Friday, May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017 - Car Trip to Glacier Point

From Washburn Point
Title:  May 12, 2017 - Car Trip to Glacier Point
Hike Info : DescriptionAnimals : Flowers and Plants


Hike Info:
Type: Car
Destination:Glacier Point

We had a half of a day, so David-my brother, Sherri and I went on a day trip up to Glacier Point. First we stopped at Washburn Point and looked east ward. Then on to Glacier Point. Probably between the two places we were there about an hour and a half. Then coming back, we stopped at a turnout which gave us a view of the Merced River, Cascade Creel and Henness Ridge. That sparked the idea of taking the short mile and a half walk to Henness Ridge and back. After that it is time to go home, but not before stopping to take pictures of dogwoods and then Alder Creek.

 From Washburn Point

Nevada Falls

More Nevada Falls

Vernal and Nevada Falls

Illoeutte Creek

Pikwickk Cascade

Tenaya Canyon and Half Dome

From Glacier Point

Yosemite Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls

Half Dome

Henness Ridge

Henness Ridge Data Tower and Lookout from turnout on Glacier Point Road

Henness Ridge Lookout

Henness Ridge Lookout

East looking at Horse Ridge from Henness Ridge Lookout

Alder Creek

Alder Creek

Alder Creek

Tenaya Canyon from Glacier Point



Flowers and Plants



Creekside ferns

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017 - Yosemite Valley, Mirror Lake

Title: April 19, 2017 - Yosemite Valley, Mirror Lake
Hike Info : DescriptionExtra Photo's : Animals 

Trail head: Mirror Lake Tram Stop 19
Hike Info:
Type: Hiking
Trail: Mirror Lake Loop
Destination:  Ahwahnee Hotel
Distance:  7.27 miles
Start Time: 10:52
End Time:     3:12
Travel Time:   4:19 (1.68 mph)
Moving Time:  3:32  (2.06 mph)
Elevation Rise:  962'
Maximum Elevation: 4,249'
 GPS Tracks

Staircase Falls

This is to be a short hike, about 5-6 miles around Mirror Lake and then to the Ahwahnee. The idea is that we have a friend who has not been able to get out, but who loves the outdoors. Her husband (and her) hikes with us, or more accurately, we hike with them.  So Sherri, Betty and Rebecca devised a plan to get Cathey up to Yosemite and wander around the visitor center, museum, shops and cemetery in the Valley. Not be outdone, I invited a couple of John’s friends-Jerry and Roger to go with John and I for a hike around Mirror Lake.

Tenaya Creek
We meet at 7:30 and head up to Yosemite.A quick stop at Chinquapin before hitting Camp Curry. Staircase Falls is running full.  There we tried to hop on a tram to go to the Mirror Lake stop to start our hike. But the tram was full, so we walked up the road to Happy Isles. There we caught a tram over to the Mirror Lake stop, #19. We got a hint of what we are in for today.There is water running down the side of the road and we see the Merced River running swiftly and vigorously. Sounds like a start of  an amazing day.
Now we head north along the east side of Mirror Lake. We take turns walking with each other. There is something special about the companionship along a path which is almost like kinship. There are many more people today than the last time I walked it last month. 

Jerry at the Ahwiyah rockfall with Mt Watkins
When we get to Mirror Lake, we see that the lake is full and overflowing its sandy banks. The rapid moving water creates ripples on the surface so there is not much of a mirror today.  Still it is good to see the water here after so many years of it drying up sooner than it should.
We continue our walk on the east side, slowly climbing, nothing strenuous. We stop to ponder the Ahwiyah rockfall. Then we spot water coming down the Wall of Death under Half Dome. Just so jaw dropping amazing. When we finally get to the bridge across the Tenaya, we wonder how we would have crossed without it.

Our trail, a pool of water

One thing I did not mention was that this trail was akin to an obstacle course. First there was fallen trees to play limbo under. Or trees to go over or around. But no obstacle course can be without the water trap and there were some good ones.

Tenaya Creek from the bridge
Now it is back to Mirror Lake on the west side of the canyon. Just plain old walking and enjoying. When we get to Mirror Lake, we stop for a few minutes for snacks and lunch. We decide that maybe following the Valley loop trail may not be so good of an idea with Royal Arches Falls running so full. Last month when we went by the drainage for the falls, some people felt the runoff was a bit much for them. we do take the horse trail a ways down until we meet the outhouse. Then, we follow a bike path until we hit the Merced River. From there we cut over to the Ahwahnee.
Once at the Ahwahnee, we find out that the other contingent is going to the Yosemite Lodge for some eats. So we board the tram and head there, taking 10-15 minutes. Once there, we all enjoy our meal after a fun and good day. We all return via the tram to the Curry Village parking lot and pour into our cars. But there is one more thing I wanted to show them. As we go down Northside Drive, we stop a couple of miles after Camp 4 at a turn out. We go to a spot, and there is Horsetail Falls. Maybe not as exciting as in February, but it is a glorious way to end our day in the Valley. 
Horsetail Falls

Extra Photo's

Washington Column

Royal Arches Falls

Half Dome hiding behind a cloud


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

April 12, 2017 - Bluffs Trail, Montana de Oro

Title:  April 12, 2017 - Bluffs Trail, Montana de Oro
Hike Info : Description : Trail Lessons : Extra Photo's : Animals : Flowers and Plants

