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Adventure

Dreamy Views on Cloudripper

I had been wanting to do Cloudripper (13,525′) for a while, so last year I took the family to make an attempt on the summit. My son Wes and I made it to what I thought was the summit of Cloudripper, only to discover from our GPS tracks that we had summitted the wrong mountain! We summited Vagabond Peak, not realizing that we came about 1000 yards short of Cloudripper. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to do it again.

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Crossfitters

Meet Fred Murphy, an 81-year-old Crossfitter

Fred Murphy, 81, is not your average grandpa. He has served more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and holds an 8th-degree grandmaster rank in Taekwondo. After 7 surgeries in one year, and being forced out of the gym for 52 days…Fred is back in the gym, breaking a sweat and inspiring others nearly half his age.

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My Fitness Journey

My Second Year of CrossFit: The Magical Power of Consistency

I went from deadlifting 205 to deadlifting 255. Given my back injury, this is quite amazing. (I had a back injury when I was 16 that has been with me since then.) Bending over and lifting heavy weight like this is always a little terrifying for me. That said, I am hoping that with consistent training, I hope to break 300lbs on my deadlift this year.

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mount bago
Adventure

The Long Dayhike to Mount Bago

Mount Bago is not the tallest mountain in the area, but it is in the middle of four passes and two major drainages, including Bubbs Creek where it empties into Kings River. Looking toward Kings Canyon, Charlotte Dome, a 1500-foot granite monolith, is clearly visible.

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Adventure

My 85-Mile Sequoia-Kings Canyon Loop SOLO

Ever since hiking the John Muir Trail last year, I’d been thinking about getting back out there. But I didn’t want to just do the John Muir Trail again. Then I ran across something called the Big Sequoia-Kings Canyon Loop. There are a number of versions of this loop, the longest one being about 150 miles. I decided on the 85-mile version. I did this one solo and I had a blast.

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Adventure

My 50-mile Three Sisters Loop Solo

I put in about 12 miles the first day, but it was hot, and the entire 12 miles was decimated by fire. It was a little bit disappointing. I finally got to my camp in the late afternoon, and just as I put my tent up, it started hailing. I couldn’t see the lightning strikes, but the thunder was impressive. Fortunately, it passed in about 90 minutes. Had a good dinner and slept well, despite the worries that a dead tree might fall and kill me in the middle of the night…

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Adventure

Humbled on the Summit of Cotopaxi

Every year I try to take an adventure that gets me outside of my comfort zone. It has to challenge me to push my physical limits and force me to face things that make me afraid. This ritual has been key to my personal growth and it pushes me to train in ways that I would otherwise not have the discipline to train. This year, mountaineering in Ecuador was that trip and Cotopaxi was the prize.

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Adventure

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim!

We got up at 3:30am the next morning to catch the 4am shuttle to the trailhead. We started our descent with headlamps. It was a cool 40 degrees and the hiking was easy. First light came at 4:30am and by 5:30am we turned our headlamps off and were enjoying the amazing views of the canyon below.

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The Good Life

The Surprising Link Between Wilderness, Awe, and Generosity

I remember checking out of my hotel room and just spontaneously leaving a $200 tip for the maid. I had never done that before. I had experienced some kind of transcendence that I could not describe and I couldn’t help but overflow in generosity – to a person I had not even met.

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Fitness Heros

Meet Jim Mackert, an 82-year-old Marathoner

When he was 37, Mackert says he started gaining weight and not feeling good. So, he decided to start running, and when he heard about the Cleveland Marathon, he signed up. He ran that first marathon non-stop, wearing a turtleneck shirt, and not drinking any water! He quickly learned what a mistake that was. But he has since learned many lessons about running and now says he wakes up every morning ready to hit the pavement to train.

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Adventure

Hardship & Glory on Cactus to Clouds

With an elevation gain of 10,300′, the Cactus to Clouds Trail has one of the greatest elevation increases among day-hike routes in the United States. It is 16 miles from the trailhead to the summit (+5.5 more miles back to the tram station), making it one of the steeper trails of its length in the world. For local hikers, Cactus to Clouds (C2C for short) is not just a trail, it is a hiking rite of passage. For those who have done it, it never gets any easier when you do it again. It is the definition of a “sufferfest.”

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Fitness Heros

Meet “Flo” Meiler, an 84-Year-Old Pole Vaulter

Meiler was involved in sports throughout her growing up years. She played basketball and took dance lessons. After meeting her husband, the two competed in water skiing events together. Though always active, Meiler did not discover her love of pole-vaulting until she was in her mid-60s and a tennis friend encouraged her to try it. Four years ago, at the age of 80, she set a record when she successfully completed a six-foot pole-vault at a national championship in New York.

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Fitness Heros

Meet Pat Gallant-Charette, 61-Year-Old Marathon Swimmer

Gallant-Charette has only been a serious competitive swimmer for the past 10 years. But her swims now include the English Channel, Loch Ness, and the Strait of Gibraltar. She is participating in the “Oceans Seven” challenge, which takes swimmers to seven of the world’s most difficult swims. A native of Maine, Gallant-Charette’s first swim was the Peaks to Portland challenge, which her brother Robby had participated in and won twice.

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Day Hikes

The 7,300′ Climb to the Summit of Iron Mountain

While Iron Mountain, also known as Big Iron, is far lower in elevation than other Southern California summits, it is the most difficult mountain to climb in the entire region. The trail follows a series of high mountain ridges to the summit, gaining 7,300′ of elevation – 3.500′ in the last two miles alone. 

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Adventure

San Bernardino Peak in the Snow

San Bernardino Peak is one of my favorite local hikes. It’s never crowded like many of the other trails, and the scenery is beautiful. Today, there was four to five feet of snow on the upper elevations, with snow starting a mile into the trail. Being on the summit, in the snow, in perfect weather, was pretty magical.

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Adventure

Canyoneering the Swaney Loop in Death Valley

One of the hidden gems of Death Valley, the Swaney Loop is a route I did with some friends from the San Jacinto Hiking Club. The route starts just outside Stove Pipe Wells and follows a network of slot canyons for about 3,000 feet of elevation gain before looping back down some off-trail slopes to the trailhead.

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Adventure

The Mount Baldy Bowl in the Snow

On Saturday, Wes, Liz, and I did the Mount Baldy Bowl in the snow. It was the first time I’d done it, and it was an absolute blast. A lot of the snow had melted from last week’s storm, but there was still enough to play in the bowl. I had hopes of climbing something a little more aggressive – a feature on the left side of the bowl affectionately called the “Death Shoot.”

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Adventure

The Little San Gorgonio to Galena Peak Traverse

The Yucaipa Ridge is clearly visible from the 10 freeway as you pass Redlands east bound. The ridge of four small peaks is dwarfed by San Gorgonio Mountain behind it – so much so that you never give it a second look. Yet behind these little mountains lies one of the best hikes in Southern California.

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