Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Tom Mix Hut(s) (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36°35.790 W118°07.700)

(AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part 2)

So after spending some time at the Shark Fin rocks all one needs to do is continue on the trail past them to get to the next destination. When I did this hike on my own I could not remember how much further I needed to go since I had not been here in over a decade. After pulling around the corner of some rocks I came to this spot.
The following is a screenshot from the Tom Mix movie Riders of the Purple Sage made in 1925. In the movie Tom Mix climbs a mountainside and comes to these habitation huts.
My angle for this shot is a little off here, since I should be moving over to the left some to line it up when comparing it to the following picture:
However, if my memory is correct, I was using the following picture from a different scene that lines up better.

 I think that works:
In the movie, they have Tom Mix look over into a shot of Yosemite which is great in the movie, but nothing you would see from here. Remember he is supposed to be on an elevated mountain here that he climbed to.

As I state in the video, I always enjoy looking up the old silent film sites just to see if there are any traces of what once was. In this case, there is a lot! That I am thankful for. Eventually, I will show a site where I can tell you it is the right spot, but there is nothing left. That is typical for many silent movie locations.

The Tom Mix Hut (The Shark Fin Hike Part 2) Youtube Video

The music from is called Mister Exposition and Frogs Legs Rag.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The Shark Fin (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 35.930 W118 07.090)

 (AKA The Shark Fin Hike Part I)

It begins! This is the first part in a three part series. This is a good series for a beginner to the Alabama Hills, or someone who also wants to check out some other areas a little off the beaten path.

I've had to delay this series for a bunch of reasons. The obvious one was what I was talking about in the blog of December 2019. However, one of the big reasons I have not had as many Alabama Hills blogs in recent years has to do with the fact that many more people are showing up there and hanging out in the areas I would make videos at. It is hard for me to do things if there are people or vehicles in the spots I am going to. This has happened a bunch of times to me after driving a few hours to a spot only to find it occupied. I was going to say something about this in this first video, but I thought it would take too long, and I would sound a little too irritated. It is a little more complicated than the way I just described it. I'm going to wait until I go back in the next few months, and see how the situation is before I say anymore on this.

The GPS coordinates take you to where you can park right off of movie road. It is a very obvious spot you get to right as you enter the Alabama Hills from Whitney Portal Road onto Movie Road. More than likely you will encounter some vehicles here because the Shark Fin is used for rock climbing. That is what most people know it for. I am going to emphasize the movie location part of it for this blog.
It is pretty obvious where to go here. The sign tells you to park here because you are not to take in vehicles any further. So you do have to get those feet moving.
I have encountered rock climbers on the Shark Fin once or twice. Not always though. In the most recent time they were there I just bypassed them, and came back at another time. It is pretty typical to see this rock formation in the background of movies. I mention a Buck Jones serial in the video, The Roaring West, make in the 1930's that has it in the background.
The one serial that had it was the Hi-Yo Silver movie you can find on dvd. It was originally The Lone Ranger serial from 1938. It is the same movie that has the ambush in what they call "Lone Ranger Canyon" in the Alabama Hills. Here the rangers ride into their secret cave.
Of course, there really is not a cave there.

The Shark Fin (The Shark Fin Hike Part 1) on Youtube.

Music taken from that is used for the video is called Crowd Hammer.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Revolutionary War Reenactment (President's Day Weekend 2020)

If you have followed this blog from the old days, I have gone to the Civil War reenactment in Huntington Beach a few times. That one benefits from being on Labor Day weekend. I had never been to the Revolutionary War reenactment before which is over the Presidents' Day weekend. In the past, I would forget about it only to remember the weekend afterwards, it would conflict with something else, or, in the case of last year, I was taking care of mom.

This year I had already had a full weekend of stuff to do. I was not sure I would go until the very last moment. I got there early and could only stay a few hours, but I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe I can go for a full day next year.

When I arrived there was a church service that is always kind of fun. You are kind of back in time with a "this is real, but sort of not real" situation at the same time. Especially if you are a person of faith you kind of have those moments when attending something like this. Our good revolutionary era pastor educated us on the use of banners, the meaning of Jehovah-Nissi using the story of Exodus 17 with Moses holding his arms up with the battle against the Amalekites, etc. Praise songs were sung, and a closing prayer.

