Thursday, May 27, 2010

Heap of the Week V

This week's Heap of the Week is not technically in Keeler, but it does sit on a hill about one mile away.

For whatever reason most of these older trucks seem fade to an army green color before turning to rust.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How Quickly A Week Goes By!

Yeah, it's been almost a week now since I've last checked in.
I've been taking it pretty easy after the long ski tour.
Still having fun though!

The Alabama Hills were as striking as ever.

And I had a visit from my wonderful wife and THE BEST DOG EVER!

Mutant puffball.I had a great 'cross ride this morning out Movie Road to Hogback Road (with Mt. Williamson, the second highest peak in California behind).Then on up to Whitney Portal Road. Absolutely great conditions for 'cross riding.
I'm starting to feel more like a cyclist and less like a skier.
We'll see!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Heap of the Week

I almost forgot!

This beauty is literally a stone's throw from my office.

Yosemite Border Tour, Day 9

A trans-Sierra ski tour always involves the logistical quandary of the return home. After our last tour (Monarch Divide in '08) my dad kindly picked us up and drove us home to Bishop. It was a great trip, but we ended up driving for close to eight hours, which was not easy on the body or spirit.

This time we elected to fly home. We took the YARTS bus from Yosemite Valley to Mariposa (2 hours & very scenic with lots of ephemeral waterfalls), spent the night there, and met our pilot, Geoff Pope, at the airfield just outside Mariposa on Saturday morning.
There was just enough room for the skis, packs, boots (very smelly) and us.
Within about twenty minutes we were flying right over our route. Merced Peak is in front center and the crescent shaped shoulder we crossed on day 5 is to its right.
Just a bit farther on we could see our route over the south shoulder of Triple Divide Peak just left of the prominent, shadowed ridge. We then skied down towards the front right of the photo and made our camp in the trees before the storm hit on day 4.
The camp was in the left most clump of trees. We were even able to see our skin track!
We also got this great view of Mt Lyell (skyline left center), Rodgers (skyline right), and Foerster (midfield left).
After fortyfive minutes of outrageous views and smooth air we landed in Bishop.

NOW the trip was over!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yosemite Border Tour, Day 8

The Last Day (sort of)!!!

We both slept well and were happy to find sun shining on us at 6:30.
Allowing plenty of time to relax and sip coffee.
We took a short hike along the Panorama Trail.....and enjoyed more incredible views.
We hiked down the Panorama Trail to the John Muir Trail (I think) and on across the footbridge just above Nevada Fall.
Woah! There's a few hundred feet of air beneath the camera.
We decided to hike down the Mist Trail for the views of the waterfalls and we were not disappointed.
Above Vernal Fall we noticed a lot of soaked people so we put on our shells and headed down. Clouds rolled in, mist filled the canyon, and it felt like I was in England again!

Needless to say, we stuck out like sore thumbs with the skis on our backs. We spent a lot of time explaining to people where we had been and what we had done. Most were amazed, a few gave us the "you are an idiot" look. The nearly constant questions and comments only grew wearisome near the end since almost everyone was in a joyful mood.

Some great college students took this one of us near the trailhead.
We took the shuttle to Yosemite Village and continued to enjoy the splendor of the valley.
But we REALLY enjoyed the double bacon cheeseburgers with fries and a Guinness!!!

Yosemite Border Tour, Day 7

The seventh day dawned bright and mild.

I took a couple of shots of two of our morning rituals.

Condensation was always a bit of an issue in the Mid and although our gear never got soaked, it did get damp, so we set the bags out each morning to dry.

We set up the Mid in the afternoon when the snow was soft and damp then, when the sun went down, the snow would "set up" like concrete, so each morning we got out the ice axes and hacked the snow out around the stakes and the edges and freed the tent.
I took a some parting shots of Grayling Lake.

And we headed out.
We cruised down on ridges and slopes just south of Red Creek.
At the beginning there was plenty of snow and the travel was fun, but gradually the snow thinned and became patchy requiring some improvisation.
And finally the snow ran out altogether. Twas the last skiing of the trip.
We proceeded cross country on foot, which started out nice enough.
And got a little tricky with rotten snow and deadfall logs.
Then turned swampy.
We finally reached the Mono Mills trail very near its junction with Clark Creek. We were surprised the trail was so faint, we almost walked right over it without noticing.
The trail skirted the southwest side of Mt. Starr King and its satellite domes.
The burned snags were wild.
Mt. Starr King (left) and a satellite dome (right).
Eventually we found a tolerable camp site on a small knob with good views, but the weather darkened and it started to rain, so we headed down towards the valley in search of a better campsite and good views.

As we hiked down we noticed the light brightening, first on Liberty Cap, and then lower, so we dropped the packs and hustled down to the rim to discover this incredible sight.

We could not get over our good fortune.

Steve drinks in the view of Half Dome, Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall.
We also found a great campsite with a fire ring and plenty of wood nearby.
We stayed up late recounting the great moments of our adventure and retired to our bags underneath a fine starry sky.