Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Chores

Saturday morning started with a coat of stain on Grandpa Frank's porch benches.

Next up was splitting the big rounds from my wood pile.  This job required Super Hero Nephew G to hook up the splitter to the four wheeler; then assist moving it to the wood shed.....

Super Hero Nephew S handled the rounds under the splitter with Grandpa Frank at the controls.

Finishing up both SHN's provided the ballast to lay the splitter down.  That thing is HEAVY!

And now it's my turn!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Barney Lake, Finally

While it was four days (1 - comedy of errors; 2 - wind; and 3 - snow!) before I finally got on the trail to Barney Lake,  this perfect day was so worth the wait.   Blue bird sky, 45 degrees, and no wind when I started up the trail at 9 o'clock.  The Hoover Wilderness is becoming one of my favorites; I always stop to read the signs.  This time there was  excellent information about the Rim Fire posted along with the usual maps.

The trail to Barney Lake is 8 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 1200 feet; 7000 at Twin Lakes to 8200 at Barney, more or less.  The first three miles are mostly flat; the climb is in the last mile or so to the lake.
It's a great trail with lots of variety.

Lovely open forest.......

High desert and granite mountain peaks.......

Aspen groves......

And sometimes, all in one shot!

The trail even followed the creek for awhile as it began the big climb.  The worrisome thing was that climb turned out to be on a mountain with an excellent water source that produced tons of berries.  This narrow trail was not a place I wanted to meet a bear, and given the abundance of berries that was exactly what I was afraid would happen!  Two fresh bear sign (since the snow) was thankfully the closest I got to that scary thought.  Now I can appreciate the elderberries!

Barney Lake is bigger than it looks in this pic;  the trail goes on around the right side on to Peele Lake and eventually Buckeye Pass.

There is a sandy beach on the east side, like at Benson, due to the prevailing wind.

After a quick hello to a back packer on his way out, I ate my breakfast (always dumb to hike without eating!) before heading back down the trail.  There are a couple of neat views of Upper Twin Lake that I missed on the way up.....

Not that many folks on the trail, maybe 6-7 total all day.  And as usual I was the slowest, and they all passed me on the way out.  Still, you'd think they coulda left the signs up until I got back to the trail head!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oops! The Passes are Closed! (and Rock Creek)

Having checked the Caltrans site last night I knew the passes were closed; still it was fun to see the snow on the mountains surrounding Lee Vining and the highway sign Sunday morning.

Town was crackling with energy from the unexpected snow and crispy air when I walked down to the local coffee shop.


The cold temps wilted a few flowers in the backyard, but not the sunflowers along the front side walk.

Then it was back to my favorite Vista Point to check out the snow over Tioga Pass and decide on a plan for the day.

For several years I have been hoping for a chance to drive south on 395 after a new snow, so the decision was easy.  Besides, web reports were that aspen color was peaking at Rock Creek.

Just north of the June lake loop the two derelict houses were very cool against the snow capped mountains.

There wasn't much color yet around Silver Lake (it won't be long!).  Folks were fishing in shorts and flip flops; while the rest of us were bundled up around Gull Lake.

A Forest Service employee was working outside at the station just past Tom's Place;  he assured me the road was clear and dry all the way up to the top on Rock Creek Canyon, and yes, the trees were gorgeous!

Many people were hiking up the trail from the Mosquito Flat despite snow on the trail!  And, of course, there were lots of back packers who were caught by the mis-forecast storm.   I stopped in the overflow parking and hiked aways along the creek.

A month or so ago when I camped in the canyon I did not explore the lake, so I was really looking forward to it.  The access road to the day use and campgrounds is on the far side; a trail skirts all the way around.

It's mostly day use here (with a few campsites) along this shore......

So many, many beautiful trees,  I'll leave you with this one along one of the trails.

(Note to camping friends:  There are several hundred campsites along this canyon; the best are in Big Meadow along the creek and Iris Meadow in the aspens.  Other campgrounds are very rocky and tight and probably pretty hot in the summer.  No boondocking.).

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mono Lake Regroup Day

Taking a chance on some early fall color and hoping for a couple good hikes I headed over Sonora Pass.  At the very top the aspens were starting some yellow and the weather was perfect.   Alas, Saturday morning when I arrived at Twin Lakes trail head, the wind was screaming out of the canyon!  I had to hang on to my car to keep from blowing away.  No hiking today, Barney Lake would have to wait.  Regrouping I headed to Mono Lake and found not a breath of wind south of Conway Pass.  Nice.

First stop was the Mono County Park on the north shore of the lake.  There's a great boardwalk down to the shore line with lots of bird watching.

Still no wind, but text from sister warned me of storm on west side of mountain.   Ummm,  Visitor Center is still saying 'very slight chance of sprinkles'.  On to the South Tufa where the wind caught up with me.

Mono Lake white caps were starting to  look like the ones I had seen earlier at Twin Lakes!

Sand was blowing along the east shore.  I was a bit worried about it moving in my direction until I realized it was a south wind!  Duh.

Here was a good chance to finally visit the Old School Museum in Lee Vining.  

They have a great collection of old equipment on the grounds.  My favorite is the dump truck.

And not to miss the Upside Down House!   Originally a tourist attraction on Tioga Road, it was moved in tact down to Lee Vining.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the Vista Point above the Whoa Nellie Deli (very good food!) watching the clouds blow over Tioga Pass and across the Mono Basin.  Very nice indeed, unplanned, day!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Links Work!

Dear friends,  thanks to Rick Doyle 's computer/blogging savy and his amazing generosity with his time, my blog links are finally working!  All for the want of a forward slash.....

I'm hiking at Lake Alpine today; more later!