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  • What’s your “Plan B” when the trails you want to hike are closed?

    Posted by Jeff on August 31, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    We’ve had bad air in Central Oregon for several weeks — bad enough that we’ve been sequestered indoors hitting “refresh” on the air quality map in hopes that we can dash outside for a quick adventure. And now in California they have closed all National Forests in the state until September 17th to help mitigate fire risks with resources spread thin.

    For the SoCal challenge, this means ALL of the 11 peaks are closed for now. 🙁

    So what is your “Plan B” when conditions or circumstances won’t let you do the hikes you wanted to do? How do you continue to stay fit and train for the big adventures that (hopefully) lie in the weeks and months ahead?

    Judson replied 2 years, 5 months ago 11 Members · 17 Replies
  • 17 Replies
  • Bernard

    August 31, 2021 at 4:48 pm

    Almost a repeat of last year for me: I had a permit for Mt Whitney in early September 2020 but the mountains closed the day I was going to drive to Lone Pine. As a result of all SoCal closures, I was not able to finish the six-Pack challenges (one short) since the peaks left on my list (San Gorgonio, etc) had also closed earlier. This year I got a bit luckier!

    My day permit for Mt Whitney was for August 24th (I did summit, thank you very much!). The valley was very smokey on the 22nd but got better. My 6-Pack challenge has been done since early August.

    Bottom line is I don’t need a Plan B but it is very sad that every year hiking gets more limited due to the various fires.

  • Robert

    August 31, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    The fire situation is quite sad. However I can say we just did a majority of the Rae Lakes Loop. We had to turn back about 15 miles in due to an ankle sprain in the group. Otherwise a great hike, though hot and dry, not overly affected by all these fires.

    So if you can get into a National Park (?), maybe still options there? Also local hikes.

    Wanted to say thanks to everyone at six peaks – it got me ready for our big trip and really made this year so much better for me. Hope everyone can be as safe as possible and still get out somewhere and enjoy!

    • Sean

      September 2, 2021 at 8:56 am

      Question for ya…

      When you did Rae Lakes did you get as far as Paradise Valley and Kings River Bridge? Was it still washed out? Been wanting to do this hike again but I can’t find any solid info on the bridge and being able to complete the loop. NPS website says construction was meant to start in 2021, but I imagine COVID and fires have put a damper on that and I can’t find further updates.

    • Jeff

      September 7, 2021 at 1:31 pm

      Glad you got out on that beautiful Rae Lakes Loop! Hope your friend with the ankle sprain is healing well.

      And thanks for the kind words about the challenge. It’s helped me get ready for something almost every year.

  • Rob

    August 31, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    I had planned to do San Jacinto this weekend in prep for San Gorgonio in mid-September. Will still do San Gorgonio and will do Verdugo Peak instead this weekend. Only have San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Santiago Peak to have completed all the Six Pack hike options. May do Crystal Cove outer loop the next weekend per your suggestion elsewhere Jeff..

    • Rob

      August 31, 2021 at 7:43 pm

      I should add …”to have completed all the Six Pack options in the non-San Diego So Cal challenge.”

  • 5252adventures

    September 1, 2021 at 4:09 am

    I live in the SF Bay Area. So far this year the air quality has been better than last year. However, it can always get worse considering everything going on. I guess you can say my plan B has been traveling more this year. Last year I never left California due to the pandemic. This year I’ve had some clients in other states who’ve requested me to be in-person . So, I’ve been traveling the past three weeks. As a result, I have been to a couple more National Parks, Guadalupe Mountains and White Sands. Next week, I plan to visit Volcano National Park. Not a bad plan B…considering I am trying to visit all 63 parks. Next week will be number 36.

  • Jeremy

    September 1, 2021 at 7:16 am

    My plan b is to do one of the San Diego challenge hikes. It looks like a couple of them (CUYAMACA PEAK and HOT SPRINGS MOUNTAIN) aren’t located in national forest land and should be open. Correct me If I am wrong.

