Nature

Sierra Point

“I am losing precious days.  I am degenerating into a machine for making money.  I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men.  I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.”  -John Muir

A few weekends ago, my younger sister and I took a hike in Yosemite.  I had recently purchased my new camera (yay!) and wanted to test it out on something a little more exciting than my back yard.  Knowing my sister, I dressed a little nicer than I normally would when hiking, because I figured I would be the subject of many pictures.  I wore a reasonable outfit for the day we had planned (maybe a walk to Mirror Lake or the footbridge to Vernal Falls).  As we started our walk to the Vernal Falls footbridge we make a brave and spontaneous decision to make our way to Sierra Point, an old trail, no longer maintained after rock falls have blocked the path*.

*Side note: I usually don’t condone going off trail, or into unknown areas especially publicly.  I know far to many stories of people thinking they can handle the rough terrain and strange wilderness only to get lost or injured and need help.  They then put the lives of rescuers in danger, by having them go off into often unsafe areas.  If you are considering exploring on your own, especially in a National Park, I recommend you read Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite or Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon to learn what fatal mistakes not to make.  Always let someone know of your plans, when you will return, and where you are going in case the unfortunate happens.  Ok, I’m stepping off my soap box now.

We cut off the Vernal Falls trail heading east into the forest and rocks following directions like, “look up, finding two dead pine trees and aim for the middle of them.” and “scramble over boulders toward the large, jagged one.”  It didn’t help that my sister, who had been to Sierra Point before, kept saying, “We’re almost there,” only to turn the corner and say, “Oh wait, maybe not.  That wasn’t the part I thought it was.”  I was ill-equipped in my non-hiking boots from Target, and I had to move slowly to keep from kicking rocks loose or slipping on the loose dirt and leaves.  I must say I was glad to have my sister along to tell me things like “This will be the worst part in those boots.  If you make it past here you should be fine.”  Eventually we made it to the top, which for me was more stressful than the hike.*

*Another Side Note:  I have a terrible fear of heights.  Not so much of being up high by myself, but rather being up high with someone else and having to watch them fall.  It also plays into my wish to be in-control of situations.  My sister on the other hand exercises control in a much more reckless fashion and never fails to unnerve me with her daring attempts, many of which I would be fine making myself since I would be in control, but since I can’t control her, she leads me to panic.  I guess that’s what I get for being the older, responsible sister.

From Sierra Point you can view four different waterfalls (Vernal, Nevada, Illilouette, and Yosemite), the only place you can do this in the park.  It’s a gorgeous, breathtaking view.  Unfortunate we went in January during a record drought.  I can only imagine the powerful view of the four waterfalls in peak, spring season.

It was a rewarding hike leaving me with jell-o legs (mostly from trying to avoid slipping in my adorable, but seemingly useless boots) and a sense of pride.  We finished the day with sandwiches, chips, beers, and cheesecake at Degnan’s before I had to drive home and get ready for a night of work.

My sister, climbing part of the original trail.
My sister, climbing part of the original trail.
View of Vernal and Nevada Falls
View of Vernal and Nevada Falls
Closer shot of Vernal and Nevada
Closer shot of Vernal and Nevada
The sight of my sister as I rounded the corner to Sierra Point
The sight of my sister as I rounded the corner to Sierra Point
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View of Yosemite Falls and the Valley
Closer shot of Yosemite Falls
Closer shot of Yosemite Falls
My sister temping fate and my patience.
My sister temping fate and my patience.
View from the "resting place" above Sierra Point.
View from the “resting place” above Sierra Point.
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Nature

Fall Colors

Last month I had the pleasure of taking a quiet hike with my favorite hiking companion, my dog Kuna.  While I had the intention of returning from the hike, relaxing, and eventually posting the vivid images, a month has passed and I am finally getting around to it.  The next step is for me to purchase a good, reliable camera.  Please forgive the low-quality of the cell phone pictures below.  If they bother you please look into donating to my camera fund.

Aspen Campgound
Aspen Campgound
Welcoming Entrance
Welcoming Entrance

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Creek at the edge of the campgound
Creek at the edge of the campgound
Empty campsites
Empty campsites
Empty campsites
Empty campsites
Kuna in the corner
Kuna in the corner
Fall colors
Fall colors
Looking up to the Sierras
Looking up to the Sierras

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The sun was shining bright
The sun was shining bright
Post hike drive to June Lake
Post hike drive to June Lake
June Lake
June Lake
Nature

Autumnal Equinox

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the autumnal equinox arrives today at 10:29 EDT.  This means many things, but to most it means the beginning of Fall.  The beginning of cooler weather, leaves changing colors, blustery days, sweaters, and pumpkin spice everything.  One thing I know is that many of the people in California and other western states are hoping that Fall will bring the rain to quench this drought.  In January California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a drought State of Emergency.  According to the Cal Fire website lists 110 fires in California since January 1st, 2014.  The National Interagency Fire Center reported that as of September 19th California was fighting eight large fires, Oregon seven, Idaho four, and Montana, Nevada and Washington each has one large fire. However this website does show that besides last year, the fire numbers are down compared to past years.

My intent is not to bore you with statistics so I will end them here.  However, with Fall sneaking up on us there is hope for a wet season.  Personally the crisp air of Fall, delirious winds, and swirling leaves conjures up romantic images in my mind of relaxing days spent in jeans and a cozy sweater, sipping hot teas to warm not only the body, but also the soul.  Blankets wrapped around shoulders while the pages of an old book crinkle between your hands as you become lost in another world.  Rain pounding on the roof as pets curl at your feet in the warmth of the house while the rich aroma of soups fill the room.

Of course the first day of Fall does not always mean the immediate change in weather patterns, but one can hope.  And hope is one of the most powerful sources of energy humans have.  So today I believe in hope.