I headed over the British encampment after a group of British soldiers picked up a deserter. The guy in white was taken over to be court marshaled for leaving his post.
 Eyewitnesses were called back and forth. Apparently, he left his post and visited a bunch of ladies. The ladies tried to defend him, but he was found guilty. The sentence was death by firing squad.
 I left as they were taking him away. A few minutes later as I was in my chair I heard the firing squad shots, but did not look to back to see the fate of the victim.
 The above was part of a cannon demonstration. Very loud. As the battle took place a little later they kept firing these cannons.
 It was the Battle of White Plains in 1776. Some of the colonists headed out to the field.
 Some of the British kneel and fire!
 The colonists fire back!
 The colonists were not as disciplined during this period. Both sides had casualties, but the British came out on top during this battle. One of the colonist leaders presented a sword to the British leader present as a token of acknowledging the British victory.

I had walked around both camps earlier. In the main area, in the middle of everything they had many things people were selling if you are into that period. George Washington and Ben Franklin were scheduled to speak, but I left not to long after the battle since I had scheduled other things today.

I really liked this. It felt a little smaller compared to what takes place on Civil War reenactment on Labor Day Weekend. The good news is a lot of people were there during the battle so I think more people were there as the day went on. So, hopefully, I can come back next year.

The HB Historical Society

The HB Historical Society Revolution Page

Next up! The series I have been waiting a very long time to get moving on! I think you will like this one.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

My "New" Toy

Happy 2020!  

The last Christmas present my mother got me back in 2018 was a toy drone. I have used it a few times in 2019. I will probably show some video from it at times, but want to keep those short since unless you are really into that it can be a bit boring the way I do it. Here is a screenshot of Tioga Lake with the drone near the Yosemite border (can't fly in national parks).

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, but I will probably need another month or two before I upload some new content. I have too many other things going on right now.

One thing I wanted to say about the Eastern Sierra is that it is largely seasonal: late spring, mostly summer, and a little bit of fall. That is for most people. If you are into skiing that is not really what I am talking about. I had a family drive by as I was walking about two months ago asking why a certain restaurant was not open. They were surprised since people fish and hunt, etc. I had to explain that fishing season was over, it is a seasonal area, and we were getting to the point that this particular area will be snowed in for many months.

No matter what time of the year your travels just try to be aware of where you going. Have a little knowledge before hand especially it if is an isolated area. Let others know where you are going and an approximate time frame of your activities. It is going to happen that we hear another story about someone who traveled somewhere and goes missing. Nature doesn't play by the rules we think it does.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 was a Rough Year! (In Memory of Mom)

I hope you are having a great holiday season. It has a been a long time since I have done something for this blog. I owe some of you that have e-mailed me over the past year an apology which I will get to. Seeing how this is the last day of the year I have been reflecting on what happened this year. 

1)What happened this year?

This year was kind of a disaster. When I began the year I made a Youtube video explaining all the things I intended to do. There was really only one thing that would prevent me for doing more videos, showing pictures, and doing more blogs on here.

At the end of last year, my mother had just passed her driving test when she started to complain about something hurting in her right arm. It never improved over the holidays. Took her to the doctor at the beginning of the year and was told a few things.

Thinking things would get better I started a few new blogs during the middle of January. It was within a few days of that we had to take her to the hospital. We got the news she was not doing too good. So, long story short I took care of her for the next five plus months until she took her last breath.

Both my mother and father were really great to me. My mom was just awesome. Always great to talk to and encouraging. A lot of my soul got ripped out during all of this because I realized just how much I was dependent on the well being of my mother going back as far as I remember. So, at some points during the next year I will probably say things on video and in the blog just as a "shout out" to my mother's soul and memory.

My Apologies! A bunch of you e-mailed me this year. I would say a good 95% of the e-mails I did not respond to. Nothing personal to you, but if you read the above I had my hands full and in some ways still will for a while. I just was not that motivated. So, if you see this I am sorry and please write me again in 2020 if you wanted a response. I'll try to be better about this.

I pretty much forced myself to do those last blogs back in March, but I really was not that inspired in those. I am still not really all that inspired, but I do have some items I want to share at some point this upcoming year.

2)Fall Colors?

Last year I did not get to go. This year the Eastern Sierra fall colors were just not as good as other years. The timing of the colors was a little off. On most years you have a window of opportunity in some areas of about two weeks. I'm not sure if it had to do with excess snow and water from the winter, the weather, or just some other factor. The time I was there I could see the colors continue to change over the week, but it was a bit irregular. Some leaves stayed green, others were turning gold. This was one of the best areas I experienced at the time. I was at the June Lake Loop at one point right before I left. It had those irregular patches of green and some yellow, but nothing worth showing. I thought as I left it would be another week, but even then lots of leaves had fallen.

