Sunday, August 13, 2017

The struggle is real

I've been having various physical issues in my legs and feet over the last year or so, so I have not been hiking.

I'll update this blog if and when I return to The Great Outdoors.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Return to Winnemucca!

August 1st, 2016

My yoga-friends and I finally got our acts together and went on a hike this year.
They had never been on the Carson pass to Winnemucca version. So we did that.

We got to the trailhead at 8:30 and took about 1.5 hours to go the 2.5 miles to the lake. Back was probably a bit quicker since we had already spent some time gawping at flowers.

So, on to the good stuff! Pictures! I'm too lazy to organize them so I'll just write a bunch of captions.

Caples Lake. I take this pic every time I hike this hike. Love it.

Elephant's Back.

Tilted landscape, pretty level trail.

A hip-deep sea of flowers

Astounding variety.

Even though the rangers put out these leashes, some hikers ignored the rules.

My new small Deuter daypack.

Snow in August.

Lake Winnemucca

Your lupins or your life!


Still more

Flower overload yet?

I'm in the middle. Thank you, The Stickpic

Everybody loves flowers

My hiking companions.

Loyal followers should not despair, I HAVE been out on the trails this year, learning to trail run! It is soooo fun, but does not really fit my idea of this blog. So, all the silence since last year.
I will admit to having missed blogging about an earlier trip to Bassi Falls. Mea culpa.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

2013: Sky Trailhead, Sky Trail, Pt. Reyes Nat'l Seashore, Marin County, California

Oh my! I never finished this post!! Here you go.

September 16th and 17th, 2013

A friend of mine and I decided to get out with our hammocks for a short overnight. We chose Point Reyes National Seashore, and picked the shortest trip that would take us to our reserved campsite, Sky Camp #5.

We took a quick detour down to Limantour Beach, then back to the trailhead to climb up to Sky Camp.

It was damp and dark in there! So we kept leaving camp and seeking sun: first we checked out all the other (mostly empty) camps, then down to where the privy and water are for more sun.

Point Reyes is so popular they've put in infrastructure to keep people from trashing the place. I like it.

We ate dinner at the unoccupied camp #11 in hopes of getting some great sunset. I got fog and clouds, but they were pretty.

First thing the next day we packed up, munching food bars for breakfast. 1/2 hour later, back at the cars and driving home.

Well, it has been a while

She Walks by Day!

23 March 2016

I've been concentrating on bicycling and swimming since my last hike. But yesterday, Spring Beckoned, I went for a dawn hike at Cronan Ranch. Just 1 1/2 miles, up to the top of West Ridge Trail and back down again.

It was chilly, 37 degrees, with beautiful piles of fog in the low lying areas.

About 3 years ago (whenever the Merrell Trail Gloves came out first) I bought a pair.
I didn't use them much, as I found them uncomfortable at the time. Which I attributed to the 'lack of arch support' (they do have arch support, just not much, as they are designed as a barefoot minimalist shoe). However, I spent a considerable time last summer and this winter in zero drop sandals, which leads me to believe that it was the zero drop that was troubling me, not the minimal arch. AND I've been taking yoga with a different teacher, who emphasizes the arch of the foot during poses. Which has strengthened my arches, and my ankles, a bit also.

Shoes that roll up!!

My left ankle is tired (that's the side that pronates more than the other) but overall I really enjoyed skipping up and down the trail in the Merrell shoes. I'm planning on going again (maybe a bit further) tomorrow. Yesterday, I forgot to take my hiking sticks, which normally would have bothered me a lot, as I feel uncertain on steep downhills. Especially on dirt trails. I feel like I'm just waiting for my feet to slide out from under me. I didn't get that sensation in these shoes. I think the Vibram soles help, and they really conform to my feet - the "feet in a concrete box" feeling I get from traditional hiking boots is totally absent.

