Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Jaen is a small city in Andalusia, an autonomous region in southern Spain. Having spent time near Cuenca the previous year, we decided to return and venture a bit farther south to an area we'd heard little about. Although Jaen had much to offer, the weather proved difficult and we were forced to thread our outdoor activities between various stormy periods, culminating with snow on our final day! When we did manage to explore, we found a countryside laced with kilometres of olive orchards nestled below misty peaks and bright orange cliffs. We enjoyed the break from Canadian winter and a bit of sunny climbing, but our tumultuous journey home, a result of cancelled flights, was truly exhausting. Pictures from the trip:

Cathedral in Jaen, a notable local monument.

Farm life near the climbing area, Reguchillo.

Guin DJ (7c) in the massive cave at Otinar, a good escape from the rain.


Flowers at our casa rural.

Exploring the castle ruins in Albanchez de Magina.

The castle at Bedmar.

Coastal exploration in Parque Natural Sierras de Tejeda. We all swam!

Ibex near the beach. We counted eight including some young.

Elise climbing a 6a at Reguchillo.

Pet ferrets at Reguchillo. Elise was thrilled!

Cliff terrain at Reguchillo on one of our sunny days.

Our casa rural in La Guardia de Jaen.

Climbing in the impressive cave at Otinar.

Wildlife in Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla.

We bring cat food everywhere we go...

Taking in the scenery on our hike of the Rio Borosa gorge.

Suspended walkway along Rio Borosa.

Sunset in Parque Natural Sierras de Cazorla.

Elise in action at Reguchillo.

We visited during the olive harvest. Busy times.

Misty day exploring the castle of Otinar.

Elise inside the castle.

Winter flowers at Reguchillo.

The massive cave at Otinar.

A final image of the Castillo de Otinar.

Happy New Year to you all...

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Northern California

In an attempt to escape the West Coast smoke, we ventured to Northern California for a summer family vacation. Our itinerary took us from Bandon Beach on the Oregon Coast to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, with stops in Sonora Pass and Mammoth Lakes along the way. We encountered extreme heat, chilly conditions on the coast and perfect climbing and hiking temperatures at the higher elevations. The trip was a varied tour of the area and a good break from the routine back at home. Highlights included a half-day horseback ride to Relief Reservoir near Sonora Pass, floating in the highly saline waters of Mono Lake, swimming in countless alpine tarns and hiking in scenic alpine locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Elise at Bandon Beach, our first stop of the trip.

Sunset at Bandon Beach.

Redwood National Park.

Columns of the Giants, a unique basalt cave near Sonora Pass.

Tedd, a ranger from Tuolumne, in the basalt cave.

Hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail near Sonora Pass.

Half-day horseback ride to Relief Reservoir near Kennedy Meadows.

Beer cap art courtesy of Elise.

Pam swimming in Relief Reservoir.

Elise swimming in Cleo's Bath, a unique creek pool above Pinecrest Lake.

Devil's Postpile, a unique basalt formation near Mammoth Lakes.

Hot Creek Geological Site near Mammoth Lakes.

Rainbow Falls at Mammoth Lakes.

Columbine in the alpine of Little Lakes Valley.

Hike in Little Lakes Valley.

Cleaning up at our campsite at Minaret Falls.

Lonnie Kauk on the impeccable Tioga Cliff.

Evening sun on Ellery Lake, Tioga Pass.

The Dana Plateau as seen from our campsite at Junction Campground, Tioga Pass.

Smoke from nearby fires greeted us upon arrival.

Bug shelter at Junction Campground. What a great idea!

Tuolumne Meadows in morning light.

Unicorn Peak above Elizabeth Lake. We climbed the high-point on the right.

Summit of Unicorn Peak, Cathedral Range behind.

Ellery Lake

The Tioga Cliff climbing area is centre right above the scree slope.

Pam and Elise at Mammoth Lakes.

Burnt forest landscape below Bear Crag, another local climbing spot.

Tufa formation at Mono Lake.

Elise and I on the summit of Pywiack Dome, Tuolumne Meadows.