Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rick's Birthday

August 16, 2014

Rick wanted to go to the city for his birthday. So we did that. Audra, Laney and Albert were all available that day.

At Sutro Baths. We used to live out in Sutro Heights.

Albert wanted to see, so..

Down the new fancy path to the baths

In the new fancy parking lot with fancy Audra

Laney giving her "I can't believe what I have to put up with" look

Our names that we carved near our apartment 25 years ago. I thought they were gone, but Rick found them...

Pretending to put our fancy hands near our names like the movie stars we aren't

Albert enjoying his special spot

The next day....Audra very impressively carrying only a modest bag for 2 week trip to Europe

Our Almost Daily Hiking Place - Briones

August 30, 2014

Thought I'd stick up some pictures of Briones, from August.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Young Lakes - July 26 to July 30 -


Our last backpacking trip of the year, I'm sure, as my new job starts tomorrow!

Backpacking is hard. I get tired, dirty, cold, hot, and uncomfortable. Why do we do it? I am not sure. To see beautiful places, to challenge ourselves, to be in nature, to do something simple and uncomplicated, to calm our minds - any of these or maybe none. I have to think about it some more.

But anyway...

Day 1 - Saturday 7/26 - White Wolf - Trouble with Roads

We were delayed on 120 coming in - there was a messy car accident. Looked like someone tried to pass on the 2 lane road and did not succeed. 

We love White Wolf Lodge. It is simple and uncrowded. I did not need to sleep as much as last time. Maybe I am getting used to the altitude.  

Learned from our dinner companions that 395 north was closed due to a hazardous spill. And 120 going into the valley was closed due to smoke. There were many fires, mostly natural, all over the park.

Day 2 - Sunday 7/27 - On up to Young Lakes

Young Lakes are a series of 3 lakes: Lower Young Lake, Middle Young Lake and Upper Young Lake. Each one is further up than the last. It was very smokey but we went anyway. We started in Tuolumne Meadows, near Lembert Dome.We hiked all the way to Upper Young Lake, which is supposed to be the prettiest and least camped at, which it was and was. 11.5 miles. All uphill. Elevation was at 10,200 feet, a gain of 1600 feet or so.

Yes - A bald eagle! And we watched him fly...but I was not quick as he was. Middle Lake

Our campsite at Upper Young Lake

Smoke makes beautiful sunsets

Day 3 - July 28 - Day Hike to Mt. Conness

We stayed camped at Upper Young Lake for the entire trip. We took day hikes. It was nice to not pack up every morning. We attempted to climb part way up Mt. Conness. There actually was a trail, but we didn't find it until the way back. It was a long way up, somewhere upwards of 12,500 ft. Some hikers much younger than us tripped all the way up and back while we were slogging slowly up halfway. Very very steep, very very sandy. Wind, rain and thunder. At about 11,500 feet, we felt very satisfied, especially when listening to the thunder not too far away. One of the young goats who went to the top said that he turned back once he felt the crackle of electricity and felt his ear hairs raise up. Yeah, me too.

Upper Young Lake near our campsite

Rick purifying water

Sticky Monkey Flower

On the way to Mt. Conness

What used to be a lake on the way up

Leaving the strange lakes

And further up

Looking up the saddle, where I dared not

Another smokey sunset

 Day 4 - Day hike to Roosevelt Lake

This was another exciting off-trail experience. Rick was able to get us down a ridge, across a stream, up another ridge, over a long meadow and down into Roosevelt Lake. It was fun to find our way through the forest. Feeling very wild and clever. A very barren looking lake. It was raining by the time we got there. We sat in our ponchos on the shore. It rained every day, actually.


Roosevelt Lake


Day 5 - June 30 - Back out

Up early and left by 7:35, which is pretty good for us. Back down to the other lakes, and out the loop trail that goes back to Lembert Dome. 9 miles. We came across mostly day hikers going to Dog Lake. A few day hikers who seemed to be planning to Young Lakes and back in a day. We ate our hamburger at the Tuolumne grill and headed out. Another delayed journey, 30 minutes on 120 for construction, and then surprise! 120 was closed headed east. Out 140 with more delays. Barely made it to pick up the Albert at dog camp.

