Hikes and Bikes
The first hike that I did in the LA area was with Matt. We didn't even bother to check the internet for good hiking destinations, we just decided to go to the Hollywood Hills and see Griffiths observatory. The hike was very easy as it was entirely on fire roads. There were a lot of other people there, so it wasn't really a nature experience.
Topanga State Park
My second hike with Matt was in an area near where we did our first hike. We parked somewhere to the east of Topanga State Park and started down a fire road. Eventually we reached the boundary of Topanga state park and continued into it a short distance. The hike was again very easy, but at least there was a lot less people around.
The first awesome hike that Matt and I did was quite impromptu. We actually used the internet this time to find a good destination, but it turned out we never even stopped where we had planned to start. We had decided to go to Castaic Lake, north of LA. When we got there, we saw a small body of water, which probably wasn't Castaic Lake, but we assumed it was. Since it looked boring we decided to just keep driving and try to find some trees. We had been driving through the Los Padres National Forest for a long time and we hadn't been able to spot and trees. We stopped at Pyramid Lake because it looked very nice with the sunlight sparkling over its surface. There we talked to a ranger who told us where to find some trees. He pointed us in the direction of Mt. Pinos. So we headed there and drove almost all the way to the top where there was a parking lot. We noticed quite a few people in campers and asked them what they were all doing up there. They told us that they were with the LA Astronomy club and that we could look through their huge telescopes if we were still around when it got dark. So we hiked about a mile up to the peak where there was a fabulous view. We just sat on rocks four a long time looking out over the mountains. It was really quiet up there and we didn't see anyone else the whole time we were there. When it started getting dark we walked back down and started talking to the amateur astronomers. They gave us some free beef and we spent several hours looking at stars and galaxies through huge expensive telescopes.
Matt's friend Bill was visiting and the three of us decided to go for a hike around Big Bear. We thought it would be really easy to find a trail head once we got over there, but we ended up driving around the perimeter of San Bernardino mountains. Then we had to ask for help from a tourist office. They gave us a map of the nearby trailheads and we headed to the nearest one. It was hard to see, but it was right on the main road that runs through the village, about a half mile toward the village from the small bridge over the dam at the end of the lake. It only took us about a half hour to get to the top. It was fun to hike through the snow up steep slopes, but it was pretty short given that we spent hours driving there. Driving around was part of the fun though.
Matt and I went for a bike ride on the north end of the UCSD campus. I thought it was going to be really short, but it was actually a really decent ride. It probably lasted for about 45 minutes going through beautiful dirt rollers and forest trails, even though we were probably going in circles for some parts of it. I was impressed and I had a lot of fun considering how close it was to home.
San Diego Border Patrol Trails
Nathan took Matt and I for a bike ride on some of his favorite areas of the Border Patrol Trails. It is nice that very few people go there, so the only other people we saw were the border patrol workers. The first half of our ride was mostly uphill, so it took a lot of hard work, but we had a bagel picnic under a tree to help recover. As we were riding along at one point I saw a huge hill and suggested that we have a race to the top. I thought it would take about 5 minutes, but my estimation was way off. It took over a half hour and it wore all of us out. But there was a really nice view from up there. It was crazy that we found trash up there. Maybe years ago when the border wasn't so strictly patrolled there were Mexicans who liked to hang out there. We also reached a peak where there was a beautiful view of Tijuana, which was bigger than I had expected.
Topanga State Park - Trippet Ranch
My first bike ride with Andrew started from Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park. It is not very far away, but it takes a while to get there because driving is slow through the small roads in that area. We left late in the day, so we were only able to bike for a couple hours, which was not enough because we ended up going uphill almost the whole time and then blazing back down. If we had more time we could have followed the trail further where it wasn't uphill anymore. To make things worse, there was an oil spill on the only road that headed toward home, so we had to go really far out of our way to get back.
