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 switchbacking 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 Incompetch.com 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 Incompetch.com is called Thunderbird and Townie Loop.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Hike the High Country: The Duck Lake Hike (Part 1)

(N 37 35.500 W 118 59.450)

This is the first of a three part series of a common hike done out of Mammoth, CA. Honesty, it wasn't my first choice, but I went along with it. Normally, on most hikes that I have had on this blog I am pretty much in charge and kind of have an idea where I am going. On this one I let the other two with me dictate the pace and take me to the unknown.

As we drove into Mammoth my morale for doing the hike was not great since I saw how bad the smoke was all around. I mentioned this quite a lot in the past few blogs, and for the few hikes I did, it wasn't that bad. You still will see some haze as I go along.

The gps coords get you to close to where we parked. Off we went that early morning up the trail. It switch backed quite a bit for the first fifty or so minutes. Not too long after that we passed by Arrowhead Lake, but did not stop at it. Not too long after that was Skelton Lake, and we did stop there.
 There was a lot of haze there as you can see in the background. If I were to turn the camera to the right the sun was hitting the area in such a way that it was really smokey looking there. Not so on the way back. At this point, many cross-country high school runners would pass us on to the pass. Apparently, doing their training here which is admirable.

After the lake I was getting tired of just walking around in the forest. You could not see very far ahead or around. I was not sure how far we were from where we would end. Then, I saw another lake ahead.
 This is Barney Lake. It had a nice color to it.
 The hike started to get more interesting around here. We were leaving the forest area, and entering mountain terrain. Now I started to wake up a bit and things were alive.
 Now we are getting somewhere! A nice rocky terrain trail that started to lift up over the area. Can you see the person ahead?
 After getting up high enough there was a nice ridge point to look back and take pictures of where I had been. You get a good shot of seeing all of Barney Lake and Mammoth Mountain in the background.
I was tired, but I was enjoying this hike now. I also knew that in all likelihood we were near the pass so the hike would be basically over. Well, sort of.

Hike the High Country: Duck Lake (Youtube Video)

The music used from Incompetch.com is called Thunderbird and Townie Loop.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Being Thankful and Looking Ahead

I must admit that the last few months were rather rough on me. As I said previously, I had a bunch of stress this past year that was the worst during the end of the summer and early fall that made me not want to do very much blogging. Unfortunately, because of some personal things that needed to be taken care of, I was unable to visit the Eastern Sierra for the fall colors in time. That was a major downer for me. It was near the end of October that the worst of it was over. Then almost days after that I injured my back somehow, and my recovery time was really slow. I still feel some soreness, but I can walk and bend down again.

In any case, that is all over now, and for that reason I am thankful! I’ve had reasonable good health, and if I can walk, then I can hike. Now, it might be another few months before that takes place again, but it is something I look forward to.

So as far as the blog is concerned, I’ve decided to wait until early 2019 before I start releasing new content. If something comes up by Christmas that I think is worth showing then I will do it, but most of what I have in mind will start sometime in January.

So I wish all my loyal readers happy holidays through the month of December. I going to be spending the next month working on various projects that I hope will be fun to talk about during the 2019. So assuming nothing dramatic happens…I’ll catch up with you on the trail at that time.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

It's Armistice Day (WW1 Ends 100 Years Ago)

So after about four years we have hit the end of the centenary of the WW1 time period. As history goes, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 there was a cease fire to the war to end all wars. Of course, we know that in reality this was just the beginning of two wars.

This will probably mark the end of my posting of pictures of military aircraft on the blog for quite some time. About seven months ago I noted the death of the Red Baron. I wanted to end this with two other planes.
  First, the Sopwith Camel is probably the classic aircraft (apart from the German Fokker Dr.1) that everyone associates with World War 1.
If anything, Snoopy from the Peanuts series is the one who keeps these planes alive in the popular world. However, even that is dwindling. I'll get back to this in a moment.
This is the Hanriot HD.1. This one was built in France and is a veteran of the war. It was used off a base in Dunkirk, France. There it defended bombers that tried to sink u-boats. Long story short, it was sent to America after the war where French ace Charles Nungesser purchased it to fly in movies and as a "barnstormer" (used for flying tricks in a flying circus).
Nungesser always had this insignia on his planes. So he added this insignia to this Hanriot.Kind of cool in a creepy way! These planes are now owned by the Planes of Fame in Chino, CA.

Knights of the Air (Youtube Video)

The following I decided to cut out of the video at the beginning "voice" portion since I sounded like I was really angry, and it didn't quite fit the flow of how I wanted to present the video.  I found this out at the Planes of Fame tribute to the Great War last weekend. It was tne thing that pretty much shell shocked the audience.

