Overnight in the Locals 14.2 Miles


Amber and I showing off our lightweight backpacks. Even Andy joined in our joy!

Our busy lives have kept us from from getting out together for nearly 1-1/2 years! Blame it on conflicting schedules, high school football, and other commitments that–quite frankly–are also important to us. Amber and I have both continued to backpack, but haven’t together for a long time. So, we finally got it on the calendar and headed out into the forest.

Saturday afternoon, we parked our car, hid the key and began our hike up to Mt. Lowe Camp; approximately 5 miles. Our pace was slow to moderate, which was perfect for us and our couch-softened muscles.

Lower Sam Merrill Trail was busy with day-hikers, runners and a few teenage ghost-hunters. Once we reached Echo Mountain, we turned left and continued up the old railway trail to the Cape of Good Hope. By then it was dark, but we hiked by the city lights rather than dawn our headlamps.


During our hike up, we could see more than 150 miles. Below us is Pasadena and the Rose Bowl.

Amber, Andy (the Trail Dog) and I weren’t out to speed hike as much as film the trip. We made numerous stops, staging walk-byes and creating material for our video.

Once we reached the north side of the mountain, we were forced to use our headlamps until we reached the Mt. Lowe trail camp. There were at least two campfires and probably 20 people scattered around the camp. After checking on the water source, we made light conversation with Silmar Boy Scout Troop 95 and decided to continue up to our “secret” camp a few hundred yards up trail.

IMG_7531The air was getting cold and breezy. Making sure we had a good five-foot clearing, we made a small fire ring on the gravel ground and made a nice fire while enjoying our Chicken and Rice dinner.

The sunset was awesome, as were the city lights. We could see as far as Santa Barbara Island while the sun was setting earlier. Another beautiful, Autumn night in LA.

I weighed my pack before setting off; it came in at just under 9 pounds. After adding Andy’s sleeping bag, coat and leash (which we only use when there are other dogs around), my base weight was about 10.5 lbs.

One reason my pack was a little lighter than normal is that I used my Sleeplite torso pad instead of my NeoAir, which is about 8 oz heavier. Although the weight and convenience is nice, it sure takes a lot more work to stay comfortable utilizing my pack and extra clothes for insulation. It worked, but cost me bruised hips!

Rain was in the forecast so we opted to pitch the tarp just in case. We pitched high, letting plenty of air in and maneuverability inside. It worked great! Even Andy was happy.


Sunrise peeking over Mt. Harvard in the distance.

By morning, the clouds were beginning to fill the sky making for a spectacular sunrise. After breakfast, we tore down camp and headed out past Inspiration Point to Muir Peak where we posed for our victory picture (top).

Our hike down went fast. We chose Castle Canyon and Lower Sam Merrill where we began.

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