jg+schmee at 14,494 ft elevation
30 sept 2010 at 11:39 am
that's me and jg at the top of mount whitney. it's one of the things we did last week when we went slumming around in the high sierras for six days to celebrate our wedding anniversary.
our trip started last saturday, when we drove to yosemite without camping reservations. a very nice ranger named suzie hurt saved our hides by phoning tuolomne meadows and reserving a campsite for us.
sunday we hiked 15 miles round trip to clouds rest, where we got a new perspective of half dome.
seen at the top of clouds rest
lunch at 9,926' elevation
on the entire hike back from clouds rest, all jg could talk about was going for a swim in tenaya lake.
seen at site c52
we did not enjoy our stay at tuolomne meadows. the campground was thoroughly trampled and the people were some of the worst we have ever experienced.
romantic dinner with sexy headlamp
we took it easy on monday by hiking up pothole dome. on the way we stopped by olmsted point so i could pose with the same tree every other tourist did.
choice lunch spot on top of pothole dome
scrambling up bonus dome
looking for trout in the tuolomne river
tuesday morning tuolomne meadows closed for the season so we moved our camp to porcupine flat. then, at around 9 am, we began hiking out to north dome. on the way we stopped by indian rock to see the arch.
half dome under arch
the most difficult part of the entire hike was the spur up to indian rock. it didn't help that the temps were hovering around 80.
jg loves this butterscotch pine
jg through a very small arch
schmee on north dome
after the 10+ mile round trip hike, we headed directly for tenaya lake...
...where jg dived around and i washed my head.
porcupine flat was a bit less trampled but the people were a lot more agreeable. even so, we were approached by a european woman who felt entitled to sharing our camp site.
site #44, complete with alien
wednesday morning we left yosemite for lone pine. the entire drive was very scenic.
first glimpse of the mountain
we scored a very nice spot at the whitney portal family campground. actually, the entire campground is beautiful and well kept. even the pit toilets didn't stink. truly impressive.
we went to bed at about 6:30 but neither of us could sleep very well because of the warm temps. we got up at 1:30 and i could swear it was 65 degrees outside.
2:48 am at the trail head
jg's pack weighed in at 25 pounds. mine, 10, not including the ten pound camera i carried around my skinny little neck.
sunrise at 6:20
we hiked at a much better pace than i had anticipated, mostly because jg was carrying all the water. we stopped to have power snacks regularly.
powering up at trail camp right before the 97 switchbacks
gu and gu powder courtesy the race director. this is the first time i have ever had gu in any form. i never thought i'd be such a fan of this advanced nutrition stuff.
at about mile 10, we experienced a bit of a snow flurry. except it was perfectly sunny so we pressed ahead. it did occur to me how bummed i'd be if i had to turn around because of the weather.
at the top at 11:37 am
sign the registry
note the sky falling down in the distance
we spent less than 30 minutes at the top. jg forced me to inhale some food and off we went, heading back down before those storm clouds get any closer.
scenery we missed while hiking in the dark
about half way down, just past trail camp, it began raining. i had never hiked so fast in my life, almost running. fortunately it rained very lightly and then stopped all together after about ten minutes. i was glad to resume hiking down normally. my knees were killing me.
we got back to the trail head at about 6:30, which made it a total of 15 hours and 45 minutes round trip. jg asked a fellow hiker to take our picture. i could barely stand upright for a pose.
one guy ordering two dozen breakfasts
next morning we went to the whitney portal store with the intention of having the ritual pancake breakfast except we were foiled by a mass of motocyclists. the guy to the rightmost of the picture above was the pack leader. he felt bad for having kept us waiting in line so he paid for one of our souvenir mugs. turned out to be a bunch of chp's doing a fund raising ride. the pack leader gave us his business card "in case you get pulled over by a chp." what a guy.
you know it's an extraordinary occasion when jg actually buys a commemorative tshirt. he had never been the souvenir type. look at him now!
we made our own pancakes back at camp before packing up to leave. we headed over to the alabama hills to look for the mobius arch.
mount whitney should be just above jg's head in that shot except it was shrouded by the clouds. i was sad that i couldn't get the cheesy shot, but i was glad that i didn't get permit to hike this day.
schmee ruining the shot for zee germans
we stopped by the visitor center on our way out of lone pine. look at the forecast they had at 13,000 ft.
