Climbing The Nose & Dayhiking Whitney. The adventure week.

Me - near the summit of Whitney
Me - near the summit of Whitney
There was a lot of adventure in our household the week of 9/9/09. We moved our stuff out of the crawlspace so that our new contractors would have some room to work on finishing out the downstairs unit in our house Saturday and Sunday. Tom climbed the Nose in a Day with Hans on Monday, and then we drove across to the East Side and hiked Mt. Whitney in a day on Wednesday, returning tired but happy to our little place in the Valley Thursday night.

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Anniversary Vacation – Mt Tyndall

Celebrating our Anniversary atop Mt Tyndall
Celebrating our Anniversary atop Mt Tyndall
I promised myself that this is the very week that I would (finally) put something on this blog about the vacation that Tom and I took the week of Aug. 10th for our 11th wedding anniversary. We’d tossed around some other ideas, and we may have even gone to Hawaii if we’d planned ahead a little further (for people that know us, the beach vacation is a radical departure from our typical vacation mindset). It turned out that a shorter vacation to the East Side of the Sierra was absolutely perfect. Our trip had three parts. We had time to finish up some projects ahead of time so that they weren’t hanging over hour heads for the vacation, and then hiked to the top of Mt. Tyndall, wandered slowly through the Bristlecone Pine Forrest, and climbed in Clark Canyon.

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McCabe Lake and Sheep Peak from Tuolumne Meadows

Tom at the summit of Sheep Peak with Mt. Conness in the background
Tom at the summit of Sheep Peakwith Mt. Conness in the background
What do you see if you walk the 6-ish miles into Glen Aulin, and then instead of taking the popular trail down toward Water Wheel and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne, you turn right along the PCT and walk in that direction for a while? The Yosemite scenery is beautiful, but it’s the lure of exploration and new places that draws me in. Tom was also excited about the peaks at the far end.

About 13 miles along the PCT, passing Glen Aulin along the way, we turned right and headed up to McCabe Lakes and hiked to the top of Sheep Peak, a mostly indescript, not quite 12K ft peak (11842 ft.), that nevertheless was a grand adventure, with a spectacular view. We took many pictures with Mt Conness in the background, and tried some panoramas with our small point and shoot. It’s hard to capture sweeping 360 views in a single frame.

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Big Weekend

Tom and I have just gotten back from our weekend adventures, put the groceries in the pantry and refrigerator, and wolfed a bit of the fancy artesian bread we can’t get here with extra cheese and olives. It’s been a long and very full weekend.

I took the day off on Friday for my birthday (Saturday), and Tom and I left Thursday night after work for a quick backpacking trip. We saw many things, had great adventures, and hiked out Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon we drove into the Bay Area for a friend’s memorial service on Sunday. We talked about goal-setting, and listened to the first bit of Unaccustomed Earth on the drive. That evening, our friends who graciously opened their house to us, treated me/us to a birthday dinner at Plearn, a local Thai restaurant. Really delicious non-European food and the good company of friends is such a treat.

The service on Sunday was beautiful, and touching. The stories celebrating such a remarkable man went on and on. I’m still processing – and just remembering.

Afterwards, we picked up a bed frame at Ikea that we had been eyeing for some time, and then drove to San Jose to meet up with Tom’s family, pick up the car we’d lent, and eat some pizza at a place nearby, Amicis, that serves gluten-free, and vegan options.

Monday morning, we had brunch with yet another friend before making the long drive back to Yosemite, pausing for a bear jam along the way.

I’m back on a frequent-post kick, so expect to hear more detailed stories unfold over the next few days. I’ve had a lot to think about.

Sick Day

Ugh. Sick. I’ve taken a sick day from work and spent most of the day in bed. Thank goodness for nasal decongestants. At least it’s been a rainy inside sort of weekend. although Tom has managed a couple of day hikes with our guests while I slept and hid from the weather. Lots of down time means time to gather together a few loose ends over the last week.

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Backpacking and Hiking

Tom demonstrating the Anti-Ray Way in 2005
Tom demonstrating the Anti-Ray Way in 2005
I’ve been thinking about backpacking lately. A lot. And I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of money on it too – or preparing to spend inordinate amounts of money anyway.

As it turns out, it has been a embarrassingly long time since I’ve gone backpacking, and I’ve just realized how much I miss it. It isn’t that we haven’t been getting out at all. Last summer we were pretty excited about getting into some longer runs, and we started getting a little more serious about collecting pictures, but as activities that take only part of a day, we were getting pretty comfortable returning home to the miracle of modern appliances, hot showers and a comfortable bed. No longer.

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Travel Notes

We’ve arrived safe and sound in Stowe, and have been spending a relaxing morning with family. The trip went very smoothly, no delays and no surprises – except that the San Francisco to Chicago flight got in about 20 minutes early.

The Fresno Airport has started putting their Giant Sequoia displays in. The California tree replica is already in place, and just needs some patching to get the joints together.

On the airplane from SF to Chicago I was seated next to a guy who was watching old episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and giggling so hard that it made the bench shake.

I spent most of the trip reading from an old book of classic short stories that was published in 1941. There are some great stories in that book, and so far my favorite has got to be the one called “A Municipal Report” by O. Henry, the penname for William Sydney Porter. Not only is it a great story with compelling characters, as many of the stories in this book are, but the story is just so tight – all the elements circling back around in importance in the end. In the story the narrator stops in Nashville to engage a writer for a literary magazine. He meets Uncle Caesar, the clever, and kingly old black man that drives the coach and Major Caswell, the boisterous drunk, and finally the author herself Azalea Adair, the wise long-suffering writer and learns of the relationships between the three. It’s the kind of story that I could really see the benefit of going back to study to see how the whole thing is put together. Will definitely be checking out more of his short stories.

Headed to VT for Easter and a Birthday

Tom's mom skiing Smugglers Notch in 2002
Tom's mom skiing Smugglers Notch in 2002
Bags are packed and ready to go for a lightning quick trip to VT to celebrate Easter, and Tom’s mother’s 75th birthday with family. The plan is to drive down to Fresno tonight and spend the night at a hotel near the airport so that we’ll be ready to go early Friday morning for the big day of travel. Flying across the country from one small airport to another is no joke – our flight departs at 7:31am, and we stop in San Francisco and Chicago before we land in Burlington at 10:02pm and begin the drive up to Stowe – but it will be worth it to spend the time with family on this occasion.

Kids counting Easter eggs back in 2002
Kids counting Easter eggs back in 2002
The last time we made the trip, we either didn’t get any pictures, or have misfiled/misplaced them somewhere along the way. I’m definitely planning to travel with a camera (maybe a couple of cameras) this time, and hopefully my picture taking will start right at the Fresno airport with some of the new Sequoia displays that they are installing there (if they don’t have the area blocked off). Plus, going back through the old 2002 pics of our nieces and nephews was awfully fun. Aren’t they cute?

Ahwiyah Point Rockfall Bigger than 1996 Rockfall

NPS just came out with an estimate of how large the March 28 Ahwiyah Point rockfall was, and I was surprised to learn that it was nearly 50% larger than the major rockfall in 1996 that fell near Happy Isles. Turns out, there has been a really interesting conversation going on over at Supertopo about the rockfall, and I picked up some more interesting information as well, and would recommend that as a good source for pictures and analysis about where the rockfall came from.

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