Tag Archives: Trailhead

Hoh River Trail to Mineral Creek Falls

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Chasing Waterfalls

5.5 miles, 230′ elevation gain, 3.5 hours duration, rated Easy

Date: 6-7-22

After completing Hall of Mosses, a nice nature walk showing off this splendid and magical place, my teen son Alec decided to run the Hoh River Trail while I hiked it.

Wow, how beautiful this place is! The greens are so vibrant and plentiful. The Hoh River runs along much of the trail. The trail is easy, but there certainly will be mud- after all it is a rainforest, so come prepared. All of that rain has made this place exceptional. Everywhere you look are tall firs, stately Sitka Spruce, Maple Trees elegantly dressed out with hanging moss, and ferns- lots of ferns.

Maneuvering around all this mud, walking across logs and picking my way across roots is taking
the Balance portion of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ to a whole other level. 
Well… it is a rain forest.

The last stop on the trek was the 60′ Mineral Creeks Falls. With the amount of rainfall in the Hoh Rainforest, some 14′ annually, the falls are flowing nicely most all of the time. The Mineral Creek Falls are nestled in a tangle of trees and brush making it pretty picturesque. I decided to get a closer view which ended up was a difficult climb up a steep, slick, muddy hillside through and around thick undergrowth. I grabbed a couple sturdy sticks, using them as climbing axes, I managed my way up. I was rewarded with an exquisite sight of tumbling water cascading it’s way toward the river.

Mineral Falls in the Hoh Rainforest of the Olympic Nation Park.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
Hoh River Trail to Mineral Creek Falls
Only way to view waterfalls is in motion. CLICK THE PIC!
“Run, wild and free like a Waterfall.” – Anamika Mishra

Alec and I appreciate your joining us ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in the Hoh Rainforest. The Olympic National Park is a special place, a place that can lower the blood pressure, fill the senses, and make you just stop and say, “Whoa”. For more ‘Whoa” experiences stay with us by doing a few very simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you review the menu above you will see that PBTA travels to many places in this Great West of ours in search of that much needed Balance. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you feel strongly about ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ or just want some cool gear then checkout SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursing Balance Through Adventure

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Hoh Rain Forest Hall of Mosses Trail

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Nature Walk

1 mile, 80′ elevation gain, 30 min duration, rated Easy

Date: 6-7-22

One of the most popular hikes in the Olympic National Park is Hall of Mosses Trail. The reason likely is that it is short and sweet, most everyone can enjoy this outing and discover what a rainforest is all about. It is a beautiful and interesting place. The stately evergreen Western Hemlock and Coastal Douglas Fir stretch for the cloudy sky as the splendid Sitka Spruce and the Big Leaf Maple trees are quite literally dripping with moss below. Everything seems to be growing on top of each other in a rainforest. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the US.

The easy trail through this old growth forest is simply enchanting and is a must see when at the Olympic National Park. The trees, the moss, the ponds and the streams are all incredibly gorgeous.

Be sure to stop in the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center, which is where the nature walk begins. It is very informative and quite interesting. The water gauge is crazy- to think that amount of rainfall is even possible.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel
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Hoh Rainforest Hall of Mosses
No other place on earth feels so lush. Sometimes we picture it as an echo of the original Garden of Eden.” – Diane Ackerman
Alec finds Hoh Rain Forest’s Hall of Mosses Trail truly magical.

Thanks for joining Alec and I at the Hoh Rainforest’s Hall of Mosses hike. Like I alluded to, it is more of a nature walk, but what you see during the outing is not to be missed. It is quite an experience. Just this little jaunt leaves an impression that won’t leave you. Rainforests are marvelous and this spot showcases, in an easy manner, what you would see on more aggressive hikes. There is more to come in our adventure in the Hoh Rainforest so stay tuned by doing this: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. When you go to the menu above you will discover that PBTA travels all over the West to not only National Parks, but State Parks as well as backcountry hiking, backpacking and a host of other activities. Each category, be it by location or activity, is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Now that you are getting ideas about where you want to take a hike you will need Adventure Wear. I literally have you covered with my fine line of top quality lids and shirts, please visit SHOP APPAREL and check it out.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursing Balance Through Adventure

Angel’s Landing

ZION NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

5.5 Miles, 5790’ elevation, 1604’ elevation gain, 3.5 hours duration, rated HARD

Date: 7-24-21

One of the Scariest Hikes in America

Zion National Park is one of the most popular of our National Parks with approximately 4.5 million visitors per year. Angel’s Landing is a bucket list type of hike for many people. It is a place of unparalleled beauty with colorful peaks and cliffs, and views that are simply stunning. On top you have a Condor’s Eye View of the gorgeous park below that can only be described as picture perfect.

