Trip Report- Sykes Hot Springs, Big Sur, CA

The Quick and Dirty:

Location:  Backpacking Sykes Hot Springs in Big Sur, CA.  The Pine Ridge trail head starts from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Beach and overnight parking is free at the lot.
Distance and Duration: 10 miles one way on the Pine Ridge trail to Sykes camp,  we finished the hike in about 4 hours one way.
Permit: No advanced permit reservation is required however a back country fire permit is needed if you want to cook with a stove or start a camp fire. At the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Beach ranger station, you can obtain the back country fire permit and for a $1 donation, the rangers will provide you with a nice trail map of the Pine Ridge trail.
Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the national forest and to the hot springs
Trail conditions: This is a very popular trail, therefore the it is well maintained and clearly marked.
Good to know: Beware of the abundant amount of poisonous oak on the trail. When arrived at Sykes camp, you will be required to cross the stream several times to get to the campsite and the hot springs. Be extra careful crossing the streams in the spring time when water flow is fast. It’s always a good idea to walk up and down the stream and pick a spot where the flow is the slowest before you cross. Having water shoes to cross the stream is a good idea or we just took off our hiking shoes and went bare foot across the stream.


Louis getting ready to start hiking at the Pine Ridge trail head

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Road Trip Up the Coast of California

We truly believe we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether it’s going east towards the majestic mountains of the Sierra Nevada or driving up and down the California coast, the scenery always takes my breath away. For our week long vacation, we decided to take a road rip up the coast of California from Orange County all the way up to Redwood National and State Park.P1080885

Over the next couple of weeks I will update the blog with detailed trip reports of each of the places we visited. See links below to jump to any one of the places that interests you:

Saturday (Day 1)- Car Camping at San Simeon State Park
Sunday (Day 2)- Morning guided tour of the Hearst Castle and back packing into Sykes hot springs in Big Sur, California
Monday (Day 3)- Hike out from Sykes hot springs and drive to Medocino, California Tuesday (Day 4)- Drive to Redwood State and National Park
Wednesday (Day 5)- Day hikes around Redwood State Park and car camping at Elk Prairie campground
Thursday (Day 6)- Depart from Redwood State and National Park and drive south to Sonoma, California
Friday (Day 7)- Day in Sonoma, drive to San Francisco to visit friends
Saturday (Day 8)- Drive home to Orange County

The Google Map shown below outlines our travel itinerary along with the links of the detailed blog post on each place.

Trail Report-Potato Harbor, Santa Cruz Island

The Quick and Dirty:
Location – Potato Harbor, Santa Cruz Island, Channel Islands National Park
Distance – 5 mile round trip
Terrain Type – Slight ascend at the beginning of the hike to the top of the sea cliff and then the hike levels out
Difficulty – Easy
Best Time – Spring with the wild flowers makes this a magificient hike but the trail is accessible year-round

Duration– 2 hours at a leisure pace


View of the harbor from the top of the sea cliff

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Trail Report- Momyer Creek Trail

The Quick and Dirty:
Momyer Creek Trail to Dobbs Cabin campground, see rough trail map from Caltopo.
Distance: About 3.8 miles to Alger Creek campground and 5.9 miles to Dobbs Cabin (Dobbs) campground
Difficulty:  Moderate, it’s a short hike for a backpacking trip but there’s about 1,500 ft of elevation gain to Dobbs campground.
Duration: Overnight backpacking trip
Dogs Allowed? Yes, Dakota joined us on this trip as dogs are allowed in San Bernardino National Forest
Best time to visit: Whenever there is water! Water in the creeks seem to be plentiful on this trail, we’ve been during spring and fall and have always had luck. You may want to avoid hiking during the hottest months of the summer as the switchback section are exposed to full sun.
Trail Parking: Located close to the town of Forest Falls, there is a designated parking lot next to the trail head and parking has been manageable the last two times we went hiked this trail. On weekends, if you arrive later in the day, the lot does eventually fill up with day hikers. National Forest pass is required to park at the trail head.

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Nice trail sign at the trail head

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MYOG: Back Country “Sound System”

Quick and Dirty
Cost: none
Difficulty (1-10): 1

What You Need
Cooking pot
Phone with a speaker with your favorite podcast downloaded

I love listening to podcasts and audio books. It was something I picked up during graduate school when I walked 2-3 miles to campus everyday.  This was a great way for me to catch up on current events and books when I wouldn’t have had the time otherwise.

As I graduated school, I continued to listen to my podcasts during our backpacking trips. It’s a way we spend some of our downtime after a long day of hiking. While we were backpacking the Lost Coast trail, we found it hard to hear the audio on my phone since we were camping right on the beach. Louis came up with this brilliant idea of using our 4qt cooking pot as an amplifier. It worked brilliantly on and brought us great entertainment on the trip!

To have your own speaker’s amplifier the next time you are outdoors, all you need is a cooking pot or an enclosed container and your cell phone with a working speaker. Insert the phone into the pot with the speakers facing up and enjoy your favorite podcast without having to carry the extra weight of an external speaker!

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Back country sound system. Suntactics sCharger -5 and Iphone 5C with a 4 qt pot amplifier.