Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hike to Minaret Lake

False Hellebore, Minarets - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike got to his camping spot very early, and since there was still plenty of time left in the day he decided to continue going up the trail with his daypack. He ended up going much farther than he had planned, all the way to Minaret Lake. The heights kept beckoning, as they say.

Just before the final switchback he spotted the above composition: false hellebore surrounded by mountain willows and backed up by the Minarets. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Campsite #2

Tent, Minarets - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike came to a stream crossing that he didn't like the look off, decided to backtrack and found a nice spot for camp number two that had obviously been used before.

And . . . as an added bonus, a view of the Minarets!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back on the Trail

Minaret Creek Cascades - Sierra Nevada  2014

Forest, Trail, Self-Portrait - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike got up at 6:15 AM (after it was light enough to see without a flashlight), broke camp, had his coffee, cocoa and granola bar and was soon on the trail heading to yet higher elevations. The Minaret cascades looked to be pretty low, nothing like previous years. Every now and then there'd be some thin cloud cover making for nice lighting conditions.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Squirrel Blogging

Squirrels - Sierra Nevada  2010

OK . . . this photo wasn't taken on Mike's latest backpack. In fact, this is a repost from his 2010 backpack, taken with a Nikon D90 in the Minaret Falls Campground. But during his most recent hike Mike did in fact witness a major squirrel battle!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Campsite #1

Tent, Campsite #1 - Sierra Nevada  2014
Forest - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike stopped for his first camp not that far past Johnston Lake, in time for lunch. No, not that far! Short hiking distances were part of his plan. He set up his small one-person Big Agnes tent and spent the rest of the day relaxing and searching out forest details.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Little Girl, Kyoto

Little Girl #1 (Kyoto) - Japan  2014

Little Girl #2 (Kyoto) - Japan  2014

. . . going for a walk in Kyoto.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Johnston Lake

Johnston Lake - Sierra Nevada  2014

False Hellebore Leaf - Sierra Nevada  2014

In the olden days (i.e., the 60's and 70's) we'd be able to dayhike up to Minaret Lake and back in a day. The first milestone on the way was Johnston Lake, shallow and reed-filled. However, for this hike Mike was much less ambitious, studying the topo map and plotting out a gradual ascent utilizing two campsites.

Anyway, here he was at Johnston Lake with his Olympus E-PL5 (with a 12-50mm zoom lens) slung around his neck. Wow!  He was pleased to find that he was able to operate the camera in spite of the altitude, taking a two-photo merge of the lake and a closeup of a late season false hellebore leaf.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

San Joaquin River, Devil's Postpile

San Joaquin River - Sierra Nevada  2014

Devil's Postpile - Sierra Nevada  2014

Top: view from the Devil's Postpile bridge over the San Joaquin River. Compare to last year's view.

Bottom: Photo of the Devil's Postpile formation looking across from the PCT/JMT. Also compare to last year's view.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Backpack Trailhead

Sunrise - Sierra Nevada  2014

Truck, Backpack, Backpacker - Sierra Nevada  2014

Mike stayed at a motel overnight in order to get up early enough to be able to drive his truck down to the Devil's Postpile trailhead (after 7:00 AM no personal vehicles allowed: you're required to take a shuttle bus). On the way: a very nice sunrise. Also the realization that he had forgotten to take his aluminum hiking pole.

Then the trailhead parking lot. Mike was somewhat surprised to find only a few cars parked there; he had expected that there would be some crowding, but no. Another backpacker was there performing much the same chores as Mike: nice light running shoes exchanged for heavy hiking boots, hydration unit clipped to the side of the pack, sandals velcro'd on the back . . . and more.

Finally the pack is set upright on the truck tailgate, put onto shoulders, the waist belt is tightened and the walk commences.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fritos & Beer, Yosemite

Fritos and Beer - Yosemite  2014

Taken in the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center parking lot. Mike was headed for a short late season backpacking trip hiking up the Minaret Lake trail, which meant travelling through Yosemite National Park over Tioga Pass.

But first! A lunch stop and the requisite Fritos 'n Beer shot.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Osprey Blogging

Osprey - Point Reyes  2014

I used an Olympus E-PL5 and a 14-150mm lens for this shot.

Alas, no fish in the bird's talons.

Sunday, September 7, 2014


Sunrise - Marin County  2014

I was taking some local hikes in preparation for an actual Sierra backpack. I took this photo during a hike that Hali and I took up Loma Alta. I used an Olympus E-PL5 camera with the 12-50mm lens.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Tokyo Bubbles

Noticing Bubbles - Japan  2014

Moving In On Bubbles - Japan  2014

Fully Observing Bubbles - Japan  2014

Sequence seen in Tokyo's Central Park in Shinjuku: toddler interested (very interested, of course) in bubbles.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Alders, Spider Webs

Alders - Point Reyes  2014

Spider Webs - Point Reyes  2014

Top: Alders seen on our Point Reyes loop hike. I tried a black and white conversion for the photo, but decided color was better.

Bottom: Spider webs seen in the damp early morning.