    • Sean

      September 2, 2021 at 8:40 am

      Cuyamaca was open last week, no problem. Haven’t done Hot Springs yet.

    • Jeff

      September 7, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      GREAT PLAN! In the San Diego challenge, the following peaks are still open:

      • Volcan Mountain
      • Mount Woodson (aka Woodson Mountain and Potato Chip Rock)
      • Hot Springs Mountain
      • El Cajon Mountain
      • Cuyamaca Mountain

      Maybe it would’ve been easier to just say that High Point (Palomar) is the only one closed. 😉

  • Joyce

    September 1, 2021 at 11:19 am

    I was taking a break from the challenge until October anyway since I have to train for a marathon, and long runs are not compatible with mountain hikes (I’m not a trail runner yet XD). Hopefully that’ll keep me in shape when I come back to pick up the last two peaks in October. Thankfully there are at least 2 “lower” elevation peaks I can use in case the weather turns bad. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to San Jacinto this year, though. (Tried that in May and ran out of time and energy to actually finish.)

    • Jeff

      September 7, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Training for a marathon is exhausting! It should keep you in great shape for picking up those last peaks. Which marathon are you running?

      Just a reminder that you have until the end of the year to complete your hikes for the SoCal challenge (December 31, 2021).

  • Anita

    September 2, 2021 at 7:23 am

    My plan B is to leave the state to hike. Ridiculous rash decisions are made in this state. Two years in row myself and my family have had permits to hike Whitney . We all trained and planned to have it taken away for no reasonable reason . When they closed Whitney for covid I couldn’t believe it. The permit system itself limits the number of people. You carry everything out , no contact with anyone . So frustrated with the decision made now. There’s nothing to burn on top of 14,000 ft .

    • Jeff

      September 7, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      So sorry to hear about your Whitney plans. You aren’t alone. I’ve been sequestered indoors thanks to smoke from all the fires and had to rearrange my hiking schedule as a result. I try to remind myself that at least I haven’t been evacuated.

      Where are you planning to hike out of state? I know some of our SoCal challengers have been tackling the Arizona Summer challenge, based in the higher elevations around Flagstaff and Sedona. It runs until October 31st.

      We also have the Las Vegas Challenge, which runs through the end of the year.

      Fortunately the National Forest closure is temporary, and there will be plenty of time for challengers wanting to complete the SoCal challenge.

  • Jeff

    September 9, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    My “Plan B” this summer has involved a lot of indoor cycling. I have a Peloton bike, and am currently training for my first-ever bikepacking race in October. It’s ~350 miles and self-supported, and it scares the crap out of me. So when the air quality has been bad, I’ve stayed indoors and pedaled my ass off (literally and figuratively). 🙂

    When the air quality has gotten tolerable, I’ve made a dash for the trails to either hike or mountain bike. And tomorrow I leave for a backpacking trip on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park. Of course, the air quality has suffered there as well lately, so keep your fingers crossed. They are supposed to have some rain on Monday, and our backpacking trip starts on Tuesday, so hopefully that will help clear the air.

    I’ll be out of the office all next week. See you again on the 20th!

  • Kristin

    October 12, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Stay local and close to home. I’ve also done (and plan to do again) the #50mileswithin50mileschallenge, which encourages you to hike 50 miles within 50 miles of where you live. You can do a little each day or week or do some big hikes and finish quickly. Either way, it’s a great motivator to explore the wild places in your own backyard!

  • Judson

    November 21, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Tram was sold out for San Jacinto today (we did Deer Springs last year, but started too late for a 10-hour hike) and worried that we wouldn’t get tickets on walk-up for a party of five (my four teenagers and me). Sitton Peak was a quick alternative and a great day. Crazy luck, as the 74 was blocked just west of the Candy Store/Bear Creek Trailhead! Not as grand as San Jacinto (the Jewel of SoCal IMHO), but a pleasant and beautiful hike nonetheless.

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