Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm Melting!

Was it the witch in the Wizard of Oz that just melted onto the floor?  I think it could happen to me!  It's 101 and climbing, although it's felt much hotter to me today.  I went to Costco earlier and replenished my ice cream supply!

I went to the gym last night, the first time in probably 3 wks.   I thought I would be really set back in what I could do, but it actually felt wonderful to be exercising.  I also noticed that I couldn't feel pain from the mesh used to close the hernia, so I am hopeful that it's healing well, and I didn't have the sore muscles that sometimes follow a good workout.  I've promised myself to not be concerned with getting rid of my little round belly until closer to a year post-op, and I want to make sure I've healed thoroughly.  At 122.6 I'm over my 1st goal, and if I keep eating ice cream like I have I'll meet my 2nd goal of 125 very soon!  (The ice cream is no doubt going straight to the little round belly!)

I got my internet with ATT up and working.  I've been looking for an email alternative to AOL which gives me no end of trouble, and was happy to know I could get an email address with ATT.  Unfortunately, I found out that it is actually with Yahoo, who takes care of their email stuff.   At least 15 or more years ago I belonged to a Yahoo group which has now migrated to Facebook so I no longer have contact with them, but my sign-in name and email have remained.  I tried to change it but without success, so I will just let it go  for now.   I think if I could find a reasonable user friendly email program I would even be willing to pay for it.  

 The internet connection seems good and about the same speed as what I got with Verizon.  I'll wait a day or two to cancel Verizon, just to make sure ATT works out ok.  I will have to say that all the ATT techs and representatives I've spoken to have been outstanding, and don't want to leave me on my own until I'm absolutely sure I have everything right.  Having my ATT television service for the past 6 months I can also say that when I had a problem and had to call them I got excellent service then as well.

Although I can't find many programs to record, I find a few such as Animal Cops-Houston, and once in a while a history or science program that sounds good.   Movies just don't interest me, nor do sports, and that's about half of what TV is all about.   Then deduct half of what's left for silly game shows, sitcoms, and reality shows, and there is very little left.   What remains is primarily documentaries about WW II and now there are some on Vietnam.    That doesn't leave me much TV watching potential, does it, but it feels good to me to have it available - just wish the cost wasn't so high.

 I'm finally cooling off.  I thought I had High Cool on but in fact had High Fan Only.  The unit is on the ceiling so I have to look straight up to read it, and it gets distorted so I often get the wrong setting.
My rent bill which includes utilities is $13+ less than last month, but just slightly less electricity used.  I wonder if the solar panels the Park added has contributed to my bill being lower.   I hope that's what it is and will continue to result in a slightly lower cost for me.

I'm hungry and ready to go fix a quick meal, but the kitchen is very hot this time of day.   I guess I'll wait a little while - my thermometer is showing 102 and over 93 inside the house.   I haven't been swimming in years but if I had a pool right now I'd be in it!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

First thing I want to do is to address Jessica's comment yesterday that I might consider getting a cat.   I was brought up with dogs as pets; my dad didn't like cats and my mom grew up on a farm where the cats were around the barn to catch mice, but no animal was ever  brought into the house.   She did relent and allowed us to have a dog in our house, so that's what I grew up with.    I don't have anything against cats but would never in a million years want one for a pet.  For one thing I couldn't bear to have a cat walking across my countertops.   So the only pet I would ever consider would be a dog, and I've about given up on that idea. 

Does anyone else notice that TV is absolutely terrible lately?  I don't watch all that much, but when I do flip through the channels I find the same stuff repeated over and over.  And news?  Forget it.  Wars everywhere and nothing but bad news that I'm sick of hearing about.  I'm hoping the repeated programming is just a seasonal thing and will improve in the fall.

My TV service was scheduled to increase by $33 this month, and I called AT&T to cancel it.  I spent just under an hour on the phone while the tech tried to figure out a way to keep me in the fold; they ended up not only cancelling the increase, but giving me a few dollars off the regular bill.  Plus I am getting their internet service as of this evening!  My Verizon MiFi contract ran out a month ago and I've been wanting to find something better.  Now I will have unlimited internet so I can watch a video or YouTube if I want to without worrying about exceeding a 5GB limit a month.   I think my monthly bill will be pretty close to what I'm paying for both services now, except I won't have to deal with Verizon.  I won't be able to travel with internet service, but most of my extended travels involve some motel stays and internet is usually available.  I've quit taking my computer along on camping trips as there is no sense being out in the woods and being distracted by a computer.

