Wednesday, June 27, 2012

May Lake Morning

At sunrise when the sun hits the very top of Mt Hoffman, a phenomenon of beautiful light is created on the mountain and across the lake.   It's called 'The Golden Moment'.   That's why my alarm was set for 5 AM.    And I missed it!  The snooze button?  Nope, I was up and watching the sun hit the peaks on the other side of Tenaya Lake; thinking I had plenty of time to get back down to the shore of May Lake. Nope again.  I turned to see the sun hitting just east of Hoffman, but somehow I was in the wrong place to see the Golden Moment.  Even still, it was an absolutely stunning sunrise!

The first blush of the sun above the lake....

The two front peaks of Mt Hoffman reflected in the lake.....


And finally the whole mountain!  (Next time I'll catch the Golden Moment :).

The trail around the edge of the lake was lovely in the filtered light.....

Campers are traditionally called to meals with a conch shell.  

Breakfast was, of course, yummy.  Cream of Wheat (!?!), eggs, bacon, fruit,  fun conversation with boys excited about the Portugal/ Spain soccer final they hoped to catch later.  

The camp is set up for 40; there were 11 of us Tuesday night.  What an unexpected, super treat!  I was sure wishing I could stay another night.  But my pack was waiting and with one last look at May Lake and Mt Hoffman I headed back down the 3 miles and 1000 feet to my car.

(Note:  Mt Hoffman is a good climb from May Lake; many people do it from the trail head in one day.  I couldn't handle that Tuesday afternoon; next time I will plan two nights and hike Mt Hoffman on the middle day!).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Evening at May Lake

Snagging a night at one of the High Sierra Camps in Yosemite usually requires a lucky lottery draw. Thanks to a below average snow pack that resulted in early opening of the camps there were cabins available this week.  I sent off an email as soon as I hear about this great opportunity!  Staying at a HSC has been on my list for several years.

The folks in Fresno who administer the program were super helpful in confirming my reservation over the week-end even though their office was closed.  I was set for Tuesday night at May Lake!

A slight complication waited at the May Lake Road turn off from the Tioga Highway.  Not only was it closed for construction, most of the parking lot was too!  Without thinking it through I grabbed the last spot available under the disapproving eye of the construction foreman with his yellow tape in hand.  (For future reference I could have gone up the highway to the next trailhead; walked in on that trail).

After recovering from the initial surprise of no parking, I really wasn't too concerned about the longer hike.  It would be 3 miles instead of a little over the 1 mile up from the real trailhead.  The walk up the road was really very nice, following the little creek that flows down from May Lake.

At Snow Flat I came across a snow survey course, and after some exploration, the snow cabin.  (The snow surveyors used these cabins the first of every January, February, March and April in the old days when they skiied the snow survey loops.  Note the ladder that accesses into the top of the cabin.  Sometimes, if the snow was really deep, they had to dig down to even find the ladder!).  The mosquitos ran me off before I could find the current 'snow senors'.  Next time I'll explore some more.

The elevation here is 8710, so I had another 500 feet or so in elevation to climb up to the lake.  Before long I came to the regular trail head parking, the Wilderness boundary, and the beginning of the trail.  No far up the hill I heard the tell-tail 'clip clop' of a mule trail on hollow granite.  Love that sound!

That's Mt. Hoffman in the back ground.  So, from here on, it's a pretty much straight up climb to the lake that sits right at the base of Hoffman.  This was my first high elevation hike this year and I was feeling the elevation; hiking fifty or so yards; resting; repeat!

After the pack trains passed I noticed a strange bull frog like sound echoing around the mountains.  It sounded kinda like a saw and I thought, great, more construction!  But as it turned out, two male grouse were calling to each other (or more likely, a female).  I watched in the brush for them with no luck.  A young girl in camp saw one in a tree.  The sound must have carried for miles!

The trail abruptly tops the mountain, splits to the left to the back packers camp and to the right to the High Sierra Camp, and there is May Lake!

After getting checked in with the camp manager, Brain, and unloading my pack in my 'private' cabin, I hiked around the lake on the Mt Hoffman trail.  (btw,  the cabins are dorm style for four).

The cabins are nestled in the trees and blend in better than might be expected.

The sun goes down almost directly behind Mt Hoffman.  At 10,000 feet that makes for early shadows on the lake

All the sleeping cabins and the dinning hall are water proof canvas.  The kitchen is an small rock building with pine bark slabs for shingles. (An aside,  the water tanks are constructed of welded/riveted steel in the same method as ours that Dad created at the HPH in Early Intake in the 60s!).

The lake was like glass at dusk.

And it was cold and with no electricity;  wasn't long after dinner before I was in my cozy cot with my alarm set for 5 AM.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Osprey on New Blog

I started a new blog, mountain pass birds, to keep my bird pics in a separate place. . Check out my osprey pics by clicking here.  There is a link in the side bar, too.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recycled Rusty Stuff

The onions are ready to pull and the beans are producing a couple quarts every few days.  These planters are filled with earth worm castings that the worms created from household compost.  The worms are the off spring of a batch originally purchased in 1967.  The super-hero great-grandsons calculated that these particular worms are pushing 60 generations!

The beans are growing in cut down fifty gallon barrels.  The onion beds are two halves of a cement mixer.  That really big rusty thing in the far background is a trommel.  It's in the process of being sold.  Too bad, it would have made a 'hecka' planter!

(BTW,  this outstanding garden is the work of Dad and Jeanne; I just reap the benefits!)