Sunday, May 20, 2018


Tossing and turning happens, with the anticipation of sunrise I make sure the last toss puts me inline for the sun peaking into the basin.  I saw the first pink of new day on Dromedary Peak.  I sat up.  Sitting in a quilt is much like that of a mummy bag except the back can get cold.  I snuck an arm into my puffy down jacket.  After a bit, I flashed to pack with the intention of having coffee and breakfast on the rocks.

The fellow who camped near by was surprised that I was packed so early.  A late night six pack of 20yr olds pitched a huge dome tent on the rocks and one had a 2 burner propane stove out cooking bacon.  Where was their mule?  No mule, they all took a chunk of group gear and time to get up here.  PS they got in just after dark.

I laid out my quilt and ground sheet to dry in a light breeze.  I struck the canister stove to boil water for an overnighter treat, mountain house sausage & eggs, followed by coffee.  Not like what the kids were enjoying but, a treat for me. They missed out on the coffee.

Light blasted the Sundial.  Day hikers made there way in.  The morning, clear, perfect for a hike there and for myself, down.

Before I split, I took a look for trash.  I found a cache of crushed beer cans, empty cigarette packs, and a bottle of ketchup.  I didn't have a very big trash bag with me.  I chose the near full bottle of ketchup since it's a food item and will attract rodents.  I also kicked a part an illegal firepit.  Why, oh why do people do this?  There are multiple signs saying Pack it in, Pack it out.  Also there is a permanent fire ban in this basin.  Hundreds will hike this trail.  Thousands will pass between Mrmorial Day and Labor Day.  We all need to do our part of keeping pristine, pristine.  End Rant.

I sit drinking more wake up juice in the afternoon, the gear is sorted and put away, clouds roll across the SL Valley.  Rain follows.

Call this a micro-adventure (less than 24 hours) or call it a mock-overnighter.  Call it a major event for some like the kids I met.  The important thing is to get out there, get comfortable with the gear.  Find an experienced friend, hook up with an outdoors group, or rent some stuff from an outfitter.  Quit dreaming, go.

Liz Thomas, an established long distance hiker,  writes an article on the how and why short adventures work... you'll need to copy and paste that line.

I also want to encourage all to be mindful of the trash (pick it up), respect others, and be wise with sharing online adventures.  I'll highlight that one another day.

First Ruck

Micro adventures abound near SLC.  I debated abound hiking up last night but, I held off, more on that later.  Today, I debated when to go. I decided to skip Capital Church's afternoon and evening services.  I stashed the pack from the bin, drove to the over flowing trailhead of Mill B or D.  I'm forever getting these two mixed up.

I huffed and puffed a while, yes, I'm in shape but not the best of shape yet.  I passed many a group going up and coming down on their day hike.

The Sun Dial came to view, dozens lounged on the rocks over looking the lake.  I split to a camping area just out of sight.  Lots of wet but, I did find a spot that is dry.  I threaded my tent stakes into the ground with a given view of the peak.

As I set up another fellow asked where he could set up.   My question of him is do you have a free standing tent.  He does and he's in view of the masses and thankfully his tent is of muted colors.  I hate the sight of bright tents up here,  they make the place look crowded when it may only be one or two people.

I wandered a bit thinking of where I'll make my morning brew.  Last night I found my way into the most expensive cup of coffes I'll ever enjoy, all of the cost for a conversation.  I headed to one of my reading spots, finishing up, I took someone else's pate to the counter, struck up a conversation with another regular and the staff.  He offered me a mug of private brew.  The staff brewed it for him.  This stuff is mellow, smooth, and nutty.  A light roast with a unique processing, the coffee berries are fed to a particular kind of cat, then gathered, cleaned, and then roasted.  Yeah, now when somome says coffee tastes like **** I'll respond if you have that kind of processed coffee I'd like a cup.

I'm set upon a rock watching light escape this basin, chilled, and enjoying sounds of waterfalls, birds, and the occasional passing plane. Snow covers most the high basin, Lake Blache's ice is spotty, doubtful it'd hold a fox any more.  I ponder will I see moose in the morning?

Time to bounce to camp, grab the jacket.  Time for a hot tea.

Hike On, Hoke Wise.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Missed thoughts

Where are the thoughts?
Open the image to find out...

Thursday, May 10, 2018

hike training

More thoughts from work about hiking...

A different format

I'm playing with a different format for the blog for a whileso please click on the photo.


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Lack of...

