31 July 2012


Sketches for July start with watercolor carried with me while backpacking and then along a day hike afterward.

The lake in the morning.

Outlet flow of the lake in the afternoon.

The lake while fishing in the afternoon.

The rock wall behind the lake in the evening.

Creek by the campsite on day four.

Up the funny mountain for the day.

Actually, azaleas back at camp.

The waterfall from a bit below Clark Point.

Out on the rock everyone photographs it from.

Submerged tree at the lake.

Tuolumne Meadow from the top of the dome.

One stint with the more traditional sketchbook, then it is back to the watercolor.

Roads and trails coming up the canyon.

Terminal Geyser, which is really a stream vent.

The dunes from near Cinder Cone.

30 July 2012

Prospect Peak and Cinder Cone

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

In one corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park, there is a section of land marked "Fantastic Lava Beds" and, next to it, "Painted Dunes". Next to this is another feature nude of vegetation simply labeled "Cinder Cone" and next to it is the much larger peak of Prospect Peak. I decided to see how fantastic this lava bed actually was and get another peak in for good measure. Arriving at Butte Lake, promptly found two trails, one heading west around the lake and one heading up the hill to Bathtub Lake. Heading west, I found my trailhead next to a small lot off the boat launch. There was another map, looking angled at relief and showing the weakness of this as data communication since sometimes the mountains hide the trails, and a box full of brochures for the interpretive trail that starts here and goes along the Fantastic Lava Beds to the Cinder Cone. I headed first for Prospect Peak, which breaks off just under half a mile down the trail.

black and white swallow tail
A butterfly, a type of swallow tail, that is in its last days.

edge of lava flow
The edge of the Fantastic Lava Beds, a flow of lava that has shrunk Butte Lake quite a bit.

28 July 2012

Warner Valley

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

Warner Valley has a number of hydrothermal features including the hot springs that feed Drakesbad and Boiling Springs Lake and the steam vents that puff and stink in Devil's Kitchen and Terminal Geyser. I decided to take the day to see all of these, and if there was time, drive around and actually go down Bumpass Hell for more hydrothermal madness. Also, I wanted to go to the waterfall just upstream Hell's Kitchen which are marked on the 2002 Lassen National Forest map, among other places. So I drove up to the end of the public road that heads to Drakesbad and started hiking at the sign that seemed to indicate that there might be a loop through the Devil's Kitchen, but the two trails might not quite meet and there was no trail beyond it to the waterfall.

Following the same route I took to Boiling Springs Lake along the Pacific Crest Trail for a short time, I cross over Hot Springs Creek on a nice bridge and look down to see interesting mats of flowering plant life. The trail passes along the hillside where Drakesbad gets its hot spring water, but in the warm summer day there are no obvious traces of steam to give away the presence of hot springs oozing water that dot it. At the first intersection, I turned away from my previous route to go toward Drakesbad and Devil's Kitchen. Had I paid a little more attention to the map at the start, I would have turned left at the next intersection to travel a very short spur to see Dream Lake. Although I walked all around this lake, I never saw it due to the trees. Instead, I crossed the bridge and turned left to cross meadows and start climbing to the steam vents.

purple/pink thing
Spring is probably a little longer gone down here, but there are still a few flowers, some of them just starting.

little orange waterwheel
A little toy waterwheel someone has set in one of the many streams that meander thorough the meadows.

bridges and walkways
Looking back toward Drakesbad. The trails are muddy some places, but most of those have boardwalks and bridges to keep your feet dry and cleaner.

26 July 2012

Brokeoff Mountain

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

Passing the entrance station and halfway to the park boundary from there, a parking lot marks the start of the trail up Brokeoff Mountain. My hope had been to go up Lassen Peak, but since the park is doing a multiyear trail rehabilitation project and has that trail closed somewhere between half and two-thirds of the way up we came here instead. This trail is considered more pleasant but does go up to a shorter peak after climbing a longer distance. We passed some tiger lilies in the stream just before the lot and starting up the trail were greeted by more of them and other flowers as well.

tiger lily
The trail crosses the stream, or attempts it for a while, near where a number of tiger lilies hang.

purple bells on their way to seed
Some purple bell flowers that are on their way to seed.

