Another week gone by and for the first time the whole trip, I'm heading east. Three weeks into the trip and I have certainly hit my wall from driving so much. My car's odometer reads over 7500 miles and I am definitely in need of an oil change. I plan to head back up into Colorado tomorrow and hopefully stop off at a Subaru to get a quick change.
Mammoth Mountain was absolutely incredible and brings my snowboard season total to 67 days. If only they allowed snowboarders to be patrollers I would 100% move out there. The mountain had some very steep technical lines that I was happy to shred down.
After 4 days at Mammoth, I skipped Death Valley and went straight for Joshua Tree. I figured I could avoid the blazing heat of Death Valley but was sorely mistaken as Joshua Tree was just as hot. My hope was to find a group of climbers to tag along with and get some use out of my climbing gear, but I couldn't find anyone. Seems like my climbing gear will continue to collect dust for the rest of this trip.
Joshua Tree has some oddly beautiful landscapes, but after a day I was already bored of the daytime. Nighttime at Joshua Tree is another story. The stars are so numerous, but compared to all the pictures I've always seen, I was actually disappointed. What you don't realize is that Joshua Tree is within 2 hours of LA and San Diego and you can still see the light pollution. While the stars filled the sky, I was expecting to see the Milky Way vividly. You can also see tons of planes flying overhead, which made star photography somewhat difficult to not get a long red streak across the entire frame.
From Joshua Tree, I headed east towards Arizona. My plan was to hit up the Grand Canyon, but stopped in Flagstaff to camp out near the base of Humphrey's Peak, the highest peak in the state. Today, I woke up early and attacked the almost 4,000' of vertical. Arizona definitely needs to get their trail system up to par as there were a ton of downed trees across the trail and a complete lack of trail markers up until the alpine line. The hike took me almost 6 hours to go all the way up and then back down. On my way back down, I totally lost the trail and decided to cut across the snowpack to the ski trail and walked down that way. Wish I brought up my split board with me, as it would have made the descent faster and way more enjoyable.
I was going to visit the Grand Canyon today and then make my way into Utah for Zion/Canyonlands/Moab, but after the hike I decided to keep going east towards New Mexico. I figured I had already been through Utah, so might as well try to visit as many states as possible. Zion/Canyonlands/Moab & Grand Canyon are all really busy, according to some people I met at the campsite in Joshua Tree. I got into Santa Fe around 10pm mountain time and decided to shack up in a Motel 6 for the night.
Tomorrow I plan to head north to Taos to try and hike up Wheeler Peak, the high peak of New Mexico. This time, I will actually be a little more prepared for the higher elevation and exposure above the alpine line. Maybe even bring my split with me to bump me up to Day 68. From my hike tomorrow, I plan to shoot up I-25 into Colorado where I will stay in Colorado Springs or go all the way up to Denver, depending how long the hike takes.
I figure I have a little over a week left in the trip and might stay a day or two near A-Basin. From Colorado, I will head north through Nebraska into the Dakotas and then head east again through Minnisota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to check out the Great Lakes.
Will try to update along the way on the road. Somehow I feel this might be my last night in a real bed and the ability to take a hot shower until I am back home in New York.