The shear number of hikes I've gone on over the last few months is reaching an all time low.  The motivation to get up there, isn't.  Since October I've dove into reading as if reading all of a sudden became life.  My preferred genre balances between biographies, several different styles of self help, and philosophical topics.  The lack of hiking and increase of reading does not negate the desire to section hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

The SnoTel, PCT Water Report, and NOAA Weather sites see almost daily visits from me.  The plan is loose, hike another major section with a 125 mile per week goal.  Yes, you read and calculated that right, 25 miles a day 5 days a week or 20 miles per day for 6 of 7.  Let's not forget that I need a full day or two in places for resupply, hence part of the higher mileage requirements. This goal is do able with training.  I'm in the gym three days a week now.  My focus isn't loosing the gut.  Yes, I have one.  My focus is building leg strength and cardio.

Though my base weight (gear carried less consumables) hovers near 15 pounds, I still refine what I use each hike.  Last summer, in Oregon, a 20 degree quilt proved too hot at night.  This summer, I'll try a 30 degree quilt.  I should be comfortable most nights and push a little discomfort on the coldest.  Stove wise, I'm going to the tiny BRS canister.  At 1 ounce it is the lightest on the market, though  not the most durable.  I plan one or two hot meals a week, the rest will be cold soaked.  Cold soaking is just that, pour water into the meal and wait.  Typically it takes over twice as long to reconstitute a meal over the hot water method.  Clothing, nothing is changing except I'm getting a new red shirt, maybe not red, how am I going to tell the difference between hikes?

The location I'm headed towards tends to have a lot more water and a lot more ridgelines or skirting the tops of the mountains.  Water won't be a major concern this summer, watching the fires will (sorry Mom, I have to mention this).  Fires are popping up as a major concern for Oregon in the hiker forecasts already.

Lack of, hiking but not of preparation.

Hike on, hike wise.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Red Pine, January 1 2018

For sure the trailhead is packed, I thought driving up Little Cottonwood Canyon at 9:30 am.  Moments later, all of 5 vehicles were there.  I noted one guy preparing his skis and another with snow shoes on his pack just leaving.  I took a few minutes myself to ready up.  I hate driving in snow boots, so I put them in.  I too, put the snow shoes on the pack.  Why wear them when I'll be on hard pack?

Rounding out of the trailhead I saw a family group posing for a family portrait.  Beyond them, no one and no fresh snow.  There's just enough packed snow to cover the rocks.  Then I stumble over one, bawha.

I make good time to the trail split of Red Pine and White Pine.  I caught up with the skier.  He takes the  White Pine trail.  I look at the snow bridge.  Hum, do I chance it?  It's all over 10 inches strong over the creek.  I do it.  At this temperature and time of day, it's not a problem, later in the day it may present an issue.  Noted on the way down, others cross the snow bridge, at that time I take the real bridge which hardly has any snow on it.  This time of year of years past there is 2 to 3 feet of snow on the real bridge.  This is a sad snow year.

I take my time but still push a good pace.  I stop for a few minutes about 1 1/2 miles from the trailhead where the trees open up for a good view down Little Cottonwood for a view of the valley.  I don't see any haze.  This is good.  In times past there's been a wall of yuck at this hour.

Turning into Red Pine Canyon the slope is decorated with ski turns through the trees.  From here I have a mile odd to go.

The next trail split is to Maybird Gulch.  The trail crosses another bridge.  This one too has very little snow on it.  

45 minutes later I'm at the lake.  Someone cleared snow for a tent site.  18 inches is all they needed to go down.  Looking at the mountain before me, a field of rock from the ridge to the lake decorated with a bit of snow.  I can see why I hardly note any ski tracks near by.

I share a bit of time with another hiker while I pull out an alcohol stove.  I set my pot/stove on an over turned snow shoe.  Even with a windscreen and peice of aluminium under it, the cold prevents my water from boiling in what I think is a reasonable time.  The other hiker and I share a few tips and tricks about hiking in the Wasatch before he leaves.

I'm alone at the lake enjoying a hot meal, if one calls ramen noodles and tuna a hot meal.  I also take time to steep a mug of tea.  The clearness of the air, inviting.  The lack of snow, disappointing.  I debate heading to the upper lake but, since there is no one else here I chose not to.  I typically would go if I felt crowded out.

I keep an extra layer on as I head down.  A long time ago I learned I sweat on the way up and I freeze on the way down so I layer accordingly. I don't see another hiker until I get well below the bridge to Maybird.

Near the main trail split, I see plenty of folks.  The route down from there is packed with families sledding in the trees and along the trail.

Heading down Little Cottonwood Canyon I enter into the rising haze of the day.