Sulphur Works

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We stopped at the Sulphur Works where the highway crosses a hydrothermal area and we could have a quick look at steam vents and boiling mud. It stinks a bit and the rocks seem to have taken on a bright yellow in many places around it.

boiling mud by the side of the road
Just off to the side of the road, a mudpot bubbles and boils quite noisily. Click here to hear it.

steam vent
A steam vent in the dirt above the bubbling mudpot.

everything is yellow
The rocks are stained yellow above the stream of runoff from the Sulphur Works.

red and yellow stained rocks
Rocks above the Sulphur Works pick up both reds and yellows.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 Aug 2012

Bumpass Hell lot

Lassen Volcanic National Park

We weren't feeling like we had the time to go down to the hydrothermal area known as Bumpass Hell, but we did stop in the lot and have a look around.

achient caldera
View out over the valley that is the anchient caldera of Tehama Mountain, of which Brokeoff is the largest remnent.

The hillside on the far side of the valley from the road has many colors in it.

big remnent
Brokeoff Mountain, the tallest remnent and the mountain we'll climb up later.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 Aug 2012

Lake Helen

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lake Helen is a spot along the road, so this is just a spot to stop and rest and stretch and take a few pictures for us.

Mt. Lassen above Lake Helen
The south side of Mount Lassen reflecting in Lake Helen.

more of Lake Helen
A little more of the surrounding mountains of Lake Helen.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 Aug 2012

25 July 2012

Twin Lakes loop

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

We awoke in the south part of Summit Campground ready for a longer day of hiking without any need to drive around. The planned trail is a loop of a little more than 10 miles passing by a large number of lakes with a few more on spur trails (in relation to the loop) if we decide we need more. We checked the campground map at the entrance to find where the trail left from the south side of the lake as the main trailhead is at the north side. With a brief stroll down a trail that actually just went to the lake, we found our way to a bridge and a route past the campground amphitheater to the trail. We should have passed an intersection on the way for a trail that travels down the drainage of the lake, but it wasn't signed and there wasn't much certain indication of the trail.

The junction to our trail was much better marked, although someone had tried to add arrows to confuse the issue. The trail started off climbing out of the lake basin area. Toward the top, the trees thin and the ground is covered in manzanita growing like heather instead of the normal 20 foot high bush. For a bit, we had views of the mountain behind us and more around before coming to another intersection and the start of the actual loop portion of the hike.

high point
Gaining a bit of height and losing a few trees, there are a few pointy mountains to be seen in the distance.

the mountain
Mount Lassen rising up behind us, also fairly pointy looking, the side that blew most recently to the right.

24 July 2012

King's Creek

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Locate the trailhead.

Owing to one modern convenience's flip side of road construction and the age old problem of finding the perfect camp site (or any camp site not next to the road or stuffed too tightly between other sites) we only had a few hours before dark to meander our way along a trail on the first day in the park. The original plan was a backpack that wandered through the park and came out the Caribou Wilderness after many lakes and cinder cones and such. Considerations turned that into a series of day hikes. We decided upon a hike that started where we would have at King's Creek going downstream, but looped around and back to the road. It has spurs to a waterfall and cluster of lakes with views of Warner Valley below. It turned out a little long for the time we had.

Grabbing a spot along the road in the parking turnout, we could hear a great flow of water passing somewhere nearby. It came mostly from above the road until we crossed over to find it also below. Passing one of the park's very informative signs, we started down the trail which is quite steep at the very beginning. Near it, the creek pours rapidly over rocks heading down at a slightly steeper pace. Quickly, the trail comes upon a wide expanse of meadow with the creek poking out here and there. Lupin and others spot the meadow with color, at least at this time of year. From here, the trail meanders and a very easy downhill slant.

