Hello, Bighorn Overlook, Jack Rabbit, and Road Runner Trails in Rancho Mirage, California

This past Saturday, I went for a hike in Rancho Mirage, a city in the Coachella Valley of Riverside County, California. Because it was the weekend, the park­ing lot of the City Hall was nearly empty, which was conveniently located right by the Bighorn Overlook Trailhead.

I started ascending the eight switchbacks to the overlook.

Once I got to the top, there was a little structure and some rock art.

The overlook also had a nice view of Rancho Mirage, with Thousand Palms and Palm Desert in the distance.

After taking in the sights, I continued west onto Jack Rabbit Trail.

Once I got near the western edge of the trail, I got some nice views of The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage and Frank Sinatra Drive.

After crossing over Frank Sinatra Drive, I began hiking westbound on Road Runner Trail.

Interestingly, the moon was clearly visible in the distance.

After making it to the most northeastern point of Road Runner Trail, I had a nice view down Frank Sinatra Drive.

Continuing on the trail, I made it to the side of the Villas of Mirada.

This is a view to the west down Terrace Road.

Approaching the end of the trail, I was able to get a photo of the luxury homes in the Mirada Estates.

After completing the way out, I returned on Frank Sinatra Road back to the City Hall where I parked my pickup truck. In total, my hike was a little over 3 miles, which is the equivalent of just over 5 kilometers.

It was nice finally doing another moderately strenuous hike. I feel like I might have been a little unprepared for this one, though—it was sunny and over 90°F out­side (which is the equivalent of over 32°C), it was windy so the air quality wasn’t the best, and one liter of water was not enough. I was dripping sweat by the end and very thirsty, but I still felt refreshed and energized.




Hello, San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, California

While I was in Orange County, California a few days ago for my dinner at The Capital Grille in Costa Mesa, CA, I decided to squeeze a bit more value out of already being in the area and visit the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD)’s San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary.

A few years ago when I was road tripping across the United States and living out of hotel rooms, I would regularly go out for walks and hikes to see new areas and explore nature. I haven’t really been doing that much lately, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to get some sun and fresh air again. I wouldn’t say a walk around the San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary really counts as a hike, but because of how warm it was, I still got a good sweat out of it.




Hello, Deception Pass State Park in Oak Harbor, Washington

I used to go to the Seattle Metropolitan Area relatively frequently because a member of Tempo‘s executive team used to live up there, so I would visit her for work and for fun, and it was also a good way to visit some other friends while I was in the area. However, since her move out-of-state, the “kill two avians with one stone” concept didn’t work when it came to threading in a free personal trip while I was already in town for work, so I haven’t been go­ing as frequently.

This past week, I decided to take a trip to Seattle anyway. One of the places I toured was Deception Pass State Park, a Washington state park in Oak Har­bor. It actually reminded me a lot of my prior visit over one year ago to the Larrabee State Park, but Deception Pass was brighter and had much more water.

After a very brief stop at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op in Mount Vernon on our way there, we drove to the Deception Pass State Park Administration Offices to purchase a pass (upon which we found out were actually sold elsewhere, at the Entrance Station). We eventually made our way to the North and West Beach Parking Lot at the state park and started our hike on Pacific Northwest Trail.

From the trail, we were able to see the bridge in the distance.

We continued all the way down Pacific NW Trail up to its intersection at Washington State Route 20, where we were able to get a direct view of the un­der­side of the bridge.

After crossing over to the other side, we connected onto Goose Rock Perimeter Trail. After continuing eastbound, we found an interesting sight—a house on top of a rock on Ben Ure Island.

Continuing on the perimeter trail, we made it towards the bottom where we got some nice views of the Deception Pass Marina, Cornet Bay, and the Cor­net Bay County Park.

Here is a random very fuzzy tree.

Goose Rock Perimeter Trail eventually turned into Goose Rock Summit Trail. After some switchbacks and a lot of elevation gain, we made it to a spot where I got a nice view of Deception Island in the background and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in the far distance.

Here are some photos of me at Goose Rock Summit.

Fun fact, I didn’t bring enough t-shirts in my luggage, so the shirt I’m wearing was actually the shirt I was using as my pajama shirt for the prior 4 days.