The Cal State University system has decided that a course in world history is no longer needed as part of the general education program. WHAT!!! You read it right. Unless you take history as an elective or decide to major in it, you can go through the university in California without a course in world history!

This is disturbing. It has further convinced me that education has just become a money making scheme rather than a serious academic place. Degrees and "qualifications" are becoming meaningless unless you had one a few decades ago. As the saying goes, unless you study history you are doomed to repeat it. As I have said before, what bothers me is not so much the difference of opinions I see young students have online, but all these utopian ideas being thrown out as if they have not been tried over and over again during the 20th century. I could say a lot more, but maybe some other time.

In any case, I wish you all well today on this day of peace.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Hike to the Great Pumpkin! (Halloween 2018)

(GPS: N33 55.870 W117 31.065)

Happy Halloween!

So a few weeks ago I headed off to Norco, CA to look for the legendary Great Pumpkin. Interesting enough, the area I was heading to is very much a cowboy/horse culture. I was amazed at all the establishments dedicated to cowboy clothing, saloons, veterinarians for horses, etc. that you would think ended in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Even my trips to isolated areas in CA and nearby states have not made me feel like I was being thrown back to that era.

There are various ways to get to the trailhead(s) and it really depends how long of a hike you want. For me, this was not intended to be much of a hike. I wanted to get to the end of it as soon as possible. So, I didn't take the longest route. In fact, this was really not much of hike if you compare it to what I normally show on this blog. It was short, but the uphill is a few hundred feet which will get you breathing quickly. Overall, it took me about ten minutes to get to the gps points listed above from where I parked in a residential area. The normal route starts a little lower in an equestrian area.

So off I went on this trail which as stated is more uphill than lengthy. One does need to be careful because they are some deep dips in the trail at points. Remember this area was designed for horses.
One of those big dips is just ahead. If you look carefully you can see something up above looking down on me.


After ten minutes, and some huffing and puffing, I reached the final ascent to the Great Pumpkin.


Actually, this is known as Pumpkin Rock which history goes back to the 1990's. Prior to that it was used differently, but these days it is kept orange all year long.

Looking over the city of Norco.

Unfortunately, Pumpkin Rock gets its share of graffiti. What you are seeing is sort of tame to what I have read in the past. Fortunately, that gets cleaned up and painted over by the locals.

So, this is the oddity I wanted to share for this Halloween. I had my mind set on doing something else for this Halloween, but it didn't work out. However, there is a good chance that will happen for next year's Halloween (2019). So get back to me a year from today!


The music from Incompetech.com is called, "Come Play with Me" which can be found HERE.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Looking back on the Summer of 2018

Dusting off some cobwebs...we are now officially in the fall here in the north.

Well, it has been a while. This is one of those years that my productivity on the blog has been almost down to nothing. As I warned years ago, this would be the way things are. Sometimes I will have a bunch of new things to talk about, but if I don't I just remain silent.

With that said, I did get some things done this summer that I might start talking about soon or at the very worst at the beginning of 2019. I have some life stressors that have to be dealt with first. I could throw up a bunch of stuff right now, but I wouldn't be as motivated to talk about or enjoy it. I found that it is best to wait and be patient.

In any case, let me tell you what happened over the past six months as sort of a sneak peak. Originally, I planned a few mountain hikes with my brother. He decided he wanted to take his vacation time at the beginning of August. I said, "Okay, but as usual, we run the risk of fires in Yosemite which ruins everything." Time went on.

Sure enough as we got close to vacation time fires started to light up the Eastern Sierra. Once you know the fires are going climbing mountains seems like a waste of time. Smoke everywhere makes the views bad. We had been through this before. I've talked it about so much one year on the blog I felt bad how negative I was. You look forward to something for so long only to have it ruined. "There is always next year."

We made best of the situation and did some other hikes instead. Interesting enough I was rather happy that at some of the most important points of those hikes the smoke was not too bad. Here is an example of Emerald Lake in Mammoth which was on the way back to the car:


Not bad. Of course, by the time we got home the fire was finally put out. Oh well. "There is always next year." The cycle continues.

I did do a lot of work at one of the movie locations I visited last October. I think I might need to go visit it one more time though for a better introduction and a pickup shot or two. It is one I think most people that like what I do will enjoy. Yes, it has been forever on this one, but this is the most progress I have made on it.

There are other things I am pursuing. One thing I hope to have is some new technology for a different perspective on some of the locations I have visited.

So I am still alive. New content will be coming at some point. I hope you all have been doing well or hanging in there the past year.

See you later on down the hiking trail of life...