The hike is a short 5.5 miles, and certainly the elevation gain for a regular hiker is not that dramatic, but what is dramatic is that this is an on the edge hike, exposed areas with drops straight down 1,400 feet. The last portion has chains to hold on to, and they should be held on to for dear life, because death is right beside you. One section known as the Knife’s Edge is just that and has death on both sides. Angel’s Landing is not a hike for the faint of heart, or someone with a sever fear of heights. That being said, if you don’t have a healthy respect for heights then something is wrong with you. Most people will feel a real sense of accomplishment completing this hike and proclaim this is the highlight of any hikes they have ever done.

When I first did this hike I thought to myself, I can’t believe that they are allowing everyday people to do this hike. I wondered why we were not in a climbing harness and clipping in. I saw people in beach sandals, children in tears with their parents trying to coax them on, and some folks frozen in fear. Conversely, I also saw college kids on each other’s shoulders standing on the edge for pictures.

Caution should be heeded, and rightly so, as this is not only One of the Scariest Hikes in America”, but also “If it is not the most dangerous trail in America it certainly is in the top five”. The reason for these ominous condemnations is that 13 people have plummeted to their deaths from the cliffs of Angel’s Landing since 2004.

My own experience is that being on the edge like this certainly is an adrenaline rush, and if you can do this relatively safety then it is an insatiable high. The beauty of Zion, and in particularly the Angel’s Landing hike, is like no other. It would certainly be a spiritual journey, because it is that magnificent, except for this is a bucket list hike for so many. How many you might ask? About 641 hikers per day are also on this hike with you and that certainly is detracting, but then again there are a lot of spirited, energetic, adventurous people on this hike and that is not only fun, but the enthusiasm is contagious. When you checkout my PBTA YouTube video you will see some of the throngs of hikers, and mind you we were in line before dawn to try to escape the crowds, but certainly it only got more crowded later. When you enjoy the video you will also see the young, healthy fun seekers with smiles brimming from ear to ear.

Obviously if you are safe, take your time, watch your footing this is a very doable hike for people in descent shape. But hiking on the edge is not for everyone, and some may decide that the steep, exposed chain section leading to the summit is not for them and that is fine. Scout Lookout is still a very beautiful hike and the views up and down are wonderful.

So about the hike itself. You will take the tram from the Visitors Center to the Grotto Trailhead from there you cross a bridge over the Virgin River which is lined with greenery and is quite a tranquil spot. You will hike your way to Refrigerator Canyon, which is a nice reprieve from a hot Summer day as it is shady from the enclosed cliffs and greenery making this section quite picturesque. Then it is the infamous Walter’s Wiggles a paved area with a steep incline and 21 switch backs that will get your heart racing. This leads to Scout’s Lookout, (where you will find port-a-potties), and this is the last stop before things get real. The last section is the iconic picture you have in your head of a narrow, exposed, scramble with death defying drop offs, inching your way along the edge of a harrowing cliff that is sometimes slick with a dusting of sand, all while others squeeze by you going the other way.

The pro tip is to get in line at the tram before day break, it is still going to be crowded, but it will only get worse. Also the Summer is the Monsoon Season for the desert and there is a good chance of afternoon Thunderstorms. You do not want to be on the top of Angel’s Landing in a Lightening Storm with high winds, flash flooding or even hail. The day we were there we were down off of Angel’s Landing by late morning, but we did experience an afternoon thunderstorm along the River Walk Trail. We were certainly glad not to be up above on Angel’s Landing at that moment. Make sure you have proper footwear, bring snacks, and plenty of water in a day pack that is secure to your body and not flopping about. Don’t carry a water bottle as you need to have both hands for scrambling. Take it easy, watch your footing, hold on to the chains, don’t do a selfie on the edge for goodness sake, be aware, and most importantly have fun.