Andrew and I went for a bike ride at Cheeseboro Canyon that turned out to be amazing. When you first get there it doesn't look too interesting. It just looks like hilly farmland. But if you go out far enough the terrain starts to look totally different. Eventually we ended up on a trail that looked like something you would see in Utah. I was amazed that I was still in Los Angeles. We made it to the start of the China Flat trail and turned back. The trail through the canyon is mostly downhill on the way back to the Chesebro Road parking lot.
Point Mugu State Park
On this ride Andrew and I started from the Newbury Park Entrance of Point Mugu State Park and biked all the way down to the ocean. Near the beginning there is a huge downhill which is pretty fun, but difficult on the way back. Then you ride through an open canyon and eventually reach some big hills. We took probably the most difficult route, which was extremely steep, but once you get to the top, you get to take a long winding ride down the sides of the mountiains to the oceanside. We took a rest on the beach, but then we realized that we had about 45 minutes of daylight left before the park closed and we were 8 miles away from our car. We wanted to avoid a ticket, so Andrew gave me the keys and I blazed back as fast as I could. When I got to the car, a park ranger truck was sitting right next to it with his engine running. I think he was ready to leave because it was just about dark. So I moved the car out of the park and we saved ourselves from getting a ticket.
San Gabriel River - East Fork
Matt and I went for a fun hike on the San Gabriel River. It started out easy, but eventually we had to start bouldering and walking across unsteady logs in order to avoid getting soaked. There was one point where it was just totally impossible to continue without getting wet, so we had to walk across the river, but Matt was nice enough to carry me! It would have been fun to go farther than we went, but we were carrying electronics that we didn't want to get wet. We still made it a good distance so it was a lot of fun.
Andrew and I drove to the Reseda Blvd. entrance of Topanga State Park to bike down Sullivan Canyon. At the beginning there was some rough dirt road that caused Andrew to go flying off his bike. Luckily he recovered quickly. The ride didn't get too interesting until we reached the Sullivan Canyon fireroad, where the scenery started to look like a misty version of green Hawaiian mountains. When we actually descended into Sullivan canyon it became really exciting. We ran into several other bikers, but it was still a very beautiful place. It was a nice difficulty level because the trail cuts across streams and has many steep parts. At the end we realized that we were only a few miles from home, so we biked to Andrew's apartment and had a friend drive us back to the car. It's a good thing that worked out because we never would have made it back to the car before it became totally dark and dangerous.
Matt and I drove to Chantry Flat to hike to Sturtevant falls and Mt. Zion. We were surprised at how many people were there. They had multiple large parking lots, but they were all full and almost all of the spots on the side of the road were taken too. But after we found a spot we descended into the canyon and made our way to Sturtevant falls. After resting there we took a shortcut to the trail on the left of the falls. We continued along that trail until it diverged from the stream. At that point we just followed the stream by jumping across all of the rocks and boulders laying in it. This is where the hike became awesome. There were a lot of other hikers around, but it seemed that they were all following the trail. In this area the stream is not even visible from the trail so we really felt like we were alone. And it was great because there were good challenges. At one point we had to use each other's help to scale the side of a waterfall. This part of the hike was the best and I was just stunned by the beauty of nature there. We continued along the stream until we reached the Cascade Picnic area where we merged back onto the trail. We then took this trail to the peak of Mt. Zion for a nice view of Pasadena. By then we were getting tired so we booked it back along the trail to Chantry Flat.
Malibu Creek State Park (6-1-08)
Andrew and I went for a bike ride through the trails of Malibu Creek State Park. The bike trails weren't that great because most of them ended abruptly or had too many big rocks in them. The park did have a lot of interesting features though. There was a big dam, a couple of nice ponds to swim in that were surrounded by trees, and there were some rusty old jeeps used to film MASH. Probably the coolest part was a big rock wall that people used to do rock climbing. It would be fun to go back with some climbing gear to try it out, but it looked really hard.
