When you imagine exploring the dreamtime world of Australia’s Outback, especially the searing deserts of South Australia, be sure you plan your journey during the right season or you may snag more than you can handle. This year, to make sure that no one makes this mistake, officials will close the Simpson Desert from Dec. 1 to March 15—the Australian summer—to avoid tourist deaths and protect emergency personnel who might have to risk themselves to save stranded visitors. Continue reading »
Over lunch recently my good friend John Flinn and I were comparing notes about backpacking trails in California’s Sierra Nevada because we both wanted to get back to the mountains. I was planning my first mountain backpacking trip with my two daughters aged 10 and 8 and intended to take them up a trail my wife and I used to love—before the children arrived, of course. John knew the trail, starting at the Lyons Creek Trailhead off Highway 50 just past Kyburz.
“It’s flat all the way to Lake Sylvia,” he recalled.
“That’s what I remember, too,” I said, “but I found my old topo map last night and it shows a 1500-foot climb over five miles to Sylvia.”
I nodded. I couldn’t believe it either. My memory was that the trail to Lake Sylvia was essentially flat, but if you wanted to go up to Lyons Lake, which Paula and I always used to do, it was a torturous climb straight up for a half mile at the end. Continue reading »