Torrey Pines Extension Trail Runs in Spring 2023

After record-setting rains in early 2023, the Margaret Fleming Trail in Torrey Pines Extension was awash in a wildflower super bloom from April into June. Here are photos and commentary from some of my regular trail runs down to the beach and back. Caption dates indicate when each photo was taken.

Pacific Crest Trail Run in 2023

On May 2, 2023, I did a 7-mile out-and-back run on the Pacific Crest Trail north of SR 74. The weather was great, wildflowers were in bloom, and I saw several thru-hikers on their way to Canada!

Photos and commentary follow.

Santa Ysabel Creek Mountain Bike Ride in 2023

Gordon, Kurt Knutson, and I had a great time riding our mountain bikes in a 24-mile loop along and near Santa Ysabel Creek on March 19, 2023. Starting at the Boden Canyon Trailhead on SR 78, we rode above the creek through Boden Canyon, along the floor of Pamo Valley, up the Black Mountain and Santa Ysabel Truck Trails, higher still on Black Canyon Road, and then back to the start on paved roads.

Photos and commentary follow.

Sierra Climbing Trip in 2022

Betsy and I went on an epic week-long climbing trip in the Sierra at the end of May and beginning of June in 2022. We climbed three tall peaks, each via a steep chute topped by a summit plateau and summit pyramid. Here is what we did each day.

Day 0 (Monday, May 30): Drive from Del Mar to Lone Pine. Climb giant boulders in the Alabama Hills, and camp at “secluded” Campsite 39 in the Whitney Portal Campground.
Day 1 (Tuesday, May 31): Backpack up the Meysan Lakes Trail from the trailhead at 7,900 ft to Meysan Lake at 11,446 ft. This takes us 9 hours, including finding a good campsite. Online blogs say that the distance is 6 miles, but Betsy’s GPS says it is 7 miles. I packed up this trail in 1978 with Mary, my brother Jay, and climbing buddy Don McEachern.
Day 2 (Wednesday, June 1): Climb Mt Irvine at 13,770 ft in 12-1/2 hours. Betsy’s GPS says that the day’s distance is 10 miles.
Day 3 (Thursday, June 2): Climb Lone Pine Peak at 12,944 ft in 12-3/4 hours. Betsy’s GPS says that the day’s distance is 9 miles.
Day 4 (Friday, June 3): Relax, read, and hike on a rest day.
Day 5 (Saturday, June 4): Climb Mt Mallory at 13,850 ft in 12-1/2 hours. Betsy’s iPhone battery is dead, so we don’t have a GPS distance, but it is probably 10 miles. I climbed Mts Mallory and LeConte in a single day with Mary, Jay, and Don in 1978.
Day 6 (Sunday, June 5): Backpack out in 4 hours. I drive home, while Betsy joins her friend Emily for another climbing trip 🙂

Photos and commentary follow.

Death Valley Bike Tour in 2022

family in Red Rock Canyon

Here is my blog of the awesome, six-day bike tour with Lizard Head that I did in and near Death Valley in March 2022. Among the adventurous group of 14 guests and 2 guides were my son Gordon, brother Jay, and nephew Brian Cornwell, as well as friends Barb Schreiber and Mike Smolin with whom Mary and I biked in 2007!

I biked EFI (every fricking inch) of the offered rides, and the following itinerary reflects that.

Day 1 (Sunday, March 13): Red Rock Canyon -> Blue Diamond + Old Spanish Trail -> Shoshone (49 mi & 2,600 ft of climbing)
Day 2 (Monday, March 14): Shoshone -> Furnace Creek (77 mi & 3,900 ft)
Day 3 (Tuesday, March 15): Furnace Creek <-> Dante’s View + Furnace Creek <-> Beatty Junction (63 mi & 4,200 ft)
Day 4 (Wednesday, March 16): Mile 12 -> Ubehebe Crater -> Stovepipe Wells (74 mi & 4,300 ft)
Day 5 (Thursday, March 17): Stovepipe Wells <-> Emigrant Pass (46 mi & 5,400 ft) + 4-mi hike in Mosaic Canyon
Day 6 (Friday, March 18): Stovepipe Wells -> Rhyolite (41 mi & 5,300 ft)

This was a very well-photographed tour by me and others, so my blog is longer than usual. Also, check out Annette’s poem at the end.


  • start of tour
  • bikers in Red Rock Canyon
  • family in Red Rock Canyon
  • bikes on van
  • Wayne and Jay by Amargosa sign
  • puddle in some dry grass
  • Shoshone sign pop 31
  • group in courtyard
  • Barb in a phone booth
  • family in parking lot
  • Gordon Wayne Jay bikes in the air
  • Jay bikes up hill
  • Wayne Gordon Jay with Salsbury pass sign
  • Jay biking in skeleton jersey
  • family with sign
  • badwater pool
  • looking out between the rocks
  • ranch sign
  • Lee Wayne Gordon in front of van
  • 15 percent grade sign
  • tortoise sign
  • Gordon biking
  • Wayne and Gordon at the top of a climb
  • desolate view with mountains
  • flowers
  • historic wagon parts
  • borax works plaque
  • group photo
  • wooden wagons
  • bikes and van and trailer
  • long road
  • crater
  • family at ranger station
  • dust devil
  • Gordon biking with road sign
  • sand dunes
  • parking lot
  • dinner
  • desert road
  • van with bikes and ladder
  • thumbs up at the pass
  • Gordon and Wayne at the pass
  • trail sign
  • family hiking
  • Jay climbing
  • rock arrow
  • Brian and Gordon
  • group stargazing
  • Wayne alone by general store
  • Wayne high speed turn
  • van with bikes
  • Wayne biking up hill
  • desert landscape
  • Gordon and Wayne Daylight Pass
  • Rhyolite sign
  • ruins
  • sign
  • train depot
  • sign
  • group photo

Multi-talented Annette wrote the following poem to commemorate the tour.

