Monday, June 28, 2010

Dorothy Lake and Tamarack Bench

Hiked round trip up the Tamarack Bench to Dorothy Lake. Saw only one other couple the whole day. The meadows are just emerging from their snow covered winter quilt. Osprey chirping up high and all alone. The soft meadow grass offered a fine bed for afternoon's nap.

(Slide show below. Click on frame to expose controls...)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Little Lakes Valley

42 degrees upon awakening at 9,000 feet just below the shores of Rook Creek Lake. The drainage stream is flowing mightily and the sun angles in between the sparsely spaced trees like white hot laser beams. My foggy brain is brought to full operational rotations as I crack the door for some fresh air and I let the hot sun beams fall on my face like the pelting drops of a streaming shower. All is wonder and magic until I see the campground host's bumper sticker: "Palin 2012" and II am brought back to reality of us and "them", of political scrabbles, of fairness and criminality in the highest halls of hallowed justice. At least we can all agree on this thing here in the woods on this fine morning - the peace and beauty of an early Sierra sunrise. Perhaps if we can just start there we can build from that...

Hiked into Little Lakes Valley today towards Mono and Morgan Pass. Hit the snow at just above 10,500 feet at Chickenfoot Lake - well below the passes.

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Tucked up almost at the end of the road leading to Rock Creek Lake is the Rock Creek Lake Resort, which offers an amazing assortment of fresh baked pies daily. You need to go early most days, because by the end of your hike, don't expect there to be a full selection left. Our sampling indicated the strawberry was a it sweet, but the rhubarb was superb.
From Little Lakes Valley

Mono Lake

(Slide show embedded below. Click on the frame of the phote to expose the slide show controls...)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lee Vining to Devil's Postpile and Rainbow Falls

Babbling brook's water with the towee's call awaken us in Lower Horse Meadow on the alluvial apron of Mt. Gibbs south and west of Mono Lake. From our campsite we are close enough to see the rising sun's reflection off autos running north and south on Rt. 395 but far enough away that we cannot hear their drone. The meadow bird song mingles symphonically with the deep notes of the brook which runs across the roadway barring our further progress up the canyon to slowly rock us awake after a night's slumber and it brings us alert into another fine day in the eastern Sierra.

Hiked in Devil's Postpile National Monument to Rainbow Falls

(Slide show embedded below. Click on frame and expose controls...)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yosemite Valley June 2010

(Slideshow embedded below. Click anywhere on the border to expose the show controls...)

We visited Yosemite to experience the power and magnificence of the early summer snowmelt waterfalls. Sam and his wife Jeanne met us there on their summer tour of western states and we explored the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoia trees and hiked the 8 mile panorama trail from Glacier point to the valley floor. The park concession is now charging $25 one way for the Glacier Point shuttle, so if you are on a budget, its best to arrange your own shuttle.

Almost any view of the valley walls revealed one or more waterfalls - many of which dry up completely later in the summer. The big falls were BOOMING - literally pounding our soft bodies with powerful low frequency energy when we closely approached. The localized wind created by these massive cascades was enough to tear off hats, glasses, and any loose pack attachments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pacific Grove and Point Lobos

A mere 2.5 hours drive south of our house in Oakland lies this exquisite jewel of a park along the pacific coast. Just south of the hustle and bustle of Monterey and its fabled aquarium lies this outcropping of ancient rock that battles the ocean for control of the coast. In the protected bays we saw incredible wildflowers, dramatic surf breaking on rocks, southern sea otters at play and tied up to the kelp, sea lions, fleets of pelicans skimming the wave tops, nesting cormorants on bird island, and found plenty of reflective moments to consider the juxtaposition of land, air sea, day, night, life and death. On our unseasonably warm day, we scampered among the rock protected tide pools and hunted for interesting sea life in the tidal zone. The nearest camping is in Veteran's Memorial State Park just on the edge of the City n Monterey - no reservations accepted. Get there early on weekends.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Camping on the Coast

(Slide Show embedded below. Click anywhere on the balck border to expose slide controls, then clivk the play button...)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend, originally uploaded by dkgalson.

Outside of Moab, the Colorado River takes a more than 180 degree turn around the 1,000 fat pillar it has carved from the soft sandstone. This images was created by compositing three vertical shots, and I STILL could not fit it all in. The drop down to the river at my feet was wild exposure and with a strong wind blowing, I was not comfortable getting any closer to the edge.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

red desert flowers

red desert flowers, originally uploaded by dkgalson.

Can anyone help me to identify this plant?

Desert Flower Blooming

Desert Flower Blooming, originally uploaded by dkgalson.

Here is one of Diane's favorites. All around was hot dry red dirt and sand, with a howling wind blowing. Behind this one rock, these delicate blossoms were flashing to us saying - look, look, LOOK!

Prickly Pear Bloom

Prickly Pear Bloom, originally uploaded by dkgalson.

We hit the southwest desert with everything blooming. The juxtaposition of the delicate blooms with the self defensive other plant structures was fascinating.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This Journey's End - posted from Winnemucca NV

We have left the two-lane gravel and dirt roads of the high Utah mesa behind and have opted for efficiency and speed as we drive westward across Nevada on the 4 lane interstate and towards home. The Bonneville Salt Flats just outside of Salt Lake City are eerie as the hot, ultra flat and highly reflective white plain creates mirages of shimmering water between us and the mountains easily 20 miles distant. Mile markers tick away and we cross into Nevada. Refueling puts another 350 miles under the chassis and we stumble into Winnemucca, NV on High School Graduation weekend here. There are decorated cars dragging streamers with tinted windows multicolored with congratulations and messages, like" Stop me if you like, I've graduated today and am still sober". We find a gravel tent site in an almost vacant RV park near the edge of town and try to calm our jangled driving nerves.

We finish off the open wine in the cabinet by 4:00 pm, crack a new bottle, and play meditative native Indian flute music on the stereo while we tell each other stories of our fond and recent memories - reviewing photos and catching up on e-mail (our first internet connection for the computer for over a week)

Tomorrow we will reach Reno by lunch - a familiar stomping ground. Once we've taken care of a few shopping errands at Trader Joe's we'll head up to Donner Summit to catch up with Jim K. who is still writing us and telling of deep snows and impassable hiking trails. Too bad we did not bring skis on this lap.

( Here are some photos from the last week. A slide show is embedded. Click anywhere on the black border, and the slide controls will be exposed at the bottom of the frame...)

Once I get back, I'll prepare a selective group of these photos for sale as Greeting Cards, post cards, matted wall art or posters and if you are interested you'll be able to go to my Red Bubble site (link on left of page) to select and purchase items you like.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Windmills taping Salt Lake air - Antelope Island State Park

Windmills taping Salt Lake air dropping into the desert. We climb out of the desert and approach Salt Lake. The temperatures cool and we leave the land of National Parks and oversized camper vans behind. In four hours we have made it to Antelope Island State Park in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. With prong horn antelope out the window and the air punctuated by the colorful trill of song birds, we relax in the sanctuary of the camper with windows open and screens drawn to keep out the bothersome midges which otherwise would drive us crazy. Just three hours until the light show of sunset begins so we rest for now.

Evening hours award us with fine views of the antelope herd, many jack rabbits, a family of quail and an amazing light show by the setting sun(see photos posted above). After our evening photo shoot, we return to our campsite and find a very large bison grazing not 20 feet away in the dusk. He uses a large rack there to rub and itch - undoubtedly bothered at some level by the same midges we are as well as his winter coat, which appears to be coming off in sheets. We watch him until it is too dark to distinguish between the bison and the shadows, then turn our attention inward and prepare for bed.