Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Escape from Los Angeles,

My getaway plan was simple enough. No tunnel digging required or scaling barb wire fences  and not even one hacksaw in a cake! I just figured if Barley and I were on the road by Zero-Dark Early time, we'd breeze right through the City of Angels. Wrong!

Where did all those drivers come from and who is making them? This is the down side of the Golden State. Too many humans inhabiting the place. Alas, it was a great visit though.

I'm now in Zion National Park, Utah after a brutally long  seven hour drive. OY! I'm whooped. 

The Mormon pioneers considered the Zion area to be a sanctuary. Other than the occasional flash flood (a recent deluge just took the life of a hiker in the Narrows portion of the Virgin River), it's a region of grandeur. For a few days it'll be my sanctuary too. 
I'm not planning on hiking in the Virgin River though. The waterline would be waist deep on me. The Bailey's Irish Cream colored liquid is a chilly, hyperthermia inducing 55 degrees too.
Screw that!

I'm hiking the 10-plus mile East Rim trail mañana. I already made the size large caterpillar into a hummus-like spread. No worries, I added heaps of garlic to remove the gamey taste. 

Good night from Springdale, Utah.

PS. I have three pounds of coffee and two cases of IPAs. Like a Boy Scout, I came prepared for the Beehive State. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sambur's 60th Soirée II

Sambur's 60th Soirée II

If you have already RSVP'ed me, thanks! If not, please continue reading.

Please consider this a personal invite.

It would be nice to see some of my old acquaintances. Maybe get the chance to break some bread, imbibe in a drink or two and tell a few yarns. 
And yes, the Bronco game will be on the big screen at the Tap & Handle too. I'll bet you are capable of drinking and watching the game at the same time. Maybe even speaking between plays. 

So...here's the Admit One invite once again. Print it out or scrawl a facsimile. If we gather enough revelers, it's a private party! 

Help a fella out! Renting a bar is on my bucket list! 

Hope to see you all on Sunday, October 19th.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Montana de Oro State Park, California...

Might be smallish in size but it's large on views. Sporting a whole seven miles of rugged California coastline, it would be a developer's dreamland. 
Too bad for those greedy speculators. The state beat them to the table by purchasing the property in 1965. Score one for the masses.

This landlubber got his seaside fix by strolling along those beaches, bluffs and one 1,000' summit. All this with a less than energetic body and mindset. (It might have been that extra 8.5% IPA I drank last night.) 

I even went for a "Sambur swim." I dipped my toe in the Pacific Ocean. Why would anyone do a full-on immersion? There's fish and other creatures doing their bodily functions in that watery mix!

Good night from Moro Bay, California.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Southern-most Redwoods, Pacific Ocean and...

and bathing beauties.

Another species of big trees demanded equal hugs, so I drove to Big Sur.

Here lies the most distant southern outpost of the Coastal Redwoods. 95% of the original old growth Redwoods are a thing of the past seen only in photos. That outside deck/patio you are walking upon might be made of Redwood. The wood is tough, attractive and very resistant to wear and tear. 

I'm glad these specimens avoided the chopping block.

Here's a photo of a baby Redwood. Even the Mighty start out small. I am patiently waiting for my growth spurt.

Here's a gang of Elephant Seals after a long bender. That must have been some party. 
I hope they applied enough sunscreen.

I've run out of western movement. Barley can't swim. It'll be time to turn south and east soon.


Pinnacles National Park, California...

Welcome to America's newest National Park. This little known hard-to-get-to place began as a National Monument until it's upgrade in 2013. I would suggest vIsiting during the week. I believe it would be worth the effort to arrive here.

That is if quiet, low volume humans, sustainable space around your campsite and unusual (not take your breath away) landscape piques your curiosity. 

 I won't BS you, this isn't the Sierra Nevada, but it's nice. 

It's 7:47 pm and I'm already horizontal in Barley scratching out this post.
If you enjoy a swinging night life, don't bother to follow my wheel on this lifestyle I've chosen.
You would be bored beyond tears.

Ain't that tarantula photo something? They are pretty tasty once you sear the hair off of them. They are kosher too. 

Happy New Year II,

Congress Trail, Sequoia National Park...

"Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed -- chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones." John Muir

With a name like Sequoia National Park, one would assume you'd be bumping into one gargantuan after another. So not true.

These ancient trees hang out in cliques. The NPS calls them groves. They don't run in a continuos range. They are quite content to keep company with a few close buddies. They are magnificent.

In a previous post, I mentioned how the wood's quality sort of sucks for mankind's needs. Despite this economic fact, thousands of these beauties were slaughtered as if they were game. 

In 1875, an average sized Sequoia was toppled by two loggers in nine days. A cross section was sent east for its entertainment value. Those pessimistic easterners (like me) deemed it the "California Hoax." Little did they know, they were getting the runt of the litter.

On the morning of Rosh Hashanah (5775 of the Jewish New Year. We've been around longer than the Methuselah Tree!) I took a silent, peaceful stroll along the Congress Trail. I got to hug the President, see the House and the Senate standing around. (At least these trees are awe-inspiring instead of yawn-inspiring). And finally see one bear.
For me, It was far more spiritual than attending a New Year service. I was already in God's Temple and there was no guilt involved.

As you can see from the last photo, in California if you can't beat the bear obsession, join 'em.

Happy Jew Year to all,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alta Peak, Sequoia National Park...

This 11,200' summit might be barely above tree line, but the views were in the stratosphere of incredible.

Check out the Great Western Divide, a split between the King, Kern and Kaweah watersheds. 

