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Update From the Trails

Getting back into the swing of things.
First off, thank you for supporting the website and guides. Everyone's feedback is invaluable in my motivation to get more guides up while balancing work and family. This past year had a lot of drama, and my attention had to turn elsewhere, but that seems to be coming to an end. I've been able to get out and hit the trails more. That means more guides are coming to the site, and on a more regular basis. Hope I didn't just jinx myself there...

Happy trails,
Cris
Mt Lukens & Avoiding the Crowds
If you're getting out regularly, I'm sure you've seen that there are more people on the trails than ever. Some folks have a problem with this and want the quiet experience of past years, but it's just not a reality. So why not try some other trails? I'm going to focus on bringing you more "off the beaten path paths" moving forward.

One of those is Mt Lukens, which is the highest point in the City of Los Angeles. It's a scenic ten miler that climbs to 5,066 feet and has excellent views. And it's not part of the "six-pack" so you don't have the crowds.
Mt Lukens Hike
Image from Gyazo
More Video & 360 Video
You might have noticed that I started posting 360/VR videos on my new hikes. I think the 360 videos are a real game changer because you can now pan around the video by just dragging on it. That means when I go through a trail junction you can scroll around and see more than just ahead. It works when the video is paused too. I've been shooting it with my Garmin VIRB 360 camera and it's worked out great.

I'm also going back and creating videos for hike guides that don't have them already. Thanks to feedback from you guys, I know that the videos come in handy.
See Baden-Powell in 360
Man These Fires Suck
I'm sure everyone has seen the news about all the fires by now. Some of the fires in Southern California have had the San Jacinto and San Bernardino National Forest closed. The road to Whitney Portal was also closed for a while. I recommend checking this site for updates and calling the ranger station before embarking on any hikes (phone numbers on all of my guides). Even if there's not a fire by your hike, some trails get closed when the fire risk is high.
Gear Updates
  • I've been testing new gear and have some updates on the site. After the design of my beloved Camelback Fourteener changed this year, I tested a few other options and settled on the REI Trail 40, which I love. 
  • La Sportiva is evolving the Synthesis boot (which I recommended for the last few years) into the Spire boot. I've been hiking for 2 months on the Spire, and while a little different, am loving it. Full review coming soon.
  • There's a new Garmin Fenix watch out, the 5 Plus series. I'm debating whether to drop the money to test it (it's not cheap and no one from Garmin will respond to my request for a test unit - womp womp). The features that look interesting are:
    • Maps on all size models, not just the big 5x one
    • Altimeter calibrated by elevation of onboard maps and the barometer (it's just the barometer now)
    • Better battery life
    • Blood oxygen level reading (useful when at altitude)
    • A display that shows you the stats for your current climb, called ClimbPro

The ClimbPro display.
 
See All the Gear I Use
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