I'll have some more to say very soon in 2020. Happy New Year!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Green Creek Trail (to Summit Lake)

(GPS: N38 03.060 W119 19.180)

Time to wrap this one up. After the Hoover Lakes we continued up the trail back and forth. Eventually we ran into this worn down sign that splits the trail:

If we wanted to hike back up to Virginia Lakes we would take the trail left. It is a serious climb back in that direction if someone has ideas of doing that. Our goal was Summit Lake so off we went straight ahead.

There is actually a nice little meadow here that the water that falls from both the Virginia Lakes trail direction and Summit Lake that drains into all the previous lakes I have shown. Unfortunately, I did not get any good pictures or videos of this area. Have you have seen the Miner's tale ("All Gold Canyon") in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs anthology movie? I highly recommend the movie, but it really reminded me of this area along with a few others I have been to when I saw it.

In any case, we dipped down into the meadow with a crossfire of all the streams coming in. Then we hiked up the trail's final ascent to the lake. There was the destination I had both seen from a distance on the trail from Virginia Lakes and on maps over a few decades. Summit Lake!
My brother and I walked up to the lake and remarked on the beauty if it. At this point the clouds kicked in giving the area an overcast look to it. The smoke was not too bad here. I mentioned how I would like to be here in February/March just to see what it was like. My brother just said everything would be only white. Yeah, with this years snowfall it is probably just a winter wonderland of cold snow and ice.
I decided to walk around the lake for a few reasons. One I just wanted to see what the other side of the lake was like.
Glad that is not a volcano! Lol!
I reached the other side and looked back.

I show it in the video, but I walked a little further because I wanted to say that I entered Yosemite from this direction. Yes, the border of Yosemite is at the end of this lake. There is a sign and marker showing that it is the border.

The interesting thing about this hike is I mentioned that the clouds were slowing moving in to make it more overcast. As we headed back it continued to be like this until it started to get really dark. Then about the time I reached Green Lake the rain drops were coming down.

Keep in mind firefighters were still dealing with fires in Yosemite and other areas. I would say about the time I was near the final twenty minutes of the hike back to the truck it just started pouring. I was trying to keep my cameras dry in my backpack. I waited under a tree for about ten minutes hoping that the rain would pass. I got tired of waiting and raced back to the truck where my brother was waiting.

Once we started driving away and got closer to HWY 395 the rain stopped. If only the rain that was there would have hit those fire spots. In any case, a few days later I think the worst was over with the fires and they were in complete control.

Hike the High Country: The Green Creek Trail (Youtube)

Overall, a fun hike. One doesn't need to go all the way to Summit Lake and back in a day to enjoy it. I wouldn't mind starting at Virginia Lakes, then descending to Summit Lake, and then coming out at the Green Creek Trail head as a day hike. It would take some coordinating with a few cars, but can be done.

Music used from Incompetech is called Vulcan and For Originz.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Green Creek Trail (to Hoover Lakes)

(GPS: N38 03.270 W119 17.470)

Continuing from the last blog, we followed the trail and eventually were looking over another lake. This was Gilman Lake. While we could have descended down to it we decided to stay on the trail and keep going. Somewhere here we had to cross over the stream that was running down to it. The following is past that stream and looking back on Gilman lake:
Not sure where we were going, but the trail kept switch backing and moving us a little higher.
Mysteriously, things started to get a little more rocky. Then this lake showed up! This is the first of the two Hoover Lakes. I had seen these lakes before up high on the trail that starts at Virginia Lakes. I was looking down on them and saw a few people hiking along. So it was great to finally see these lakes up close.
This is still the first Hoover Lake. I'm looking back at where I came from.
I turned around. Walked around the now rocky trail that went along the other side of Hoover Lakes. This is looking at the second Hoover lake and in the direction I would be going:

This is looking back at the Hoover lakes:

It was somewhere near the end of the Hoover Lake #2 that I found my brother looking at his cell phone. I was wondering if he was trying to get reception, but he told me that he was just looking at the gps map function. He then told me that it was not really that far to Summit Lake. My response was, "Cool! Then lets do it!"