King's Creek Meadow
Lupins and mule ear and a few others in King's Creek Meadow.

tree with lichen growing in rings around the trunk
Noticed many places, but still a little odd. The lichen grows in rings around the trunks of a certain type of tree.

20 July 2012

Romero Canyon Road

Santa Barbara Front Country

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

After hiking up Romero Canyon by the trail, I continued down it by the road. It felt very flat at first, although was dropping a few feet. It quickly comes to a large turnout that is an unsigned junction with a trail that was not on my map. The cut of this trail followed an easy upward slope and eventually joined with the road at some distance. Other routes seemed to join there, too, but this one seemed like a built trail while others looked more like old fire break. Keeping on the road, it wraps around the outside of a hill in its lazy descent. A few rock slides partly block the road, but all but one has been small enough to clear a route by hand, which someone has done long ago.

coastline in the Carpinteria direction
Quickly, expansive views can be seen from the road in the Carpinteria direction.

nice purple thistle
A deep purple thistle displaying all the stages of thistle flowers.

Romero Canyon Trail

Santa Barbara Front Country

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

I've been thinking for a while that I'd have a look at Romero Canyon, which once had a public road to Camino Cielo. Besides the road, there is also the trail that heads all the way over the top and into Blue Canyon on the other side. I decided on a route heading up the trail, along Romero Camuesa back to Romero Saddle where the pavement ends, and then back down along the road. I didn't pay much attention to the distance because, well, it's front country and they're all about that long. Actually, the mountains are a little shorter at this point than further west.

I got a late start out, partly because I stayed up way too late the night before and partly because I've been noticing that the islands have been crisping up in the afternoon so I expected better vistas later in the day. Of course, weather is changeable so it might not work out, but the best bet is usually that today will be exactly like yesterday. I crossed over the dry ford and found a spot to park with the noon hour coming up next. A locked gate marks the start of either route as the actual trailhead is a little way up the road. A sign pointed the way, if there was any confusion, but pointed toward the creek instead of the road creating a little instead.

locked gate and no parking signs at the road
Romero Canyon Trail is ahead, except with the orientation of the sign it should mark the trail as being to the right.

A trickle of spring fed water wet the road as it crossed. It was more water than I expected to see, but my expectations had not accounted for the prevalence of springs in the area. Shortly after, I could hear water down in the stream flowing into or through a small building. After another short distance, there was a single lane bridge below which a bit more water could be heard and seen. The road joined the Edison Catway and I took the far more traveled direction to the right but no signs indicated the way. Around the corner, and I found the trailhead.

flood control of cemented rocks
A flood control measure of cemented local rocks below some exposed bits of local rock on the hillside.

09 July 2012

Dog Lake and Lembert Dome

Yosemite National Park

I caught the bus from Yosemite Valley back up to my car in Tuolumne Meadows and then decided upon a hike that should take a few hours before I abandon the park for home. I found what I was looking for just up the road. Parking by Lembert Dome, I could take the trail around it and up to Dog Lake. Afterwards, I would take a different trail down going toward the Dog Lake parking where a spur trail climbs to near the top of the dome. After climbing the dome, I could go the rest of the way down that trail and either catch a shuttle back or walk along a trail paralleling the road. It seemed a little funny that the lake is closer to the dome parking and the trail up the dome is closer to the lake parking, but there it was.

Starting from the Lembert Dome parking, it wasn't too clear where the trail was. One well used trail went from the lot at a "no pets" sign and just climbed up onto the dome rock. From there, there was no indication of where to go, but it wasn't the correct trail. At the north end of the lot, nearly on the other side of a number of picnic tables, another trail went out through the trees. This was the correct trail. It also quickly hit a large, flat area of rock. On the far side of the rock, a sign was the only indication of the direction to go for the trail. The sign finally confirmed that this was the correct trail.