There will be just enough technology in my life so that I don't get arrested by the "Hi Tech Police" for not being connected, and just enough technology to keep NSA happy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The "wave" continues

Only 101 is expected today, which will rise to 103 for the next several days!   At least the delta breeze cools us in the evenings and early mornings.  I love that blast of chilly air coming in my bedroom window around 5 AM!

I got my hair trimmed today and I don't think I'll step outdoors for the rest of the afternoon except to get my mail.  Last night Donald made lasagna, including home-made lasagna noodles, and I gladly accepted an invitation to join them.  The little girls are still showing signs of jet lag once in a while but they are just about back to normal.

Steve and Meg got a puppy for Liam.  He is about 8 wks old and certainly looks darling from the photos.  I will try to get out to their house by Thursday or Friday to get a first hand look.  (Click to enlarge.)

Puppy, who hasn't yet been named, has a littermate that is available but I'm not tempted in the least!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Waiting out the heat

It's still unbearably hot, but after the triple digits all this week we will get back into the 90's.  I never thought I'd be relieved to be in 90 degree weather.  Have I said how much I hate hot weather?   

I dropped by to visit Jeannie and family yesterday.  I took them the Sunday paper, which I always do after I'm finished with it.  Jeanne and I worked the Sunday crossword - it drives me crazy because she enters the letters very lightly in pencil whereas I always use a pen.  I wrote in ink even back when I was young enough to have great eyesight.  But we got the entire puzzle completed.  It's the best thing about getting the Sunday paper - all the ads are ridiculous and I hardly ever look at them.  It is good to have the kids back and I'm looking forward to the gym, which I haven't been to since at least a week before they left because I couldn't leave Bear alone to destroy something.  Life is a lot more calm now.  

I've been intending to steam clean the floors but keep putting it off.  I didn't have such good luck with the steamer last time I tried using it, but I'll try once more.  Moving furniture around is what I'm dreading.

There are quite a few hummingbirds visiting the feeder on my front porch.  I just noticed a very tiny one that I haven't seen before.   They get spooked if I sit on the porch so I have to be content looking at them through the screen door.   The ruby-throated hummers who visited me in Asheville didn't care if I sat out on my deck very close to the feeder and I loved seeing them up close.   The ones I've seen in CA aren't as striking in looks, nor do they seem as friendly. 

I hung clothes on the line across the street this morning and i'm not looking forward to standing in the sun to take them down and fold them.   I'd better get to it before I forget and leave them out overnight.  I haven't done that so far, but as sluggish as I feel right now I'm sure I could.



Saturday, July 26, 2014


I never did like Sacramento during the summer, and the older I get the more I hate it.   Triple digits for at least the next week are not healthy for me.

I've been out twice today - early this morning I went to buy strawberries at the farmers' market, and early this afternoon to a liquor store to buy a 12 pack of Hi Life.  I have had very little in the way of alcoholic beverages for over 6 months, but the few days I had Bear I decided a beer or two might keep me calm.   Now the heat has me thirsty and while I like cold water I get pretty tired of it after a while.  I don't drink soda pop or any kinds of sweet drinks, so water or beer are my beverages of choice.

I think Jeannie and her family are arriving back in Sacramento tonight, and it will be nice to see them.   If the weather stays like this I might be tempted to take a dip in their pool one of these evenings.  I haven't been in a swimming pool for at least 10 or 12 years.  It will be nice to get back to having someone to go to the gym with as I've gotten lazy while they've been away.

UPDATE:  Last night a fire broke out on the El Dorado/Amador County line.   I camped early this week at a much higher elevation, but would have definitely had a problem with the smoke especially driving back home.  The TV cameras caught flame burning uphill and then igniting a house - I couldn't believe how quickly the house was totally ablaze.   Of all natural disasters I think fire scares me more than hurricanes or tornados, and probably earthquakes.      

Friday, July 25, 2014

Another week gone by

On Wednesday I went to see Liam's swim lesson but he decided he didn't feel like swimming, so we just sat and talked, then went out for dinner.  I had tortilla soup that was so spicy I thought it would give me a problem later, but I felt fine.  Spent the night at their house and then came back home yesterday about mid-morning.  