When you are finished you will undoubtedly feel some of that euphoria that we talk about ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. You will have taken in spectacular vistas, got your heart pumping through not only adrenaline, but through physical exertion, and experience a feeling of empowerment on what you have accomplished.

Virgin River, muddy from flash floods.
The Infamous Angel’s Landing
Look closely at the steady line of bucket listers heading up Angel’s Landing.
“If you are not living on the edge then you’re taking up a little too much space.” – Morgan Freeman
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel, (Click to Play)
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on one of the deadliest hikes in America.

Thanks for joining me on this exciting and exhilarating journey in Utah taking on Zion National Park’s infamous Angel’s Landing, known for being tough, scary, deadly, and extraordinarily breath taking… breathtaking in it’s beauty, exertion, and dizzying heights. It’s on the edge hiking that you will never-ever forget. This was my birthday hike celebration to myself, and my second time to summit this special place. The first time was exactly 5 years ago almost to the day. I did the hike solo the first time huffing and puffing on the Walter’s Wiggles 21 switchbacks, so much so that I sat down to take a break and a young French woman asked me, “Are you okay?!” I guess I have hiked myself into better shape, because it did not seem to be a problem this time. On this my birthday I was accompanied by Roman and my good Hobie Cat Sailing National Champion Friend Tom. We were on our way back from our Lake Powell Houseboat Adventure. It was fun to share the dare. Well, there is always more fun to be had here at ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ National Parks Hiking. Stick around for more by doing these very simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu above you will find more inspirational spots to adventure. They are categorized by location and some by activity. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Do you see the cap I have on in the picture? You can get one at SHOP APPAREL. My PBTA Adventure Wear is top quality and carries the mantra, check it out.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Shi Shi Beach Trail

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Makah Indian Reservation

Activity: Day Hike

11 miles, 625’ elevation gain, 5.5 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 6-6-22

Starts out with a lovely forest- green and plush, wooden walkways and bridges, really something out of a fairytale and the forest never deviates from that beauty. A walking stick, (Some muddy places such as this have numerous ones available to choose from, which I though was most kind), I think it is a must as much for support and balance, tip toeing across limbs and logs in the mud, as testing just how deep the mud is. However, the trail gets muddier and muddier…  Sometimes it is so muddy that it is better to find an alternate course.  If you are alert and searching you might find a side trail that’s up higher and out of the wetness.  However, sometimes the side trail is just as bad, with the side trail being quite the obstacle course stepping over roots, navigating slog, going over downed trees, limbs and decay.  But, it is an adventure right?

I kept thinking is this really worth it?  This mud sucks! Then I emerged from the woods to the beach and I was rewarded with a splendid Washington wild and rugged coastline.  Then all the way to the rocks, tide pools and the sea stacks at the ‘Point of Arches’, one of the most photographed spots on the Washington Coast.  It’s simply mesmerizing, enchantingly unbelievable, and fascinating.  It makes all that mud worth it. Until you start coming back… but then you remind yourself to just keep concentrating on how beautiful the rocks were.

Be sure to check the tide table as although this is a broad beach there was a warning sign that it could be impassable at high tide and you certainly would not want to get stuck.  You will need a Makah Tribe Pass, which can be purchased at Neat Bay and if you will be backpacking over-night an additional permit is required as well. That can be purchased at the Olympic National Park Visitor’s Center in Port Angeles.  

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel. CLICK THE PIC to watch.
“The heart of a man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths, it has it’s pearls too.” —Vincent Van Gogh

Thanks for joining me, and I would say along with my son Alec, but he opted out of a trail of mud and instead caught up on his teenage beauty sleep, back in the rig.  I will say, he missed out to be sure… For more on our trek through the Olympic National Park and beyond be sure to do this:  LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE.  If you go to the menu above, each location or activity is a separate Website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. The menu will verify that PBTA seeks that elusive BALANCE that we all hunger for, to put our busy lives in check, all over this great West of ours.  I hope it will provide some insight and inspiration for your next adventure.  At SHOP APPAREL you will find top quality Adventure Wear with the PBTA logo and mantra.  

