Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fountain (Red Jacket)

In SF recently . . . taking pix of the Vaillancourt Fountain.

Photo: Vaillancourt Fountain—San Francisco, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summit: Mt. Whitney #2

Getting to the base camp was a weary slog. Normal backpacking chores awaited the campers upon their arrival at Consultation Lake: the selection of a campsite and the setting-up of the tent amidst the above-timberline scenery. Very little soil was available for the tent pegs to find a purchase: some of the tent loops had to be wrapped around shards of granite.

Then, the eagerly anticipated freeze-dried spaghetti meal. Alas, the altitude (11,590 feet) had taken its toll—no one could eat more than a token amount of the spaghetti-substance meal. Luckily, in 1977 there was a convenient outhouse placed for the benefit of hikers. Mike carried the pot over . . . (here, we will draw a merciful veil over further description of spaghetti-substance disposition. Interestingly enough, there are currently no outhouses in the vicinity. Campers are now required to pack everything out. Everything, if you know what I mean, and I think you know what I mean.)

Windy during the night: classic high-altitude scene of flapping tent sides with intermittent clambering out to check the tent tie-downs. Neat. In retrospect.

Early the next morning came the push to the top on the at times frozen-over trail. Vistas opened up amidst the zigzagging switchbacks; the broad plateau summit of Mt. Whitney was finally reached (at that time, blessedly free of cell phones.) Mike’s Nikon F was pressed into service on a time delay as the intrepid climbers, clad in high altitude jackets warding off the chill mountain air, assembled for an "I was there" photo. In the background, the impressive peaks of the Great Western Divide.

The return events have mostly been lost to memory. Once back at camp we loaded up our backpacks, then had to endure the knee-banging trip back to the car. On our hike back down the trail we looked for the icicles, but of course by then they had all melted.

Photos: Mt. Whitney Summit (Joe, Joe & Mike)—Sierra Nevada, 1977; Mt. Whitney Trail—Sierra Nevada, 1977; Summit Lunch—Sierra Nevada, 1977

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Icicles: Mt. Whitney #1

In October, 1977 Mike, Joe (his brother) and Joe (his brother-in-law) climbed Mt. Whitney. (Actually, the route they took, strictly speaking, is not a "climb" but rather a strenuous hike. But "climb" sounds better.)

So, there was the possibility that the weather could be very cold: down jackets, parkas, the Sierra Designs tent and such-like were stowed in the backpacks. A large freeze-dried spaghetti meal was purchased. All was in readiness, and then the escape from Los Angeles: the miles leading to BLM’s Tuttle Creek campground just outside of Lone Pine zipped by.

Next morning: the road heading up to the trailhead at Whitney Portal, when the innocent question was asked:

"I wonder if the dinner will fit into the pot you brought."

And then the immediate response:

"Whuddya mean, the pot I brought. You were the one bringing the pot!"

"Hell no! You were bringing the pot!"

After many amusing back-and-forths, it finally turned out that, of course, no one had brought a pot for cooking the wonderful pasta dish. So: U-turn, back to Lone Pine for the purchase of a pot.

The first day’s hike featured a great icicle find by Brother Joe with pix by Mike.

Photo: Icicles—Sierra Nevada, 1977

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bob Hope Airport / Tarmac

We never call it the Bob Hope Airport. We call it Burbank, as in "We're flying into Burbank." Nice little airport: you can walk to the car rental agencies and, the best part, disembark onto the tarmac.

Yes, tarmac.

Photos: Bob Hope Airport Sign—Burbank, 2010; Disembarking—Burbank, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


At the upper end of the campground. Please see tripod essay, here.

Photo: Photographer—Death Valley, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Horse Blogging

This is Clousseau, Tuffy's next-door neighbor.

Photo: Clousseau—Marin County, 2008

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Taken from the Texas Springs campground looking west.

Photo: Sandstorm—Death Valley, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Melrose Avenue #20: Save Urself

Typical overcast morning in Los Angeles. More Kai art here.

Photo: Save Urself—Los Angeles, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Horse Trailer & Self-Portrait

Photo taken at the Devils Gulch horse camp. Trailer belongs to Linda.

Photo: Horse Trailer & Self-Portrait—Marin County, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ferns, Creek

More from Devils Gulch. OK, OK: so I used a—gasp—tripod again! For the top photo, anyway.

Pix from last year here and here.

Photos: Ferns & Bay Leaves—Marin County, 2010; Lagunitas Creek—Marin County, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Devils Gulch

It's too tedious to put in an apostrophe. Very quiet and serene down in the, you know, gulch. Dark and cool. Yes, I used a tripod. For the top photo, anyway.