Going camping for even a day requires a lot of work getting things packed and ready to go, and even more work afterward to get things unpacked, cleaned up and put away.  My coolers are emptied and dry but I still have to carry them out to the storage shed, but other than getting a few remaining items from the back of the car I am pretty well finished.

August is not the best month for me to plan another camping trip - my sister is getting married on the 9th so I will be out of town for at least a couple of days for that.   There is also a baby shower for someone whom I feel very close to on the 23rd, so I am going to skip the reunion at Lassen on that date; I also have an appointment to see my eye surgeon in August.  If everything was crammed in just one or two weeks I would have a window of opportunity to get away for a few days, but the events are all spaced out during the entire month of August.  My plan is to wait until the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day and then head for the Trinity Alps.  There are so many camping, hiking, and backpacking possibilities there and planning will be fun.  I hope the weather will be cooler as well, but you just never know.  I think this time i will definitely carry bear spray - I never needed it in the past although my experience has been in the east.  From what I read in the way of hikers' journals though, bear activity is up in the east as well as just about everywhere else.   As long as we are talking about black bears I don't get too spooked, but I think my heart would stop if I ever met a grizzly face to face!

I don't think I mentioned how great my new hiking boots are.  Of course I didn't do any serious miles in them, but the short time I wore them they felt great!  I am hoping to give them a good work-out before winter.

I have been so lax about going to the gym since Jeannie & Donald are on vacation.  I should try to get there this evening but I'm just not motivated right now.  I think once I get there I will be enthused to go back regularly, but dragging myself out in the heat is the hardest part.

Ok, I'm gonna get dressed and make this day count.   Lately I've been wanting a couple more hours sleep than I usually need - don't know why but I must need it for some reason and I hope I can soon get back to a more normal schedule.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A few thoughts

Since I've had a couple of comments on pillows, I'll just say that I wouldn't have even thought of it being the problem until I read that pain in the shoulder blade is almost always caused by an issue with the neck.  And I don't normally have a problem in the world with my neck, so I considered it might have been because I didn't take my small pillow.  I was using a new sleeping bag that features a built-in pillow - actually a thin piece of foam - which is why I left my camping pillow at home.  I think the problem was strain in my back to try to keep from sliding on the uneven terrain.

I feel much better this morning so I will just have to be more careful in the placement of my tent in the future.  Oddly enough, there is rarely a completely flat piece of ground on which to pitch a tent, and I've never had this kind of problem before.  Hopefully I won't have it again.

In looking over my photos it strikes me that this is the perfect amount and form of water to make me happy.  I appreciate the beauty of an ocean or lake, but a creek, stream or river is my perfect choice.  I like my rivers big and small - one of the most perfect spots when I was RVing was in Idaho at Village of Trees RV Park, right on a wide point in the Snake River.  But water rushing over rock is my perfect scenario.

I also think the western mountain chains, the Sierra Nevada, Cascade Range, etc., are stunning and breathtakingly beautiful.  The eastern mountains, the Appalachian chain, the Allegenies, and others are beautiful, sometimes mysterious, but welcoming and friendly.   I always feel wrapped up in their many folds, and loved.   If I had to spend the rest of my life in one or the other it would be the Appalachians, but that's not the way life is.  I hope I can continue to travel to and through the eastern part of the country for many years to come, while I will continue to be awestruck in the Sierra as well.

Oh, but I've left out the Rockies, haven't I?  I don't think I've ever had a full appreciation for them, although I would like to spend some time in the Northern and Canadian rockies if I could.  Life is just too darn short, and I'm on the short end of the stick with so much to see and do and so little time.

The Silver Fork campground - my most recent trip - was very well laid out to provide good privacy between sites, and you actually could hear the water from just about the entire campground.  I noted that for as far back from the main road that it is located - about 8 miles over rough road undergoing road work at that - there are a disproportionate number of RV's, large and small.   Having towed a large 5th wheel over 6 miles of gravel road when I worked at Lassen I know it's possible, but not many folks tried bringing in the big rigs.   I really wish that campgrounds would set aside a loop for the big ones, and at least a loop for tenters.  I got up in the middle of the night to see a huge column of lights flashing off and on next to a big RV, plus a very bright light that came on when someone (me) walked by.  That is very intrusive to me to not be able to walk to the bathroom after dark without being blinded by a spotlight, and if a person is so paranoid they probably shouldn't be there in the first place.