Pacifico Mountain and Pacific Crest Trail (6-7-08)
Andrew and I decided to bike up Pacifico Mountain in the Angeles National Forest. The trial was a constant incline and there were parts where I had to get off my bike and walk it. There wasn't too much shade and there were quite a few annoying flies. We probably made it 3/4 of the way to the top, but we decided it wasn't worth it to continue because it was too hard. So we biked down, which was a fun fast ride. But we still had a lot of time left before sunset, so we decided to look for another place to bike. We headed back to the Angeles Forest Highway and took the Santa Clara Divide Road, 3N17, toward Mount Gleason. The first real parking area on the left side of the road was a trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail. We saw the sign that said bikes weren't allowed, so we kept going down the road a couple more miles. We found a trailhead that said bikes and ATVs were allowed, so we decided to ride there. That area was really cool because it had some great rollers to ride over. At one point we found a little trail and decided to try it out. It turned out to be an amazing trail with scenic views everywhere. Plus it was relatively level which makes it easier to ride. We rode it for several miles and wound up at the trailhead for the Pacific Crest Trail. So we weren't supposed to be biking on there! But I think it would be a good trail to do a hike on someday. It turns out that it goes all the way from Mexico to Canada!
Half Dome - Yosemite (7-19-08)
I did a night hike up Half Dome in Yosemite with Greg. The trip was pretty rough. We left at midnight on Thursday night with the plan of sleeping all day Friday since the hike was scheduled to begin at midnight on Friday night. So I kept myself awake for the whole car ride, which caused me to get the worst case of car sickness I can remember having. Then I was totally unable to sleep on Friday because it was really hot and I didn't feel that tired. Friday was extremely boring because Greg was asleep and there was nothing to do except write in my journal. So when we started the hike, I had only had about 4 hours of sleep in the preceding 40 hours. But I was really anxious to get started to alleviate the boredom. We put on our headlamps and I packed 2.5 L of water, some energy bars, trail mix, and a sweater in my backpack. The hike started with a lot of uphill. I was almost dozing off while walking and it felt like a was barely aware of the fatigue from hiking. The pace was slower than I would have liked because we kept stopping to wait for others to catch up. We probably spent about a quarter of the time just waiting. There were some beautiful views in the light of the full moon. The world seems so surreal at such times. We came into view of the dome just before dawn as the light was coming in. At first it looked like it would be impossible to reach the top. We could see lights on the cliffs and it seemed that people were scaling a huge vertical cliff. When we got closer, it split into two parts. The first part was a rock staircase. It was a bit dangerous because there were a lot of loose small stones that made the steps slippery and there was nothing to catch you if you slipped. At the top of the steps was the final ascent, commonly referred to as "the cables". It looked really scary, but I decided I had to do it. The incline is about 45 degrees, so in some parts if you tried to stand without any assistance, you would just slip and fall to your death. That is why they installed two cable lines on posts to act as handrails. It was still by no means safe because if your feet slipped unexpectedly you could lose your hand grip and die. Or if someone in front of you fell, they could take you out on the way down. But we slowly progressed and after about 20 minutes we made it to the peak. The sun rose above the mountain ridge about one minute after I got up there. We spent an hour or so taking pictures of ourselves hanging our heads or legs over the vertical cliff of half dome. The way down was actually worse than the way up because walking downhill is harder on your knees. We got to see a lot of waterfalls and views that we couldn't see at night, but I was anxious to finish because my legs hurt so much. It was nice to relax when we got back. I took a nap for an hour, and finally went to sleep around 10, ending the period of 62 hours with about 5 hours of sleep.
Zuma Canyon (Summer 08)
My friend Mike and I decided to go for a hike somewhere near a small lake North-East of Malibu. But when we got to the Lake, there was a gate blocking access to the road that led to the trail. The gate was locking with 14 different types of padlocks, each labelled with a different organization's name. Since the trail was miles down the road and it was super hot, we decided to hop in the car and go find another place. This time our random searching led us into some rugged dirt roads in a gigantic oil field. We were in a small car and going over the bumps ended up causing a lot of damage to the bottom of Mikes car. It was such a maze in there, after a couple hours we realized we would never make it to the other side. So we retraced our steps, which was quite difficult, but eventually got out just before they locked the gates on us. Then we kept exploring towards Malibu. We ended up at Zuma Canyon, but we didn't have to much time left before sunset. So we hiked for about an hour. At the end we were blocked by some Poisson Oak and we decided to call it a day.
