Travels and Images
WEEK 36 2006
Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday 9 September
- down to the boat. First I watched the space shuttle take off, then
fell asleep on the couch. So I didn't get down to Oxnard until three or
The vanish is nearly all stripped on the exterior brightwork. It feels
odd, having someone else do the work, but I just haven't the time. My
guy has done as much in a week as I'd be likely to do in the next two
I picked up some teak "brightener" since the bare wood was rather
mottled and uneven in color. The varnish has some coloring to it, and
should help hide whatever mottling is left. (Not that there is anything
wrong with a 25 year old boat having less than perfect woodwork.) I
also picked up some epoxy, for filling small cracks in the wood, where
it wasn't bad enough to require pulling the wood up, but where you
wanted the splits not to enlarge.
And some paint - medium blue, a couple of quarts, for the exterior edge of the bulwark. It should look good...
For the record, my friend in Oxnard has gone beyond the call of duty to
keep and eye on things - I was able to help him a bit with some
computer stuff, but I'm in his debt again.
The head has issues. Ugh. Guess I'll look at that next weekend.
Friday 8 September
Friday - work.
Thursday 7 September 2006
- back at work.
Wednesday 6 September 2006
- back at work, alas.
The Mt. Whitney hike, continued
From Trail Crest it was about another three miles to the top.
The trail winds along a the rocky backside of the mountain. Most
mountains, in my experience, are rather rounded on top, despite
appearances. Whitney is much the same - on the west side. On the east
side it drops off in a cliff!
The trail drops down a bit as it heads north, and then splits, with the
right hand path going off to Mt. Whitney three miles away and the left
hand path going off to Crabtree Ranger Station, nearly seven miles
away. We could see Pradeep, ahead of us, had taken the wrong trail, and
so we hollered and whooped until we got his attention - he was probably
a quarter mile or so down the wrong trail, but sound (fortunately)
carries far on mountains. He came back and headed down the correct path
whilst Dave and I took a breather.
At the junction were a number of backpacks - people walking the 211 miles of the John Muir Trail
didn't see the necessity for packing fifty pounds of gear up to the
top. I don't blame them; Dave and I left our ( maybe 20 pounds each )
daypacks behind, keeping just some water and hiking poles. The trail
started out decent enough, but began to degenerate. Eventually it
almost disappeared among rocks and boulders, which really slowed us
"One foot in front of the other" became my personal mantra. We passed
Pradeep again, who had stopped a mile or so up the trail to rest and
drop off his daypack - to drop off everything but his Nikon digital
Mt. Whitney sub peaks from the back. Do you see the hikers?
The hikers are center left in the above picture,
here they are in an enlargement. Notice the size
of the rubble, and the lack of a trail.
Finally, after nearly three hours more of walking, we arrived at the
top. It was 3:30 pm, so we'd been on the trail, walking nearly
continuously, for twelve hours (which works out to a bit under one mile
Tuesday 5 September
Tuesday - Dawn found us at Outpost Camp
[cool 3D panorama pages], if my memory serves. We stopped, had a Clif
Bar and some Gu, then headed on upwards. Essentially the trail is a
series of switchbacks up several little plateaus, probably glacial. A
bit past Outpost Camp was Mirror Lake. It was a little breezy -
zephyrs, really, so not very mirror like. The sun had yet to rise
enough to hit the water proper, but was on the cliffs above the lake.
After Mirror lake there was a longish climb up a rocky gully with a
stream off to one side, and eventually Trail Camp, at the base of the
infamous 97 switchbacks up to the ridge line. Trail Camp is above the
tree line, on a little lake. There are a couple of non-functional
"solar toilets", and a number of tents were pitched out. Despite
numerous signs asking, pleading, demanding that people not feed the wild life people were indeed hand feeding the marmots, and encouraging their children to do the same.
We didn't stop, but proceeded on, to the rocky switchbacks. By my count
there were 104, not 97, but I admit to being rather tired by this time
and may have miscounted - this was about nine miles in and thousands of
feet of elevation climbed. Dave and I first met "Pradeep" here - a
tourist from India, with a nice camera. We passed each other several
times, and chatted a bit. At one point I told him that the guide book
claimed there were 97 switchbacks, and that we'd already covered 62.
This was a great moral booster for him, though he looked rather crushed
when we got to the top of #97 and it wasn't at the crest.
I felt much the same, but there was no turning back at that point.
Eventually we all reached the trail crest, over 13,000 feet, and
realized that we had three miles and nearly 1000 feet more of elevation
gain. I think we considered seriously going back for the first time. It
was already after noon, and all the park rangers and experienced
climbers had insisted on the necessity of "summiting" before noon. For
the last couple of days there had been clouds in the afternoon, and
threats of lightning.
But we decided to go on.
Monday 4 September 2006
Monday - departure was to be 2:00 am, but
my camera didn't beep (that we heard), so we actually got off at about
3:45 am. ( I have the camera "sounds" turned off, but it didn't occur
to me that the control would also turn off the alarm. Oh well. )
It was dark, but we both had headlamps. Mine was an old style
incandescent, but Dave's was a really nifty LED light. You could see
little dots of light bobbing along the trail switchbacks above the
valley floor - other hikers (mostly) ahead of us, very neat. There
wasn't much moonlight, but the headlamps were enough for the broad
trail through scrub and duff. Off to the east in the Owens' Valley you
could see the late morning lights of Lone Pine, well below us.
As we progressed up the trail the sky lightened with the false dawn, then predawn, then finally the sun itself.
Sunday 3 September
Sunday - this was actually a day of rest.
After walking about 10 miles yesterday for conditioning and
acclimatization to the higher altitude, we just sort of "hung out".
We'd spent the night at Horseshoe Meadow, car camping.
Wonderful stars - the Andromeda galaxy was directly overhead at one point during the night, an easy naked eye object.
Our "hanging out" also involved going down to Lone Pine and getting
lunch, then heading up to Whitney Portal for a parking spot and evening
camping spot. Which proved nearly impossible - there were hordes
of people at the Portal. We drove around and around, desperately
looking for a spot to park. We finally found a spot in the day visitor
lot, near the fishing pond, and just walked around and napped a bit,
until in early evening a spot opened up in the overflow overnight
parking lot. There were no camping spots available, so we slept in the
Explorer until our early morning departure.