In looking back I'm so glad I went to Silver Fork and wouldn't mind returning although the spot I had was perfect for accessing the rocks and getting close to the water.   Unfortunately there wasn't a flat place to camp.  Next time I might pad up the picnic table and set out my bedroll on top of it.  Actually, I did look for a flat space big enough to hold the pad and sleeping bag for some "cowboy camping".  I couldn't even find that except for right up by the fire pit.

This afternoon I'm driving back up US 50 for a few miles to watch my grandson Liam at his swimming lessons.  I think it's such a great idea for kids to swim when they are very young.  Liam will be 4 in just about a month.   I still have a few camping things to put away but they will wait.  I am just so happy my shoulder doesn't hurt any more that I'm not worrying about a thing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back a day early

I spent one night at Silver Fork C.G. in the El Dorado National Forest, instead of the two I anticipated.  It is a beautiful place, and I had the most scenic of all the campsites.   Unfortunately most of the sites are not level but I toughed it out for one night.  

I wanted to do some hiking to break in my new boots but never did find the trail head, and instead got sidetracked by the creek.  After sleeping in the sloping tent for one night, I am in a lot of pain in my right shoulder blade.  I did a search of that kind of pain when I got home, and the article says it's almost always related to neck pain.  I usually camp with a small pillow but didn't take it this time.  I sometimes use a pillow at home but more than not I push it out of the way.  I probably don't have problems because my mattress is so good.

Realizing I could never go through another night of the same, and possibly have worse pain tomorrow, I regretfully packed up and came home.   I'm hoping after a hot shower I'll feel better, and it will be tempting to use some Ben Gay although everything I touch will then smell like Ben Gay (with vanishing scent-yeah right!).

I took a lot of photos and may post them over a couple of days since I'm getting so wordy before I even insert a picture.   When I arrived the camp host and another camper told me all about the rain they'd had the day before.  One inch of rain in 24 hours - it must have really been something!   That left all the firewood damp so I couldn't build a fire.  I must remember to get some firestarters before my next trip.  I usually do ok with dry wood, but this stuff was still damp even though I set it in the sun all afternoon.

I loved hearing the constant sound of water rushing over, in, and around boulders.  At first the water was pretty muddy and there wasn't that much of it.  This morning it has cleared up considerably and there was significantly more volume.  What I can never get enough of is looking at all the huge and small boulders.   I believe the Sierra are granite and I guess whatever soil has clung to the rock is what's holding the trees and shrubs in place.

Click to enlarge.

My tent before I added the fly:

Looking up the gorge:

I set out to find a hiking trail but got distracted by the sound of water.  This is an area before the water gets to my site.

Where did this rock come from, and how was it formed?   It reminds me of a finial with the pointy end down.  I can't figure out what it must have broken off of.

And how did these three rocks land in this position?


I scrambled up and down the rocks trying to get closer to the water.  Some are huge boulders and easier to walk across, but all could easily trip me up.  I was thinking of Judy Bell with every step I took, balancing myself with the wonderful hiking stick she made.

I am very happy with what I was able to see and a little regretful that I couldn't stay an extra day.   But the way I'm hurting right now I don't think I could have had much joy hanging around.  I was able to get home by 5 pm which meant the traffic was starting to get pretty heavy towards the last few miles, but I'm home, safe and sound, and have emptied about half my gear from the car.  I may do the rest tomorrow.

After telling you in the beginning that I would do this post over two days I went ahead and did not whole thing at once.  Sorry for the length.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Packing up

I've spent the morning getting my gear together, which was mostly together since the last trip just a week ago.  As always, I'm worried I will forget something, and I usually do.  I ground up coffee beans for 3 days of morning coffee (1 extra day just in case), and repacked my food box.  I carry 4 place settings of cheap silverware, and need to pack those as well.  I'd use disposable but the way most places sell it you need to buy a box each of knives, forks, and spoons.  That irritates me for some reason, so I don't use disposables.

