Austin Explorer's Logbook

Stats

Total Log Entries: 357 (Rank: 3rd)  [List Them]  [Map Them]
Total Distance: 1,425.91 Miles (Rank: 4th)
Average Distance: 3.99 Miles

Average Rating: 3stars (3.07)
Average Difficulty: 2stars (2.26)
Average Solitude: 2point5stars (2.50)

Earliest Log Entry: 4/7/2001
Latest Log Entry: 5/12/2019

Average ratings are based on the published values and not the values entered in your own log entries.

Photos

First Vista

Looking back from the Buckeye Trail towards the trailhead offers one of the first vista views from the park. [Skyline Wilderness Park]

Log Entries

First time back since the re-opening
Sonoma Overlook Trail - 5/12/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 3.01 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Coppertone and I decided to revisit this trail after it had been re-opened a couple of weeks ago.  Some extensive work had been done to fix up the trail to help repair some wear and tear from the 50,000 hikers who use it yearly.  

We showed up a bit after 10:00 AM and the parking area was full, save for perhaps one space.  It would remain full when we left an hour and a half later.  Seems like the word has gotten out about the trail.

The most noticeable change to the trail are the stone stairs added here and there in those spots that had suffered the most of erosion due to steepness and so many feet pounding on the surface.  The most stairs in one spot is right there at the trailhead.

The trail surface remains rocky and careful footing is required at times, but overall is easy for most walkers to handle.  Ample signage and a large map at the trailhead makes orienting oneself on the trail quite easy.

Not too far into the hike we spotted two California Quail come out of the brush and walk along the trail ahead of us.  We slow walked and kept our distance until hikers coming from the other direction gave the pair no choice but the dive back into the high grass.  During our time on the trail we'd spot a lot of lizards and skinks crossing the trail or sunning themselves on exposed rocks.

One trail segment we don't remember seeing before was the Boots Spur leading to a stone bench dedicated to the early health food advocate and all around eccentric known as Gypsy Boots.  I had never heard of him before and had to look him up online when we got back home.  

On the way up and down we were never far from another hiker or group of hikers going in one direction or the other.  In all of our visits here this might be the most crowded we've ever seen the trail.

A short stroll and a lot of history
Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park - 5/4/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 0.59 Mile Duration: 42 minutes

Coppertone and I were on a multi-stop tour of the Kona Coast and this was one of our stops.  Although some of the structures here are reconstructions it's still perhaps the best preserved Hawaiian sanctuary city on the islands.  We followed our tour guide in a loop around the main sanctuary area, stopping at various points to read markers or examine the structures.  There was also a wood carver on hand actively creating new items commonly used by native Hawaiians.

After having spent much of the day higher up the mountain where the air was cooler we were comparatively getting baked on coast.  The area a few segments of walkway that might be ADA compliant, but much of what we did was on sandy trails.  Coconut Palm trees dot the landscape and the parks people were in the process of removing coconuts from them to ensure the heavy fruit/nut doesn't fall on peoples' heads.  After picking up a sample I could understand why.

A quick peek at the crater
‘Iliahi Trail - 4/23/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 0.31 Mile Duration: 18 minutes

As part of a multi-stop tour of the Big Island Coppertone and I were able to spend a bit of time at Kilauea Crater to see one of the more active volcanos in the world.  After bubbling lava for decades we schedule our trip a few months after it decided to go dormant.  Great timing!  Still, there were great views to be had not terribly far from our stopping point.  Wish we had more time to hike here.

No more than a couple of weeks after we were at Kilauea we heard reports of a visitor who hopped over the guard railing to get closer to the crater rim and fell in.  He had to evacuated out and may face charges.

Pa Ka'oao Trail - Short stop as part of a bus tour
Haleakala National Park - 4/21/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 0.59 Mile Duration: 31 minutes

Coppertone and I spent most of this tour on a bus, but we did manage to get a short hike in here at the Haleakala Crater.  The bus driver actually warned us about going up the Pa Ka'oao Trail from the crater visitor's center because of its unstable nature liability insurance for the tour operator, etc.  We weren't going to spend 30-45 minutes sitting in the small visitors' center, so off we went.

The views from atop the conical mound were much better than from the center, so we're glad we took our lives in our own hands to make the trek.  In truth, the path is marked by the park with no warning signs.  Yes, there are some loose rocks around, but it was not terrible strenuous (other than the high altitude!) or dangerous.

We could see many more trails leading off into the distance, including within the crater itself.  Hopefully the next time we're on Maui we'll have more free time to come and hike him rather than catch a fleeting glimpse.

A short stroll and a lot of history
Jack London State Historic Park - 4/14/2019  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 1.91 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

During all of our previous visits to Jack London State Park Coppertone and I had not visited many of the historic exhibits here.  We always intended to do so, but we were more focused on hitting the trails than looking at exhibits.  Today we wanted a nice leisurely walk and decided to log some of the trails that focus more on the life and legacy of Jack London and his "mate" Charmian.

The Wold House Service Road is a one lane paved service road that heads towards Jack's dream home, the Wolf House.  The path is pleasant enough for a paved trail and might be ADA compliant.  It parallels a small stream that was flowing nicely with a couple of tiny waterfalls here and there.  In a mile or less you'll come up to Jack's dream abode.  Sadly, he and Charmian never got to enjoy the house as it burned in a fire just weeks before construction was to be finished.  All that remains are bare stone walls, some held up by steel support beams the state has put in place to keep the remaining structure from deteriorating further.  A small loop of trail provides views of the mansion from different angles.  An elevated platform "enters" the perimeter of the building and provides views of the reflecting pond and other features.

On the way back we took the short spur trail leading to the site of Jack and Charmian's graves.  A simple rock lies over their cremated remains.  If there were no fence and wooden sign indicating this was their resting place you would hardly give it a second thought.  The graves of the two pioneer children who lie nearby have resting places that are more significant.

The single track trail leading to the House of Happy Walls Museum was the way we headed back to the parking lot.  The museum had just undergone an extensive renovation and we found the exhibits very interesting.  Be sure to place your finger on the letters of the large metal topographic map near the entrance.  It's a multimedia spectacle.  If you're a Jack London fan then you'll definitely want to visit the museum and visit its well stocked gift shop that has special editions of most of his works.

In all we got in just short of 2 miles, not counting the distance we covered in the museum itself.  Not a serious hike today, but a pleasant morning.