Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Indian Rock, Yosemite

What could be better than a day hike in Yosemite on the day AFTER Labor Day!?!  I hit the road very early, but got delayed most of 40 minutes by maintenance on the Tioga Road.  Still I was on the North Dome trail to Indian Rock before nine o'clock.  The first section of the trail is though very dense forest; soon it opens up to my favorite kind of hiking.


There were only a few backpack cars at the trail head and NOBODY on the trail.   Many, many chipmunks though!


And a dolphin!?!


The Indian Rock trail branches off three miles out the North Dome trail.  The rock is not visible from this junction and while the sign says only three tenth of a mile, it's a hard climb to the top from this first glimpse of the arch.


Indian Rock is the only natural arch in Yosemite.  It was formed when the rock was cracked by many, many years of water freezing and thawing.  You can see the chunks of granite that tumbled out from under the arch just below and to the right.


Recently several shots of Half Dome framed by the arch have been floating around the Internet.  Not for me though, it is a bit of a rock scramble up the back side and requires a higher powered camera than mine!

By ten people finally started appearing on the trail,  a total of EIGHT on the whole hike back, couldn't believe it. 

This neat fungi growing on a yellow pine caught my eye in the morning sun on the hike out.


On the way home,  a first sign of fall.


Looking for a place to relax and have lunch, I pulled into the Porcupine Flat campground.  What a lovely little hideaway.  I paid my $5 and spent a couple hours relaxing in a site by the creek.  So many birds!  Definitely will be adding this one to my favorites list.














Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ebbett's Pass Hike

Thunder and lightning storms building along the crest of the Sierra Nevada everyday this week had me flip flopping plans every few hours.  Today was my last chance to catch up with Roadtrek hiking friends who were camping on Ebbet's Pass (and way braver than me, don't ya know!).   Leaving home before seven, I arrived at the Bloomberg Campground in time for breakfast.   Soon we were headed up the pass with a plan to hike the Noble Lake trail out past the 'flower gardens' but not all the way to the lake.


Ebbett's Pass is Highway 4, the next one north of Sonora Pass.


We parked at the mostly empty PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) trail head under a blue bird sky.  It wasn't long before we passed a field of Mule Ears both few and long past their prime.  (It's volcanic rock in this area, need to read up on Ebbett's geology).  


The trail guides mention the 'flower gardens' in the washes and seeps along the first half of the trail  We crossed three washes that carry a significant volumne of water, but none today, and the few wildflowers were pretty much done.  


Uphill


Downhill

Beautiful Bella found the first water!



Shortly we crossed the seeps that create fields of flowers.  In a good water year this trail must be spectacular!




Climbing again,  this old wood provided a good chance to rest while snapping a pic!


We stopped at the point over looking the Noble Canyon where the trail drops off quickly downhill.  Another day we will do this section with a shuttle car at the other end.  The bottom of the canyon is kinda fuzzy because it's a couple miles down there.


Our lovely lunch break was rudely interrupted by a hail storm!   Where did that come from?!?


We scurried under the trees to wait it out; then hot footed it down the trail in a drizzly rain with thunder in the distance.  Headed back down the pass, the deluge started.  Very grateful not to be still out on the trail in that downpour!  

I stopped at Mosquito Lake to take some pics but just as I started to get out of the car lightning struck across the (very small) lake!  And then another strike.  Yikes!



Amazing clouds were not enough to get me to stick around and shortly I landed at Lake Alpine where the people were swimming, paddling and all together enjoying a beautiful day completely unaware of what was happened just up the pass.

This hike was another good test of the Gaia GPS iPhone app.  I downloaded the map of the area while still in cell service; then gps picked up my location at the trailhead and didn't drop, even under the clouds on the second leg of the hike.  I'm still learning to use it, but so far, well worth $20!



Back down the mountain, the foothills are hot and dry; the old Melones bridge will be showing soon.



(Note:  the Noble Lake trail is actually the Pacific Crest Trail)

























Thursday, July 10, 2014

San Juan Bautista

Temps in the mid 70s were a welcome change when I met friend P and her DGD under the mission bell at San Juan Bautista.



Outside arches.....


And more in the chapel.....


A collection of vestments was housed in glass cases (no pics);  the needlework was incredible.  Tapestries hang from the ceiling timbers.


St. Francis(es) and friends.


Across the square from the Mission, the livery stable is part of the state park.   It's easy to see how small with stalls are with A standing in front of one.


Another state building, the Plaza Hotel and it's strange back section stand on the other side of the square.



(one day I'm going to ask somebody what this is!)

We walked downtown, visited a few antique stores, and had a yummy Mexican dinner.

This building dates from 1799.  


Not just the balcony, here the ENTIRE building, is PINK!


A town this old has to have old trees, right?   

This olive lives in the Mission gardens.


Here is the pepper in front of the Plaza hotel.


The fog was beginning to peak over the coastal hills when we headed home to Morgan Hill.  Gotta love the coast!