I weighed my boots on the kitchen scale I've used for years to determine the weight of backpacking gear.  The boots are less than 3# for the pair - not bad at all.  I wore them around the house this morning and they feel fine.  I think I could probably hike several miles in them to start out with, although I wouldn't want to overdo it at first.  I took out the insoles that came with the boots and inserted the Superfeet.  Having good insoles makes all the difference in the comfort of boots, as well as shoes in my case.  Not wanting to spend $40 for Superfeet to put into cheap gym shoes, I bought Dr. Scholl's for under $10.  Even they help quite a bit.

From miles and miles of backpacking with a heavy load, my feet grew a complete size & a half, and I lost my high arches as well.  So good insoles and high quality boots are a must for me.  I limit the amount of time I wear the cheap Fila runners and find myself going back to my old walking shoes because they are so much better quality, plus I have the expensive insoles for them.  I got them so dirty it was a disgrace to wear them, so I tossed them into the washing machine thinking it wouldn't matter if they were ruined.  Well, they now look like a new pair and feel great.

I couldn't believe it when the sound of rain woke me up at about 6 AM.  It only rained for a couple of minutes and stopped, then rained a bit later for a very short time.  I don't think it even got the streets wet, just sprinkled, but the weather today has been much cooler than predicted.  I'm fine with that but hope I don't experience rain on this camping trip - nothing I can do about it if it happens, and I must remember to take my deck of cards along.  I don't know which is worse - sore fingers from shuffling the deck, or sore fingers from clicking the mouse.  I'd much prefer the deck of real cards if it wasn't for the bother of shuffling.

I'm waffling over whether to take a lantern - I usually go to sleep much earlier when camping, and I have a very large and heavy flashlight in case I need light (or a weapon).  I think I need new mantles for my Coleman propane lantern before I can use it.

It is fun planning and packing, but I think I'd like to go for at least a week, probably after Labor Day.  In the meantime, I'll get away whenever I can.  I'd like to attempt a trip into the Desolation Wilderness Area, although that would mean parking the car and backpacking everything in.  I'd really like to have the company of another person for that, but it's unlikely I'll find anyone.  I've tried to look up groups of women interested in camping, but they are either RVers, or folks with other special interests.

I won't post again before Wednesday if all goes well, as I'm sure it will.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dropped some $ at REI today!

I made a brief visit to the Farmers Market this morning - bought kohlrabi which I haven't had in years.  I think I will have some with my supper tonight.

I've been wanting to go to REI for several months - I had a piddly little $13.76 dividend to spend!  What to buy was my problem, and I got too close to the hiking boots.  I've been wanting a pair of Lowa boots for ages but never wanted to spend that much money on something I won't be wearing a whole lot of the time.  But I tried them on and couldn't leave the store without them.  I needed to also buy a pair of Superfeet insoles to raise my foot a tiny bit in the boot, as I could tell that the top of the boot was going to rub my ankles and cause some discomfort.  The insoles did the trick and I'm good to go out on any kind of trail!

I'm still trying to figure out a good place to go where there won't be big crowds of noisy young vacationers - or noisy old geezers.  There is one campground that looked pretty good and the description says you can hear the rapids in the river from any site in the campground.  I love to go to sleep in a tent listening to the water rushing over rocks.  Trouble is I've looked at so many CG descriptions I'm having difficulty remembering which one has the rapids!  I think I want to go someplace out the US-50 corridor because it's easier to drive and I'm just two blocks away from the on ramp.  I've thought about going back to White Cloud (where I recently camped with my kids) but I'm not ready to tackle I-80 again so soon.

I just watched an interesting program featuring the man who proposed the division of California into 6 states.  I was surprised that a lot of what he says makes sense, although he could make sense of it but avoided detailing the down side and risks.  He predicts if it happens a number of other states will want to split.  Well why not, when you think we started out with 13 states and ended up with 50 - what's wrong with having 60?  I can't see it ever working in my lifetime though. 

The humidity must be up today because I'm much warmer at 93 than usual.  It probably won't go any higher today and should start to go down soon.  I'd like to sit outside if it cools off before dark.

I getting hungry!  I haven't eaten a lot of junk today - just nutritious junk - such as a Haagen Dazs chocolate/nut covered ice cream bar.

Friday, July 18, 2014

More camping stuff

In looking over my photos I see that every picture I took of the Steller's Jay turned out to be blurry.  I thought I chose the least blurred, but they still aren't all that good.

