Tuesday, June 29, 2010

sneak peak

My Jeep has a new "geo-mobile" decal that I drew up several months ago, ordered, and even put on the back window... but only now actually took a photo of it. I'm quite pleased, too bad its location in the carport means that the photo is dominated by reflections of the apartments...

Fresh and ready for the next expedition, I cleaned, waxed & buffed my boots and gave them sexy new red laces! I'm stupidly excited about this, obviously.

Finally, the pièce-de-résistance, coming soon to Bakersfield College and amazon.com! I mailed in my contract and submitted the manuscript, it should be available this fall. Pre-order your autographed copy now... just kidding!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wilderness Was Calling...

For a much needed break, at least for me (but probably for all of us), BEG came for a visit and we went on a camping/hiking/backpacking expedition with the Fire Chief for a week in Kings Canyon National Park.

For some reason the Fire Chief and I always seemed to be matching...

After being warned about "winter conditions" persisting in most of the Park, we decided to do half of the Rae Lakes Loop, choosing to head into the back country via Mist Falls and Paradise Valley. Indeed water levels were high, making "stream" fording extra scary and challenging. Mist Falls was misty as usual, and we made our first camp at Lower Paradise Valley.

Our camp site was lovely, and a herd of deer came to hang out (stalk) for quite some time. So much time, in fact, that they were there always. We later learned that the deer like to eat your socks at night if you leave them out to dry after a full day of hiking. Apparently they like the salt. We put our socks away.

Who me? I'm not looking for anything... you don't happen to have any tasty socks by any chance, do you?

On the second day of our adventure we were en route to Woods Creek Crossing for camp, and were passed by an actual mule train. The pack leader was not particularly friendly, and later, on our return, we found the trail was loaded with mule train poop.

Perhaps it was because the water level was unusually high this year after we finally had some decent winter snow pack, but I am still not entirely sure what idiot would try to head out to the falls on this rock?

A really gorgeous valley that we strolled through after quite an extended climb up and up and up (there was more up to come).

Looking towards more up from the valley, we were soon to encounter a grouse on the trail. I tried to convince it that it wanted to trot over into our campfire later that night to provide us a delicious meal, but it just stared at me with beady eyes and never came.

Our camp at Woods Creek was quite spectacular, and an interesting thing happened up there. After locking our food "safely" in the bear locker, I went back to get my toothbrush and a mouse came running out after getting caught in the beam of my headlight. Sure enough we found that the sneaky little bastard had eaten through the bags of food that we had not put back into the bear-canister, which we were required to carry with us. This resulted in the re-naming of the bear-canister as the mouse-canister, stuffing our food in that, then putting it back into the bear locker so as not to loose our breakfast...

My favourite rock on the trek down from Mist Falls, with a fabulous U-shaped valley in the background. This was our fourth day, at the beginning of which we were greeted by BEG's new sweater having been partially consumed during the night by a marmot, and at the end of which we successfully had backpacked 30 miles. Beers and a shower were in order.

The next day, to keep things light, we decided on a 10 mile day trip on the Redwood Mountain Loop, which is actually a combination of trails from the Redwood Saddle trailhead.

As expected, we found enormous red-barked giant Sequoia trees, which never cease to amaze me.

Another remarkable fact is that the size of a Sequoia pine cone is maybe only 2 or 2.5 inches long, while a Sugar Pine cone is about a FOOT long!!! We thought it would be funny to stick a full size Sugar Pine cone in this little sapling...

Among the trees other interesting plants were also encountered. This "flower-mushroom" looking thing is a Snow Plant, which is a decomposer like a mushroom, but apparently is considered part of the blueberry family???

I have no idea what this pretty flower is, but I thought it, and the beetle on it, were a good target for a photo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Me + Derby = Silly

On this occasion, I had to extend my reign of silly just a little more. Luckily we won 102-25, so silly didn't mean "foolish".

From top to bottom: helmet decorated with sharpie marker (you've probably seen this before), new shirt (for when I play for the "Rough Cuts" rather than the "Diamonds") reads "Canadian Bacon", anatomy panties (say that 3 times fast!), alpaca socks (ok, this was just by chance as I grabbed socks on my way running out the door and didn't know they were the ones with alpacas on them until I put them on right before playing...), and Canada Flags hot glued onto my skates.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Peppermint Falls

Yesterday I went on a casual day excursion with a friend to Peppermint Falls in Sequoia National Forest up in the Sierra Nevada. The weather was perfect, the falls were fabulous: the exfoliating granitic domes really made the backdrop spectacular. We had intended on a little dip/swim in the pools at the bottom, but it was pretty clear that this year's snow pack turned those little pools into turbulent meat grinders. Not to mention that the water was ice cold. Instead our back up plan of reading worked out wonderfully, and we got a solid two hours of recreational reading in with the roaring of water in the background. Not a soul was where we were, not even a squirrel or a marmot... I guess that's what you get for a Tuesday!

Friday, June 04, 2010

Field Trip Class 2010: Adventures in Eastern-Central California's Geology

The "Pink Postpile" - Devil's Postpile was inaccessible due to snow, so we found this in the Fish Slough Volcanic Tablelands instead. It was fantastic!

The group at the newly named "Pink Postpile".

Wheel changes were a multi-time-a-day occurrence: the pit crew at work.

The wooden ones I get, but the iron? Can you even imagine? (Bodie)

I'm not sure what this magical powder for men is. (Bodie)

When in Bodie, gotta get in a stamp mill.

An impressive balancing erratic at June Lake. Naturally this calls for tagging - not by our group of course.

Paper cranes at Manzanar cemetary.

Typical menu at Manzanar Internment Camp. The thing that puzzles me is the 4oz of curry powder available.

Heart-shaped arch at Alabama Hills, inclement weather in background.

Silly attempt at towing by hand... totally worth it for entertainment value.

Inclement weather + slow driver + two wheel drive van = getting stuck in a ridiculously small snow pile. *sigh*

Ascending the 680ft high Eureka Dunes, they too "sing", and are the highest in California and rivaling for the highest in the USA.

Teamwork and a little creativity means that anyone can go anywhere. Even at 9500ft.

The group at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest - trees over 4000 years old!

The Chaflant Group Petroglyphs (Fish Slough area), some of the largest (5ft diameter) petroglyphs around.

Two little brine shrimp from Mono Lake.

The group at the scenic vista overlooking Mono Lake.

Gotta love "xing" signs. (Gull Lake)

Why is this whole sign in quotes? (Mammoth Geothermal)

Foxy Brown and Troy Pliocene on the Eureka Dunes. These two were trip mascots; unfortunately Foxy Brown escaped at the ammonite site in Union Wash and was never seen again.

It's amazing how many people go in anyway, and end up receiving the $175 ticket. (Hot Creek Geologic Area)

And of course several other places were visited too - but these constitute my favourite images of the trip.