Old Ridge Route (11-9-08) (34.572541,-118.665006)
Andrew and I decided to go for a bike ride and we chose to go to this abandoned road. Actually I think the road was still open for motorists, but there is now a much more efficient route next to it, so nobody uses it - I don't think we saw any cars while we were there. There were some nice views because it was way up on a ridge in the mountains. We even saw a big rainbow. The problem was that it was really cold up there because of the wind. We tried our best to keep ourselves warm. We covered our ears with napkins and held them on by pulling Subway bags over our heads. That actually helped a lot, but our hand were still really cold. So we ended up leaving after about an hour to go look for a place that was out of the wind.
Piru Creek - Frenchman's Flat (11-9-08) (34.616555,-118.743719)
After leaving the Old Ridge Route, we started driving around randomly and just so happened to find Piru Creek very quickly. It was more of a hiking trail, so we left our bikes in the car. I was immediately amazed by the trail, it was so beautiful being at the bottom of a big valley with all vegetation surrounding us. This was an amazing trail because it got difficult further back. You have to boulder across rocks and make bridges out of logs. Andrew actually dropped a log on himself in the process, which really hurt, but didn't cause any damage. There was also a guy there with a rifle who was hunting - is that legal there? We ducked everytime we heard gunshots fired toward us.
Sequoia National Forrest - High Sierra Trail (11-15-08)
Andrew and I decided to go on an overnight trip to hike the High Sierra Trail in the Sequoia National Forrest. Our plan was to drive there at night, stay in a hotel, then get up early the next morning to hike all day. Unfortunately, there weren't any cheap hotels near the park, so we ended up staying in a hotel that was over an hour drive from the park entrance. Combining that with sleeping in, eating breakfast, and the time it takes to get from the park entrance to the trail head, we didn't really start until around 1:00. And since it was winter, it got dark around 6:00, so we only hiked for about 4 hours. But it was still amazing. It didn't start out that great, just a typical forrest, but then you hit the mountain ridge and the views are spectacular. We really wanted to hike the whole Sierra Trail, but that would have taken several days. Next time we go we are going to remember some bug spray because there were a lot of bugs flying around there.
Mission Trails (Winter 09)
Matt and I decided to go for a bike ride at Mission Trails, which is a nice park right inside San Diego. There were some really cool looking hills when we first got there, but the trails we found at first weren't very long. We had to cross a creek and go up a pebble road to get to the top of a huge hill which led us to the bigger part of the park. It was mostly open with few trees, but there were some fun biking trails. We rested for a while at the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean-side of San Diego. The brakes on Matt's bike were broken, so going back down the huge hill, we switched bikes and I used my feet as breaks, but I still went down super fast, which was pretty excited - kind of like snowboarding.
San Jacinto - Ramona Trail (Spring 09)
Andrew and I went camping for the first time. It was awesome. We rented a tent, sleeping bags, a bear canister, and some other stuff from the UCLA Outdoor Adventure center on Friday. Our plan was to leave school at 5:00 and be on the road by 7:00. But it took us so long to get ready we didn't leave until after 10:00. So by the time we reached our destination it was past midnight. We didn't have any campground reservations, we just parked the car in a small area on the side of the road and carried our stuff into the pitch black of the wilderness. We found a perfect clearing right near the road. It was a little spooky because there might have been bears around, but we never saw any. I had a hard time sleeping because the wind kept battering our tent, but eventually I got some rest. The next morning we relaxed for hours and discovered that our campsite was very beautiful. It was almost like a Zen garden. Some people had even made stacks of smooth stones there. We spent some time trying to work on physics for fun, but for some reason it wasn't easy to focus. After lunch, we went to look for a place to bike. Our original idea didn't work because there was a race going on, so we couldn't get in, but they told us about the Ramona trail down the road. We went there and it was great. Going up was tough, but it was a nice challenge. At the top, it kind of reminded me of some European mountain village, even though it was just campsites. It just seemed like a nice area. The ride down though was probably the most amazing biking experience ever. It was basically an hour of pure downhill, with great views to go with it.
