Monday, September 28, 2009

We do not inherit this land...

"We do not inherit this land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

-Haida Indian saying

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lake Van Norden and Upper Lola Montez Lake

Still exploring around the house, we are very pleased with what we discover. The hike in to Upper Lola Montez Lake early this morning - following the fabled Hole in the Ground trail - backwards - was peaceful and enjoyable. As the day wore on, however, the temperature continued to rise. By the time I reached the Upper Lola Montez Lake (via a scramble from the lower Lola Montez Lake) the temperatures had topped out over 85. We rested in the shade for an hour and rambled back down the mountain in the dusty aftermath of a handful of sweaty mountain bikers at the tail end of their grueling ride down from Castle Creek.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

18 September - Lake Tahoe, Little Lakes Valley, Upper Sardine Lake

(Float over photo and click to see slide show...)

We sneak away from Donner summit to seek out fall colors and some solitude on the eastern side of the Sierras. Passing Lake Tahoe on the way we were glad to leave the early fall crowds well behind. We made several excellent day hikes to reliably dramatic mountain canyons south of Mono Lake. First stop - Tom's Place and Little Lakes Valley. Sparkling aspens, dark blue skies, and cold clear mountain streams and lakes dot this gently sloping canyon as it rises to the Sierra Crest. Next day we explore the north end of The June Lake loop and discover a remarkable mountain railway - still in use to service the dam 2,000 feet above the valley floor, passing Gem and Agnew lake. Third day we camped at the Walker Lake trail head and ventured up and up and up to Upper Sardine Lake, passing Bloody Mountain - with incredible vistas back to the Mono Lake Basin. This hike passes through what I imagine is as close to virgin Sierra forest as possible, with gigantic Doug Fir, and Juniper trees - some with over 7' trunks. No sign of previous logging was evident, and the mature alpine forests were a treat to experience.

Monday, September 14, 2009

14 September - Lake Van Norden at dusk

(Float over picture and click to view slide show...)

The day's work done, I venture out at dusk to immerse myself in the quiet and the magic of the daily transition from daytime to night. There is a stirring in the underbrush as quail, and rabbit and other small rodents come out of their daytime cover and begin to forage. As I pad silently through the soft grass at the water's edge I can see them all as they peer back. The geese out on a rock island stir uneasily as they sense my presence - and in turn the birds rise in batches to check out the newcomer. The sky turns from blue to orange to gray to black and a light mist rises from the warm lake surface. The water's unrippled mirror reflects the first planets to light the sky and I realize too late I have not brought a flashlight, and I've lingered too long in the dusk trying to blend in and be accepted. I pack my things, bend my stiff knees and feel my way back towards home, through the high willows, over the silent dam overflow and back to the road. I wish I could convey the cool mountain air's brush on my cheek and the nightime sounds when the photos are displayed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sept. 13 - Loch Leven Hike with Jeff and Karen (lower, middle, high)

(Float over photo and click to see slide show...)

We must have picked the hottest day all summer to make this 7 mile round trip hike to the Loch Leven basin south of Rainbow Lodge. Luckily, the cool alpine lake water was a welcome and well deserved treat after the climb up to the lakes. When we returned to the car the thermometer was in the 90's.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

August 2009 - Pumpkin Island, 1000 Islands, St. Lawrence River, Ontario

(Float over photo and click to see slide show...)

Diane and I had the pleasure of spending almost two weeks on Pumpkin Island, amidst the 1,000 Island archipelago of the St. Lawrence River separating Canada from the United States just north of New York State. Lazy days were spent relaxing, swimming, kayaking, bird watching, sailing, preparing, and eating amazing meals with a changing constellation of David's family. The moon was rising close to full while wer were there, and with clear nights we had some amazing moonlit nights on the water. Every afternoon the wind seemed to perk up so there were plenty of romps up and down the river in the Shark named "Nirelle".