From the sign, the trail climbs in little switchbacks up through the forest. The dome is generally visible to my right as I go, but obscured fairly well by some trees. I came upon and passed some bird watchers. I got to the intersection leading down to the Dog Lake parking and continued outward toward Young Lakes. The spur to Dog Lake comes up fairly quickly after that with only a little more climbing. It looks like a very small percentage of the traffic here goes toward Young Lakes as that was a narrow path and the one to Dog Lake was a wide highway. I probably would have chosen to go out to Young Lakes if it were not for the 7 hour drive to finish off the day.

The spur to Dog Lake also had a tiny bit more climbing before dropping into the depression of the lake. A group were hanging around on the north side of the lake, one fishing and a couple others swimming away from the fishing. I took a trail along the south side as the map indicated there was one there. The trail I found was only a use trail. I stopped by a semi-submerged fallen tree and sketched some in watercolor. The lake was too full of pollen at the edge to take water from it, so I had to use a little of what I was carrying.

watercolor of tree partly submerged in Dog Lake
A few of the weathered branches of a fallen tree that is partly submerged in the water of Dog Lake.

More and more people came as it was getting to be lunch. The new groups also went for some swimming in the lake. Finishing, I packed up. I decided not to try to circumnavigate the lake although I expect there is plenty of use trail all the way around. I returned to the main trail the way I had come, then back to the intersection with the trail to Dog Lake parking and took it down.

The trail seemed a little greener and brighter than the first trail. Coming to a dry wash, I found the trail was suddenly a lot less traveled than previously. Tufts of green grass, cut but not destroyed by walkers, grew on the trail. The trailbed itself was quite soft and pleasant to walk on. Beside it, branches were set to outline it. Frequent bright pink markers also marked the route. Suddenly, I came upon a group of Youth CCC who were lining the trail with branches and a few other bits of work. Further on, off in the trees, an older group was also working. Perhaps the trail has been rerouted? It will not be so wonderfully soft for long, I passed many people going both directions along the trail. Eventually it started to look old again, but I didn't notice the old route if it had been rerouted.

The trail from the intersection had been fairly level with some climb here and drop there. I came to a spot that seemed like the top ridge of the dome, but the spur did not lead from it. I wasn't too certain it would be marked since, although it was on my map, it was distinctly absent from the map on the sign at the beginning of the trail.

A short drop, and a large, signed trail started up the dome to the right. I followed it, joining a few others just ahead of me. As long as there was dirt, there was trail, but then it came to the rock and stopped. This was where it stopped on my map as well. A sign stated that we should stay on the trail, but didn't mention if that meant not going up on the rock. My goal was the top, so I continued up.

I went up the biggest thing I could see, of course, and it was a false peak, of course. With a few feet drop, I continued around another bump and circled the peak to the south before finding a crack to walk up along. A family at the top were making their way down, and they seemed to have liked the same route I had chosen to climb. There was one spot where hands were useful, but otherwise it was an easy walk up. I got to the top and had a good look around, then settled into a chair of rock on the west side of the peak and sketched the meadow below in watercolor. It was made difficult by the wind that wasn't much at the start, but picked up, sometimes with a mighty gust. I was partly sheltered and it wasn't too much trouble. The day was warm, so the lighter winds were quite nice.

green trees and drying meadow from the top of Lembert Dome
Tuolumne Meadows from the top of Lembert Dome. The meadow is already showing signs of drying out in this low water year.

Once finished, I made my way down retracing my upward route. The family had selected one of the higher false peaks along the way to look out to the south from. I guess they were taking some shelter from the wind. It wasn't as bad away from the peak. Continuing along the rock, I found the end of the trail easily and made my way down it. It was another long drop down to the parking lot below. I was able to catch the shuttle back, although my too quiet shout of, "Stop, please!" was insufficient to get the driver to do so and he had to come back to let me out. The shuttles in the meadow are quite different from the ones in the valley.

