filling up. One of the guys was running late so we needed an additional rope. I volunteered my 70m.

The hike to Indian Rock was only a mere 10-15 minute walk. The routes there range from 5.10-5.12 with an average of 5.10d. We decided to warm up on Viscious Circles YDS: 5.10c and Blowing Bubbles YDS: 5.10a.

Blowing Bubbles is appropriately rated and there is not much to say about the problem. Viscious Circles however... man, what a doozy. The crux of the problem seems to be the first and second clip. Access to the first clip is not necessarily technically difficult, but more mental as it provides a high possibility of falling. The second clip is technically difficult. Furthermore, what adds to the difficulty is the illusion of those pockets, they seem like good, deep holds, but they aren't,

For more information on routes at Indian Rock, see here: https://www.mountainproject.com/v/indian-rock/105734072


Monday, June 13, 2016

Climbing the Table Scraps at Mt. St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, California, United States

Slightly north of the town Calistoga, within the confines of Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, lies Mt. St. Helena. In this park, resides a multitude of routes for people to sport climb. On Saturday, me and some friends decided to focus all our efforts at Table Scraps.

The address for the park is: 4774-, 4824 Lake County Hwy, Calistoga, CA 94515.
The official website for the park is: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=472
Table Scraps routes: https://www.mountainproject.com/v/table-scraps-pinnacle/106543621


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

West Coast Road Trip Preview

As July slowly approaches, the time to plan my road-trip north is at hand. Currently, the plan is to climb when possible and visit breweries after. I hope to meet up with friends along the way as well as make new ones.

Roughly, the idea is to drive 5-6 hours a day. I'll start off in San Jose, stop in McKinleyville, climb the following morning, continue on into Portland, visit Clinton or Grant or both, climb, continue into Seattle, visit Kayvan, climb, drive into Vancouver, climb, meet up with friends in Squamish, climb.

The trip back home will be a little more rushed and I plan on spending 3 days leisurely driving back. Driving up to Canada however, I plan to spend about 10-15 days.
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