Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Eureka Peak And Home: ERT 2014 Day 6 & 7

Day 6 of the Epic Road Trip of 2014 started out with eggs and bacon. Actually, every morning at Camp Layman started with Mum making eggs and bacon in the little kitchen. (So yummy!) After filling our tummies we drove out to start our hike at Eureka Peak. Years ago I'd been to this lake and Mum had said, "One day I'd like to hike that." And I thought to myself, "Me too!"

One of the neat things about Eureka Peak is that you are hiking above many, many miles of mining tunnels. Although there isn't really any evidence of mining along the hiking trail. 
We passed by a little creek, and as we turned a corner, I got to see some Leopard Lilies up close.

We'd driven by some on the day we looked for the Pioneer Tree. It has been so dry this year in California that I wasn't sure if we'd see any of these lilies. They tend to grow where it is a bit marshy. But half way up a mountain there was a whole collection of them.

After hiking for awhile longer, we came to a confusing part of the trail It wasn't really clear how to get to the peak. After scrambling up lots of loose rock, we did manage to get to the top of the peak. The view was marvelous, so all the scrambling was worth it. We could even see Mount Lassen in the distance.
Mount Lassen is just below the cloud

It was a warm day, so Mum and I made plans to get another Orange Freeze at the Graeagle Frostee when we made it back down. 
One of those brownish spots by the other set of mountains is where the Frostee is

We had a relaxing afternoon followed by a tasty dinner. And in the evening we walked out to the train bridge nearby Camp Layman. It's a bit of a tradition to walk out to the bridge. If you are lucky a train might go by. There was no train, but I enjoyed the smell of the pines and watching the bats flit by in the dusk.

The next morning we headed back home. But since we were passing the Frostee, I suggested that we order one last Orange Freeze. It was a perfect end to a really fun roadtrip.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Virginia City And Camp Layman: ERT 2014 Day 4 & 5

Day 4 of the Epic Road Trip of 2014 was a big driving day. We left Lone Pine, drove past Mono Lake again, and entered Nevada on our way to Virginia City. Although when we stopped in Carson City, Nevada, for gas, I noticed that one of our brake lights was out. Mum wanted to fix it later, I didn't want a fix it ticket, so I insisted on repairing it immediately. After having a brief disagreement, I guided us to the nearest auto repair store. I'm pretty sure the guy at O'Reilly's had a good laugh. After getting us the correct light, he asked us if he could help us with anything else. I said, "Better Attitudes." After spending 15 minutes in the parking lot, we were back on our way. Virginia City isn't that far outside of Carson City. We'd never been there on a weekend. Boy was it crowded!

We pottered around, got some fudge and ice cream. (The verdict on the fudge: it's better in Solvang, California.) Then headed over to the cemetery. There were some really impressive markers. It's pretty dry in Virginia City, so I'm sure that's why a wooden marker could survive.

Virginia City was a mining town. The Comstock Lode was found in the area and many people became wealthy off of the silver that was discovered. As such, there would have been mining accidents.

We finished up our ice cream and continued on to Camp Layman. I had spent nine consecutive summers there as a child and was excited to revisit. This cabin ended up being our home base for a few days. After the amount of exploring and driving Mum and I had done, it was nice to stay in one spot for a little while. (Bonus, we ran into some friends we hadn't seen in years. I walked up to say hi just as one of them was telling the new owners about this family that used to come every year. That family included me! Talk about coincidences.)

On Day 5, we took it easy. I had read a story about a boy who was attacked for gold dust during the 1800s. He didn't make it, so his friend carved his name and age into a tree. There is a historical landmark at the spot: #212. As it turns out, it was a little hard to find. We followed the vague instructions and eventually stopped at the most likely spot. I suppose it was a little unrealistic to believe that this tree would still exist. It would have been over 160 years old and these forests didn't seem to have trees over 70 years. (I determined this by finding the largest felled tree I could and counting its rings.) However, after wandering around a bit, I found this unassuming marker. Even if we couldn't find the tree, at least we found the right spot.

We pottered around in Quincy for a little bit before going to check out the parking lot by the place we were going to hike the next day. After doing an unplanned short hike around that area for an hour, we headed to the Graeagle Frostee to get burgers and my favorite, an Orange Freeze. Mum and I warmed ourselves in the sun as we enjoyed the great view. We also looked up at the mountain we were going to climb the next day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Devil's Postpile And The Alabama Hills: ERT2014 Day 3

Day 3 of the Epic Road Trip of 2014 started off with a good breakfast before driving to Mammoth. I was pretty happy I wasn't driving this leg of the trip. I really enjoyed looking out the window the whole way.
This abandoned shack is just outside of Lee Vining

When we got to Mammoth, it was raining. Mum was a little hesitant to take the bus to Devil's Postpile. (In summer, you have to take a bus to see the rock formation. It helps cut down on the traffic.) I said I wanted to go anyways. So we went, and it turned out that it was only raining on the side of the mountain that the parking lot was on. It was lovely on the other side of the mountain. 

We hiked to the top to see the formation even closer. Even though we knew that the post pile was created by the way lava cooled in the area, it still looked like man-made tiles to us. 

We ate lunch while looking up at the formation. The seat was wet, so I lay out my jacket for us to sit on. Unfortunately I had forgotten that I had put my sunglasses in my jacket pocket. Mum sat on them. She said I did it on purpose so she'd have to buy me a new pair.