I had such an enjoyable time that I'm anxious to go out again for a couple of days at a time.   In that regard I've been poring over National Forest websites within 100 or miles but if I'm looking then so are a bunch of other Californians.  I'm not sure where I can go that I'm not crammed into a crowd.

I have been moaning and groaning and complaining about my Big Agnes tent and the bad zippers for at least the past two years.  Several people have recommended that I write to Big Agnes, but I hesitated because I didn't think the warranty was still in effect, and I could not find the receipt.  Finally I wrote to Big Agnes and received a reply that they would cover the repair, and to send them the defective piece of equipment.  Now to find a box to hold it.  I need to make a trip to the post office to see what they have - I have an assortment of priority mail boxes but they are all to small for the tent.

So the next time I camp I will be using my new backpacking tent which is actually spacious enough for me, although it would be claustrophobic if it rained for any length of time.  I doubt if it would rain outside of the high Sierra, but even if it did I would welcome the moisture and hopefully the reduction of fire hazards.

I mentioned that I stopped to buy non-GMO corn on the way home and enjoyed what I've eaten of it so far.  The person who waited on me at Harris Ranch told me he was giving me an extra ear of yellow corn, but when I opened the bags I discovered I actually had 4 extra ears.  I needed to do something with it so I spent over two hours freezing it, which included shucking the corn, blanching it, cooling it down in ice water, cutting it off the cob, and then putting it in freezer bags.  I put the corn from two ears into each bag, and ended up with 4 bags of yellow and 3 of white corn.

Sorry for the big white spot - must have been a reflection of the flash.

Cleanup was the most time consuming I think.  I had corn silks and kernels everywhere in the kitchen, and it took a long time to get it all, if I even got it all.  But I will be rewarded with fresh tasting corn now and then that was grown, harvested and sold within 5 miles of where I live, and processed by me!  My back sure hurt for a while but it's all fine now.

Gotta get to the post office to see about a suitable box.  And after I carefully folded up and pressed the air out of the tent I received mailing instructions from Big Agnes.  I have to tape the defective area with masking tape (no duct tape).  That means I will have to unroll it and go through the process all over again.  It will be worth it though - I love the tent for its spaciousness and height, and the fact that the top is mesh which allows me to see the stars at night, providing I don't have to cover everything up with the rain fly!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Camping, cont'd.

I got back to my campsite from the attempted and almost completed trip to Inspiration Point, and crashed for a few minutes.   I've always wanted to go back to the vicinity of Ebbets Pass ever since I drove through there about two years ago.  I really didn't want to go to the pass itself because I remember the narrow and constantly winding road with no shoulder, and heart-stopping drop-offs, and no place to turn around.  I'm getting soft in my old age!

I first pulled over and got these pics:  ( click to enlarge).

 Mosquito Lakes:  The rocks in the reflection look like a cut crystal vase turned sideways.  It was an absolutely fascinating sight.

Moving on:  There are boulders of all sizes everywhere.   I can't imagine the glaciers causing this beautiful landscape.

On the way back I stopped again at Mosquito Lakes.  When I stopped the first time I saw several folks with fishing rods, one of whom was reeling furiously.  I stopped again on the way back and asked them if they had any luck, and they replied they had caught 7 already.  Fisherman that I am NOT, I didn't ask what they were catching.   

Most of this mountain road is in excellent condition, recently repaved, although it is very narrow.  I stopped at a place where a bridge had been built to see if there was a creek below.  It turned out to be a dry creek bed, and I wonder if there was a name for this creek or area where such attention had been given to it.  I didn't have to look for long.

Back at the campsite before it started to rain again, I looked closely at the tree in the center of it all.  It appears the moss is killing the tree.

The dark clouds gathered and it started to rain, continuing through the night.   It was disappointing to have to remain in the tent but I wasn't geared for wet weather hiking, so I played solitaire in the tent with a deck of cards I brought along.  Next morning I had coffee and a danish, and packed to leave.  I stopped at the other side of Lake Alpine and took some photos looking back at the area where the campground would be.  I couldn't see any campers, but in one of the pictures you will see a haze that is surely smoke from the morning campfires.

(Loading the photos gave me some problems and I hope I didn't duplicate any pictures.  I caught one duplication for hitting Publish and removed it, but there could be another one.)

