Shakeout Trip #4: Silver Peak Wilderness in Big Sur

Well, internet, I finally hit the trails again after a 3-month hiatus, filled with finishing my PhD, a boatload of wedding planning, a conference trip to Scandinavia, and a notable lack of dedicated, significant exercise. Let’s just say the working plan is to get my trail legs on the trail (whoops)!

We had a lovely little trip down to the Silver Peak Wilderness at the very southern end of Big Sur with two friends from MIT, Emily and Melodie. Melodie in particular has done a number of long trips including the actual JMT in the Sierras, so she provided a wealth of information as we hiked about the things that I haven’t thought of before I hit the trail. Most of my gear is now nailed down, but my food plan is the biggest uncertainty!

Speaking of gear, the new piece of gear I tested on this trip was my new Enlightened Equipment sleeping quilt! Quilts are the new cool thing (the premise is the the down underneath you in a sleeping bag is crushed and therefore non-insulating anyway, so you may as well just have the top part) and people who use them swear by them. Cold nights at ~40-45 degrees suggested to me that my 30 degree bag was not going to cut it for the JMT, but hopefully the 10 degree quilt will! [[verdict from this trip: AMAZING!]]

Scott and I stopped for lunch at a cute ocean-side spot down Highway 1 from Monterey.   IMG_0016

We were ahead of Melodie and Em (who were coming from Pasadena and Santa Barbara respectively) so we stopped for a quick jaunt to Salmon Creek Falls. Very nice waterfall, and some fun rock scrambling around it!


In the late afternoon, we hit the trail for a short hike to our campsite for the night, the Alder Creek campsite. We climbed steeply in the afternoon sun away from the ocean and Highway 1.


We had a beautiful, warm 2 days, which made for sticky hiking but glorious views! Scott and I have hiked twice before in early summer in Big Sur and had foggy weather both times, so we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.


I apparently didn’t manage to get any pictures of our campsite, but it was tucked into the redwoods just above the Alder Creek, with natural pools for some very chilly swimming. The main site is large with a picnic table, but it was filled, so we camped in a smaller peripheral site. Campfires are prohibited, but some groups have clearly had recent fires there.

On the way out, we took a detour to do a slightly longer hike, up to Silver Creek campground. It was a pleasant place to stop, but was buggy with little water, so we were glad we picked the site we did.


Back to Highway 1!


I had turned tracking on for my Delorme Inreach (my friend Dustin borrowed my Inreach and upgraded the plan, so I’ll have more features including tracking for the next few months including the JMT). Here’s the map from this trip, with tracking every 20 minutes or so (when it can see the sky).



Overall it was a great trip!


  • Distance: ~8 miles
  • Elevation gain: ~2000+ feet?
  • Highest elevation: ~2100 feet


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