The "Hike On!" thread of Hiking and Backpacking


It is a stunningly beautiful place.

Consider yourself invited! I don’t get up there enough, and it’s only 30 minutes or so from here by car.


That was awesome! Now you’ve got me interested in taking a wilderness course so I’ll feel comfortable going off-trail like that.


Enjoying a hot coffee up on the bluffs above Puget Sound at Ebey’s Landing National Preserve. I’m posting from here live.

Those are the Olympic Mountains across the water, but it’s from a very different angle than that of Seattle. If I look to the right, I’m staring straight down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which connects to the Pacific. The San Juan Islands are to my right. I’m on Whidbey Island.

It’s only a couple miles from the parking lot. The first half of the bluff trail is on a narrow track along the side of the bluff, 200-300 feet above the water. Then it winds down to the beach, and you circle back that way.


Looks like a beautiful little hike!

I got my 3F Gear Lanshan 2 UL tent in the mail last week. (This tent has to ordered from China via AliExpress, and takes 2-3 weeks for delivery.) It’s a 40 oz, 2 person, double-wall, silnylon backpacking tent with double door and vestibule that requires trekking poles for supports. Seems like a great little tent, considering that it weights not much more than a 1L water bottle, and it packs down to the size of a loaf of bread. I don’t have a yard, so had to make a trek to a local park to practice setting it up. My first attempt was a dismal failure: I didn’t understand how the line-locks work or how to rig the tent properly, didn’t set the stakes well enough, and didn’t my poles right. But after a bunch of fiddling with it and watching some Youtube videos, I got it dialed in:

Suggested modifications to the tent as packaged:

  • Change out the included stakes (aluminum 4-prong tent pegs) for shepherd hook titanium stakes. The included stakes are robust and fairly lightweight, but are hard to insert in tough ground and pull out easily.
  • The straps sewn onto the interior of the tent that clip onto the mesh inner structure are sewn all the way through the tent and guy straps on the exterior. These should be painted with silicon tent sealer to prevent leaks through the threads.
  • There’s a footprint available for the tent (as well as a separately sold 4 season inner.) The tent’s bathtub is thicker than the silnylon walls, but is still fairly thin, and a footprint would help protect it from sharp debris if you don’t carefully clear the campsite.

There’s a couple of good Youtube videos (first, second) that show how to set the tent up, but there are still a couple of gotchas:

  • There are two sets of additional lines included with the tent. The set for your side-wall guy pulls are the lines with line locks on them, not the ones with S-hooks. To attach these, thread the end of the line through the guy points and then tie an overhand knot as a stopper. Open up a loop below the line locker and put your stake through there, then pull the line locker up to apply tension and lock it off.
  • You need sharp tips on your trekking poles. I have tip protectors on mine usually, but had to remove them to pitch this tent. Make sure you put the tip of your pole through the elastic loops in the center of the bathtub floor on each side.
  • The guy lines at the top center of the vestibule opening run from the top of the tent to a stake and then to the vestibule door. There should be a loop tied in the line to put the stake through, but if there’s not (one of my lines had no loop), just tie an overhand knot on a bight and stick the stake through the loop. Then bring the end of the line with the hook on the end and attach it to the loop at the bottom of one of your vestibule doors. (I’d choose the left door.) Tension the line with the line lockers at the top and at the vestibule door.

Anyway, I haven’t trail-tested the tent yet, but for $100, it seems like a great lightweight option. Since it’s double-walled, condensation shouldn’t be a huge problem. There’s a 4 season interior available if you want/need it. And all of the watertightness tests I’ve seen/read have been, uh, watertight. It’s got two vestibules for inclement weather cooking and storage. And a door on both sides of the tent. You could fit two people inside, but it would be pretty intimate. (It’s slightly longer and wider than a twin-sized bed.) For reference, my Marmot 2P tent is about 25% bigger (about the size of a full bed), but weighs and costs about twice as much.


This makes me sad, as I’ve yet to visit when it hasn’t been absolutely soaking wet. One day…that looks like a peaceful place to read a book on a sunny day!


That’s a fantastic review and very helpful. I might buy this for a friend or two as a little present. How tough do you think it is against some light hail? Seems like I get pounded with that crap twice a year and it always makes me nervous. So far my Big Agnes UL HV 2 has done just fine against it, but man it makes my butt pucker.