I had no difficulties driving back and there was very little traffic.  There are a few small towns that are a pain to drive through - I wasn't driving fast to begin with but to go from 45-55 down to 25 isn't easy.   When I got to the town of Jackson I got confused and drove one way, turned around and went in another direction, finally pulled over and looked at a more detailed map, and finally found my way.  Jackson isn't my favorite place to drive through, and unfortunately my GPS couldn't find a satellite so I guess it's not going to work at all.

Near home is a little town called Sloughhouse, mostly agricultural with farm stands and stores, and a fine inn with a great bar (which I haven't been in since going with Bill and the kids several years back.  We used to go cut our Christmas trees there and stop at the inn on the return trip.)   I noticed the sign for the Harris Ranch store said "No GMO's", and since the best sweet corn grows in Sloughhouse, I stopped and bought a few ears each of white and yellow.  I had one of each with my supper last night - the white has a sweet delicate flavor, whereas the yellow is a more robust sweet.  I've made a chicken corn chowder for my lunch today and am ready to sample it.

I am sure many are wondering why I didn't mention the dog on my camping trip, and that is because after more mess and destruction I decided I couldn't deal with it, nor did I need to deal with it, so I returned him before getting more attached to him.  The fosters have 3 acres, a doggie door, and a pool, plus 4 dogs of their own.  I'm sure Bear is better off, and I know I am.  I can go to the store when I need to, return books to the library and browse for more, and anything I need to do without worrying what I will come back to.   There is no way that dog and I could have shared a tent in all the rain, and I was so glad I had made the decision before camping.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Camping in the Sierra

I drove to Pine Marten C.G. on Monday morning and found that there were only two spaces left.  People usually leave on Sunday so I didn't think there would be a problem finding a site, but the camphost told me the sites filled back up again as soon as they were vacant.  I guess the current campers were vacationers rather than weekenders.   One spacious site was next to the host, and the other had a lake view.  I figured I'd leave the lake view to someone who would appreciate it more than I would, and I am so glad I took the space I did.  It was beautiful and spacious, and most all the sites are separated by pines and boulders so there is a good sense of privacy.

Taken along CA-4 looking towards the Sierra:  (Click on a picture to enlarge it.)

View from my site:

My tent is the 3rd level down on the site.  A little above that is the firepit level, and then the picnic table at the top.

The rain began in early afternoon and continued throughout the night.  I had eaten lunch and then went to seek shelter in my tent thinking it wouldn't last too long.  It rained continuously so I didn't come back out of the tent, nor did I eat supper.

"The Best in Tent Camping-Northern CA" says that "it snows frequently and heavily in Pine Marten.  Pacific storms sucked  through the Golden Gate  head east to the Sierra Nevada below Ebbets Pass.  At about 7000 ft the clouds cool down and dump all their moisture as snow.  A  snowstorm in July 1995 resulted in 30 foot drifts at this campground", and I went to sleep wondering what in the world I'd do.  I don't have snow tires, don't even like to drive on slick rainy streets, and it would be downhill all the way if I could even get out.  I decided not to worry and fell asleep.  When the same thing happened the following day and night, I didn't even consider worrying about snow!  

Tuesday morning was beautiful and I got an early start to climb up to Inspiration Point.  The name gives a clue that it's an uphill climb with a view!   The trail starts out along the shore of Alpine Lake and is a nice level walk.

My destination - the rock on the left:

 Almost there:

I'm surprised I got as decent a picture as I did, because the sun was blinding me.  This is about the last 50 ft to the Point.  I may be adventurous but I'm not crazy.  I'm well aware of the effect of falls on people my age, and although I really wanted to get to the top I remembered the old adage that "discretion is the better part of valor".   I don't regret not attempting it.  I saw this beautiful view from where I was though:

On the way back down:

I sat on a log to rest and took a whole lot of shots of this Stellar's Jay, but only a few weren't blurry:

A couple more shots of Alpine Lake:

Nearing the campground - note all the green.  (That's what happens when you get rain once in a while.  Most of CA is just brown grass and some of the trees look like fall elsewhere - leaves turned to brown.)

When I got back to my site I sat and rested for a few minutes, wishing I had brought the Ben-Gay that supposedly has a vanishing scent--NOT!  But I wanted to drive in the direction of Ebbets Pass, and I will continue with more pictures tomorrow.