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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March 25 on Slide Mountain

Purple lupines
 The hike to the fire tower on Slide Mountain will make you earn it, 11 miles R/T and 2000' of gain. Today I climbed it with six friends. Weather was kind, and the mountains are as green as ever this year.
The fire tower was built in the 1960's

Nina and me on top of the roof

The view south, looking down deep, wild and remote Piru Gorge

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 10: Springtime green

Photos from my local favorite hike in Towsley Canyon. I have never seen it this green before, and water is still running in the creeks all the way down to the road.

after all the rain and now warm sunshine, poppies are coming out

Saturday, March 4, 2017

It was a good day in LA

My buddy Paul was in LA for an extra day, so I took the day off and we rode the Metrolink downtown and walked from Union Station through Chinatown, Olvera Street, ate lunch at Philippe's, saw all the movie palaces on Broadway, Disney Concert Hall, Pershing and Grand Parks, and finished with supper on Olvera Street. It was a good day.
The magnificent art deco Eastern Building
FirstBank building
Returning to Union Station
Sunset from Union Station