Switzer Falls (Spring 09)
Andrew and I were trying to go on a Hike the Geek, but we showed up late due to the Andrew factor. So we ended up joining another hiking group called SparkFun. It was cool because one of them was from Japan, so I tried practicing Japanese with him. The trail was nice because it had a decent amount of shade. I guess having so many people made it harder to appreciate though.
Lower Arroyo Seco (Spring 09)
A week after our first attempt, Andrew and I succeeded in making it to a Hike the Geek. Andrew didn't print out the complete directions though, so we didn't know where we were supposed to meet. So he made a sign that read "R U A Geek?" and held it up to everyone in the parking lot. It actually worked and we found the group. The hike was right next to JPL, so it wasn't too deep in the wilderness, but it was interesting. At the end there was a giant dam with a waterfall coming down. We spent a lot of time talking to the geeks on the hike.
Charmlee Wilderness Park (Spring 09)
Andrew and I went on another Hike the Geek. This was probably the most boring hiking location ever, just trails on barren hills. The only redeeming quality was that it had views of the ocean from some places. But the reason why we went was because Garret Lisi was there. We spent half the time talking to Garrett about physics. I think he generally had more conventional views about physics than Andrew and I. The other half of the time we talked to Garrett's friend Reichardt, who was also awesome. He was an entrepreneur who was extremely wealthy, never went to college, and had very intelligent philosophical views. Afterwards the whole group went to a delicious Indian restaurant where we sat with Garrett and got to talk a lot more about his theories and his lifestyle. He told us that he goes kite surfing about four days a week in Maui. At the end he told us that we were more interesting than most of his stalkers!
Tahquitz Peak (8-15-09)
Andrew and I drove out to Idyllwild, California for a hike up the South Ridge trail to Tahquitz Peak. It takes quite a while to get out there, so we didn't start until about 1:30. We also had to stop at a ranger station to get a wilderness permit. You actually need a permit just to do a day hike because there are quota restrictions on the trails. The hike was really relaxing - we didn't see too many other hikers because the South Ridge trail is less popular than the other trail to the peak. The area definitely isn't lush, but there was a lot of tree cover on the trail, which I always love. At the top there was a lookout tower where we talked to a volunteer forrest worker who kept an eye out for smoke from fires.
Santa Monica to Malibu Bike (8-22-09)
Andrew and I had a long day on the coast, starting with a bike ride up the bike path from Santa Monica to Malibu. We even tried riding our bikes through the water because the beach ended and turned into a wall of rocks. The waves were just about knocking our bikes over though, so we didn't make it too far. We also played on the rings and climbing ropes, went swimming at Will Rogers beach, danced to the boombox music on Santa Monica Pier, talked to a girl on Third Street in Japanese, and bumped into some friends and had lunch with them at Subway after Andrew couldn't find anything he wanted at Real Foods Daily. The bike ride didn't take that long, but some people at the end of the path told us that going south it actually goes pretty far, so that might be worth checking out, even though I know there is a break in the path before Marina del Rey.
San Gabriel River - East Fork 2nd Visit (10-24-09)
Andrew and I were trying to go on the Big Tujunga hike, but when we got to the Angeles National Forest, all access to the area was closed. Even though the forest fire was over months ago, they wanted to keep the area closed so that it could recover. So we asked some guys on motorcycles for advice and they suggested we go to the San Gabriel river east fork hike. I had already been there with Matt, but Andrew had never been there, so we went. After about an hour and a half of hiking, I slipped on a rock and sprained my finger. I held it in the cold river for about 20 minutes, but it still caused massive damage. I was in a splint for 4 weeks and I still don't have full flexibility in that finger 5 months later. We had to turn back and go home.