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Marymere Falls

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK 

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic View, Chasing Waterfalls

2 miles, 500’ elevation gain, 1 hour duration, rated Easy

Date: 6-5-22

The trailhead for Marymere Falls is near the beautiful blue waters of Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Forest.  Stop by the Storm King Ranger Station for information.  

The trail and the area are exquisite.  So green, so lush, you “just gotta’ luv” the tall fir trees, the draping moss, maple trees, abundant ferns and the overwhelming beauty. When you come upon the rushing stream and cross the wooden bridge, you will then begin switch backs leading to the falls. The Olympic National Park definitely knows how to do waterfalls. It is an enchanted hike to be sure. 

Marymere Falls is a 90 foot waterfall surrounded by a bewitching old growth forest.  This is one of the most popular hikes in the Olympic National Park. Easy hike that is good for the whole family.

The only way to view a waterfall is in motion. CLICK THE PIC!
PBTA YouTube Channel
Marymere Falls in the Olympic National Park
“Waterfall don’t ever change your ways, fall with me for a million days, oh my waterfall.” – Jimi Hendrix 

Thanks for joining me on my solo hike to Marymere Falls.  You might ask, What about your son Alec?  Wasn’t he with you?”  Alec slept in on this day in the back of the rig from the location of our last adventure, Hurricane Hill, and while I did the Marymere Falls hike.  Don’t worry he was still ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.  When I told him on the walkie-talkie-talkie how gorgeous the falls were instead of just joining me for the next hike of the day he used his cross-country skills trail running to the falls and then caught me heading up the steep hike to ‘Storm King.’  The boy’s got wheels!  Stick with us for the upcoming and exciting post regarding ‘Storm King’ by doing a few simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE.  If you go to the menu above you will see not only is PBTA journeying to our wonderful National Parks, but extensively throughout this great West of ours.  Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.   If you like my hat in the YouTube video then I invite you to deck yourself out with your own high quality adventure wear at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure 

Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

NEAR PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON

Activity: Day Hike

3.5 miles, 825’ elevation gain, 2 hours, 

Date: 6-4-22

Our trek along Hurricane Ridge to Hurricane Hill was quite windy, living up to it’s name I suppose.  It was cold with low cloud cover and partial snow. I understand that the views on a clear day of the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge are simply extraordinary.  On this day however, it was a little more of the adventure type of day rather than the tourist type of day where you might break into song, “The hills are alive with the sound of music”, because those are the type of scenic views that one might have.  

We first stopped at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center area late in the day where apparently there is a gift shop and a restaurant.  At least that is what it seemed to have going on there.  We were just glad that this early in the season that the bathrooms were open, because everything else was closed for the day. 

It was a couple mile drive from Visitor Center to the trailhead.  Portions of the hike were paved, but there was still a lot of snow around.  Alec got to try micro spikes, I had trekking poles so we were able to make our way without too much problem.  Moody day with drizzle and just partial views of snow capped mountains. The views heading up were of fir trees that were so thick on the mountain, and so vividly green that it was really something quite special.  It was starting to get dark, we were in snow, and it was cold and windy.  We had time and light to make it back, but there wasn’t room for error.  I actually wanted to head back before the summit.  We saw some cool views, that is when the clouds lifted a bit, and some of the terrain reminded me of some nice ski bowls. Alec really wanted to push on towards the summit.  We only had one set of micro spikes and he being in top shape from his cross country high school team took off at a very quick pace, despite my objections. He high stepped it up to an above vantage point, but turned around after that as we were burning daylight fast, plus Dad was having a “Major Pouty Fest”.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel, CLICK THE PIC!
On the way up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center were so thick and green.
First time with micro spikes for Alec.
“Getting to the top is optional getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs
I know in this get up I look like the ‘Flying Nun’, but I tell you it was an adverse climate, lol.