*This post was started on January 1, 2018 but not finished until recently.
Interesting enough, I looked at my blog posts and the last blog was also about Red Pine Lake.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Red Pine

Having activities scheduled for this weekend already, I still wanted a quick overnighter while the weather is pleasant.  I chose Red Pine up Little Cottonwood Canyon.  It's 3 1/2 miles, generally taking me less than 90 minutes to hike.  It's popular.  I didn't know how popular until I arrived at 6.30, three other campers were up here already.  I found a spot away from the others and set camp.

It's about 7.40 am, I'm watching the sun hit the false summit of the Pifferhorn and crawl down into the canyon.  Coffee is brewing, someone gave me 'brew in package' thing a while ago.  The temp is chilly, not cold.  I slept well with the 30 degree quilt.  The wind, however snapped the edges of the Gatewood Cape around. The Cape sheed the wind rather nicely.  It's a 'mid' style which means it has one center pole in the middle and looks roughly like a pyramid.  The way I pitch it, I have a second pole that props up the door area giving more ventilation and a bit of a view.  The Zpacks tent that I used on the PCT is very similar except fewer pitching options and the Zpacks has an integrated bug netting/floor. I chose to sleep with the door flap closed which prevented ballooning and the moon from shining on my face after midnight.  The stars were polluted by the city lights before moon rise.  A sprinkle of rain was had while I set up but that was just a sprinkle, the sky cleared shortly after.

Today holds just a bit of wandering while I'm up here.  Later, hit my church's Saturday evening service (there are two services on Sunday) the pastor is beginning his yearly theme of 'God in the Movies' where he breaks down some of the movies of the last year and how he sees God being revealed in the stories produced by Hollywood. The church is Capital Christian on 7th south about 1010 East right next to Judge Memorial Catholic High School in SLC, all are welcome to visit.  This sermon series is the most popular series he does, I want to say for the last 10 odd years.  Tomorrow the church celebrated 20 years in SLC with a picnic, rsvp requested.

Monday, I am officially back in the office even though I've been there for the last week and a half.  I'm kinda wishing that I had done the first (HalfMile Maps) section of the PCT in Washington however, the Indian/Eagle Creek Fire jumped the [Columbia River] Gorge lighting Washington's southern border on fire.  Eh, yeah, may not, good call for getting off early.  Next year's section hike will include contingency plans for snow/rain, falling short/going long, and wildfires.  This year's plan just had wildfires in mind.

Day hikers are making there way up now as the sun is about to enter the lower basin.  Folks who come up this early either are runners or those heading for the summit. Those that come just a little later tend to come just to come.  The lake has two parts, the natural and the rock dam.  Water level is down below the dam about a foot or two.  One can almost see the bottom at the center.  I haven't seen many fish jumping.  

The coffee I brewed is meh.  It required three steps; boil water, pour into the bag, and pour into a cup/mug.  Drank it mostly cold.  My canister might have enough fuel for heating and oatmeal packet's worth of water.  12 burns on this can, not the best but, not shabby either, most of this can was lit above 9000 feet elevation. I'll stick to my instant $tarbucks, one step: add water either hot or cold to a drinking device and drink.

Time to stuff the food bag into the ruck and get moving.  That is all.

Hike on, hike wise.

Irritation Rant Follows

Question:  Drones in Wilderness ares, yes or no?  Personally, no.  I come here to get away from mechanical noise and other city intrusions.  The fact mechanical devices, by law, are not permitted in Wilderness areas should grant some relief.  Someone is flying a drone up here, now.  Drones to me sound like a hornets nest kicked and the residents headed out for revenge.  Folks if you have a drone, leave it home.  If you want to see me, come find me in person.  If you want to see the area do it on foot or with a looking glass (telephoto lens/binoculars) not a remote device that sounds like a bunch of pissed of hornets.  I don't know what you will do with this video or the purposes of your intentions, just don't fly any where near me.  If you want to fly near me, even if I'm a speck, come get my written permission before you fly.  The exception to this is Search and Rescue/law enforcement looking for missing persons and or monitoring a critical situation.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Train, home...

It wasn't the alarm clock that got me up.  I've been naturally waking around 5.30 for a long time regardless of how light it is outside. I tossed for a while before sleep actually comes.  Why is a good guess, the bed is very comfortable and I actually have to slip, yes, slip down to the floor an inch.

Sarah is gone by the them I get up.  Chi readies himself for his day.  I do the polite thing, or the thing I've done in the past, gather the sheets and pull the bed spread over as I ready for my day.  Chi offers me a ride.  I decline.  I need to burn an hour before I meet Mercy.

