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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Goal Games

Getting things started
Getting things started

It’s harder to blow off your goals when you have something serious on the line. Tom has heard of some people who advocate giving a substantial check to a friend to deposit to a cause you hate, or sending a trusted friend a really embarrassing picture to publish should you fail in your goals. It’s the same strategy as runners who sign up for a race because, come race day, if they haven’t trained, they figure they will suffer. Personally, I like a little reward with my punishment, so we struck a bit of a balance.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle boils down to a book about a boy and his dogs. Edgar is born mute, to a family of passionate dog breeders, dedicated to breeding the perfect companions – selecting dogs for certain elusive qualities that make them soulmates – or something else that is just beyond defining. Trouble starts when Edgar’s uncle, Claude, returns to town. Edgar’s father, Gar, dies mysteriously, and then Claude starts to manuver into his place, capturing his mother’s (Trudy) affections. Edgar is forced to run away into the Chequamagon with 3 of his dogs – learning to survive in the woods on his own.

It’s a good read, not the kind of book that I can’t put down at night, but it moved along quickly and easily for a volume or its size. I finished the book tonight, was surprised by the ending, and am still trying to make sense of it. It will be a good book to discuss at our book club, whenever we get around to officially reading that one.

Spoiler Alert: if you don’t care

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Sentinel Dome Evening – Grouse Creek Fire

I said there would be pictures. Shauna and I returned to Sentinel Dome on Monday night to have some dinner, check out the moon and the fires. I was running late, and Shauna packed up the most amazing dinner with pasta, wine, and CHOCOLATE CAKE! We outlasted the ranger-led moonlight hike on the top of … Read more

Ostrander Backpacking Trip

Tom among the wildflowers
Tom among the wildflowers
We took a somewhat abbreviated backpacking trip out past Ostrander Lake June 25-27 to try out some of our new gear. The short version? We love it, and we had a great time. I also learned and re-learned a lot of stuff about backpacking. For a first trip, it was just right.

We left Thursday night around 9pm after getting off work and cooking up a yummy dinner the comfort of our own home, and hiked out to Horizon Ridge before setting up camp. In some ways I like hiking in the dark – it’s usually very quiet and peaceful. Plus, this was an out and back trip, so we got to see the scenery, and the flowers that we walked past in the dark on our way out.

The Double Rainbow Tarptent on Horizon Ridge
The Double Rainbow Tarptent on Horizon Ridge
In the morning we finished our somewhat circuitous route to Ostrander Lake, and circled around to walk along Horse Ridge. It was a lazy day, filled with many stops and a bit of napping. We had plenty of water so we camped high with a bit of a breeze and fewer mosquitoes, filling up when we hiked down in the morning.

For more random notes about our trip, in no particular order

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Fire Scenery

Although Tom and I spent today pretty much hunkered down with house work, we did manage to take advantage of the evening hours for a quick run and some spectacular scenery. We waited until after the heat of the day passed, around 5:30, packed up quickly, picked up our neighbor and headed out for a … Read more

Optical Illusions: Seeing isn’t believing

It’s often amazing to me the kinds of shortcuts that our minds take when interpreting the world around us. For the lazy, who won’t click through to the wonderful article in Discover Magazine, the greenish spirals are actually the same color as the bluish spirals. What changes is the color that surrounds it. You can … Read more