Trail head: Montana de Oro Parking area
Hike Info:
Type: Hiking
Trail: Bluffs Trail
Destination: Rattlesnake Creek Trailhead
Distance:  4.31 miles
Start Time: 10:43
End Time:     1:15
Travel Time:  2:32 (1.70 mph)
Moving Time:  1:34 (2.75 mph)
Elevation Rise:  361'
Maximum Elevation: 160'

We wake up to some noise around 7:00am. Next door it looks like there is construction being done for a new hotel. Then at 8 overhead is the sound of scrapping. This gets both of us up and about. The hotel has a continental breakfast which we opt to skip. Instead we wander down the street to the Apple Farm for a full breakfast. I order a full stack  of seven grain pancakes. Afterwards, I feel stuffed in a good ways-probably should have had one less pancake. We checked out of the hotel room a little before 10 and make our way to Montana de Oro.

North up the coast
On the way to Montana de Oro, it starts to rain. Will this be the end of our walking for today? We decide to go on the Bluffs Trail. Neither of us are energetic and those pancakes are really starting to make me feel sluggish. We have not been on the Bluffs Trail in a little while. The last time we were there, they were renovating the trail for handicap access. So this should be a good one to go on.
Interesting erosion
The path has gradual grades and flat, as well as wide.  We start along, taking pictures here and there, but mostly just admiring the seascape. There are birds, seagulls, which pose for us. Also some black cormorants perched on an island. That rain we were concerned about-did not show. But there was some wind, but not bothersome. Several plants have us wondering what the names of them are. Some morning glories and poppies and other fine looking plants.
There are plenty of benches to sit down on and today, I need them. Not sure why. That sluggishness I said earlier, it has broken out into a full fledged, flat out being tired. This is not a tiring trail either. Only 400’ of rise over 4 miles. I should be able to do this as a morning walk. But not today. Legs are tired, breathing hard and body just non-responsive. This is being a long walk for such a short and easy hike.

Moro Bay State Park
Tired Old Man at end of Bluffs Trail
When we reach the Rattlesnake Creek Trailhead, we hit the outhouses there and then decide which way to go. We could go to the east of the road, up in the hills with some ups and downs, or just go back the way we came. Sherri is leaving the decision to me. Usually this means going on the more challenging trail. But today, I say let’s go back the way we came. Sherri looks at me with a bit of concern. Am I sick? Is something a matter? I do not know, I just know my legs feel full of lead and I am sweating a lot.

Shoreline and Moro Rock from Bluffs Trail
But it is a good walk back. I stop several times to take pictures, at least that is what I say. I do take pictures, but maybe a bit more than warranted. On the way in, Sherri talked about a talk we hear from   Peter Kreeft on The Spirituality of the Sea.  I do not go as far as Kreeft does on how comes the Sea gives us relaxation and peace. But there is something to what he says and this is something to stop and ponder when I look out at the ocean.

Hills of Moro Bay State Park
By the time we get back to the car, it is after 1pm. But neither of us feel too hungry, at least not hungry enough for a Sylvester’s Hamburger. Something about a hearty breakfast keeps with you for a while. What to do? So we decide to head over to the pygmy pine forest. It would help to find it if I got the name right-it is really called the Elfin Oak Forest in Los Osos. It would be even better if I remembered which streets to turn on to get there. But eventually we make it there.The entrance we use is on 16th St.  We go a couple hundred yards in sand before hitting the boardwalk loop. The loop is pleasant and only about a mile. I still am lethargic, so I am glad for an easy walk. When I am alert, it is a fascinating walk. There is a variety of vegetation to look at. We complete our walk in an hour or so. The Elfin Forest is only a mile or so on boardwalk.
Moro Rock from the Elfin Forest
Moro Bay State Park from Elfin Forest
Now it is time for Sylvester’s I have a Texas Burger, which in reality is an open face burger with chili over it. It is ok, but knowing what some of the other burgers are like, I am a bit disappointed. But one good thing is that lethargicness is disappearing. So this did the trick.
Now it is time to head back to Fresno. But instead of going straight back to Fresno, we go up the coast past Morro Bay and past San Simeon to Piedras Blancas and the elephant lions.  There is something about a mammal who can snort, fart and wallow. Even though it was cold and windy, we stayed out watching them and fascinated. As we looked around, we saw a couple interpretive signs. Looking at them, we realize that the signs were created by a friend of our, Faith Rumm.

After leaving Piedras Blancas, we travel up Highway 46 past Paso Robles and on the way home. Except, that we have another thought. Maybe a perfect ending is to swing around Hanford for some ice cream. Like a sundae with chocolate chip ice cream and fudge topping. That is a perfect way. We roll into Fresno around 9pm, content with our couple of days.

 Trail Lesson:   Even hiking, you can have one of those days.

Extra Photo's
North from the Bluffs Trail

Ocean and Plants

Seagulls posing


Black Cornanets

Spider web in the grass

Common Checkspot

Common Checkspot

Flowers and Plants
Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Gypsum Loving Larkspar

California Golden Poppy