I’ve paddled twice so far this vacation.
Finally did the long, interesting levy drive north along Garden Highway. Well over an hour later I put in on the Feather at Boyd’s Landing just south of Yuba City. While it was nice, it wasn’t markedly different that paddling closer to home.
Paddling off of Crissy Beach was choppy and I didn’t make it far. There was a nice sunset beyond the Golden Gate though.
I celebrated my 30th birthday with a trip down to Joshua Tree. It was a perfect desert fix: two hikes, camp time, dirt driving, taking pictures, and walking on rocks.
The closest I got to breaking a sweat was the hike up into the Hexi Mountains. Perfectly flat walking along Fried Liver Wash led to a climb on an old mining road. A few shafts, lots of old cans, lunch relaxing against the stone miner’s cabin, and plenty of cactus. We found two tortoise shells (and one tortoise foot) on the way.
The joshua trees are obviously a highlight. Our walk to the Wonderland brought us through a dense stand, but otherwise much of our time was spent above or below the zone that they grow in.
This was my second (third?) trip to the park. I really wanted to get off the main road and we succeeded at that. The days are short. It was dusk before five.
Saw a good number of shooting stars, and learned later that it was part of the Taurid shower. The wildly different night temperatures (chill, to cold, to warm) on the three nights were a surprise. Saturday night was especially marked by the large number of insects landing on our faces.
Other things of note:
- Great food. Especially the spear caught blue rock fish.
- It was a full days drive each way.
- We drove Old Dale to the park boundary where it got rougher. We couldn’t start the truck when the alarm’s key fob died. Luckily, we found a charger and got the Xterra moving again.
- Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. Thanks guys.
- Once again I’m pining for a trip to the Basin and Range east of Reno.
Stayed at a river house on the Fall, canoed, visited Burney Falls, camped and hiked in Lassen NP (Crags camp, Manzanita Creek trail). A trip I’ll remember.
Car camping last weekend was wonderful.
Friday brought me to the pass for a staff hike. A definite perk of the job. We lunched at a lake. I especially enjoyed the company of the eight year old member of our group. She skinned her knee and I reminded her of the upside: future scab picking.
It was nice to connect with a few long distance PCTers and the volunteers who feed and cheer them on at the visitor center.
At three on Friday, I grabbed the last site in the campground. Unpacking led reading, and then to napping as I waited for friends to arrive.
We had a great time. Cooking on the fire, catching up, a ridge walk, a swim and more than a few good beers. One friend is a new father. He played the 911 recording from when his wife gave birth in a mall parking lot. Life’s amazing.
I just got an email informing me that some of my comments were used in the book Cairns: Messengers in Stone. The author and I spoke at least a year ago. I remember talking fondly about Nepal’s remarkable cairns, the summit cairns in the Grand Canyon, a cairn I built near the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia and the impressively large stacks in the Goat Rocks. We also philosophized about modern cairn building on the PCT.
I flipped through the book a few weeks ago in the outdoor shop in Lone Pine. It must have just come out. I even considered buying it. I didn’t realize that it was the book that I had been interviewed for though.