Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

2003 Log

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


1/1 – New Years hike at Almaden Quicksilver County Park. Did the long loop from New Almaden to near Guadalupe reservoir and then returned via the ridge trail past Bull Run and English Camp and the English Camp trail. 11+ miles.

1/5 – Almaden Quicksilver loop. Up the old road to Bull Run and then back via English Camp. App. 6 miles.

1/12 – (or thereabouts) First attempt at telemark skiing at Northstar.

1/18 – A quick hike up to Bull Run at Almaden Quicksilver. Although it was socked-in and cold in the valley, it was sunny and warm on the ridge.

1/20 – More telemark skiing at Squaw Valley.

1/26 – Almaden Quicksilver County Park 7-8 mile loop. Saw first wildflowers of the season!

January Summary – I think I forgot to include a few other hikes at Almaden Quicksilver.


2/1 – Short hike up Waddell Creek.

2/2 – Quick hike up past English Camp to the ridgeline at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

2/15 – Almaden Quicksilver.

2/23 – Telemark and cross-country skiing at Northstar.


2/1 – Short hike up Waddell Creek.

2/2 – Quick hike up past English Camp to the ridgeline at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.

3/1 – Started the new month with the “middle” loop at Quicksilver – out on the Randol (more-or-less) trail to the lateral from the grassy knoll to the Bull Run trail and then back to Almaden.

3/8 – Typical Saturday morning at Quicksilver park. This time started at the Almaden parking lot, crossed Capehorn Pass and headed out Randol toward Guadalupe Reservoir. At the trail junction just before the reservoir I turned left and headed back up the ridge toward Bull Run, then descending through English Camp back to the car. About 11+ miles.

Didn’t get out much during mid-March due to a really nasty cold that hung on for nearly 3 weeks.

3/29 – The quick hike up to Bull Run via the easy route and then back down via English Camp – 6.5-7 miles. Posted some new flower pictures on the Photos page.

3/30 – Back to Almaden Quicksilver the next day! Took the Randol trail out to the grassy overlook and then followed the lateral trail (past many wild flowers) up to the ridge trail. From there went up to Bull Run and then down the main route – with too many mountain bikers… Probably at least 8 miles, maybe a bit more.


4/2 – Bull Run loop and Almaden Quicksilver – up the main drag and down the English Camp trail.

4/4 – 4/6 – Cross-country ski overnight in Yosemite. Camped in Yosemite Valley the first night since a cold late-season storm had closed the road to Badger Pass. Next day we drove to Badger Pass and skied out on the Glacier Point road to an overlook of the Clark Range where we set up camp. Skied out on day 3.

4/19 – After not getting out last week it was good to hike today. Did the middle-length route at Almaden – out Randol, up the lateral to the ridge trail, past Bull Run. The white lupine near the mine on the ridge are just beginning to bloom.

4/26 – Back to New Almaden today – as usual. I think I need to try some other trails… ;-) But really, it is nice to have a nearby place that I feel like I really know. Today was unusual for California spring. It is supposed to be getting drier and warmer now, but it rained most of the week and was unusually cold – so the trail to English Camp and beyond was very wet and muddy. Still keeping an eye on the White Lupine patch near the mine on the ridge – more flowers today but the peak is perhaps still a week away.


5/3 Hiked a different route on today’s 7 1/4-mile Almaden walk. Started at the Mockingbird Hill entrance and then followed the New Almaden trail to the junction with Prospect #3. Took Prospect #3 up to the ridge and then via Bull Run to English Camp. Descended the main trail and took the Capehorn Pass segment of the Hacienda trail back to the parking lot. The white lupine on the ridge near the mine are still not quite at their peak yet.

5/10 Climbed to Windy Hill from the Alpine Road area via (mostly) a fire road. About 5.5 or 6 miles? This was my first time on this trail. I often passed the part of the park on Skyline Blvd. when I used to bicycle up there, but I never even got off the bike to take a look.

5/11 Quick hike up to the ridge-top mine on the Castillero trail to take pictures of the White Lupine display, which seemed to be at its peak today. Went up the Mines Trail and down the English Camp trail.

5/17 Up the English Camp trail and down the Mines Trail. Completely forgot to look for the lupine patch near the mine – I was busy talking to Bill, a fellow I met on the trail up the hill. He claims to have hiked here as early as 1959 (?) before many of the mining facilities had been removed.

5/24 – 2/26 Telemark and cross-country skiing at Mammoth. On Saturday left town late and drove to Mammoth – arriving around 11:30 to camp in the desert. Sunday, telemark skied at Mammoth resort – quite a lot of snow left. Spent the better part of the day skiing beginning run (Discovery Chair?) and practicing telemark technique. Monday cross-country skied out to Minaret Summit to lie in the warm sun for an hour or so and admire the snow-covered view. Drove back over newly-opened Sonora Pass with incredible snow-covered scenery and lots of flowing meltwater.