Of course, for $100 I can’t see how you can really go wrong if you already use magic sticks.


Man, I’ve been in the PNW for 8 months, only 3 hours away, and have yet to make it to Olympic.

I really should take a weekend and do that.


I think it would be fine against light hail. The nylon is thin, but surprisingly tough. There’s a reddit post where someone successfully used it in sleet and hail. It’s also double walled, so even if the hail broke through the outer tent, the inner mesh tent would provide some protection. You can buy a 4-season waterproof nylon inner tent also, which ends up actually being lighter than the mesh inner.


Olympic is amazing. You’ve got the longest, undeveloped stretch of ocean coastline in the Lower 48. And the it transitions to the only rainforest in the Lower 48. And then it transitions to rugged, snow-covered mountains complete with glaciers.

Hurricane Ridge is a must. Absolutely breathtaking. And I’ve been wanting to hike the Spruce Railroad Trail on Lake Crescent forever. But the two times I ventured out there, it was closed for construction. GAHHHHHH.

Seriously, LOOK AT THIS.


I’ve been there three times, twice in the winter. Skies just like that. And the last time, there were two Bald Eagles perched next to the trailhead.

Ebey’s Landing is gorgeous. There are picturesque farms atop a bluff overlooking Puget Sound. To the east, the snow-covered majesty of Mount Baker looms. You can see Rainier even further snow. And to the west, the Olympics.




Well one of these days I’ll nail it! That Spruce Railroad picture was killer.


Darwin is out again this spring hiking the Arizona Trail. He just posted the first episode of his trail diary. These end up being best if you follow along while they’re being posted.


So I returned to do one of my favorites. Partly because it’s a butt kicker, partly because it’s less than 40 minutes away. Now I have hiked both mountains several times, but I’ve never done the full loop. But it was a beautiful day, clear skies, so I figured I’d give a go.

Now about a month ago I shared these photos

They’re relevant because that is Elk Mountain. Part of this loop. Now for sake of logistics I started at the Kong’s Mountain trailhead, which is the southwest corner of the map. Would proceed clockwise around. This is because Elk mountain does its ascent in about a mile and a half. About 2700 feet of climb (you gain 2200 feet in elevation, but have a couple of drops and ridges to climb again). Where King Mountain is about 2800 feet of climb, no drop backs, and about 2.5 miles.

Beautiful start. Even a week ago though I could see snow at lower elevations from the valley, but today things were clear and warm.

As I went up in elevation I did eventually see snow, but very limited until about 2200 feet, and not sweiously until 2700 feet

Which I eventually got to an overlook and saw my first goal. The peak of King Mountain

While my hike was not so severe yet, there are times it is. I mean you can see the map, that’s some serious slope.

As I climbed the snow intrusion onto the trail became pretty severe. Mostly hard, and careful planning on footing kept me from post holeing or getting too wet. For now. But by the time I was done I would be wet to my knees.

But eventually I made the summit. Just over an hour too, a pretty good time. Most people take an hour and a half to two.

It’s a great view. But this is only 1/4 of the way into the hike, so not time to rest. However on a clear day like today, you can catch glimpses of the ocean, about 30 miles distant

More to come, including an incredibly treacherous back half.


Now the reason I had gone the way I did was simply knowing the trail. King Mountain connects to Elk Mountain through a long ridge, but the high elevations meant that snow cover was real. And I knew that the trail could be treacherous in poor conditions. So I didn’t know if it would be accessible all the way. Because of the distances the worst is only about 3.5 miles from the trail head at King Mountain. So if I was going to get stuck at an impassable spot, better to do so with the shorter car return.

The first bit wasn’t too bad. But then it drops off the north slope of the ridge, and drops down several hundred feet along a sheer slope before climbing back up to the ridge line.

It was almost enough to turn me back. But I soldiered on.

Here I am looking back at what I’d traversed. First down the ridge, then across the slope

It’s qay worse than it looks in the photos

Eventually I reached the worst

The trail was a semi compacted snow bank, about a foot wide and along a steep drop off to one side. Great view though

Eventually I reached the end of that, anc climbed out of the morass. Finally got a peek of the peak I climbed last time.

The last climb was brutal. Fortunately the ropes were exposed enough, and not buried under snow.