Because the variant of Goose Rock Trail we took was a loop, we made it back to the intersection at Washington State Route 20. We decided to climb up the stairs onto the bridge and do a down-and-back to take in some of the nice views of Pass Island and the actual “pass” portion of Deception Pass.

Here is a random humongous spider web that I found stretched across some branches on our way back to the parking lot.

And finally, here is one of the last photos I took as we were retracing our steps westbound on Pacific Northwest Trail. I believe this is of the North Beach at Macs Cove, close to the Scenic Vista Parking Lot.

Overall, our hike clocked in at 5.36 miles (8.63 kilometers) and took a little over three hours (though I believe that includes breaks, chatting with other hikers, and snacking at the summit). My elevation gain on my fitness tracker wasn’t fully accurate because I was also taking the stairs up and down my hotel that day, but my hiking companion’s fitness tracker said our climb was right around 103 stories in height.

I haven’t been on a good, long hike in a while, so this was a very pleasant and refreshing experience. Apparently Deception Pass is the most popular state park in Washington, and based on my experience, it definitely made sense why.

If you like boating or camping, Deception Pass can be a great multi-day trip, but if you’re more of a hiker and beach-goer, I think this state park is just big enough that you can head over in the morning, fill the day with activities, and return in the evening.




Hello, Henry Cook Lookout Point via Stough Canyon in Burbank, California

During my previous trip to Hollywood-Burbank (during which I met a few cats and a goldfish), I arrived one day earlier than my planned festivities, not only because I like to have one buffer day for travel, but also because I wanted to go hiking in the Verdugo Mountains.

For those of you who know my friend Doug Wreden, you probably know how that went… rather than hiking, I instead got intercepted by Doug as I was about to walk into my hotel. I ended up taking part in one of his Twitch live streams where we went to ten fast food restaurants and did the “I’ll have what he’s having” challenge, wherein we re-order and try to finish anything and everything the previous drive-through customer purchases. Needless to say, the challenge took a very long time, and I did not have another opportunity to go hiking before departing SoCal.

That was a week and a half ago. I am in SoCal again now for unrelated reasons, and I decided this was a good chance to try that hiking trip again.

I hopped in my rental car (which, with great misfortune, ended up being a very small and uncomfortable Ford Mustang sedan instead of a pickup truck like I usually drive, because pickup trucks were about US$50/day more expensive), and drove up to the Stough Canyon Nature Center. From there, I got on Stough Canyon Mountain Way and started working my way up.

I headed over to hike after I landed from my afternoon flight and had already stopped by the hotel to check in, so it was already approaching sunset time by the time I made it to the trail. This had an interesting effect on the scenery, in that some areas were brightly illuminated and some were covered in dark shade, while others still had a mixture of both where the vegetation was casting long, sharp shadows on the ground.

As I got close to the summit, I connected onto Old Youth Camp Trail, then finally reached Overlook Trail all the way up to the Henry Cook Lookout Point. This opened up sweeping 180° views of the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, and the Los Angeles city skyline.

There was quite a bit of smog obstructing the view, which you’d expect from Los Angeles County, but overall, this was a very rewarding view relative to the ease of completing this very short hike.

I also met a very friendly lizard at the top.

I started my tracker a little bit late, so the distance on my map is a little short, but my GPS said the hike was 1.23 miles, or almost exactly 2 kilometers. The elevation gain was approximately 360 feet, or 110 meters.

I haven’t really been on a good hike for months, and I don’t think this even counts as a proper hike considering how short and easy it was, but it was nice to get out and exercise outdoors again, instead of on workout machines indoors in a gym.




Hello, Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County, California

There’s been an insane amount of inclement weather in California lately. It’s been raining a lot at the Tempo headquarters where I’ve temporarily set up my home base, I’ve heard that the California mountains have gotten literally several feet of snow, and I just barely missed the San Francisco Bay Area flood­ing really badly before my trip to Oakland.

The last time there was this much precipitation, there was a superbloom, which is a phenomenon where a ton of flowers bloom at the same time, es­pe­cial­ly from seeds that laid dormant for a while. In hopes of seeing one of these superblooms for myself in-person, as well as to visit a friend in the area who is planning on moving tentatively permanently to Puerto Rico, I made a quick trip an hour and a half north of Greater Los Angeles into Kern Coun­ty.

After entering the Wind Wolves Preserve, we followed some signs and drove over to the Crossing Campground and went on a short hike.

This campground had an unusually fancy bathroom.