I'll conclude this in the next blog about Summit Lake and the end of the hike.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Green Creek Trail (To East Lake)

(GPS: N38 06.440 W119 16.310)

This was another hike I did last summer. I had been on this trail a few times before, but it was always too early in the season, and I was stopped by snow each time. This time I did it in August, and I went much further that most people would go for a single day hike. Usually, to get that far back into the high country you want to backpack and spend the night. There was actually a lot more to this day than I can show in pictures and video, but I will try.

This wasn't my first choice hike, but due to the fire and smoke conditions it was another good alternative. I had seen the route on maps for years. In fact, I had seen the final destination from a far a few times. We will get to that.

The drive in on the dirt road takes a while, but eventually one ends up near the gps points above. With that my brother and I took the trail. The first thirty minutes or so is passing the camping area and then the trail combines with a driving road. Somewhere during the first hour I could hear a bear groaning just off the trail to my right. My brother, who was a few hundred feet ahead of me, verified that he heard the same thing that morning. It was actually kind of creepy. I had experienced that once before on a Thanksgiving Day in the back country. I've talked about black bears before on here, but you just wonder what could be lying around a corner ready to ambush.

So, about an hour and half into the hike we encountered Green Lake:
 I had been to Green Lake once before. It was here I had to turn around because the snow was just too much on a July 4th weekend years back. Before you get here there is a split in the trail. If you go to the right side of the trail you would head to West Lake. I think West Lake is where the falls are coming down from in the background. If I can ever get back there then I will go to West Lake, but for for what we intended to do we stayed on the trail that was heading left.

After we took a few moments at Green Lake we had to look for the trail to our next destination. We were not quite sure which way to go here, but we eventually decided to follow the switch backing trail. We crossed a few streams. Within about another twenty to thirty minutes it flattened out for us.
 Not too long after that we started to see some people around East Lake. Most of the people we saw that day were camping around this lake.
 It was a beautiful lake. The following three pictures are the best I can do to pan around the lake since I could not capture the lake in one shot.
 It is a good sized lake.
 We eventually hike along the lakeside trail to the other side.
 This is looking back.
At this point I was quite content with this hike, would have had no problem just turning around, and calling it a day. Still, the day was early, and my brother was way out in front of me somewhere.

I'll continue this hike in the next blog.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Duck Lake Hike (Part 3)

(GPS: N 37 32.700 W 118 58.100)

Time to wrap this one up. So after the pass we decided to go to the very end of the lake which would descend a few hundred feet. Along the way I saw some deer and this crazy tree:
Almost there. Just around this corner.
I looked down. Yeah, not a good idea to slip and fall here.
A little further down, and we reached the end of the lake.
It was very quiet here. I just enjoyed the overwhelming silence.
I looked at where the trail continued, but there were no signs there. I'm was pretty sure that it connected with the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail within a few miles. In any case, we spent about thirty minutes here, and turned around.

It took us a few hours to get back to the trailhead, but we ended up taking another side trail on the way back so we passed by Emerald Lake which you can see a picture of in this blog HERE.

So all in all, not my first choice for a hike, but a pretty good substitute. Btw, you might be wondering why they call it "Duck Lake"? Does the lake look like a duck? Is there a history of ducks migrating here at some point? The only ducks we saw were back at Skelton Lake sleeping just inside the lake near the shore. Not that I care too much, but if you know the answer leave a comment or an e-mail.

Hike the High Country: Duck Lake (Youtube Video)

The music used from is called Thunderbird and Townie Loop.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Duck Lake Hike (Part 2)

(GPS: N 37 33.500 W 118 57.750)

So after getting out of the forest area, entering the mountain trail terrain, and having the sun out a little more I was enjoying the hike. I knew I was pretty close to Duck Pass. I could hear the cross-country runners cheering each other and other hikers up the final part. This being the final ascent:
 No cheering for me though as I was a little later. That's the price I paid for taking pictures and video along the trail. I didn't care though. I was happy to walk though Duck Pass. 
 Right after you clear the pass you get to see a small part of the big treasure here in the back country: Duck Lake.
Duck Lake is probably one of the biggest lakes I have seen in the High Sierra back country. Here is the middle portion:
 At this point I was told we would continue to the end of the lake. I agreed. I was already tired, but I did want to continue to see what was at the end of the lake.
I will wrap this up in the next blog.

Hike the High Country: Duck Lake (Youtube Video)

The music used from is called Thunderbird and Townie Loop.