Sunday, September 30, 2012


Fog, Skyline - Marin County  2012

Clouds, Fog - Marin County  2012

Fog swirling around the Golden Gate Bridge.

Fog covering the bay, high monsoonal clouds overhead, with Mount Diablo far in the distance.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Red Truck / Orange Cones

Red Truck - Marin County  2012

Orange Cones - San Rafael  2012

. . . seen in the Canal area of San Rafael.

That new-model Tacoma looks almost bigger than our (older) Tundra. Hmm.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Maple Leaf and Human Beamings

Maple Leaf - Marin County  2012

Human Beamings - Marin County  2012

Taken on a hike that Hali and I did in August. An early fallen maple leaf, and a somewhat enigmatic sign.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lembert Dome - 3

Wilderness Permits Sign - Yosemite  2012

Walking Back to Truck on Tioga Road - Yosemite  2012

From yesterday: "Time went by, and although the sun was still fairly high by then it was after 3 PM: time to start back down. That's where Mike’s earlier failure to mark his return spot started to get him into trouble."

Mike’s theory for the descent was that since he had moved way over in one direction, he should move way back in the other direction. So he started to descend, downwards and to the east, the descent difficult in spots, even with Vibram soled shoes. Down below he spotted what he thought were the trees marking the trail entrance.

The slope grew progressively steeper and steeper, at various points requiring him to sit down and, yes, butt-slide, creeping cautiously downward. Alas, by the time he could recognize that he was coming down in the wrong spot, it was really too late to turn back. So he decided to at least get off the granite and onto solid ground, the thought flashing though his mind that he didn’t have a phone and that nobody knew where he was. A few last moments of steep butt-sliding, plus a last-minute back-to-front flip leading to a scary traverse of the granite, and he was off the rock and on the ground.

But on the ground where? Looking around he perceived what appeared to be the remnants of a trail: it was a trail, and almost might have been put there for the purposes of Mike. In retrospect, Mike should have followed the trail to his left in order to regain the main trail. But he didn’t know that. He started out to his right, and the trail started descending through the forest, sometimes blocked by fallen trees, but always reappearing. It wasn’t too long before he started hearing a familiar sound: the sound of traffic speeding by on highway 120. Eventually he was able to glimpse cars whizzing by and then the road, and across from the road, the Wilderness Permit office, quite a distance from where he had parked his truck! So he had come straight down from Lembert Dome to Tioga Road on a long-abandoned trail. After reaching the road he crossed over and walked back on the shoulder to his truck.

Afterwards, did Mike return to his campsite and have a beer? Probably, yes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lembert Dome - 2

Pine Tree, Lembert Dome - Yosemite  2012

Tioga Road from Lembert Dome - Yosemite  2012

Reaching the dome actually didn't take that long; Mike was at the solid upsloping granite of the dome by 2:15 PM. That's where he made a slight miscalculation, somehow neglecting to totally pinpoint his return location. You emerge from the trees onto the granite: glancing back there’s nothing to definitively mark the spot.

Anyway, Mike knew that he wanted to move over to get photo ops looking towards the west (he wasn't that much interested in attaining the actual summit of the dome.) So he moved way over to the west. While he was up there he took several photos, ranging back and forth across the expanse of the granite surface, taking note of bonsai-like (Jeffrey?) pine trees and the landscape looking east towards highway 120 far below making its way to Tioga Pass.

Interestingly enough, there weren’t even that many people up there. Time went by, and although the sun was still fairly high by then it was after 3 PM: time to start back down. That's where Mike’s earlier failure to mark his return spot started to get him into trouble.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lembert Dome - 1

Lembert Dome (Side) - Yosemite  2012

So Mike had hiked to Elizabeth Lake and back and was back at the trailhead by noon. Too soon to head back to camp! So he decided to hike up to Lembert Dome, a massive granite dome just off the Tioga Road: it was in the immediate vicinity and it wasn't supposed to be that strenuous.

He parked on the highway and walked back to the trailhead and started on up, somehow forgetting to take his iPhone and also somehow forgetting to let anyone know his plans. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Cat Blogging

Stable Cat - Marin County  2012

Stable cat caught unawares by Mike using a telephoto lens.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Photo Has It All!

Sunset, etc. - Mexico  2002

OK, let's see:

Coke Bottle . . . check.

Sailboat . . . check.

Ocean . . . check.

Pelican . . . check.

Sunset . . . check.

It has it all!

Although . . . it could have used a nude, of course.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Rosa Blanca Abarrotes - Mazatlan  2002

In Mazatlan.

Compare to Dona Maria Abarrotes taken in Ensenada.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Buckle Up Kids

Buckle Up Kids - Marin County  2012

Couch - Marin County  2012

Mike followed frequent commenter judit's advice found in an earlier post and explored the back area of Terrapin Crossroads, finding this cool piece of graffitti.

And a couch!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fritos & Beer

Fritos & Beer (Unicorn Peak) - Yosemite  2012

By the time Mike had finished exploring the meadow it was time for lunch.

Fritos & beer, with Unicorn Peak in the distance. Yum! (Unicorn Peak still too bright . . . might be better to come in the afternoon. Hm.)

By the time Mike got back to the truck, it was still relatively early. He wondered if there was some other, unplanned, short hike that he could do.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hike to Elizabeth Lake - 2

Foxtail Pines - Yosemite  2012

High Altitude Plants - Yosemite  2012

The most interesting part of the hike came when Mike kept on going past the lake and arrived at a high-altitude meadow, meandering stream and all. Very tundra-ish, with tiny little plants and scattered foxtail pines.

Nobody up there, but plenty of jets overhead.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hike to Elizabeth Lake - 1

Grass, Elizabeth Lake - Yosemite  2012

Based on a description in one of his trail guides, Mike thought that Elizabeth Lake would provide some nice photos of the lake and Unicorn Peak. So he left early in the day for the trailhead in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground and headed on up, the trail much steeper than the previous day's hike.