5/31 An aborted end-of-month hike today at Almaden Quicksilver. I headed up the trail and was all ready for a 11-12 mile outing but thought I’d call home first to see if others had awakened yet. (I left very early.) They had, and I needed to take Jameson to a rehearsal, so I reversed course and headed back home with only about 2 miles of hiking under my belt. There’s always tomorrow…


6/1 – Did the loop from Mockingbird Hill entrance at Almaden Quicksilver. Out on the Almaden trail and then to the Ridge via Prospect #3; along the ridge to English Camp and then down the Mines Trail to the junction with Hacienda trail and back to the start.

6/7 – The Big Loop from Hacienda via Randol to near Guadalupe Reservoir, and then back via Mines Trail and English Camp.

6/8 – 30-mile bike ride around the Calero loop.

6/14 – The middle loop at Quicksilver Park this morning – started early! Out to Prospect #3 and up to the ridge, then back down via English Camp.

6/15Waterfall Day in Yosemite. Visited Bridalveil and Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point.

6/21 – The “middle loop” at Almaden Quicksilver – Out on Randol, up Prospect #3, and then back via Castillero and Mines trails. The poison oak is really growing right now, and encroaching on Prospect #3 in spots.

6/22 – Hey, a bike ride! Went down Almaden to New Almaden and then up the QM trail about .3 miles before turning around. 23 miles.

6/29 – The long Almaden Quicksilver loop – out on the low-level Randol trail and back via Mines Trail and English Camp. About 11 miles.


7/5 – First hike in a week. At Almaden Quicksilver Park I met some hikers from the Orinda Hiking Club and we talked a bit about the various trails and other features at the park. Approx. 7.5 miles.

7/6 – 8 mile urban hike on the Los Gatos Creek trail.

7/8 – Quick 6.2 miles up and down Mine Hill Trail to Bull Run.

7/9 – Quick 5.5-6 mile urban hike on LG Creek trail.

7/13 – Quick 4.5-mile urban hike on LG Creek trail.

7/18 – Departed for Seattle to start the Della Falls trip.

7/20 – Canoed 22 miles from Ark Resort on Vancouver Island to the upper end of the lake and the start of the Della Falls trail.

7/21 – Backpacked approximately 10 miles to the base of Della Falls.

7/22 – Basically a backpacking layover day, with only a short hike to the base of the falls.

7/23 – Day hike from Della Falls to Love Lake. Climbed nearly 2000′ in about 2-3 miles.

7/24 – Backpacked 10 miles back from Della Falls to the Great Central Lake.

7/25 – Canoed 22 miles back to Ark Resort to end the trip.

July Summary Got in a few hikes near the beginning of the month and then a lot of urban hikes later on in preparation for two upcoming trips: Della Falls and Sierra backpacking. Della Falls trip included about 44 mile roundtrip in a canoe and about 10 miles out and back hiking to the backpack campsite, plus a short day hike to Love Lake.


8/2 – Drove to Mosquito Flat trailhead for a quick dinner before starting up the trail at 7:45 pm to camp at Mack Lake, just inside the wilderness area boundary. Barely 1/4 mile.

8/3 – Climbed from Mack Lake over 12,000′ Mono Pass and descended to Trail Lakes to camp.

8/4 – Descended from Trail Lakes to Golden Creek and then ascended into Pioneer Basin, camping at “Third Lake,” the largest of the lakes in the basin.

8/5 – Day-hiked up to the ridge at the end of Pioneer Basin (app. 12,000′) to overlook peaks and valleys to the north. Wandered back down through the basin, passing most of the lakes on the way.

8/6 – Short hike began with descent from Pioneer Basin and then short lateral to Fourth Recess Lake.

8/7 – 2000′ climb from Fourth Recess Lake to Mono Pass and then descend to Mosquito Flat trailhead.

8/11 – Tested out the altitude-adapted lungs at sea-level by climbing the English Camp trail at Almaden Quicksilver.

8/14 – Very fast hike up and down the Mine Hill trail – to within 1 minute of the top where I had to turn around because I ran out of time!

8/16 – Up Mine Hill Trail then Randol to Prospect #3 to the ridge; back via English Camp.

8/22 – Started at the usual place, Hacienda trailhead in New Almaden. Left the main trail at the first bend, following a use trail up a creek until it ended. A short cross-country section through trees brought me to a newly-graded trail that joined the English Camp trail just before English Camp. Headed up to the ridge and then returned via Mine Hill trail.

8/28 – Up and down the Mine Hill trail, with stops for photos of the first autumn leaves.

8/30 – 24-mile bike ride down Almaden expressway, including about 2 miles of off-road riding. 1:55

8/31 – End-of-August hike at Almaden Quicksilver. The usual “long loop” out Randol to near the reservoir, then back on Mine Hill trail and English Camp – this time with a variation by taking the fork to the right below English Camp. 10.5-11 miles.

August Summary – Started the month with a great pack trip over Mono Pass into Pioneer Basin. During the rest of the month I mostly did day hikes at Almaden Quicksilver, although I did manage to get on my bike a bit as well.


