Friday, November 17, 2017

August Backpack Trip in the Sierra

Day 3, Admiring the view in Big Whitney Meadow
2017 was supposed to be the year of completing the John Muir Trail. But after a heavy winter, even though our trip was planned for late summer, the trip's five passes were all still buried in snowpack, with perilous creek crossings (three deaths on the PCT this summer, two in our segment).  So in July I replanned an alternate five day loop trip in Golden Trout Wilderness and southern Sequoia NP. The trip would be 6 days, totalling about 41 miles.
It's partly cloudy as we start out from 9800' Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead
Two hours out, after crossing Trail Pass, we get a bonus rainstorm, with hail
All's well that ends well. The rest of the trip was clear skies
Camp for first and second night
Day 2 we climbed 11000' Kern Peak for a tremendous view
Back in camp for sunset. That's Kern Peak behind.
Morning, Day 3, an uphill hike all day
Camp at the end of Day 3 was a dry camp below Siberian Pass. Few people come this way.
Day 4 - over Siberian Pass, we drop packs, make a camp, and hike into beautiful Miter Basin in Sequoia NP
At Sky Blue Lake in Miter Basin
Looking up, LeConte Pk on the left, and one of those spires is Mt Corcoran
On Day 5 we hike over Army Pass into the Cottonwood Lakes Basin
Final sunset on the trail
Last morning, packing up, but with smiles because the bear cans are empty of food
Finish back at Horseshoe Meadows
A good time was had by all


Saturday, July 29, 2017

July: Seeing friends in the Upper Mississippi River Valley

The was my first trip to see my old friends Laura and Matt at their home near Houston, MN.  It's the SE corner of the state, where MN borders Wisconsin and Iowa.
Overlooking the Mississippi River from Perrott State Park, WI
Of course there's great hiking in the area! I lost count of the hikes we did, and how many times I crossed the Mississippi River. The whole area is really pretty.
Look! A mountain that switched sides of the river!
Flowers everywhere. Bluffs overlooking the river rise 600 feet.
A timber rattler. This particular rock pile was filled with snakes.
On the Iowa River
We also spent a day paddling on the Iowa River, where we had several bald eagle sightings, also some kingfishers, herons, all the regular stuff. Great fun.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 10: Hiking Club on Mt Islip

It's drizzley and glum under that marine layer
 Hiking Club spent the day hiking 7 miles roundtrip to Mt Islip's 8250' summit. While the entire coast was under a deep marine layer all day, we were up in the sunshine admiring the view.
We met our friends from the Honda Hiking Club on the summit, who hiked came up from the LA side.
Little Jimmy Spring is flowing just like it always is

May 13: Hiking Club on Liebre Mountain

On the summit
Hiking Club made 12 miles today (6 out-and-back on the PCT), on an enjoyable cool spring day. A good time was had by all.
At the upper edge of the 2004 Pine Fire burn, the Colter Pines are 20 feet high. Here you can see the remnants of the previous forest, and the pathway that PCTA Trail Gorillas cut through the pile of blowdowns. Not many dead trees still stand but the new ones are growing fast.

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 1 at Kennedy Space Center

I had an extra day on a work trip to spend at KSC.  The main part of the museum has the 'rocket garden' and shuttle Atlantis. I took the bus tour out to see the big transporter, launch pads, and all the great stuff in the Saturn V building.
The 'rocket garden' included one of each of the 50's and 60's rockets

The SRB's and fuel tank are as big as they look

Shuttle Atlantis

The crawler. Top speed, 0.5 MPH. That is a full-sized Ford van to the left of the transporter
I touched a piece of moon rock!
A Saturn V

A rover that didn't take the trip. I noted that it was propped up, probably because on Earth it can't support its own weight
The Apollo 14 capsule.

Alan Shepherd's moon suit. It still has moon dust on it!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

April 29 on Mt Baden-Powell

Mark, Jerri and I climbed Mt Baden-Powell in the snow on a beautiful sunny spring day. It was in the 90s at home, up here it was perfect.
These crampons are great, and a lot of fun to use
The upper half was buried in snow, where you lose the trail and just head straight up
The day was beautiful
On the ridgeline, looking down into Big Rock Creek drainage 3500' below
Mt Baldy - 8 miles distant, across a mile deep gorge, same proportion as Grand Canyon.

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 1 Hiking Club at Malibu Creek State Park

Upper Malibu Creek

At the production location for MASH. With a replica signpost, and a rusty old ambulance behind us

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Famous Five go to Death Valley

With Nina in town, our campsites reserved, and four days, everything was set.
Day 1: On an evening hike in Mosaic Canyon
Japanese lanterns add cheer to our Furnace Creek campsite
Ubehebe Pk, left of center, and attendants (Mark Ammerman)
Day 2 was our longest day, 170 miles R/T to Racetrack Playa to climb Ubehebe Peak in the southern Last Chance Range. 54 of those miles are on the world's worst washboard. After a stop for a photo at Teakettle Junction we parked and began our 2000' climb. The route to the saddle on the right is on an old miners' trail, then we followed a CL2/3 use path to the summit.
TJ, with the snowcapped Inyo Range to the west. (Mark Ammerman)
A giant  dust devil swirling across the lakebed behind The Grandstand
On the miners' trail (Mark Ammerman)
Looking down on the playa from atop the ridgeline
On the summit, looking north
Heading back down (Mark Ammerman)
The Grandstand is a remnant outcrop surrounded by sediment from the surrounding mountains, forming a surreal island  in the middle of the Racetrack, and its most haunting feature. (Mark Ammerman)
(Mark Ammerman)
Views from the summit are pretty amazing, even by Death Valley standards. The Last Chance Range forms the divide between vast but utterly empty basins. 

We return to the valley as Ubehebe Peak's shadow crawls dramatically across the playa
We spent the other days doing other hikes, and we even found a waterfall in one canyon. But this hike was our favorite.