Alas: the rising sun was hitting the mountains straight on so that all details were lost in the glare. Ha! Anyway, Elizabeth Lake is certainly nice enough. Mike did a little loop around part of the lake, noticing these grass fronds emerging from its surface.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Cat Blogging

Cat - Mazatlan  2002

Roaming the streets of Mazatlan. Clearly going somewhere important.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Tecate - Mazatlan  2002

I think they were selling shrimp.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hike on the PCT - 4

Tuolumne River - Yosemite  2012

Deer, Tuolumne River - Yosemite  2012

Through with lunch and done contemplating the river view, Mike headed on back to the trailhead.

On the way out he noticed a deer grazing down by the river. Alas, by then the sun was up very high and the light was very flat.

Still . . . very pastoral.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hike on the PCT - 3

Horse & Rider, Tuolumne River - Yosemite  2012

Mike hiked as far as the bridge over the Tuolumne River at about the 4 mile mark. A little too early for lunch, so he headed on back to the horse and mule watering spot that he remembered from last year and sat in the shade of a tree to enjoy some leftover barbequed chicken. While he was there he observed several horses drinking from the river at that point.

Bridge - Yosemite  2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hike on the PCT - 2

Steps, PCT - Yosemite  2012

Helicopter - Yosemite  2012

Along the way, Mike had little reminders of last year's trip:

- Alarmingly steep cobblestone-like steps. Slippery, too. Yikes!

- Hali's helicopter seen overhead, off on some unknown mission.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hike on the PCT - 1

Mountains - Yosemite  2012

Tree Trunk - Yosemite  2012

Mike reached the Yosemite Pacific Crest Trail trailhead fairly early, parked in the stable parking lot, then started hiking.

After a slightly boring initial stretch, he reached the meadow area and began to get some nice mountain views, as well as some forest details.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tenaya Lake, A.M.

Tenaya Lake - Yosemite  2012

On August 23rd, Mike decided to commemorate his memorable 2011 PCT horse adventure by covering some of the same ground this year.

But on foot.

On the way to the trailhead he stopped and took this photograph of Tenaya Lake from Olmsted Point. The haze might be due to some controlled burns taking place in the park.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Turkey Vulture Blogging

Turkey Vulture - Marin County  2012

Seen by Mike as he was hiking on a dusty Marin County trail. He inched closer and closer, snapping pix all the while, until the bird took flight. It's interesting how dangerous the vulture looks in spite of its not being a predator at all.

Look at that beak! Look at those claws!

Vulture in Flight - Marin County  2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yosemite Campground Bear Box

Bear Box (White Wolf Campground) - Yosemite  2012

Yikes . . . they're way bigger than they used to be. Don't know the exact dimensions, but you can see that quite a bit of food could be stored in there. Also, ice was available from the White Wolf store.

Note the food that can be seen in the box on the right:

- Pocky. Japanese treats. Came home unopened.
- Nestles cocoa. Came home unopened.
- Wheat Thins. I ate a few of these. Kind of unappetizing . . . OK for backpacking, though, because the crackers themselves are basically indestructible.
- Nantucket chocolate chip cookies. Came home with one cookie still left.

Oh yes, no bears sighted during trip.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Arrow - San Rafael  2012

Arrow - San Francisco  2012

Top: San Rafael. Abandoned parking lot.

Bottom: SF Presidio, in between old buildings not yet ruined by being renovated.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ansel Adams' Darkroom & James Watt

A. Adams' House, James Watt - Monterey County  1984

I visited Ansel Adams' house in 1984 (alas, he was recently deceased.) In his office I found one little detail that I liked: a picture of James Watt, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, tacked to the wall with the handwritten notation: "Darts, anyone?"

Per Wikipedia: “During a 2001 interview, Watt applauded the Bush administration energy strategy and said its prioritization of oil drilling and coal mining above conservation is just what he recommended during the early 1980s. ‘Everything Cheney's saying, everything the president's saying – they're saying exactly what we were saying 20 years ago, precisely ... ’”

James Watt made Time Magazines list of "Top Ten Worst Cabinet Members."

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Figures, Beach - Mazatlan  2002

Bicyclist - Mazatlan  2002

. . . frozen in time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mazatlan Exteriors

Stairs, Palms, Doorway - Mazatlan  2002

Door, Blue Border - Mazatlan  2002

I found the process of abstracting design elements from Mazatlan's architectural exteriors very entertaining. Wouldn't mind going back, actually.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Way of the Geezer: Campfires

Campfire - Yosemite  2012

Mike recently got back from a solo Yosemite camping trip where he set up his old Coleman tent at White Wolf campground, just off the Tioga Road.

Part of the Code of the Camper is the campfire requirement. Mike doesn't really care if he has a campfire, but he respects the Code. So he always brings along some purchased firewood from the grocery store, plus a plentiful supply of Duraflame logs. The fake log is tucked in along the side of the fire ring, then firewood strategically placed so as to disguise it. Voila!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday Wilson's Warbler Blogging

Wilson's Warbler - Marin County  2012

Perched in the backyard maple tree last month.

Once Barbara ID'd it as a Wilson's I immediately looked it up on the internet.

Sure . . . of course. What's interesting to me is that the bird is described as "a common warbler." Looks fairly exotic to me, though.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Veranda, Palms, Ocean - Mazatlan  2002

. . . a palm-decorated veranda cooled by equatorial breezes, the Pacific hovering in the distance. I think this was a time-share under construction.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Terrapin Crossroads Sign - San Rafael  2012

Terrapin Crossroads, gang!

. . . and let's not forget the Philzone!