Back by my car, I decided to cook my last meal to help fuel me for the drive home. I was doing well with it until suddenly, the stove felt the need to go full blast no mater how low it was set, then stop altogether. I clamped on the lid and found the fuel can was very empty. I finally used up the last of my fuel. Also, that was a little close for my planned 5 day, turned into 6 day backpacking trip. I started the drive home, having to let the rice cook in the residual heat before eating it.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jul 2012

08 July 2012

Mirror Lake

Yosemite National Park

Locate the trailhead.

For a second little hike while in Yosemite Valley, I stepped off the shuttle at the Mirror Lake trailhead, the stop just before North Pines Campground and the backpacker camp behind it. A sign warned against allowing children to linger or run too far ahead and against hiking alone as this is mountain lion country. They don't seem to be spotted as much here as in southern California. I was hiking "alone", but there was also a dad and a couple of lagging, running kids around. We seemed to be both blatantly ignoring the sign's warning. One of the kids found something interesting off to the side, and then I really was alone for a short bit.

Another sign warned of a major rock fall that had closed the trail in approximately 0.7 miles. This was next to a sign saying that Mirror Lake was still 1.1 miles off, or a little further than it had been from the bus stop. The rock fall area is closed as there are still chunks of granite falling off the cliffs regularly. The map provided, but damaged by many fingers poking it, seemed to indicate the slide was after the lake.
Just a short way later, I could see a bit of lake through the trees. Further, and there is another pool with wide beaches on either side and a few use trails from the proper trail down to it. I made my way down onto the beach. A few other groups of people were around on the other side of the stream. This side only had a forgotten pair of white shoes. Behind me, Half Dome rose impressively.

A perfectly good crossing on rocks was a little downstream, but the creek was shallow enough that I decided to just take advantage of my waterproof shoes and walk across. A couple fellows in sneakers seemed inspired by this and crossed to the Half Dome side getting soggy shoes in the process. My feet were nice and dry. I relaxed, listening to the birds and eating a bit of supper and waited for the sunset. Sometimes there's nice colors on Half Dome during the sunset, after all. I think there's seasons for that and the right season is winter, but I go ahead and see what today will bring me.

Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake
For a moment, my camera felt it had enough charge to take a photo, so here is Half Dome as seen from Mirror Lake.

There wasn't much to the lake in this dry season. A couple puddles here and there. The canyon wasn't windy, so the surfaces were the advertised mirrors. A small child experimented with floating his water bottle as a boat and found it quite good, so his papa had to chase it down. A teen wandering on the far side said there was a bear over there, but it didn't come out to say, "Hello." Gradually, the others left.

The shadows over Half Dome grew upward toward its peak. There was finally a little color at the top when only a few tips of rock were still out of shadow. Indeed, this is not the season for watching Half Dome turn in the sunset. I got up and made my way along the road, and then a trail beyond it, back to the campground. I spotted a sign for "stables", which are next to North Pines and hoped that would be the trail to go into the back of my campground, but it really did go to the stables. Then I made my way back to the backpackers' camp.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jul 2012

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite National Park

After finishing my 6 days of backpacking and before the hiker bus started up to Tuolumne, which only runs at 8AM, I had a bit of time to poke around Yosemite Valley.  Unfortunately, the camera had given up as I tried to take one last photo which happened to be of Upper Yosemite Falls as it is glimpsed on the return along the Mist Trail.  This new camera runs on a proprietary battery and I haven't bought an extra, so that was about it with picture taking.  Still, with the whole afternoon and, it being summer, evening, I have to do the touristy things.  After setting up camp and getting rid of my bear canister, I hopped on the park shuttle and got off at the Yosemite Falls stop.