Alec and I appreciate you joining us on top of a chilly, snow top mountain, with night quickly approaching and with no one else around while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.  This is one of the first of our many adventures in the Olympic National Park so stick around for more by doing this: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE.  If you care to checkout the menu above you will see that besides National Parks we travel extensively around the WEST to find adventure and to take a break from the responsibilities of school, and the busy lives that we all experience and need to balance out when we get the chance.  Balance is exactly what adventures in nature can achieve, so it is important.  The menu is categorized by location and in some cases activity, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.  When I am not wearing full rain gear and a burka to face the storm then I like to adorn myself with Adventure Wear from ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.  I invite you to check it out at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursing Balance Through Adventure

Peabody Creek Trail

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Visitor Center, Scenic Stop, Day Hike

2 miles, 200’ elevation gain, 1 hour duration, rated Easy

Date: 6-4-22

Into the Olympic Rainforest we go. What an exciting and alive place. There was so much expectation on the part of my 18 year old son, Alec, and myself of beauty and adventure in this, the rainiest place on earth. We planned on being here a week and to see as much as we could. 

We were actually pretty lucky, I feel, as for the rainiest place on earth, there was only one day, which came near the end of our rainforest adventure, that it really rained, and I mean really rained on us. The rest of our time we experienced some sun, some dry cloudy skies and we also experienced mizzle, which NW Washington folks described to us as a mixture of mist and drizzle, okay… Back to the luck part. Many times right after we finished an outdoors adventure and loaded up the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and started heading for our next destination in the Olympic National Park it would rain pretty good. Also, during the night the rain would come down after we were tucked away warm and dry in the rig for the night. So other than that one day, where we got soaked, we were indeed pretty lucky.

Located in the most NW corner of the US Lower 48 States the 922,650 acre Olympic National Park has multiple regions: Rugged Coastline, Alpine Forest, Rainforest, and the drier East side.

We made a couple stops on our way to gain more knowledge of what we were getting ourselves into by heading for the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center near Port Angeles, Washington. We stopped and checked out a large old growth cedar tree transformed by Northwest Coast Tribes into a big Totem Pole.

When we arrived at the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center they had a display of an old wooden cabin that might be typical of this area. Inside the center we found some interesting displays before we spoke to a Ranger whom helped us consider how best to spend this Father/Son – HS Grad time before Alec leaves for college.

After getting some great ideas regarding our Olympic National Forest Journey, we decided to get in a quick hike, which conveniently began right at the center. The Peabody Creek Trail really shows off and right off the bat how spectacular and unusual the rain forest can be. 

As we started our trek it was so unreal to see there was so much life that it was practically spilling out all over us. The green so vibrant, the damp ground and vegetation so fresh, so earthy. So much life that it was actually growing on top of each other. During our time in this National Park we saw many examples of new trees growing right out of, or on top of a dead one. Also, some trees were just so bizarre in the shapes and the strange ways that they grow. Then there is the mud… the Peabody Creek Trail was not too bad, you could maneuver around it pretty handily, but later we decided to try out the Peabody Creek Loop as well and that was more remote, more wild, and a lot more muddy. Finally we thought better of it when there was a portion that was not only all mud with a few roots, but steep. Adding the portion that we did of Peabody Creek Loop pretty much doubled our little outing. We would have been scrambling up this mud hill, perhaps on hands and knees, so we head back from which we had come.

A great start to this adventure of crazy trees, vines, plants, and green so much green, oh… and a big slug.

“The early summer light steps birdlike down the east slope of Green Mountain, and stirs low mists long the river into flight.” – Tim McNulty
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel Peabody Trail Episode
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Alec and I are so excited to bring to you the start of our journey into Olympic National Park. It is stunningly beautiful and a world so different from the desert on the ocean, which is our home of Southern California. “Seems It never rains in Southern California, seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before, it never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya’ it pours, man it pours”, are famous lyrics from Albert Hammond. The song is about the struggle of someone coming to Hollywood to try and hit the big time, but at the same time if you take it more literally it does describe the weather in SoCal. It hardly every rains, which is evident by the horrible drought we have been experiencing for a couple decades, so when it does rain it comes all at once and neither the dry, hard ground or the infrastructure is ready for it and we get flooding. Conversely, in the rainforest “the rainiest place on earth” it mostly rains lightly, but pretty darn often, and if it isn’t raining it is drizzle, or mist, what a local referred to as ”mizzle”. What all that rain brings is an enchanting, bewitching place full of spectacle and wonder, but be forewarned bring your rain gear. Stick with Alec and I on this Vivid Green Escape from reality into the rainforest and you can do that easy enough by doing these simple steps: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA travels extensively throughout these great Western States while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in hopes to bring to you ideas and inspiration of how to take the ho hum, busy, work-a-day life that we all exist in, and balance that out with the beauty, and the magnificence of nature, Nature Heals. Each location or activity on the menu represents a different website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my hat in the picture than get one for yourself at SHOP APPAREL