9/1 –  Started the new month with a semi-urban bike ride to Los Gatos and Saratoga and back via the route I take from De Anza. 25 miles. 1:45.

9/5 – Day 1 of a short pack trip out of Tuolumne Meadows. Hiked from the permit station via Rafferty Creek trail to Fletcher Lake. 7.? miles and about 3:30 of hiking.

9/6 – Day 2. Hiked 7.5-8 miles cross-country. From Fletcher Lake, ascended ridge above Townsley Lake, crossed plateau to cross ridge at 11,000 to Ireland Lake. From Ireland Lake ascended valley at base of Mt. Amelia Earhart to reach ridge below (east) of Parsons Peak.

9/7 – Day 3. Hiked back down Rafferty Creek trail to Tuolumne.

9/12 – Quick day hike up Mines Trail and down English Camp Trail at Almaden Quicksilver.

9/13 – Brandon and I hiked up to Fletcher Lake to camp overnight.

9/14 – Today we hiked cross-country over the 11,000′ ridge to near Ireland Lake, then descended on trails to Lyell Canyon, exiting at Tuolumne Meadows after a hike of about 11.5 miles.

9/28 – After not doing anything outdoors since returning from Yosemite 2 weeks ago (school started) I finally got out for a day hike today at Almaden Quicksilver park. It was cool, hazy, and breezy – definitely not summer anymore – as I hiked up Mine Hill and then down the alternate to the English Camp trail. 6+ miles.

September Summary – Not a bad hiking month, with two short but fun trips to the Fletcher Lake area. The first one included a very cool full-day cross-country hike to a remote ridge behind Ireland Lake; the second was a chance to backpack with my oldest son. Unfortunately things got a bit too busy near the end of the month with the start of school and my new role as senate president – not enough sleep and not enough hiking!


10/5 – First hike of October today. Went to Almaden Quicksilver with my brother, who is down on business from Woodinville. We hiked up the Mine Hill Trail.

10/10-10/12 – Final pack trip (most likely) of the season with Owen and his sister Shelley. As per our tradition we went to Fletcher Lake. On the first day I drove to Tuolumne and hit the trail at nearly 6:00 pm, hiking to Fletcher Lake mostly after dark – arriving there around 10:30 pm. On the second day we climbed Vogelsang Peak and visited Vogelsang Pass. On day 3 we hiked back down to Tuolumne Meadows and hit the Tioga Pass Resort for late lunch – hours before they closed for the season.

10/19 – Nice fall hike at Almaden Quicksilver Park today – it was warm on the south side above New Almaden and then cooler and windy near the ridge and on the way back down. Went up English Camp trail and Castillero trail to Catherine Tunnel, then back down via Mine Hill Trail.

10/25 – The usual short hike at Almaden Quicksilver – up English Camp and Castellero and down Mine Hill. It was hot today!

10/26 – Hiked again at Almaden Quicksilver – even though I was there yesterday. This time hiked very fast out Randol and up Prospect #3, trying to stay ahead of 3 people on horseback. (Managed to do so until just before the top of Prospect #3 where I had to cut cross-country to stay ahead.) Then up the ridge and across Castillero past English Camp to take the shortcut back to the parking lot.


11/2 – First cool-weather hike of the season. It probably didn’t get much above 50 degrees as I hiked up Mine Hill Trail and then back down via English Camp.

11/8 – First rain hike of the season – though it was more of a drizzle than actual rain. Out on Randol, up Prospect #3 then return via Mine Hill, Castillero, and English Camp.

11/15 – A nice rainy hike at Almaden Quicksilver – up Mine Hill and down English Camp trail.

11/22 – Cold morning hike at Almaden Quicksilver, the coldest so far this fall. Out on Randol, up Prospect #3, return via Mine Hill, Castillero, English Camp, with the shortcut route on the descent.

11/29 – Last hike of the month, no doubt. It was a cloudy, slightly drippy day. I hiked up over Capehorn Pass and onto Randol, but soon decided to take the single-track lateral to the left that I have always passed up before. It ascended to the Mine Hill trail near the English Camp lateral and I continued on to the ridge. From there I headed back on Castillero, adding the lateral to the new parking lot on Hicks Road for the first time before returning to the ridge and then descending to the parking lot.


12/15 – After a “dry period” of about two weeks due to final exams and other college business, I got away for a one-day cross-country trip at Royal Gorge.

12/19 – Almaden Quicksilver, up and down English Camp trail. Was able to travel off-trail several times due to the winter die-back of vegetation.

12/22 – Solstice hike at Almaden Quicksilver. Out on Randol, up Prospect #3, back on Mine Hill, Castillero, and Gulch.

12/27 – Nice long hike at Almaden Quicksilver. All the way out to the reservoir on the low route (Randol, etc.) and then back via the ridge, including a bit of off-trail hiking.

12/31 – One-day cross-country ski trip to Royal Gorge. Great way to end an outdoors year!

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