Devil's Chair (1-10-10)
This was a pretty short hike that I did with Andrew and Nahoe, which was good because I was feeling pretty weak. At the trailhead, there was a building with rattlesnakes, owls, and other critters in cages. There were some interesting rock formations and despite the general aridity, there were some trees. At the end there is a jutting rock formation with fences so that you can safely walk out on it. We noticed that you can get a good echo off the cliff faces there.
Bear Divide to Camp 9 (2-13-10)
Although this hike is a bit too short, it is one of the most green and beautiful that I've seen near Los Angeles. Andrew and I drove to the top where the fire station called Camp 9 is located and proceded down the trail, which starts just before the entrance to the camp. We spent about a half hour laying in a grassy area surrounded by trees because it was so relaxing. By the time you get to the bottom of the trail, there are no more trees and it is more arid.
Coyote Creek Bike Path (2-20-10)
Andrew and I took this bike path from Cerritos Regional County Park to Seal Beach. The whole thing runs along flood control aqueducts, so you can go long distances without stopping for cars. It's also very flat, which makes it good for high speed pedaling. We also went into the flood control ditch and rode our bikes up the slope on the edges, which is a lot of fun. We met a homeless guy who had huge bags mounted on his bike. He said that he carried everything he owned on his bike and rode all up along the California cost. He became homeless because after his divorce, he bought out his ex-wife's share of the equity in their home, and then lost his job by missing too many days of work due to a Russian girl that he was seeing. He definitely wasn't crazy, but maybe a little wreckless.
Mojave Desert to Mt. Whitney Bike Tour (3-21-10)
Andrew and I had been planning to take a bike trip for several weeks. When we first started making plans we were considering going on a route through several national Parks in the Sierra Nevada Mts. Eventually we realized that there was no shoulder on these roads and it would be way too dangerous. So we ended up deciding to take the interstate 395 highway. This highway has a shoulder which makes it much more safe. Our only real plan was to drive with the bikes to Andrews parents' house in the Mojave desert town of Ridgecrest and then bike north up the 395 from there. We ended up taking a lot longer than we expected so when we arrived at his parents' house it was already dark and we decided to sleep there. The next morning we packed our bikes up with all the equipment that we needed and took off pretty early in the morning. It still took us a while to get out of town because we had to stop at a grocery store for some water and to use the restroom. We also stopped at the visitor's center where we got some information about things that we could see along the way. We finally left town pedaling along a busy road next to a military base for several miles. When we finally reached the 395, traffic got a little quieter and we took advantage of the large shoulder. Pretty early on we ran into a fairly small hill which took us a ridiculously long time to get over. That taught us a lesson about how difficult it is to get over hills. As we continued down the road, some cars honked at us as they drove by. We wondered whether it was supportive or out of frustration that we were sharing the road. Then all of a sudden the shoulder disappeared and we found ourselves riding through gravel. This slowed us down a lot. On top of that it was so hot that we had to take long breaks even though we just started. My thighs were already hurting and we were really thirsty and hungry so we ended up taking about 1/2 hour break on the side of road. Because my thighs were hurting so much I started worrying about getting stranded with my bike and not be able to get back. But we started up again and took off really slowly and the shoulder came back so we trudged onward. Hours passed with no change in scenery; just endless desert and mountains in the distance. Finally we reached a random gas station with a Subway restaurant inside, which was a huge relief. We still hadn't seen any reasonable places to camp so we had to press on for a couple more hours. Just as it was getting dark we reached fossil falls. After going a couple miles down a windy bumpy dirt road we found some ravines of lava rocks. We figured they would be a good way to shield ourselves against the wind for the night, so we pitched our tent right there. When we we're setting up it was dark, probably around 8:00. Then we went straight to sleep. About an hour later I was still awake because the ground was so hard it was really difficult to get to sleep. At that point the wind started getting a stronger and stronger. Then tent started making a lot of noise in the wind and that made it even harder to