I wandered my way off to the right, where a path meandered its way in the vague direction of the falls.  Boardwalks and pavement make the routes here accessible to all.  There is some climb, but it is gentle as the path snakes around.  A spur goes off to a viewing point that is meant to allow you to see the upper and lower tier together, but I went past this and so did the rest of the crowd.  The crowd was large, but not so much that movement at ones own pace was awkward.  Signs along the way promised I would eventually be standing on a bridge in the spray of the fall and my dimming memory had already alerted me to a wet bridge ahead.

Ahead was the bridge.  The clumps of people on it stopped after a short distance from the other side.  Crossing it, I still could not see the falls until I got to the edge of gathered people.  The bridge was quite dry. Actually, the fall isn't even coming down in that direction and goes off to the side instead.  This probably isn't the reason the signs and my memory were wrong, that is probably due to the 50% of normal water in the snow pack and the falls are already drying out.  They are still a good spurt by southern California standards, but a pale shadow of their springtime exuberance.

I found a spot to watch the water fall for a bit.  People set up their family photos in front of the falls and generally went about their rituals.  A few kids scrambled among the boulders in the stream in disregard of the signs screaming danger from all sides and their parents let them with equal disregard.  I guess they think it won't happen to their kids, but bad accidents do happen on those rocks so it has to happen to someone's kids.  I've been known to bounce around on those rocks myself as a tyke.  Further up, one kid seemed to be trying to find a way up the fall, but then at the highest reasonable spot, turned and started encouraging a parent to get out the camera instead.

After a while, I continued down the path which took me along the more direct route to the falls.  This path warned of a steep grade I didn't really notice.  It gives the missed view of both tiers together with a short central fall as it closes in on the parking lot.  It also has a cute 3D bronze map of the local area.  Back at the road, I probably should have gone left for the closest stop, but I crossed over to the lodge instead to continue on my way around the valley.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jul 2012

Yosemite: Nevada and Vernal Falls

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

For the last day, most of the group left wanted to leave early. I didn't see any need to, but somehow managed to be packed up and ready to head out even sooner than I'd been for the Half Dome excursion. We hadn't had any more bear incidents in the night. We headed out from camp and Sunrise and Muir for the second and last time and started the long downhill. I had both pairs of socks on for that extra cushion through the granite stairways to come.

yellow flower on a thin stalk
One of the denizens of the meadow by camp.

cedar trees with fire dammage and a tunnel
A few cedar trees that have had a hard time of it in area fires.

07 July 2012

Yosemite: Half Dome

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

Ah, morning. Time to attack Half Dome for the rest of us who haven't already done it the same day as Clouds Rest. I got up plenty early to beat the heat and find out a little bit about a local bear in the area. This bear, it seems, likes packs. In the night, one of our group awoke to this bear chewing away on his son's backpack. He shooed off the bear, which the bear obligingly did while carrying the pack, empty of everything but a pair of dirty socks. He gave chase since that is sort of a needed piece of equipment, ending up plunging through the nearby meadow with its sounds of water flowing in stocking feet generating a very dirty pair of socks in the process. The bear did drop the pack after a couple short chases and it was retrieved, muddy but still quite serviceable.

While we were listening to this tale, another member camped a fair way up the hill came down to say he had a problem. In the night, someone had come and taken off with his backpack. This was going to make the last few miles down into the valley with the rest of his stuff, not to mention the difficulty in buying needed gas without cash, credit, or identity that were all tucked away in the pack. He set off on a search of the area to locate it, but a neighbor found it in their camp, so the search was nice and short. The pack was torn, but could be made to work for the downhill journey.

One more decided not to head up Half Dome and instead head down and out that day. She had just had knee surgery and had been up the dome many times before, so didn't see the need to stress her knee on the subdome portion of the route. Also, the fishing was lousy in that stream. There were all sorts of 5-6 inch fish who were too small to bite the hook and one 8 inch fish who wasn't having any of it. One of the remaining wasn't expected to make it to the top and her husband would probably stick by her, but the rest headed out to the dome after a bit of breakfast.

