DV March 2018 Day 2 – Lee Wash Main Side Canyon

My second day of hiking was a solo hike to see all of Lee Wash Main Side Canyon.  Having hiked Lee Wash about 1 1/2 years earlier, we did not have enough time to explore the main side canyon at that time.  Besides, some of the best scenery can be seen from above.  To reach Lee Wash MSC, I parked at the northernmost bend on Hwy 190 in between Father Crowley Point and the Saline Valley Road turn-off.  I then hiked across the Darwin Plateau for 4 miles to the head of Lee Wash MSC.  It was an incredible experience to walk up to the edge of the first major dry fall with thousand-foot cliffs all around. I then hiked along the entire length of the top of the canyon (on the east side).  Next, I scrambled down an extremely challenging gully and used multiple bypasses in order to reach the canyon floor.  From there, I hiked through the entire length of the passable canyon.  It was a truly great adventure hike.  A new report on Lee Wash MSC will be coming soon.  After the hike, I stopped by U2’s Fallen Joshua Tree so that I can provide an updated report on that as well.

View looking down the length of Lee Wash MSC (Main Side Canyon)

Looking back at the first major dry fall (red arrow) of Lee Wash MSC

There are some beautiful canyon narrows in the mid-canyon

The color bands on the walls are even more impressive when walking through the canyon

DV March 2018 Day 1 – Keane Wonder Mine

I started off my March 2018 trip to Death Valley with a full hike of the Keane Wonder Mine area.  I did a clockwise loop hike (what I call the “master loop”) which included visits to Keane Wonder Springs, Keane Wonder Bridge, Cyty’s Mill, Big Bell Extension Mine, Big Bell Mine, and Keane Wonder Mine.  As several site readers have already written in and requested info about the Keane area, I will be happy to share with you my report in the near future.  I’m estimating that this was my seventh time hiking in this area.  Joining me for the hike was NPS staff member Matt.  Here are a few teaser images.

There are some pretty waterfalls and cascades in the Keane Wonder Springs area

Keane Wonder Bridge is one of the highlights of the hike (if you can find it)

The route from Cyty’s Mill to Big Bell Extension Mine includes this cliffs trail

Standing at Big Bell Mine with extensive leftover mining remnants

Maunga Terevaka (Easter Island) report released

The next report that we are releasing is for the hike up Maunga Terevaka, which is the high point of Easter Island.  This was the second of four hikes we did while on Easter Island.  I decided to start with this one since it was one of my favorites on the trip.  The scenery and views were outstanding.  The link for the new report can be found on the Introduction Page under the South Pacific section.  You can also click on the link below to check it out.  The panoramics taken from the summit turned out really well and we hope you enjoy the report.

Maunga Terevaka (Easter Island) new report

Temehani Plateau (French Polynesia) report released

Today we are releasing a very special report from our recent trip to French Polynesia.  This documents a hike to the Temehani Plateau on the island of Raiatea.  As noted in the report, this is actually my personal favorite of the 22 major hikes I have done in the South Pacific so far.  The main feature of this hike was searching for the Tiare Apetahi, one of the world’s rarest flowers, high on the mountain.  But there was so much more to see and experience.  The new report can be found under the South Pacific section on the Introduction Page or you can click on the link below.

Temehani Plateau (F. Polynesia) new report

Tahaa Traverse (French Polynesia) report released

This evening, we are releasing the first of our new reports from our recent trip to the South Pacific.  This first report fully documents the Tahaa Traverse, which is an outstanding hike from Patio to Haamene which crosses half the island.  It is a hike that features abundant wildflowers, tropical plants, fruit trees, mountain peaks, and panoramic views.  Our report is the first to ever fully document this hike in great detail.  Hopefully it will be helpful to future visitors to the beautiful island of Tahaa.  The new report can be found under the South Pacific section of the Introduction Page or by clicking on the link below.

Tahaa Traverse (F. Polynesia) new report

Peak 6980 (new Death Valley report) released

We are now releasing our brand new report documenting a hike up to the summit of Peak 6980 in the Last Chance Range.  Many are probably wondering what is so special about an obscure peak that most people have never heard of.  Peak 6980 is actually quite an amazing place as it features perhaps the best views of the Eureka Sand Dunes in the entire park.  In addition, there are outstanding views of other major peaks, Ubehebe Crater, and even the Sierras.  This report continues where our report for Skookum Mine left off.  To view the new report, click on the link below or go to report #55 on the site’s Main Page.  The route we created actually was so good that I’m considering adding it to my Backpacking Trip Options on the site’s DV Hiking Recommendations Page.