Years ago, when I switched to trail runners (Inov8 295) from traditional 'lightweight' hiking boots, I gloried in the sensation of Free Feet! I felt like dancing along the trail. Yesterday, I had that same sensation again, after stepping down to an even lighter shoe. I've been more and more unhappy with my Inov8 shoes, as they have become more uncomfortable as time has passed.

I'll not use these shoes (the Merrell Gloves) for backpacking right away, but I will use them for day hikes with a very light pack. I'm not sure how they will do on granite slabs (most of my backpacking is in the mountains). I may find that I miss the sticky soles of the Inov8 shoes. Not sure what I will do about backpacking shoes this season.

I have ordered another pair of Dirty Girl gaiters, as my old ones are too big for these minimalist shoes. The Merrells fit tightly enough that not a lot of dirt and irritants can get down in them, but some did. I don't like stopping to fish dirt and pebbles out, but if I don't, I'll be unhappy. The other thing I'm getting used to with these shoes is No Socks. There seems to be nothing much inside that will irritate my feet. A hike of 5 miles or more will show up any inside irritants.

Well, that was wordy.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Woods Lake to Winnemucca Lake to Round Lake and back to Woods

106 in the valley today.

75 when we returned to the car at 1:30. Not bad!

Picture story this time.

Our legs know this was an UP then DOWN hike!
Groupie? Thank you StickPic!
Forest at lower elevation
Actual factual water!
Oooooh, clouds!
Brunch and story time at Lake Winnemucca
Bye, bye, pretty lake!
Yes, again. Sue me.
Mini Lupins!
Round Top
Lunatics climbing Round Top
Round Lake
Ahhh, view!
Red flowers (we are not so good at flowers)
Oh oh! I know! Thistle!
Courtesy of the ice crystals
Twisted Tree. Baby, I was born this way!
Arrrgh! Born or made?
We started at the Winnemucca trailhead, and came out the Round trailhead. So we slogged through the campground back to the car.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Twin Lakes, Desolation Wilderness, August 11-13 2015

 Yes, friends. TWO nights in the backcountry! It has been 7 years since I did more than an overnight. It was great!

Wright's Lake

 The Meetup Group (aptly named Turtle Trekkers) made a leisurely climb Tuesday morning from Wright's Lake in the Eldorado National Forest to the peninsula between the two Twin Lakes, about 4 miles hike one way, I think.

Picture by Larry

Our mixed bag of 9 hikers (and one poodle) came from all over the Sacramento area: Amador County to Chico. The gear was all over the place as well. From my minimalist pack to the leader's towering Osprey. 

Towering Osprey, tiny G4

There were a lot of Osprey packs, and one vintage Kelty! Just like my Kelty. Cool! Several Svea 123 stoves. Tower of flames and a mighty roar of white gas.

Most people were overloaded, in my opinion. But, hey! If you can get up the mountain, and you have a good time, maybe there's nothing to fix!

We lunched as soon as we got to the nearest shore of Twin Lakes, refilling water bottles and waiting for the slower folks to catch up before heading to the peninsula to choose a campsite.

There are scattered trees in this part of the Desolation Wilderness, but not very many places to hang a hammock. I found two trees (the ONLY two trees) to use. The were very far apart, to the limit of the length of suspension I had with me. But I made it work. The first night was mostly sleepless, as I had the hammock strung too tightly, and oriented such that the repeated wind gusts came in the head end of my setup.

First night setup.

My hammock sock was a champ, keeping the cold gusts off of me. The low was 51, high around 80. I do want to make a double ended stuff sack for the sock, as it blew around quite vigorously during the day time gusts. I also want to make a new pillow, as my old one is flat from years of use (DIY Primaloft and Momentum).

We stayed at Twin Lakes for a second night (our plan from the start). So I turned my whole setup end for end, decided to go tarp-less, and enlisted a couple of extra arms and trekking poles to help me inch one of the tree straps a couple feet higher. Much more comfortable! The hammock was still fairly tight, but better.

