Tag Archives: NatureBoys

Backpacking to Emerald Lake – Sequoia National Park

We set up our base camp at Dorst Creek and then hiked out all over the park.  As a group, we got in over 30 miles in the four days we were in Sequoia National Park.

One of our most favorite trails was our backpacking trip to Emerald Lake on the Lakes Trail.

Emerald Lake - Sequoia National Park
Emerald Lake – Sequoia National Park

Step one, we went to Lodgepole Visitor Center and put in for a Wilderness Permit.  Step two, we packed our packs and headed out on the trail.
The Lakes Trail is about 15-17 miles depending how much wandering you do.  We wandered all over and got in about 15 miles.
Elevation change for Emerald lake is about 5000 feet.  You start at 6800 and go up to 9200 or so.  It is a tough hike to the lakes.  The trail gets very steep at times and it is quite challenging.
Our group consisted of one old man [our dad], our mom, and us – 13, 11, and 5 years of age.
Yes, a 5-year-old did backpack the entire trail with a pack.

Loaded packs
Loaded packs


Starting off was pretty easy.   The Wilverine had to stop for gummy bears quite a few times.


We stopped for lunch on the way up at the watchtower.  Take the watchtower trail; do not take the hump trail.  The views on the watchtower trail were spectacular and the elevation was not nearly as extreme.



After the watchtower, the trail gets very rocky and narrow.  If you look over the edge of the trail, the valley bottom is a long way down.



The first lake you encounter is Heather Lake.  Next up is Aster Lake and then Emerald.  The last lake is Pear Lake.

Heather Lake
Heather Lake


Getting water from the stream
Getting water from the stream

We camped at Emerald Lake and were the only people in the camp.   We saw only a few people the entire time on the mountain and it was awesome.

IMG_7202 IMG_7203 IMG_7233

If you are in the area and have a chance to hike or backpack the Lakes Trail, we encourage you to do it.  It was a really cool trip.

Sunset over Aster Lake
Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake

What a cool lake with spectacular views.


Hiking the Big Tree Trails – Sequoia National Park

We love us some big trees and there is simply no better place to see big trees than Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest.
We hiked all over the Giant Forest and spent time with General Sherman, the Congress, the Senate, and the President. We also saw many other giant trees like Chief Sequoya. Although the Wilverine complained about hiking the whole time we still had fun. What a cool place!

Giant Forest here we come.
Giant Forest here we come.

General Sherman is a huge tree.  Sherman is the largest tree in the world. The Wilverine says “it is the fattest, reddest tree I have ever seen and it got struck by lightning, which is why the top quit growing. If you go here, you are going to see a big fat red tree that does not grow at the top. It is a really cool tree and you should go see it.” My mom says it’s like a human because it has quit growing up, but is still growing out.

General Sherman
General Sherman

On the Congress trail, you can see the Senate, the House, and the President. The Wilverine says “the President was huge. That is it.”

The Senate
The Senate
The House
The House
The House
The House

Giants are everywhere in the Sequoias. Chief Sequoyah and the McKinley tree were massive.

Big fat red tree
Big fat red tree

We are running our base camp from Dorst Creek Campground, site number 65. It is a walk-in tent only site and it is the best site ever. We have access to the river and can run free without bothering anyone.

Sequoia Base Camp
Sequoia NP Base Camp
Sequoia NP Base Camp

We are backpacking as well and will post about our trip to Emerald Lake later. It is a 15-mile round trip backpacking trip with almost 5000 feet of elevation change.  Hard core!

Makapu’u lighthouse hike in Oahu

This hike was a paved hike that was short, fast, and somewhat flat. We did it with our friends and had a lot of fun hiking along the coast and seeing the amazing views of Hawaii like this view of the koko head crater.


The trail has a low cement border to keep you from falling off.
It is well marked and very clean.  Some folks were riding bikes on the trail when we were there.


From the first viewpoint, you get a nice view of the koko head crater.
We will put a whooping on koko head before we head out.

koko head crater

The trail goes on for about 2 miles.



From the last few viewpoints, you get great views of the pacific ocean.


The top lookout has a great view of a small island.



We didn’t get to go to the lighthouse because it was government property but we got a pretty good view of the lighthouse from the trail.  There is a trail that leads to the lighthouse, but that trail is private property.


The hike is very easy and only takes about 1 and 1/2 hours if you move briskly and do not stop a ton.  If you have little kids and stop quite a bit, the hike will take more around 2 hours.  It is well worth the time.

Surfing with Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki

Today we decided to go surfing with Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki.


JP was our coach and he did an outstanding job. He told me to go straight, then turn left, then turn right, then move up 3 feet, go back 4 feet, jump 3 times, all while looking super cool. I did it all with style.


Ben is hanging ten or attempting to hang ten. Ben has style, but not as much as me.


We both had a blast riding the waves all the way to the beach. Don’t we look macho!


Here we go.


I had a ton of fun learning to wipeout!!!!!


The Wilverine is not pictured, as he had a melt down and did not get to surf.  He is going to try another day.

Waikiki is a great place to surf and Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki will get you coached up.

Best Beach in Oahu, Hawaii – A-team road trip 2015

We have been here in Oahu for 6 days and have checked out a ton of beaches.
So far, we feel the Kailua Beach / Lanikai is the best beach.

It has very clear water, lots of soft sand, and lots of shade trees in case you need them.
The mountains are right behind you and you feel like you are on the beach in Jurassic park without the dinosaurs, of course.

Kailua Beach, Oahu
Kailua Beach, Oahu

The water is pretty calm and super clear.  Snorkeling was great here.  Not a ton of sea life, but very clear water.

Kailua Beach, Oahu
Kailua Beach, Oahu

Enjoying the soft sand and clear water.

Kailua Beach Pano
Kailua Beach Pano

The water really is that blue / green.

Kailua Beach view from the water
Kailua Beach view from the water

From the water, you can see a forest right on the beach with beautiful mountains right behind the trees.
You have lots of shade if you get tired of the sun.Lots of restrooms on site with showers to wash off.

We felt it was a beach just for kids.  The three of us were surrounded by lots of other kids.
Football and bbqs were going on all over the beach. We will definitely visit this one again before we have to leave Oahu.