Clark Family Diaries » Blog

Masthead header
Clark Family Diaries bio picture
  • WELCOME to our life through the lens!

    Thanks for stopping by our page! Here we will share our adventures and travels. If you were brought here by accident and were looking for my business page, please visit www.bluella.com. If you're here to catch up on the Crazy Clark Clan, you've come to the right place! Thank you for letting us share our life through images with you.

Castle Peak Snowshoeing {Outdoor Women Adventures}

Headed out for a little spring snowshoeing with my mountain girl Jen. Seriously don’t know what I’d do without her in my life as she is my adventure homie to the 9th degree! It was another drought year but we got a pretty good storm the week before. Problem was, there were a few super worm days which slushed up and iced over the last 2 miles of the trail which made it suuuuuuper slippery even with snowshoes and poles. Nonetheless, this is one of my favorite hikes right off the 80 freeway, both in summer and winter. Note to self…even though you are slathered in 1 million spf sunscreen, you will fry like a lobster if you wear a tank top in the reflective snow for 6 hours. Ouch. Bring on the Preparation H. Which is, by far, the best remedy for an itchy, stingy sunburn….or like a giant whole body hemorrhoid to be exact.
Trail is rated as between difficult and strenuous, depending on the conditions. I rate it as awesome girls day on the hill.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/castle-peak

 

Hey look at me all wearing shorts and a tank top waiting for a 2nd degree sunburn. #dumb

snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trailsnowshoe castle peak pacific crest trailsnowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

The most beautiful meadow to the right of the trail at the beginning of the hike.snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

Make a left here to continue to the PCT and Peter Grubb Hut. Peter Gruss Hut post HERE.snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

I mean seriously…how can one not appreciate this???snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trailsnowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

The final slippery ass icy ascent.

snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

 

Peak bagged!snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

Hello world!snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

Friends who outdoor together, stay together!snowshoe castle peak pacific crest trail

In Love and Adventure,

The Clark Family

Hetch Hetchy {Spring Backpacking with Friends}

Hetch Hetchy. What can I say about you that truly expresses how beautiful you are? If we are going to have to deal with a drought, what better way than to backpack a Yosemite gem snow free (for the most part) in February! My grandpa Ronnie Klarer actually worked on this dam years ago and it was the first time I’ve ever been to the area. It was a pretty cool experience to hike the dam that he poured blood, sweat, and tears into. Not to make him turn in his grave or anything but there’s a massive movement to restore Hetch Hetchy to its original glorious valley state and stop the Bay Area’s unnecessary hogging of its natural resources. This area was once protected as is the rest of Yosemite but somehow the powers that be ($$$, bureaucratic BS, and President Wilson) overrode this protection to build a dam inside a National Park. Highly controversial and completely oppositional to what National Parks are supposed to provide…protection of our nation’s natural beauty. To learn more about “Restore Hetch Hetchy” please see this link HERE as it’s an important movement and will blow your mind.

All politics aside, we backpacked this amazing part of Yosemite in the hopes of seeing what it had to offer far beyond the reservoir. Sometimes you hike somewhere and you are transported to such a peaceful and serene place that it almost feels like a dream. That’s what Hetch Hetchy did for us, with the exception of our hours long bitter, nail biting, neverending games of Spades. Something about that *%&$($&$ game while hovered around a campfire makes me euphoric! Our final destination for our overnights was Rancheria Falls. We were hoping to stay a night in Tiltill Valley but the snow was too deep and slushy and we did not come prepared to snow camp. We did get in a lovely day trip to the valley which beckoned us to return when the snow melts. Due to the time of year, we were able to have fires which makes all the difference in the world while backpacking! I’ll stop talking now and just show the pictures even though they don’t do justice at all to the place. Here’s hoping our children and our children’s children look back at these pictures and say, “Wow, look at Hetch hetchy when it had a reservoir” as they hike through the recently restored lush Yosemite valley that was once artificially captured water.

And the journey begins…through the tunnel!

Coming upon the first waterfall…Tueeulala Falls. How amazing to hike this close to falls along the way!

I would love to come back in a big snow year and see the difference in the falls. Trickles this year.

