The astute reader will notice from the title of this post that somehow I ended up going from the Bay Area to Palm Springs, to just south of the Bay Area again!
How did I end up on this yo-yo of California?
It is a quick tale, indeed. Nick is a person I’ve been corresponding with for quite some time. We both have similar thoughts on the outdoors, and we have enjoyed our correspondence over the years.
When he saw I was heading down to his neck of the desert, he invited me to go up with him for four days of backpacking at Henry Coe State Park. And soon after, there would be the “Gathering of The Gear Geeks X.” (GGG X)
Nick and I would be hiking with his friend Doug and another friend he calls “Pilgrim” who is known in certain circles for his Arctic jaunts (!).
Nick and his wife Joyce were gracious hosts and treated me to one of their favorite Mexican restaurants in the Palm Springs area. This Italian boy has gained an appreciation for good Mexican food of all types over the years. And I appreciated the real deal down here in southern California!
We drove up the following day, found a great campsite at the state park. Doug drove down from Washington state and met up with us. A campfire, some burritos made over the charcoals, some wine, and good conversation among the three of us made for an enjoyable evening.
The park is pleasant with scenic views. With some creative trail looping, we were able to mix and match old ranch roads (not open to most public traffic) and single track to get in 10+ MPD. The ridge walking was sublime, the early season wildflowers were starting to come out, and we had pleasant lakeside camping almost every night. (Even if some colder weather did move in on two chilly nights!)
Pilgrim met up with us later in the trip on the second night. He was a hoot. Profane, knowledgeable, a hell of the storyteller, and has done some amazing things that may have inspired a trip or two in the future. 😉
We eventually made our way to the GGG X with some more scenic and pleasant hiking.
The next two nights were camping, some easy hiking to pick up some beer (of course!), and having conversations with people I’ve known via online channels for years, but was able to meet in person.
A great week that was not planned. And, as mentioned, fantastic to meet people I’ve only known as names for years.
I’ve been stretching the definition of a southern tier (hey, I’ve still been in California! 😀), but it is time to make my way slowly back to Colorado for some March engagements.