Then it was a nice leisurely walk. Funny thing is that the mile and a half, of minimal elevation change took me nearly double the time that the 2.5 mile ascent had. It was hat challenging on the steep northern slope to keep footing on the snow. And I had one instance where the snow gave some when along the narrow ridge. That was… exciting.

Anyhow the King trail finally met the Elk trail. Now it was (almost) all downhill.


But now My quads were burning. The technical portion has sapped me of a lot of strength. Fortunately it wasn’t that bad until I reached Elk peak. The downhill was going to be rough, 50% grade downhill for a mile and a half is rough when you have no quad strength left. But deal with that in time.

A nice view of King peak.

200 feet of near vertical scramble to the peak

At last

The view west really is something spectacular.

And before I began my climb down I caught a glimpse of something 100 miles away

I had considered going there instead. But it’s nearly 2 hours, and I wasn’t sure trails would be open enough. Next week maybe I’ll try some lower slopes.

I can see the road, and nearly the trail head for Elk Mountain. And the Wilson River, which I will be following the last 3-4 miles.

Now even though I made it down from Elk Mountain, this relatively level trail (only a few 100’ or so climbs), I was gassed. Normally I would run this part, but I could barely do more than a fast walk. Took me another 45 minutes to cover the last few miles. But, eventually

What a day. I’ll be feeling it tomorrow though.


Looks like a gorgeous hike! I really need to get up to the Portland area one of these days. I loved the view of Mt. Hood in the distance.


Nice trip report. I haven’t done either of those trails. That elevation gain reminds me of dog mountain.


Having done Dog Mountain, I would say that both peaks in this loop are more intense.

I like these ones because their proximity. Admittedly the ones along the Columbia have nicer views.


I got antsy, having not hiked in a couple of weeks, so I left work a little early yesterday and drove up to Mt. Laguna. Laguna is one of the two alpine areas of San Diego County (the other is Palomar Mountain.) It’s 5,000-6,000’ above sea level and so sees snow in the winter. There’s a pine forest up there, with gorgeous ponds and sweeping meadows. It also sits right on the edge of the Laguna Escarpment, which is a long plateau edge that drops dramatically 4,000’ down to the Borrego Desert floor. The landscape is a mix of SoCal types and you can do short hikes that pass through dense pine forest, open grassland, coastal chapparal, and desert scrub. My normal hike/jog there is an easy flat 8 mile loop that circles Laguna Meadows. But yesterday, I was interested in trying a new route, and decided to do the Indian Creek Loop, which encompasses part of the PCT.

Here’s the trail topology, looking west.

I hiked clockwise, starting at the Penny Pines Trailhead, worked my way down the Noble Canyon Trail to the Indian Creek Trail and back to the Sunrise Highway (S1) to cross at the Pioneer Mail Trailhead. From there, it was southbound on the Pacific Crest Trail along the edge of the escarpment and back to my car. 8.6 miles total, which took me about 2 1/2 hours.

So, it’s rained a bunch this winter. We’re having a “superbloom” of flowers in the desert and there is green everywhere this spring, so I was hoping for something similar on the mountaintop: lush green meadows and desert wildflowers… but no. It still freezes at night up there, and the grass is just starting to poke its way through the dead growth from last year, so it still is pretty desolate looking. But still with some nice views to the west.

Indian Creek is actually running

And little streams trickling down various small draws are saturating the ground and starting to push grass up

After about 5 miles, I crossed S1 and picked up the PCT

Turned toward Mexico, and finally started to get the views I’d come for

The wind really started to pick up at this point, and what had been a comfortable mid-40’s hike in a T-shirt, started to get quite chilly as the sun got low in the sky. It’s the start of PCT hiking season and I passed a few northbound PCT through-hikers trying to stay warm and looking for a good camping spot for the night. There was a double column of trekking pole holes on either side of the trail: testament to PCT traffic.

Great views down Storm Canyon into the desert near the end of the hike. I think that the Salton Sea is visible in the far distance.

Finished up, and drove back to San Diego to enjoy some hot Tom Kah soup. Great hike!


And lottery results have been announced and my group has our Mt. Whitney permits for August locked in. We’ve got a group of 30 folks intending to do the hike and camp together at Whitney Portal. Should be awesome!