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Split Rock Loop

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike

3 miles, 250’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated Easy

Date: 10-28-20

Mystical, magical, marvelous rock formations.  Joshua Tree National Park has quite a few great spots for wonderful boulder and rock formations and this is certainly among the best.  Another good spot is Jumbo Rock which is nearby.  That one captures everyone’s attention straight off with ‘Skull Rock‘ glaring at you from the roadway and then everyone just bounds off following the signs to the Jumbo Rock area.  Leaving the mystical, magical, marvelous boulders and rock formations on the other side of the road relatively untouched and unspoiled by the crowd.  A big plus indeed.  

I parked at Skull Rock and headed off to Face Rock Trail.  By taking this route to Split Rock Loop I add a little distance, but I was rewarded with more of what I came for and that is the rock formations to include ‘Face Rock‘ which is pretty cool, and really looks like a face.  Of course the power of suggestion can be just that, pretty powerful.  I have seen someone else’s picture of a rock formation called ‘Old Man with Finger in Nose’, and sure enough after that suggestion it sorta looked like an old man with his finger in his nose for crying out loud.  

After checking out Face Rock the trail led to Split Rock Loop. There is a gravel road that you could drive to the Split Rock Loop Trailhead if you would rather, which would cut off a mile round trip of hiking to get to this post’s name sake.

Split Rock Loop is a couple miles long and if you are not in a hurry to fit in as much stuff as possible at the park then I would invite you to immerse yourself in this wonderland of boulders by getting off the trail. Wander over and get up and personal with the rock, scamper around that is part of the joy of Joshua Tree.

I connected an additional hike, that being Eagle Cliff Mine, to my hike which added considerable distance, and difficulty to the hike. It is really off the beaten path and thus might not be for everyone, so I will post that as a separate hike.

Boulders and rock, boulders and rock- what fun for the imagination, and a nice way to unwind, forget about the foes of the world for a moment, destress, breath in… breath out… be one with nature. That is what Pursuing Balance Through Adventure is all about. Stick with me there are more JTNP adventures ahead! Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE and FOLLOW. If you were transported from one of PBTA’s other social media platforms please note that this is where the others lead, like trickles and stream lead to a roaring river. The YouTube, Pinterest, FaceBook, and Instagram are all just pieces. The ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Blog is what is complete. If you don’t leave a message, I will never know that you were even here, and that is sad. So please leave your footprints in the snow, speaking of which PBTA visits many extraordinary spots if you will scroll up to the menu and click on PBTA WA Hiking you can find a snow adventure or two, if you click on OR Hiking you can find kayaking on lakes so clear it will blow your mind. Click on NoCal Hiking and see waterfalls that are indeed a fairy tail, and so forth and so on. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. The ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘ logo hat, high performance shirt, and neck gator can all be found for purchase at SHOP APPAREL. It is first rate high quality and I know that you will enjoy wearing them and the feeling of really connecting to the outdoors as well as yourself.

Ryan Mt Trail

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging, Scenic Views

Date: 10-28-20

3 miles, 1069’ elevation change, >2 hours duration, rated Moderately-Strenuous

Ryan Mountain Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a very popular and a fantastic hike with terrific views. I think that this is a must do if you are visiting Joshua Tree and like to hike. I have seen it rated Moderate, but the Park Service is calling it Moderately-Strenuous, so I am going with that. Pretty much it is strenuous going up and it is moderate going down maybe even easy. One thing is for sure you will certainly get your heart pumping on the what seems to be a never ending stair master gaining more than 1000 feet in a mile and a half.

Once on the top you have views in every direction of the park‘s rock formations, piles of boulders, desert floor, valleys, hills and the distant mountains. You will see some of the differences in the upper desert, being the Mohave Desert where you see Joshua Trees, and lower and hotter desert known as the Colorado Desert. It is special that there are these two very different ecosystems in the same National Park.