Peak 6980 (new DV report)

Skookum Mine (new Death Valley report) released

Today we are releasing our newest Death Valley hiking report featuring Day 1 of a backpacking trip to Skookum Mine and mining camp.  Skookum experienced a flurry of activity when gold was struck in 1927 and we found it to be an enjoyable place to visit with great scenery on the way up.  The new report on Skookum Mine can currently be found as report #54 on the site’s Main Page or you can also click on the link below.  The follow-up report for Day 2, which features a visit to Peak 6980 in the Last Chance Range, will be coming soon.

Skookum Mine (new DV report)

Mt Alava Adventure Trail (Am. Samoa) report released

The final report from our trip to American Samoa last September has now been released.  The new report documents the Mount Alava Adventure Trail, which is a completely different trail from the previously documented Mount Alava Trail.  The Adventure Trail is much more challenging, passes through completely different terrain with unique views, and includes 56 ladder climbs as part of the fun.  You can read the new report by looking for it under the South Pacific section on the Introduction Page or by clicking on the link below.  This was such a great hike to wrap up our unforgettable trip to American Samoa.  I highly recommend visiting the National Park of American Samoa if you are at all able to.

Mt Alava Adventure Trail (American Samoa) new report

Mount Alava Trail (American Samoa) report released

I have two final hiking reports to share with you from our time in American Samoa last September.  This first one served as our introduction to American Samoa and the main island of Tutuila.  It was a hike to the summit of Mount Alava, which overlooks Pago Pago Harbor and many villages located around it.  Definitely a great start to that trip and a must-do hike for anyone visiting American Samoa.  The report can be found on the Introduction Page under the South Pacific section or by clicking on the link below.

Mount Alava Trail (American Samoa) new report

Four New Hikes on Easter Island

As noted in the previous post, we also traveled to Easter Island and spent one week there from December 26, 2017 to January 2, 2018.  Here are a few brief details and a 3 teaser images for each of the 4 hikes we did on Easter Island

EASTER ISLAND hikes Dec 2017 and Jan 2018

Rano Kau Trail – Our trip started out with a family hike from Hanga Roa to Orongo, which is 4.6 miles round-trip.  The trail is known as Te Ara O Te Ao, which translates to The Road of Command.  It has been in use for some 150 years now.  The hike climbs the slopes of Rano Kau crater, circles around the crater to the right, and ends at the ancient site of Orongo.

Great views on the way up of Hanga Roa and Maunga Terevaka

Reaching the spectacular rim of Rano Kau crater

Great views of Motu Kao Kao (foreground) along with Motu Iti and Motu Nui (background) from Orongo

Maunga Terevaka – We next hiked to the highest point on Easter Island, which is the summit of Maunga Terevaka (1,677 feet in elevation according to my official National Park map).  There are two trails to the summit, with one starting to the west in Ahu Akivi and one to the south in Vaitea.  We arranged a drop-off so that we could hike both trails as a loop, which proved to be outstanding.  We could see around the entire island from the top.  A great hike.

Wild horses and wild cows could be seen regularly along the trail

Daria and I standing on the summit with the “official” summit sign

View looking to the southwest from the summit toward Rano Kau and Orongo

North Coast – The third hike that we did on Easter Island was the rugged hiking route from Ahu Tepeu to Anakena along the northern coast.  This is one of the most isolated areas on the island, with no roads and just an obscure trail to follow that comes and goes.  The views of the sea cliffs are fantastic and there were scattered spots of archaeological ruins that we enjoyed checking out.  The hike ends at Anakena Beach, which is a great spot to cool off after a long day hiking in the sun.

Chimango Caracara birds of prey can be see throughout the North Coast hike

The heads and remains of fallen moai can be seen along the way

Spectacular views of sea cliffs appear all along the roadless coastal route

Poike – Our final hike on Easter Island brought us to the Poike peninsula.  This is an area that few visitors or hikers venture into, but it has some of the most interesting and unique scenery on the island.  There are several minor peaks to climb as well as one major peak called Puakatiki (1,345 feet in elevation).  Also, we found several interesting historical sites including a fallen moai that was hidden away in a cave we stumbled across.  Finally, the eroded red sea cliffs area to the east was quite amazing.

The Poike hike first passes by the sea cliffs seen in the background

A fallen moai with the summit high point seen in the background

There is extensive eroded red soil along the eastern coastline