The wind gusts continued all the second night, but, because I had tied up my tarp, the only rattling in the wind was my hammock sock, much more tolerable then the flapping of my improvised poncho "door" to the (unnecessary) tarp. Silnyon flapping in the wind equals "loose tarp! Go stake it down!" and made for an unrestful first night.

The length of my straps (Warbonnet Blackbird cinch buckle suspension) are quite long, and I used every bit of them. Between the long straps and the tall trees, the wind gusts would bounce the hammock a bit.
Some of the gusts were strong enough to shove my hammock-encased 230lb self  sideways quite noticeably. The first times were somewhat scary, but then it was kind of fun!
First, I'd hear the freight-train-like sound of the wind in distant trees, then my two trees would start to tremble, bouncing the hammock, then the BIG SHOVE like a giant, solid hand and I'd sway for a few minutes after.

Random strangers to give you a scale for the rocks. And to break up the text only narrative!

The purpose of this trip was to admire the Perseid meteor showers that occur this time of year. I saw one meteor early Wednesday, but Thursday was a much better night. I wake frequently when camping, so had plenty of chances to see entertaining stars and streaks of light when ever I woke. The last meteor I saw was at 5:36am, when the stars were no longer visible.

I saw bats at dusk on Wednesday.


There were dozens of cute and curious Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels around (one of the hikers has a retirement job as a Mountain Host and nature guide at Heavenly resort. If he had not been there, these rodents would be called Chipmunks for all time). And Mountain Chickadees. And yellow jackets. I could have done without the latter. The squirrels would investigate any unattended pack for food, scurrying in and out of pockets. People finally learned to keep their food in the bear cans.

Most people had brought bear cans. I had the only Ursack. The last morning, my Opsac for food (I bring one for food, one for trash - odorproof, leakproof zip closure bags) gave up the ghost.
One woman (who ended up, along with two others, hiking out after one night) brought a huge old yellow Garcia can filled with a LOT of food. She must have had at least 7 pounds of grocery store items in there. Including a glass jar of pesto, and 3 Bear Mountain soup mixes, each one requiring 8 cups of water and 10 minutes of boiling to render edible.


Many people ate Mountain House meals.

I went stoveless, eating nuts, dried fruit, smoked goat cheddar cheese, fresh snap peas, and salmon jerky. I carried a pound of food for every 24 hours I was out. I walked out with 1/2 of a trail bar left over. Yes!
I decided that no dishes was nice, but I would have liked a cup of tea once in a while. So I'll bring a stove next time. Especially on a longer-than-one-night trip.

Something I did bring, a first for me, was a pair of Xero shoes for camp shoes. BLISS! My toes hate being confined, so a pair of barefoot sandals were just the ticket. I did neglect to put sunscreen on my feet at one point, so I'm sporting a new sandal tan.

On Wednesday, the remaining campers (remember, three had left early) hiked over to Island Lake. I chose to stay in camp (I didn't want to put my hiking shoes on) using the time to wander around taking pictures. So I did. Here are some of the pics I took.

Many interesting split rocks

Twin Lake is surrounded on three sides by a towering rock wall with several unnamed peaks

'nother cool split rock

Desolation is a very heavily used area, requiring permits for all use. Overnight stays are subject to a quota system, but day trips are self-permitted. So there were swarms of people by the lake on Wednesday.

Our campsite had been used before, with many Marlborough butts to clean up, Clif bar wrappers, gel packet corners, several abandoned tent stakes, and signs of one illegal campfire. People are slobs!

On a less trashy note - but still destructive - previous campers had indulged in rock art, which we used for photo ops.

Some enterprising camper made a table and chairs?

Thursday morning, we packed up and were on the trail at 10:40, and back to the cars 2 hours and 15 minutes later.

When the trail is not in rock filled runoff ravines, it crosses granite slabs

A very satisfying trip.

I need to start thinking about new hiking clothes, as my current set is either too big, no longer sun blocking, or worn beyond repair.

New red shirt! No, I'm NOT expendable!