9/30 was definitely a better day
i took over two thousand pictures over the course of the week. i've weeded out a reasonable size set for flickr in case you care to see.
lunch with the duke at mt whitney restaurant
i still can't believe i got to the top of mount whitney. it's the most brutal hike i have ever done. thanks to jg for carrying the heavy stuff, to emmy for the show-and-tell, to gilcrest for the gu, to tate for the motivation, and to paul for the almost sushi party.
as usual, i came along for a hike. because the forecast said it would be a hot day, jg wanted to get an early start at 6 am. i vetoed that plan. we didn't hit the road until about 8:30.
first section of the trail is a fire road, my least favorite type of trail. i liked that it was shady and cool. the forecast was calling for 93 degrees so i was rather happy to see the puddles.
shots of colors in the shade
my own personal gps
ten minutes into the hike i saw jg bombing down the trail. he had come back to warn me that the route i plan on taking will split to the left. i figured that the trail must not be very well marked.
dirt bike tracks
so that's the junction of the trail i wanted to take. very hard to tell where i'm supposed to go! sure glad he back tracked a quarter mile to warn me.
i was glad to get off the fire road. to my surprise, the single track trail drops lower and lower. from jasper's description, i expected santa cruz to be very steep. in reality, the first quarter mile was a gradual down slope.
fern and moss!
i had never seen this plant before
you can only see three in that picture but there was at least a dozen of of black flies swarming me on the entire hike. they didn't bother me as long as i was moving. each time i stopped to take pictures or have water, they would fly into my nose, eyes, and ears.
that's one of the more pleasant sections of the trail. the single track got pretty narrow in parts where it was cut into the steep and crumbly hill side. i rarely took my eyes off the ground. i kept glancing at the dry creek bed at the bottom of the canyon. the loose rocks on the trail and the view down made me a bit nervous.
chalk live forever
on the first section of the trail that was truly steep, i bumped into two backpackers coming down. i let them pass and continued climbing. the slow moving combined with the sweating gained me at least another dozen of black flies.
i give up!
i turned around after an hour and forty minutes of hiking. i would have liked to get farther up but the hike had stopped being enjoyable.
swallows' nests, i think
two halves make a goldsworthy sculpture
i high tailed down the trail, reaching the car at exactly noon. it must have been at least 95 degrees. i sat under and oak tree to wait for jg and knit.
jg reported that he enjoyed the uphill part of the loop much better than the down hill. he didn't like having to ride the brakes constantly while negotiating on foot wide ledges. it didn't help that there was a make shift shrine on the the side of the trail for a dirt biker who died this past march.
i turned around at nineteen oaks
while jg doesn't think he would ever ride this loop again, i wouldn't mind giving it another try. but not without a beekeeper's hat.
variations of this sign are plastered all over the restroom at upper oso campground. i wonder if water guns are preferred.
on the drive home we stopped by paradise store for lunch. jg was hoping for some meat hot of the grill but there was none such. instead there was a live band that played a very memorable song called my redneck woman.
it took us a while to get the food. my paradise burger looked much better than it tasted. jg didn't like his tri tip sandwich very well either. the fries were really good though.
seen from cold spring canyon
neither of us had ever seen the bridge from this perspective. it's so much higher than it appears in these pictures. we could hardly hear the traffic on the bridge.
pano courtesy cs3 photomerge
over all, october 10, 2010 was a pretty decent day for us. how did you spend your ten ten ten?
i took that picture this morning when we went to jeannine's for breakfast. we had never been there before. actually, we didn't even know it existed. neither of us was thrilled with the pastries offered. we've been looking for an alternative bakery ever since xanadu was burnt to the ground. looks like it's either starbucks or jeannine's this starbucks knock-off joint. grim.
16 oct 2010
that was taken during dinner at universal cafe in san francisco. it was our first time back in fog hell. we went with my lovely niece to visit my nephew, phil.
lil jay and phil
after dinner we went to birite creamery for designer ice cream. i had two scoops: ginger and honey lavender. tiny portions, but delicious.
the view from dolores park
it was a lot of fun hanging out with the kids. i enjoyed the visit until we couldn't find a parking space. it brought back all the unpleasant memories. still no love for san francisco.
speaking of fog hell...
23 oct 2010 at 9:24 am
that was taken when i volunteered for the santa barbara century bike race. i was stationed at the painted cave aid station along with gilcrest the race director, brennen, james, and emma.
james making pb+j mini sandwiches, brennen slicing fruits
coincidentally, brennen was one of the 100k runners at the blue canyon trail race back in june.
james and emma
because we were at the 67.5 mile point, there was a lot of sitting around and waiting for the racers. we even had time to send brennen and james on a starbucks run.
"this is how those tour de france guys do it."
that's mark. he's one of the architects on a project i have under construction. i did not know he was in the race. i didn't even recognize him until he called my name. i have problems recognizing people who wear full body spandex.
james's dad, steve (in pink to the very left), joined us at noon.
my name is emma. like schmee, i hate spandex.
this emma is still a puppy so she does not compare to the blue canyon trail race mascot. she barked and growled at a few of the racers and promptly got sequestered.
edie belongs to steve and she was much more agreeable.
bringing beer to the equation
at first i thought the old man was one of the curious residents checking out the scene. he turned out to be an official racer, bib and all. no spandex, and impressive choice of shoes!