We learned about Hemlock trees. They bend a little at the top, like a santa hat.

Middle Young Lake

Lower Young Lake

Hunchback in a big meadow Rick will remember the name of

Monday, July 21, 2014

Day 3 - June 30 - Cathedral Lake - Lewis Creek

Day 3 - Cathedral Lake

Breakfast - We started our day with a family style breakfast at Tuolumne Lodge. And again, we were among the first to arrive. :) They have a different system here than at White Wolf. At White Wolf, the food was set out and you served yourself. At Tuolumne, you had to wait on one side of a screen door until they felt like coming out and getting you, and then you were seated and had to order. Good luck for us that I am nervous about waiting and wrote our name down on a pad of paper even though it wasn't clear you were supposed to do that, because when they did come out, they called our name. Other people had to wait for quite a while before they were seated. Too bad. Weird system when you think about people like us who want to eat but then get on the trail as early as possible. Yeah, these are the important things.

We did meet a nice younger couple who were so organized about their travel that it practically brought tears to my eyes. They had many alternate day hiking trips planned for their days in the park. We later saw them on the Cathedral lakes trail, and tried to be as gracious as possible as they zoomed past us on their way up.

We caught the 8:30 bus to Cathedral Lake Trail Head. We hiked to the lake and had lunch and a swim. We were grumpy when a probably nice hiker asked if it would be intrusive if they sat right on our rock with us. It would be, Rick said. I contemplated our attitude. We could probably be nicer. We just would never ask that when there is a whole big lake with plenty of space.

Cathedral Lake
After lunch we hiked up Cathedral Pass and around the bottom of Tressiter peak, around Columbia finger and dropped down to Long Meadow. Long Meadow was BUGGY. We walked almost to Sunrise High Sierra Camp (which was not open yet) but hung a left, hiked up a ridge and dropped down into the valley of the Cathedral fork of Echo Creek. We stayed on the east side of the creek. I'm calling it a creek, but it was more like a long slab of granite with water streaming down it. Very beautiful with views of the peak. Tons of mosquitoes - but the head nets really helped.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 2 - June 29 - Cathedral Lakes - Lewis Creek

Mountain Blue Bells
Shooting Star

Day 2 - June 29 - White Wolf and Tuolumne Camps

Breakfast in While Wolf lodge. Actually we were the first ones there- waiting for breakfast to begin. We sat on the porch and studied our guide books like the good hiking nerds we are. We took a day hike to Lukens Lake. At the trailhead, Julianne was thrilled to find a posting of all the
wildflowers currently out on the trail - with some photos! So exciting to a wanna-be naturalist. I imagined how great it would be to walk around with a naturalist on this trail. Shooting Stars were abundant on the trail, just like the sign said!

Lukens Lake

So many flowers were seen on this short trail. Some of which I am mostly confident:

  • False Hellebore - Corn Lily
  • Shooting Stars
  • Lupine
  • Bolanders Locoweed
  • Gray's Lovage
  • Pussy Toes
  • Trail Plan
  • Paintbrush
  • Alpine Goldenrod
  • Large-leaved Lupine
  • Mountain Blue Bells

The round trip to Lukens was about 5 miles. We crossed numerous streams including the middle fork of the Tuolumne. The lake was peaceful with no mosquitoes. Rick hypothesized that the many dragonflies were eating them.

In the afternoon which we drove to Tuolumne, stopping at Olmsted Point and  Tenaya Lake.

There were some beautiful penstemon all over Olmsted Point, which we believe is Mountain Pride Penstemon.

Tuolumne Lodgewas not as nice as I remembered back a few years ago when we took Audra and her friend Aurelie. But it was adequate and conveniently located. We got our packs ready for backpacking the next day!