I'm going to miss the Sierra high country. So many peaks, views and valleys to visit, so little time.

Cheers from Fresno!
Only for a night.


General Sherman Tree, Sequoia National Park...

Meet General Sherman the largest living thing in the world (by a volume measurement). Standing in front of the Union Civil War hero is me, one of the smallest living things on the planet by volume.
See the difference?

Fun Big Tree Factoids: If one were able to fill this club shaped red and green behemoth with water, it would be enough liquid to fill a bathtub each day for 27 years. (Who takes baths these days anyway. Talk about "stewing in your own juices" Yech!)

The General owns a 36.5' diameter at its base. It's largest branch has a diameter of 6.8'. 

It's a good thing the Sequoia's wood is so brittle, soft and kind of a weak, or else they might have befallen the same fate as their Redwood relatives. 

As you can see from the photos, the sequoias have a lot of groupies. People from all over love to see these big fellas. I think the trees need an agent besides the National Park Service. 

Happy 5775! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Manzanar Japanese-American Internment Camp...

If you have been reading my blog, you're aware of my love for the U.S. By following  the simple rules of paying my taxes and obeying the laws, Barley and I are allowed to galavant as we please in America's wonderlands. Piece of cake! 

That being said, I know my country makes mistakes. IE: requiring bear canisters, Operation Plumbbob (testing the effects of nuclear blasts on U.S soldiers), the Republican  Tea Party and sadly the internment of Japanese Americans (without due process) from their west coast homes and businesses after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. 

I felt compelled to make a stop at Manzanar in the Owens Valley to see the historical remains of America's less then stellar moments. 

In February 1942, FDR issued Presidential Order 9066, authorizing the removal of those who might thwart the war effort. In other words, Japanese Americans who were guilty by association. 

At Manzanar's peak, 10,000 evacuees resided in an Army barracks type of living situation. Often times, strangers lived with strangers. Personal space went out the door. Sanitation was an afterthought. These people were robbed of there rights! 

After nuking Japan, the war in the Pacific ended. The internees were free to leave. For their troubles, they were handed $25 each. Not even a sorry for the inconvenience. 

It wasn't until 1988, the U.S. Civil Liberties Act awarded the survivors $20,000 each and a formal apology. Too little, too late.

BTW: No Japanese American was ever accused or arrested for espionage during WWII. 

If one individual loses their Constitutional rights, we all lose.

Goodnight from Lone Pine, CA

The Palisades, John Muir Wilderness...

"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir

So I went! For one last hurrah backpack trip into the eastern Sierra Nevada. If you remember from my last post, the garments in my backpack were beginning to outweigh the food items. This time it was a good thing.  I woke to White Death (AKA snow). Yech! 

Jews don't do snow. We are NOT the "Frozen Chosen." 

Ma Nature and my achy knees, shoulders, back and other extremities are telling me it's time to go for gentler hikes. I've been going uphill for well over a month. My body is saying "Bring  on Kansas!"

So...mañana I'll be heading to Sequoia National Park to hug a few of the big guys. The great thing about trees is they won't run away from an embrace. Wish I could say the same thing about my infrequent dates.

Goodnight from Lone Pine, California

Friday, September 19, 2014

Morgan Pass, John Muir Wilderness...

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks" John Muir

I woke up knackered! I was undergoing a low battery morning despite two pots of coffee. A glance at the sky showed more gray masses blocking out the Robin's egg blue background. The smell of burning trees hung heavy in the air from a distant fire. My motivation stunk on ice.

However, the thought that doing a laundry would be the highlight of my day drove me and Barley up to Little Lakes Trailhead. I soon found out I made the right choice. My sweaty laundry could wait.

There's mentions on Google of folks motoring up this pass. I saw a relic of a chassis so it must be true. All that was prior to the Wilderness Act of 1964. No! No! No! To motorized vehicles or even bicycles. Good, it's quieter that way. 

I'm heading in mañana for two nights of my last hurrah backpack trip into the Sierra Nevada. When the pounds of clothes your carrying outweighs the food items, it's time to call it a season. 

The area is named the Palisades, and it won't disappoint. Nothing here has so far.

From one of the photos, you can see the season is changing. Brrr! in the high country when the sunsets. 

Enjoy your weekend. I will...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remember the Mono Lake post?

Well, I'll refresh your memory or you can read the sad post with the OK ending.

The Los Angeles Water and Power Department diverted and impounded many creeks flowing east from the majestic Sierra Nevada ranges in the early 1900's. It was the era of who cares about the environment when we have people and golf courses to water in Southern California. 

By 1941, the liquid stuff from Rush Creek was being gravity force fed into the Los Angeles aqueduct. Mono Lake was left to desiccate in the Great Basin when it's life blood was severed. In the 1980's, the Mono Lake Committee and other environmentally aware groups saved the day with litigation and other soft-core arm twisting. Some water from Rush Creek would flow toward Mono Lake preventing it from becoming a dry lake bed. The lion's share would end up in LA-LA Land. It was a hard fought battle that ended in a draw.

So...guess what I saw on my hike in the Ansel Adams Wilderness?

The damn dam on Rush Creek which creates Waugh Lake! The dam was in place prior to the Wilderness Act of 1964, so it gets to stay there. 

The little drip at the bottom of the dam is what Rush Creek and Mono Lake are allowed to drink. 

Take a good look at the photos. Yes, California is in a drought. Check out those tree stumps and the bathtub ring from the higher water years. 

Today's water lecture is now over,
Good night!