After getting new sunglasses, Mum and I drove down to Lone Pine. I had wanted to see the Alabama Hills. I didn't realize that so many movies had been filmed out there. Films like Gunga Din and Gladiator have all had scenes filmed out there. The reason I wanted to go was to see the Mobius Arch.
Right behind the arch is Mount Whitney

What's so interesting about these hills is that the rock it is made out of is the exact same as the rock in the mountains behind. They have just eroded differently. Truth be told, the Alabama Hills feel otherworldly. If you've ever seen the movie Galaxy Quest, it felt like a Gorignak could come out at any moment. (Galaxy Quest was filmed in Goblin Valley, Utah, but it felt the same.)

We stayed until the shadows deepened and the sun faded away. Then we casually drove back to town through the warm and dusty evening.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Clouds Rest And Mono Lake: ERP2014 Day 2

On Day 2 of the Epic Road Trip of 2014 Mum and I hiked Clouds Rest in Yosemite. This was the primary purpose of the road trip. I think at one point this was all we had planned to do until I said something like, "Could we see (insert point of interest) too" a couple of times. 
It's 7 miles (11km) up and 7 back. Most of the trail is well marked, but once you get to the peak, it looks like this. It really doesn't look like you should be scrambling up those rocks just past the sign. On either side are very steep drops. The hike even warns you not to do it if you have a "heights thing".

I didn't know if I had a "heights thing". Turns out I do, so I just looked at my feet as I went over the rocks. (Actually, if you don't have a "heights thing" while doing the last bit, your sense of self preservation simply doesn't exist and you might have bigger issues in life to contend with.) If you go up and over, you get the best view in Yosemite. Just to my right is Half Dome. And the deep valley to the right of Half Dome, that is Yosemite Valley. You are above it all. Clouds Rest lives up to its name.

After finishing that hike, Mum and I got ice cream and then drove to Lee Vining via Tioga Pass. This pass is a sight to behold. It always closes for winter because of the snow. This year was a low snow year, so I believe it opened earlier than usual. If ever you get a chance to travel to this part of the world, drive down this pass. I would recommend doing it in the late afternoon when the shadows start creeping in. You start believing you are in a movie because everything is so grand that it almost seems fake.

The pass opens up to a view of Mono Lake, a neat place in of its own right. Mono Lake is a saline lake with no outlet. And on a day when the clouds roll through, it is particularly spectacular.

The lake has Tufa formations, which are mineral deposits. There are many places around the lake to see them, but the South Tufas are particularly stunning. 

We were lucky to get a view of Lenticular clouds and a flower I had never seen before called the Giant Blazing Star. The flowers were approaching the size of my hand. I didn't even know that size of flower could exist somewhere like the East Sierras.

As the sun set, Mum and I drove to the Whoa Nellie Deli and had a tasty meal. She had the fish tacos, I had the meatloaf. When we got back to the hotel, I hobbled to bed and passed out after having such a great day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Knight's Ferry And Yosemite: ERT2014 Day1

It's been a week since I've been back from Mum and my epic road trip of 2014 (or ERT2014). We drove over 1,300 miles (2,092 km) and hiked over 27 miles (43 km) in a week. I came back with enough bug bites, bruises, blisters, and sunburn to know that I had a fantastic time! Over the next few days I thought I'd share this week with you all.

Day 1
Have you ever passed a place so many times and said, "One day we'll stop to have a look." On our road trip, Mum and I finally stopped at Knight's Ferry; the site of the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi. We didn't realize that the bridge was still there. Although it is now closed to cars, people can still cross it. They have a great visitor center as well. It's completely worth a visit.

After our little detour, we continued onwards to Yosemite. As we neared our destination of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, we took a moment at Olmsted Point to have a look at the beast we were going to conquer the next day: Cloud's Rest. Of course when I took this picture, I didn't see those two girls photobombing us. As we had a look at the surrounding view of Cloud's Rest and Half Dome, we heard our names being called. It sure is a small world. A minute difference, and we wouldn't have run into our friends. They were on their way to Tuolumne Meadows and had stopped at the point to have a look.

We drove past Tuolumne Meadows on our way to the lodge. And by lodge, I mean canvas tents that are at the mercy of the outdoor temperature. There were wood burning stoves in each tent. Mum told me that she "preferred the smell of the air as is" so I didn't light it. We obviously have different body temperatures. Mum slept without socks. I slept in a thick wool sweater. The next morning at breakfast, the workers commented on how cold it was that night. (There was thick frost covering the car, so it was pretty cold.) And the people we ate breakfast with (meals are communal there) said that the best part of the tents is the fire. Next time it will happen! 
Western Blue Flag flowers in front of our tent

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Police Box Sox

It's been some time coming, but I have a new pattern out: Police Box Sox. I've knit several pairs of Tardis-inspired sock patterns, but each time I had to add many modifications to get them to fit my foot. I thought it was high time I write my own version.

These socks feature a 60 and 72 stitch count. But around the stranded color work portion of the sock, the stitches are increased to help accommodate how tight stranded knitting is compared to stockinette. The sock is knit top down with a heel flap, but other heel styles can be used in place of the suggested heel.

And the best part is the price: Free! The pattern can be found on bear-ears.com or on ravelry.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my buddy, Kiwipurler for the Knitsch yarn she gave me for my birthday that went into these socks. It is aptly named "Tennant."

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Velveteen Scooter

Sometimes I wonder why Scooter's body puts so much emphasis on hair growth. I gave him a great haircut in March. Come June, it's back to fluffy.
He's getting ready for his haircut nap

Luckily he sits very nicely for his hair cuts. We sit out in the backyard and he falls asleep as I trim away with a pair of scissors. Isn't he handsome. If only you all could reach through the screen and feel how velvety he is now. And because all that hair is gone, he gets a little cooler in the evenings, which means we wants to cuddle!

He's all nice and clean because he will be staying with a friend for bit while my Mum and I go on a little trip. I'm hoping to get some neat pictures to share when I get back.
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