Lady Slipper Treasure Hunt

“Rare in Yosemite, and now confined to hidden sites where plants have not been subjected to detrimental flower gathering.”  – An Illustrated Flora of Yosemite National Park, Stephen J. Botti. These crazy elegant flowers! Searching for them was quite the adventure. We followed the most incredible treasure map, hand-drawn for us by a generous and … 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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Least Crowded Channel

A while back, Tom turned me on to some great interviews on Mixergy.com, and in particular an interview with Tim Ferris – the author of The 4-Hour Workweek. One of the many great ideas that came out of that interview (just go listen to it), was the idea of exploring and using the least crowded channel for communication. Tim figured out that if he wanted someone’s attention, the best way to do that was to use a channel of communication that wasn’t already crowded and noisy. For example, if you want to establish a relationship with an A-list blogger, the easiest way to actually get on their radar is not by sending them an email. These people are getting tons of email. Instead, Tim made a point of attending conferences where there were a more limited number of interactions.

Of course, that doesn’t just apply to people on the A-list, or even the B, C, or D-list. And it also isn’t just that face-to-face meetings are better. If you’re meeting people constantly in real life, but you have a new account on Twitter, maybe that is the best way to approach you. I wonder if that is/was part of the beauty of Twitter – especially at the beginning. There weren’t that many people on it, and so it was an uncrowded channel.

Today, I had my own little Least Crowded Channel experience. I’m online. There’s Twitter and email and Facebook, and a woman today took the time to find my phone number. Huh. It’s not exactly like a face-to-face meeting, but I get fewer phone calls than I get emails, so it worked. She wanted to submit a testimonial to YosemitePark.com about her family’s long-standing relationship with Yosemite to celebrate her parents’ 69th anniversary (they honeymooned in Yosemite in 1940). Today. And she called me at 4:30 as I was starting to think about winding down for the day. But, she had such a sweet and beautiful story, that I couldn’t resist. If she’d sent me an email – I may have skimmed it before I left. Maybe. But I’m sure I would not have felt as compelled to stay a little late to put her testimonial up today – much less give it front-page billing.

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Other notes:

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Yosemite Flower Report

Bird's Eye Gilia
Bird's Eye Gilia
Tom and I dodged down to Hite Cove to check up on the flowers there and get a little run in. The run was marvelous. We went all the way to the Cove, and I felt great – although my legs were cramping a little toward the end (not sure why). Plus, the flowers were spectacular.

A friend had been a little worried that the poppies were past. True, they may not be as abundant as they have been, but there are still plenty spectacular. Right now, it seems like the best display is further up-canyon, near El Portal. For my money, the hillsides have gotten even more interesting because instead of uninterrupted carpets of orange, the orange is punctuated with many other flowers and colors. I think the show stopper this trip, were the beautiful patches of Bird’s Eye Gilia (of which I got the Gilia and the B, but had to look up the rest).. or the RedBud. RedBud is always amazing when it is in bloom.

Many of the people that I stopped to ask about flower names could only shrug. To my, “Ooo – do you know what kind of flower that is?” one guy smiled and said, “The pretty kind”. True enough. Still, for those who are interested in this kind of thing (and are understanding of my imperfect flower identification skills)…

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Hites Cove Run

California Newt
California Newt
Hiking the first bit of Hites Cove this weekend reminded me of what a wonderful run it is -beautiful rolling terrain, with great views of the S. Fork of the Merced and, of course the wildflowers. Plus, now that it’s daylights savings, there is enough light at the end of the day that it’s possible to really get out and do things after work. Losing that extra hour of sleep goes down easier when you think of the after work activities that open up. So, today, we drove down the hill and went for a jog at Hites Cove.

It. Was. Glorious.

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Wildflowers in Winter

Erik, celebrating the wildflowers
Erik, celebrating the wildflowers
Today’s the first day of Daylight’s Savings, and Tom, in his typically astute fashion, points out that it should be a National Holiday. The rate of accidents increases when the times shift because people have messed up sleep schedules. It would be much safer to have an extra day on the weekend to adapt. Plus, in this case, it gives us more of a chance to celebrate the long evening hours.

We piled a bunch of friends in to the car today and wandered down canyon to take pictures of the wildflowers. It was a gorgeously warm and sunny day, and the poppies, as everyone has been claiming, are out in force already this year. When we stopped at Hites Cove, we also saw huge clusters of blooming Popcorn flowers, Blue Dicks, Gold Fields, Shooting Stars, Baby Blue Eyes… and all the flowers that we don’t know or can’t remember. It’s an amazing display. The lupines aren’t out yet, and I always look forward to the Fairy Lanterns, so I suspect we’ll be taking more trips down there to watch the spring bloom.

When we got back to Yosemite West, it was almost shocking to see the amount of snow that was still there. Being able to drive back and forth between seasons is like getting to travel through time. Turns out, Spring is only about 5 miles from Winter, as the crow flies.

For more pics…

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Yosemite Pano Project – part 2: the hiking

The Pano project was also the perfect excuse to go to a Yosemite spot that I’d never been to before. Plus, the prospect of hiking with strangers also provided motivation for prioritizing some ‘training’ hikes leading up to the end of the month. Between the Fern Ledge hike, and the Pano hike, I took a … Read more

Fern Ledge

Fern Ledge is an amazing spot – one which John Muir thought was one of the best from which to watch a Moonbow, and which Ansel Adams immortalized with an image. Last weekend, we gathered a group of friends together and hiked up to revisit the spot. The hike was just as spectacular as I … Read more

Wildflower Walk with Michael Ross

On February 12, the California Native Plant Society sponsored a free wildflower walk led by Yosemite-area naturalist Michael Ross, and breaking out of our normal routines, Tom and I decided to see what it was all about. Simply amazing. It was a ‘wildflower walk’ which meant that it focused on flowers, but the thing is, … Read more