Thanks for joining me, if only in spirit, up the 2nd highest peak in Joshua Tree National Park. There are more JT NP treks to be hiked and more peaks to be bagged so stay tuned by doing these several important tasks: FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE . Look at my outfit! I am totally decked out in the new ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” Cotton Tee, Cap, and Face Gaiter get’s yours today at SHOP APPAREL. Heck in the spirt of giving, (with Christmas on the way), buy any two regularly priced PBTA items and then email me at pursingbalancethruadventure@gmail.com, informing me that you ordered, and I will throw in at no additional cost one of the new PBTA Cotton T-Shirts a $20 value! Then once you are geared up go to the Menu above for ideas on were you want to hike. Each of the locations is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Echo Lake

LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Backpacking, Back Country Wilderness Camping, Hiking

Date: May 31/June 2, 2020

Distance 4.7 miles, elevation change 810 feet, duration 4 hours, rated Moderate

This was my first trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Because of the Covid-19 emergency the park, along with all National Parks, had been closed. I arrived the weekend that it opened back up. The park was open, but most of the campgrounds and the Visitor Center were still closed. Backcountry camping was open and that is what I was interested in.

Lassen Volcanic National Park- I have heard it called “Little Yosemite.” It is one of our lesser utilized National Parks. It’s most prominent feature is Lassen Peak, the largest Plug Dome Volcano in the world, and the Southern Most Cascade Mountains Volcano.

After reaching the park I filled out the Self Registration for the Backcountry Wilderness Camping and was on my way. I just about had the place to myself. I suppose that it was a little early in the season, as there was a lot more snow than I was expecting which caused me to rethink my plan to Peak Bag Lassen Mountain that was covered with snow. I do not have the proper equipment for such a snow and ice adventurous undertaking. The other reason the park was so scantily populated is not every National Park has re-open so few people probably even know it is back. I parked near the Ranger Station at Summit Lake and slung my heavy pack up onto my back and headed out on my adventure. It was quite late in the afternoon, but since it was the unofficial start to Summer there would be plenty of light to make the trek to Echo Lake where I would be setting up my base camp.

The start of the hike went through a marshy area which had a little wooden bridge to get past the worst of the wetland and a couple places where I crossed on logs. It wasn’t long before the trail took me past Summit Lake. I imagine that this area would usually be teeming with visitors as I peered back across the lake at the deserted campground. The three days that I was there I saw two small groups at the beginning of the hike near the parking lot, and then only one person in the back country. The weather was cool, it was cloudy and there was low cloud cover obscuring both Brokeoff Mountain and Lassen Peak.

The hike rambles up through gorgeous forest and woodland, along vibrant green meadows until, through the pines, you get your first glimpse of Echo Lake- a quaint little timber lined lake with a little snow thrown about as decoratio

You are not permitted to camp right down near the lake so I hiked along the tree studded lake shore trail until I made it past the far side of Echo Lake and then up the hill until I found some level ground where I would pitch my tent and call it home for the next couple nights.

As I said, this would be my base camp and I would do a couple other hikes while at the park, so I would hike in and out of Echo Lake multiple times. One such hike was to the Upper and Lower Twin Lakes. It rained on me once, which was a surprise, as early on when I had WiFi coverage next to the Visitor Center I was supposedly between rain storms. So take note this is Northern California Mountains and the elevation of the park starts at about 6,500 feet so you must be prepared. When I broke camp the weather had changed again and it was picture perfect with mild temperatures.

Also take note this is bear country and not only is it a good idea to have bear spray, but in the backcountry it is required to have a bear canister, which was new for me, and really had me thinking about bears.

Last look at Echo Lake.
To some it’s just water.  To me it’s where I regain my sanity. 

Thanks for joining me at Lassen Volcanic National Park’s Echo Lake. A great area to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“. A place to pick up all the pieces scattered in traffic, crowds, time schedules, obligations and the craziness of our lives. Stayed tuned to this channel as well as the many different channels that “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ wanders- just checkout the menu above. It is divided by area and each is it’s own separate site and thus needs to be followed independently. So, please take a moment and FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. SHOP APPAREL- If you need a hat, or shirt we have the best logo, the best merch, made of the best stuff, and besides you will be helping to support PBTA.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursing Balance Through Adventure