Live Oak Trail – Vista – Hoffman Homestead – Coyote Loop

Saddleback Mountains

Modjeska Peak and Santiago Peak

The Live Oak – Vista – Hoffman Homestead – Coyote Loop (loop) follows three trails in the O’Neill Regional park.  The short hike has great views of Orange County, Trabuco Canyon, and the Saddleback Mountains.

The Quick and Dirty:
O’neill Regional Park
Distance: Approximately 3.5 miles
Difficulty:  Moderate
Duration:  1.5 hours
Dogs Allowed? No, dogs are only allowed on the paved trails and campgrounds in O’Neil Park

Continue reading


Trail Report- Cassidy Arch at Capitol Reef National Park

The Quick and Dirty:
Location: Cassidy Arch in Capitol Reef National Park
Distance: 3.6 miles round trip
Terrain Type: Well marked trail within the National Park. Watch for trail markers towards the end of the arch as the beauty of the surrounding can be very distracting!
Difficulty:  Easy to moderate with some elevation gain
Best Time: Avoid summer as the trail is very exposed
Duration: Around 2-3 hours


Cassidy Arch, if you look closely, Louis is sitting in the middle

Continue reading

Trail Report: Sequoia National Park/Mineral King – Timber Gap to Sawtooth Pass

The Quick and Dirty:
Location: Sequoia National Forest, Mineral King
Distance: 28-29 miles (we looked at 3 maps, all different mileage)
Terrain Type: Rolling, high, and long elevation climbs and descents
Difficulty:  Strenuous
Best Time: Late summer and early fall, the road is closed when there is snow fall   Special Conditions: Permit needed for over night camping. Windy and difficult road to reach the last 20 miles to the trailhead. Aggressive marmots in the spring and early summer.  Bear canisters required.

Duration: 4 days

Every labor day we try to hit the trails.  This labor day, and to celebrate our one year anniversary, we spent it backpacking one of our favorite locations in California.

Continue reading

Costa Rica Volcán Arenal, La Fortuna District- Part 3

On our second day in Costa Rica, we headed to the La Fortuna District to visit the famous Volcán Arenal. La Fortuna is 50km west of Liberia. Don’t be fooled with the seemingly short distance, the roads in Costa Rica are windy and not as well established therefore the speed limits were much slower than what we were used to. I have always wanted to see an active flowing volcano and could not wait until we got to Volcán Arenal!

 Volcán Arenal

Volcán Arenal

Continue reading

Gear Review: Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3

Fly Creek

Fly Creek UL2 (left) and Fly Creek UL3 (right) at Catalina Island

We used a two person tent with our dog Dakota for a few trips before we realized that the tent was too small for the three of us.  Dakota would have a hard time finding a place to sleep, so much so that she would usually sleep on my head (don’t ask).  We knew we needed a larger tent and we knew we wanted an ultra-light tent that was not much heavier than our Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 (FC UL2).  We decided to pick up the Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3 (FC UL3) in place of our FC UL2 for most of our trips.  At 3 lbs 3 oz trail weight, it was about a pound heavier than the FC UL2, but offered more space and was a true free standing tent (unlike the UL2 model).  To date, we have approximately 20 nights  in the tent in varying conditions (summer, winter, spring).

Quick and Dirty
Gear Type: Tent
Material: Rip Stop Nylon
Trail weight: 51 oz tent + 7 oz foot print
Price: $449.95 tent, $70 foot print (street price is around $350)
Link:  Big Agnes Fly Creek UL3
Pros: Light, tub expansion, excellent air circulation when guyed out, wide roof, true free standing, fast fly option, seam sealed.
Cons: Price, Sloping door design, extremely thin fabrics, flexing in windy conditions, inner tent pitch before fly.

Continue reading