We got to the end of the trail, where we got a nice view of Bakersfield to the north.

In this area of the preserve, we did see some open fields, but they weren’t covered with wildflowers—there were just a few flowering bushes along the sides.

We ventured over to a different area in hopes of having better luck, which we sort of did. Unfortunately, my timing was a little bit off—it did look like there were a lot of flowers blossoming out in the fields, but they weren’t quite at full size. According to Google Maps, this area is usually pretty barren, so I guess it is good news that there was even a lush field of grass at all, let alone any flowers.

Although rare, one of the perks of doing things together with a friend is that I get to post pictures of myself too, rather than just photos exclusively of things around me.

Adam Parkzer holding a camera after taking a photograph

I wouldn’t say this was a particularly successful trip, but it wasn’t a complete failure either.

As a consolation prize, here are a bunch of cows that were ex­tremely confused why I got very excited and parked my truck on the side of the road to take a picture of them.




Hello, Heughs Canyon and Bonneville Shoreline Trails in Holladay, Utah

I had a small internal conflict about whether I should publish this blog post and these photos or not, because when I went hiking at this trail, I forgot my regular camera so I just snapped some quick shots from my phone.

What is extra problematic for me is that the views from this trail were actually pretty amazing, so not only does my phone not produce high-quality photo­graphs, but it doubly does not give the trail justice because of how vast and sweeping the real views were.

Ultimately, I decided to just post these anyway because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of content creators striving too much for perfection and being too hard on themselves. The entire point of my blog is supposed to be for me to leave a trail of memories to look back at, and this will still definitely serve that purpose.

The trailhead for the Heughs Canyon Trail is inside Canyon Cove, a wealthy neighborhood in Holladay, Utah. The “parking lot” for the trail is at the out­side of the subdivision and was just a short row of angled street parking spaces, but as I approached it, I didn’t notice it at first. I was driving too quickly and didn’t have enough space to slow down to get into a spot, so I just continued on into the neighborhood.

There were a lot of areas in the neighborhood that had “No Parking” signs, but I managed to find a clear area close to the trailhead, on Oak Canyon Drive. I’m not sure why, but there were three Greater Salt Lake Unified Police Department SUVs parked there in a row, so I just parked right alongside them in an effort to blend in and pretend like I belonged. That ended up working, because by the time I finished my hike and got back to my truck, I didn’t have a parking ticket.

Being able to park here was actually a pretty big deal, because the neighborhood is built on a hill and it would’ve added an extra 100 feet or so of el­e­va­tion gain and about half a mile round-trip onto my hike. This way, I was able to save my energy for the actual hike, as opposed to just walking to the trail­head.

The beginning of the trail was basically just a straight shot deeper into the mountains via a narrow valley. This area was heavily shaded from the sun, so a lot of areas still had snow coverage, and some areas were even icy.

A little under a mile into the hike, I had an option of continuing deeper on Heughs Canyon Trail, but I instead took a switchback and connected onto Bonneville Shoreline Trail. I’m not really quite sure why it is called a “shoreline” trail; the elevation here was over a mile above sea level and about a thousand feet above the rest of Holladay, so if the water level rose that much, then I guess it could’ve technically been a path along the shoreline.

After making that switchback, I started seeing the amazing views into the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

I continued on along the trail, which progressively opened up better and better views of the city. Again, I’m disappointed that I only had my phone to take photos because its optical zoom is highly limited (as you can tell) and anything above its optical zoom limit is just digital zoom, so you can’t really pick up much detail of the cities and mountains.

Part-way through my hike, I entered the Mount Olympus Wilderness, part of the Wasatch National Forest.

The trail slightly curved along the mountainside, so as I continued to walk, it progressively opened up slightly new angles of perspective of the view of the city.

I loved that there was some very low haze coverage on this day, presumably of some thicker mist or moisture. It created a narrow layer of white above the horizon, but the skies were still clear, so the tips of the mountains to the west still stuck out above the haze, which made for a very interesting sight.

Once I reached the intersection with Mount Olympus Trail, I retraced my steps back and returned to my truck.

My round-trip hike ended up being a little bit over 4 miles (which is just over 6.5 kilometers). I didn’t have a working altimeter so I don’t know for sure, but based on the topographical map, it appears like my total elevation gain for the hike was about 900 feet (or about 275 meters).