Photos: Devils Gulch—Marin County, 2010; Tree Trunks—Marin County, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dried Grass

Very hot and dry at Barbara's annual Devils Gulch horse camp. Hard to convey in a photo.

Photo: Dried Grass—Marin County, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Horse Blogging

I have designated this meadow as Horse Camp Meadow.

Here we see the reason: horses (and mule), let loose for the day, dashing for the supremely best grazing spot in the whole meadow.

This was during a horsepacking trip that Hali, Dan and I took in 2001. My trusty steed, Pilgrim, is in the foreground, moving too fast for the camera’s shutter speed, thus blurred.

Photo: Horse Camp Meadow—Sierra Nevada, 2001 (reposted)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Three Figures

Found in Oakland, near the City Center/Preservation Park area. I met Mary and Jamie for lunch at Cafe Rio, which Jamie claimed was a Secret Spot, but both the statues and the restaurant are referenced in this article.

Photo: Three Figures—Oakland, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blackberry Alert

Taken July 14th . . . just starting to ripen.

Photo: Blackberries—Marin County, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Melrose Avenue #19: Vases, Self-Portrait

. . . and a particularly unflattering (but not obscure) self-portrait, at that.

Photo: Vases (Self-Portrait)—Los Angeles, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Climbing Mt. Agassiz

Early the next day we set off on the interminable switchbacks leading towards Bishop Pass. Once we reached the pass we turned left towards the mountain picking our way through the surrounding rocks and boulders. There are any number of chutes leading towards the summit—we picked one at random. Carefully studying the placement of hands and feet we finally reached the top.

Once back at our camp, hot and tired, Joe contemplated the small creek near our campsite, then plunged his face into the icy water as was his wont.

Photo: Joe on Mt. Agassiz—Sierra Nevada, 1974; Joe on all Fours—Sierra Nevada, 1974; Joe Face in Water—Sierra Nevada, 1974

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mt. Goode

After our arrival at camp there was still plenty of daylight left. Joe scanned the topo map and conceived of a plan to climb Mt. Goode (13,085 elevation) that afternoon, which plan he immediately put into practice.

Alas, both his energy level and climbing skills were far higher than mine: I watched from afar as his minute figure reached the summit and studied the view down the canyon created by Bishop Creek.

Photos: Mt. Goode—Sierra Nevada, 1974; Joe on Mt. Goode—Sierra Nevada, 1974

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mt. Agassiz

I first climbed Mt. Agassiz (13,899 elevation) with a Sierra Club outing in 1974.

It took hardly any effort to convince Joe Mundy that we should plan a joint expedition to the top later that year. As we donned our backpacks and started hiking towards Bishop Pass the looming bulk of Mt. Agassiz gradually came into view; we established a base camp just below the final switchbacks heading up to the pass.

Photos: Mt. Agassiz—Sierra Nevada, 2007; Mt. Agassiz—Sierra Nevada, 1974

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Monkey Blogging

Very expressive, I deem.

Photo: Snow Monkey—Japan, 2008

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Desert Flowers

I pulled over to take a photo of the road receding in the distance. Then I noticed these yellow flowers.

Photo: Desert Flowers—San Bernardino County, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lake Nicasio Banner

Another Photoshop adventure.

First example here.

Photo: Lake Nicasio (banner)—Marin County, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Night Lights

The booth across the way at the Fairfax Festival always has access to electricity for the purpose of displaying these night lights. Neat. Almost like an avant-garde installation.

Photo: Night Lights—Marin County, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spirit Rock (June, 2010)


Photo: Spirit Rock (Summer)—Marin County, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spirit Rock (May, 2010)


Photo: Spirit Rock (Spring)—Marin County, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spirit Rock & Thistles . . .

. . . in the fog.

Photo: Spirit Rock & Thistles—Marin County, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Monday Cow Blogging

Cows deep in the grass just in front of Spirit Rock.

Spirit Rock is also the name of the nearby meditation center. Notice the graphic representation of the namesake formation in the upper left hand corner of their web site.

Photo: Cows, Spirit Rock—Marin County, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Seen on Whidbey Island last year.

Photo: Flag—Whidbey Island, 2009

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Best Buy

At the Best Buy store in San Rafael. This is a ramp leading up to the parking lot on top. Never been up there.

Photo: Best Buy Ramp—Marin County, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Booth Shadows

Booth shadows seen before at the Oakland Farmers Market. Then: palm tree shadows. Now: redwood shadows.

Photos: Redwood Branch Backlit—Marin County, 2010; Redwood Branch Shadows—Marin County, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010