get to sleep. The wind got even stronger and more noises started. I heard a snapping sound and then another snap and then the tent fell on or our faces and started battering us like a flag flapping in a strong wind. This was so hilarious to me that I laughed really hard for a long time. In fact I laughed so hard that a huge spotlight turned on shining from a distance straight towards our campsite. This got me a little nervous so I stayed very quiet and after 10 minutes the light went off. That night I probably slept about 3 hours, so the next day I was pretty tired and weak. But in the morning we got to see the fossil falls. It was an ancient waterfall that dried up leaving fascinating patterns of rock. We climbed down through it carefully. It was strangely beautiful with rounded caverns created by swirling rocks. After a short period of meditation we decided to hit the road again. On our way we entered more mountainous territory. We were riding through a valley between two ridges of the Sierra Nevada Mts. The scale was so massive that it seemed that we could bike forever and the scenery wouldn't even change at all. I adjusted the height of my seat which helped shift the pain in my thigh to a different location. Around this time we encountered the biggest hill yet seen on our trip. It took us hours to get up this hill. On the other side of the hill was an equally large downhill and we coasted down that fairly quickly. At the bottom we reached Olancha, a town with an RV park, a motel, and a restaurant - that's about it. We decided to try to bike all the way to the mountains to the west but despite our great efforts we couldn't make it to the base of the mountain. It started getting really cold and windy again so we headed back and got a motel room. The whole area was flat so there was no good place to camp and besides we had a broken tent. In the motel room I got a good night's sleep and then we had a good breakfast at the ranch house cafe the next morning. Feeling re-energized we pressed on and started seeing more and more snow on the mountain tops. By the end of the day we had reached Lone Pine and I started worrying about how to get back home. We saw a U-Haul store in Lone Pine and decided it would be a good idea to take a U-Haul back. We found a hardware store and bought some parts to fix the tent. Then we set up our campsite at a nearby camping ground. After everything was ready, we had dinner at the mount Whitney diner. The food was pretty good so we ate most of our meals there while we stayed in Lone Pine. That night there was hardly any wing, but it was still really hard to sleep because the ground was so hard. So I probably got about 3 hours that night too. The next morning we got a hostel room so that we could drop off all of our luggage and have really lightweight bikes to ride up the mount Whitney portal road. The mount Whitney portal road goes straight from Lone Pine to the trailhead for mount Whitney peak. It's about 11 miles and almost entirely uphill. The first portion of the mount Whitney portal road goes through the Alabama hills which is a famous setting for western movie scenes. After that point we were getting so tired and the road was so steep that we ended up doing a lot of walking. The mountains seemed like they were always so far away it was like chasing a rainbow. When we finally reached the switchbacks that go up the mountain, we got to see what an amazing view there was behind us. At the top of the switchbacks there was an avalanche which closed the whole road down. We locked our bikes to a tree near the beginning of the avalanche and continued on foot. We rounded a corner and crossed through a falling rocks zone where the road was littered with boulders and stones. The wind up there was very strong too, so we ended up getting pretty chilly. Every once in a while we would slip through the snow and fall 3 feet up to our hips. As sunset approached we got a glimpse of the peak of mount Whitney. This was the closest view we had of the peak. After a lot more hiking through the snow we finally reached the trailhead of the trail to the peak. This is about halfway up the height of the mountain starting from Lone Pine. Once we reached the trailhead we turned straight back because we knew it was getting dark. By the time we got back to our bikes it was already really dark and cold. We put plastic bags over hands to prevent them from going numb. For the next half hour we were on a scary downhill ride through the dark and strong winds. That night we slept in the hostel and got another good night's sleep. The next morning we picked up the U-Haul and drove back to Andrews parents' house, which only took about 2 hours. We didn't go nearly as far as we expected we would but we learned a lesson about how difficult it is to bike when you are facing the wind and hills and are carrying a lot of luggage. We travelled 91.1 miles (one-way) in 4 days.