A fond memory by Annette Orella

I’m here to tell you all a quick rhyme 
Of a trip by fourteen once upon a time 
To Death Valley they rode
Bicycling their mode
To partake of all possible sweat and grime
Of great import were the guests on the trip
Not just anyone can take on this ***blip****
It takes true guts
Or perhaps be a little nuts 
To ride through the desert at a clip

From Oregon came Mike with Barb by his side
Three cross country trips a source of Mike’s pride
But she’s got a new plan
E-biking to catch up to her man
So up the hills her legs won’t be fried 

From San Diego hailed Rebecca and sweet Lou
Up and down the dunes they both flew
Not a pool did they miss
And with push ups found bliss
Through the trip their broad smiles and good karmas grew

From Kansas and San Diego came the clan
Bikers all through and through to a man
Wayne a true EFI
Gordon sturdy and spry
Jay and Brian never opting for the van (at least that’s the way I’m choosing to remember it!)

Next from New York came Patti and Steve
Whose laughter was truly a reprieve
She cranked up each hill
Pulling others by pure will
And keeping all entertained by your leave

Partway through we were joined by Richard and Lee
Sadly only one biker would they be
But Lee carried the flame
Riding hard all the same
While Dear Richard patiently did a look-see

And last but not least Chuck – none too slow 
Whose love for cycling continues to grow
As Annette tries to catch him
His sights never dim
As he continues to go go go go (go go go go go)

Now this story could not be complete 
Without the people who enabled this feat
Our guides were the best
Keeping bellies full, minds at rest 
Peter and Wylie thanks so much – what a week!

You might ask about our intrepid guide Wylie
Of whose praises we sing very highly
On each road he would dash
With tattoos and a stash
Providing care and encouragement kindly

This poem’s not complete without mention of Peter
Jersey born, a man of skills hard to beat(er)
Soft hearted and kind
Helping us out of many a bind
Having him guide was really a treat(er)

Now before we all say goodbye 
And return home with a bit of a sigh
We’ll pack up one last time
Jump on bikes, turn on a dime
And drink in the desert landscape and sky.

California Climbing and Biking Trip in 2021

Betsy and I spent five glorious days climbing and biking in Joshua Tree National Park and Owens Valley in November 2021. Here is what we did each day.

Day 1 (Thursday, November 4): Climb in Joshua Tree.
Day 2 (Friday, November 5): Bike near Lone Pine.
Day 3 (Saturday, November 6): Take Smoke’s climbing course in the Buttermilks near Bishop.
Day 4 (Sunday, November 7): Betsy takes a second day of the course, while Wayne bikes nearby.
Day 5 (Monday, November 8): Climb in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine.

Here is my blog of our trip with lots of cool photos by Betsy.

Sierra Climbing and Kayaking Trip in 2021

After missing a year because of the pandemic, Betsy and I were happy to again spend five days backpacking and climbing in the Sierra in June 2021. Our primary objective was the summit of Mount Lyell, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park. The morning of the sixth day we kayaked on Mono Lake to the east. Here is my blog of our trip.

  • Betsy trailhead

Yellowstone Bike Tour in 2019

The last bike tour that Mary and I did together was with Lizard Head in and near Yellowstone National Park in August 2019. We biked EFI (every fricking inch) for the first four days with the following itinerary.

Day 0 (Saturday, August 17): Fly from San Diego to Seattle and on to Bozeman.
Day 1 (Sunday, August 18): Shuttle to West Yellowstone and then bike to Canyon Village (40 miles & 2,500 ft of climbing); this was my best birthday ever: riding a bike with my best friend through spectacular scenery in perfect weather with a tailwind!
Day 2 (Monday, August 19): Canyon Village <-> Yellowstone Lake with side trips to the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone (47 miles & 2,300 ft).
Day 3 (Tuesday, August 20): Canyon Village -> Grant Village (66 miles & 3,700 ft).
Day 4 (Wednesday, August 21): Grant Village -> Cody (103 miles & 3,400 ft).

Mary did these challenging rides with a cold that worsened each day. By the time she got to Cody, she was exhausted and decided that she could not bike the even tougher days ahead. Thus she rested on Day 5 and flew home on Day 6 😦

I continued on, however, with the following itinerary.

Day 5 (Thursday, August 22): Out-and-back from Cody along South Fork Road (52 miles & 2,000 ft).
Day 6 (Friday, August 23): Cody -> Cooke City (77 miles & 8,000 ft).
Day 7 (Saturday, August 24): Cooke City -> Red Lodge (66 miles & 5,300 ft); shuttle back to Bozeman.

Photos and commentary follow.

Sierra Climbing Trip in 2019

Betsy and I spent five days backpacking and climbing in and above Little Lakes Valley in the Sierra in June 2019. Here is my blog of our trip.