Half Dome and the remaining moon
A look at Half Dome and the subdome that serves as a shoulder under the remaining moon.

We quickly made it to the spur trail, even stopping to remember sunscreen on the way. From there, we started to climb back up the few hundred feet we'd dropped and a few hundred more.

a mule deer out foraging in the morning
One mule deer that was only mildly annoyed by the nearby humans as it walked a short distance off from the trail.

06 July 2012

Yosemite: Clouds Rest

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

After trying to ignore the bright moon light, the morning light finally came and with it a moment for breakfast and breaking down camp. The plan for today is to head up and over Clouds Rest to camp down at the intersection of the Sunrise and Muir Trails near the spur to Half Dome.

sunrise over Sunrise Lake
Sunrise at Sunrise Lakes isn't quite as good as the sunset this time of year.

Hiking up out of the lake basin, we quickly come to a junction with the trail in from Tenaya Lake. From there, there is a general gentle drop to some lakes and meadows and one marked creek on the map. I left getting water to the creek since I prefer to get water from them rather than lakes, so I stopped at the first creek to get some. It was little more than a trickle, but I found a good spot to take from. It turned out that there was a larger creek further on just as we started climbing in earnest after the two little lakes.

purple flowers with their faces to the sun in a tiny meadow
A small triangle of grass near the trail yielded all kinds of purple flowers all turning their faces to the sun.

05 July 2012

Yosemite: Sunrise Lakes

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

I woke up cozy and the inside of the tent dry. Others had not been so cozy overnight, but that is a danger of trying to pack light. I personally had tossed my thick fleece at the last minute, but didn't end up missing it. I got up and had a clockwise jaunt around the lake while the moon still hung in the sky.

moon over the lake as the tips of the mountain turn golden
Looking out over the lake as the shadows move down the mountain and the moon lowers in the sky.

sun coming up over Cathedral Peak
About to get nice and sunny as the shadows retreat down the mountains.

04 July 2012

Yosemite: Cathedral Lakes

Yosemite National Park

This is a multi-day trip. If you haven't read it, you might want to start at the beginning.

Locate the trailhead.

DAY 1 | DAY 2 | DAY 3 | DAY 4 | DAY 5 | DAY 6

The new morning dawned far too soon, then I realized it was the moon and not the sun. It was just a little past full and easily rivaled the predawn light. I had put the rain fly up to try to prevent that, but at least it cut the brightness a little. I managed to get back to sleep.

The morning dawned and brightened the sky over the level achieved by the remaining moon. I didn't have much to do for this day, just meet some people and find a better campsite. They were mostly coming up on the bus from the valley in the morning, then one would pick up a permit and all would start hiking in. I expected they would get to the junction above sometime a little after noon and maybe as late as 2 PM. I had lots of time, so didn't get up very early. It turned out that my not very early was quite similar to my neighbors' get up times. I saw a few tents among the trees far on the other side of the trail.

a little morning light and my tent
The morning light making its way down the mountains while my tent is still well shadowed.

I sat down to breakfast to find that everything had gotten a bit wet with dew overnight. Truthfully, I'd seen a good start to it even before I went to bed. I'd forgotten the vent on my tent, so it was a bit soggy on both sides of the fly. I wiped the water off the bear barrel with a bandanna which started to frost over in the morning chill although I wasn't even feeling like getting out the gloves. I pumped some water from the local creek and set to lighting the stove, but it wasn't having it. The matches themselves seemed reluctant to light their wood sticks. I had two danishes from the day before that had been stuck inside as extra sugary snacks for whenever. I ate these instead of the instant oatmeal and had my apple cider cold. It wasn't a bad breakfast.

mist on the small pools
Mists rose from many of the pools along the creek in the still shadowed morning. The water flowing across the flat rocks was quite delightful as well.

Ecological Staircase to the Pygmy Forest

Jug Handle State Natural Preserve Click for map. I noticed an Earthcache that looked interesting as it asks for study of an area wi...