1000 mile hike across California from Cape Mendicino to Death Valley
The Japhy Ryder Route is a 1,300ish mile lightening bolt shaped route that starts at the Pacific Ocean and ends in Death Valley. From it’s western terminus at Cape Mendocino on the Lost Coast in northern California it travels down the Yolla Bolly Mountains, across the central valley, up the Yuba River to the Pacific Crest Trail, down the crest of the Sierras, traveling along the Tahoe Rim Trail, Sierra High Route, and the PCT, then heads east along the Low to High route from Mt. Whitney to the lowest point in North America, Badwater, Death Valley.
This route travels through my favorite corners of the geography of my childhood. I grew up in Mendocino County, and spent the transformative years of my outdoor life in the central valley, Sierras, and the great basin and mojave deserts. The Japhy Ryder Route highlights the little traveled forests of Humboldt, Del Norte, and Mendocino Counties, where ecological diversity is as concentrated as peppermint extract and the culture is as lawless as the land is rugged.
Why is it called Japhy Ryder? Japhy Ryder is the Dharma Bums character based on Gary Snyder. In the Dharma Bums Kerouac and Ryder hike up the Matterhorn, which will be a part of this route. Snyder has wandered and lived in much of the terrain the Japhy Ryder Route travels through, and currently calls the Yuba River home. Snyder’s adventures and writings have inspired me to become an explorer. I always hoped to be able to name a dog Japhy, but it has become obvious that I cannot have a dog with my current lifestyle, so I am choosing a route to be my pet instead. Japhy Ryder it is!