Four dorks and a waterfall.

I take a picture of you while you take a picture of me.

Can you even imagine what type of valley this would be??

Necessities. Especially the shit shovel.

A nice little water pumping spot at the base of Rancheria Falls

I love these weirdos.I call this little collection of photos, “nerds pump water”.

Is Jen a peacock?

I wish the following photos had sound! Even in a low snowpack year, Rancheria Falls was RUSHING and fantastic!

We are just trying to get some shots her bombers.

Good ol’ wood collecting!

Spades and heartfelt tea bag messages.

Day hike from our base camp to Tiltill Valley. Just enough snow to make it interesting!

If you look really closely to the bottom left, there is a beautiful little iced over pond.

The bridge crossings were really neat! We read up a lot on many deaths that have happened here though when people tried to cross when the waterfalls were too powerful. RIP lost adventurers.

TRCs (treacherous river crossings)! It’s our dumb little joke for when we cross super tiny screams or water pockets.

Peter Grubb Hut in Winter {Snowshoeing Castle Peak Trail}

Headed to the Peter Grubb Hut for a snowshoe trip with friends! We lucked out and had deep, soft snow and clear, blue skies! We’ve had some killer storms this season and we were really praying for a clear trip. In order to reserve a spot in this popular hut during the winter, you need to write them a letter with 3 potential dates and a check in the amount of $20 for each person. We sent our letter request at the beginning of October and the lottery drawing was November 7th. We didn’t get our first choice which ended up being fine by us because conditions were wonderful the weekend we were chosen.  There are a few ways to get to the hut from the Castle Peak trailhead. You can take the “service road” to the left which is pretty and super easy to follow due to the tracked out trail but verrrrryyyyy populated. ORRRR….you can take the meadow to the right at the start of the hike and then take the “follow Clark haphazardly through the thigh deep powder woods” trail until you catch up with the PCT. We took the latter and had a freaking epic workout and adventure. Making fresh tracks on the PCT is not something that comes along every day. We did take the service road out the next day in order to make it down the hill in time for Superbowl!

The hut is simply fantastic and worth a trip in any season! Though we didn’t bring our boards like many do to tap that pristine backcountry fluff, we still had an epic time shoeing around and playing cards next to the fire. There are buckets in the hut to collect and melt snow for cooking and drinking but you will need a water purifier before drinking. The hut is STOCKED with wood by the generous efforts of the Sierra Club volunteers so you will stay warm in even the chilliest conditions. We brought our own stove though rumor has it that the hut has one there. No one was going to stand between me and my chili. Or stand behind me after.

The hut sleeps 15 so unless you reserve the entire thing, you will be rooming with new friends. Some of who decide to blow up their air mattress AFTER everyone has gone to bed and others who close the chimney flu while a fire is still burning and smoke out the entire upstairs. Please for the love of all that is frozen water, do not be those people.

Reservation info HERE and a map and more info of the trail HERE. There are a number of huts maintained by the Sierra Club found HERE. We hope to venture to them all at some point this year and next and participate in the volunteer days to help haul materials in and out. Must give back and pay forward when possible!

Tech nerdery: all iphone 6

I am absolutely with my MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes and even more in love with my Vasque Pow Pow boots. I mean come on…they are called POW POW for goodness sakes…how can you go wrong? My poles however are cheap and lame and they will be replaced soon.

We are still debating what kind of critter made these tracks.

The meadow at the beginning of the trail.

Bromance in the meadow…awwwww.

In case the rescue helicopter forgets her name…

Making fresh tracks on the PCT!

I am printing this one BIG. My heart.

He loves to be the rabbit.

Our BFFs and adventure travel buddies!

The hut was snowpacked to the 2nd floor.

Another beautiful meadow straight out from the hut.

Is this not the most quaint entrance you’ve ever seen?

In order to give an idea of how much snow covers the lodge in winter…below is the lodge in warmer months.  Notice the ladder leading to the 2nd floor.

020316

THE most beautiful post sunset glow.

Sleeping arrangements for the night!

US!Have to include at least one dorky group selfie.

No word truer spoken…

In Love and Adventure,

 

The Clarks