Mercy, my shipmate, and I text making sure she comes to the right Peets.  I learn, thanks to Google, there are several. Mercy joined the Caribbean Mercy in 99 for a bit of the public relations tour in South Korea.  Everyone knows the cook.  As the cook, I'm embarrassed I didn't remember everyone. Slowly  I remember how she helped us out as part of the Port Advance Team in one of the Korean ports.  We chat a long while then began to formulate a plan of the day, 4 hours to burn before my train leaves.

We end up driving the Gorge to Beacon Rock.  I almost run up to the top of this 850 ft climb for the view.  She follows after renewing her State Park pass. I get a huge view but not total view of the Columbia River.  She meets me half way up as I'm on the way down.  This climb, build 100 years ago, counts 15 to 20 switchbacks.

An hour later we are driving around downtown Portland.  We find Union Station then lunch at a 4 star rated dive of a Chinese restaurant.  Where is the "Diners, Drive ins, and Dives" episode about this place.  The food, delicious; the portions, generous.  We catch up on ship gossip.  Mercy sends a message to one of my favorite Koreans, PS I carried this one down to Med Ward on the C/M in El Salvador, SungYung; 15+ years later still single.  We are limited on time over lunch.

At the train station, we make quick good byes.  I see a line forming at a gate door.  I quickly check with the ticket counter, my train arrived early.  I que up.  A few minutes later two other thru-hikers spot me.  They are also going south on the train.  Moments later the train loads up.

Portland slips by.  I catch glimpses of Mt Hood, soon, too, Hood fades.  After few junkyards produce treasuses.  Who wants a Vietnam era Heuy?  That's the oddest of the lot I spy.   40 and 50 cars dot the junkyards too.  Forest comes up next.  I find a seat in the sightseeing car and kinda turn away from conversations.  Food tonight? Something from my food bag.  Where's my spoon.  While I have connection I text SungYung.  16 hours of time zone lay between us and only seconds via messages.  I spot one of the other hikers, we swap stories whike people watching.

A booked out train means very few seats where one can spread out.  My ear plugs are un-findable.  Someone near by carries on a chain saw fight (snooring).  I'm on the loosing end of that fight.  I use my inflated pillow to support my lower back, sleep isn't at its best.  I wake 5 minutes before the call for my stop.

Groggily I gather my things, navigate the steep ladder like stairs to the passenger door where I also grab my ruck from the baggage stash.  Once the go a head is granted, the screeching ceases about a dozen of us off load into a muggy predawn Sacramento.  I take a few minutes of sleep on the bench I shared with the Israeli gal a month ago.  Around 7 I find a spot for a sunrise photo, hit old town in search of coffee, then return. to $tarbucks for an overnight priced breakfast sandwich and small coffee.

The train is a bit late people gather by the tracks.   We load quickly when it pulls up.  I find a seat, get my e-ticket checked, spend all day in the lounge car watch scenery slip by.  First the city gives way to suburbia, then to rural, then to forest.  The Forest builds to hills and eventually to mountains.  As the high Serras come up more gather in the lounge car to see this route.  Once Truckee arrives the crowd disperses.  In Reno a few passengers change over, for so eventually it's their destination, others their bginning. Wild mustangs are just outside the city area of Reno.

I  surf the social media sites while I get data service.  I'm bored which is good as it forces me either into conversation or on to a book.  Instead I walk the train as far as I can basically 4 coach cars.  In all my walking I count fewer than 100 persons.  In the lunge car, a couple argue over a developing business deal while a toddler screeches.  I cringe with both while I mind my own business.  The toddler is tired and mommy is the cranky one.  The dinner car attendant is my hero as he produces Mac & Cheese within minutes.  The screeching stops temporarily.  Quiet, even the business deal conversation dies down over another mini-bottle of train brandy.  Her attitude is totally Bronx, his isnt, more Floridian. I'm enjoying it.

It's hiker midnight on the train,  someone deals a hand of solitaire.   A red sky follows us.  I set an alarm to wake me incase the conductor does not.  New moon hovers a fist and a knuckle over the horizon.  Haze of fires are so far removed from me I begin to see stars poking through.

My mind flips to my friend in Korea.  It's mid-day there, what's for lunch? Is it an office grab and go or a sit down over business deal?  The Koreans, I remember, work hard and play harder.  The train horn shakes me from this thought among others.

Shortly, I'll see Ogden's lights before passing Tooele.  SLC, my folks, and a draw to the end of my vacation.  In the mean time I can stretch out on two seats.