Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Silent Rainbow Falls

(GPS: 37 36.090 W119 05.075)

I think Youtube has the advantage on this one since I had to use a little more compression on Vimeo, but I will post both versions:

I use some alternative footage and show the falls from the other two observation points:

A young boy commented in a loud voice on the bus ride back to Mammoth that, "Devils Postpile is overrated. Rainbow Falls is what the area should be really called." I had to laugh at that because I understood what he was trying to say. I think the average person gets more of the "wow" factor from seeing waterfalls.

We continued the last 1/2 mile from the area I showed in the previous blog entry. The San Joaquin River was beside us for most of the hike. Here is where it drops over the falls.

When we got to the first observation point I quickly started videoing the area. I wanted to get a few minutes in, but the problem was everyone started really crowding in at this point. There was not an overwhelming amount of people, but the people that were there quickly crammed into the areas right next to me. I do not think I have ever had that issue in the Sierra before, but as I said in the previous blogs this is a well known tourist area. It would have been nice if they could have given me a minute or two before they tried to take my place.
A few blogs back I mentioned we did not get on the tour bus as early as we should have. I think this is the area I kind of "paid" for it in that the rainbow might have been a bit better an hour earlier. I do not know, but from what I have read you need to be there during the morning hours. We were sometime before noon, so at least I was able to get the above.
There are two other main observation points of the falls. One is a little lower from the first one (which you can see in the second video), but the bottom one is where you go down a long stairway to get to the above picture. You can definately feel the mist down here.

According to what I have read, the falls have actually moved 500 feet back from the original location. This has to do with the erosion due to the water continuously undercutting or sculpting the rock below it over long periods of time.

People were really complaining about going back up the stairway. The way the hike worked out the stairway back up those 100 steps is lot more work that the hike itself. From the falls you just have go back the way you came, but there is a closer trailhead to where the bus takes people out. From there we rode the bus back to Mammoth.

My day was not over with this though. I wanted to be sure to hit two Mammoth movie location areas before we headed home. Those will come up in the next blog.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Rainbow Fire

(N37 36.405 W119 04.745)

GPS coords are just approximate according to Google Earth since I did not take any readings there on my own.

From Devils Postpile to Rainbow Falls the hike is just a few miles. A few miles can be a lot of work in the Sierra depending on what you have to hike up or through, but going south from Devils Postpile is rather simple. It is mostly flat, and if there are any elevation changes, then you are really just going downhill. So, we were just flying down the trail as quick as we could go. We ended up passing a lot of groups of people (ex. Boy Scout troops, middle aged to elderly on their backpacking vacations, etc.). Since this is a tourist hike we encountered a lot of people that one could tell do not get out very much. In any case, we eventually passed those people and the area opened up a bit.

For a lot of the hike we were just traveling through a forest area with trees on our sides. It did open up a bit. I knew we were heading into Ansel Adams Wilderness. When you think of Ansel Adams you think of beautiful b/w scenic pictures. So, here are we are:
Ugh, oh! Not good. My memory is a bit hazy, but I seem to remember the fire in August, 1992. A lightning strike three miles south caused a fire that did not seem like it would do the damage that it caused. However, the wind picked up a few days later and spread to this area.

At first I did not care for it, but after looking at it for a bit my opinion changed. It does remind me of what could be a possible fantasy movie type of location. While something like this may seem bad at the moment all it takes is time for nature to bring all the trees back. What has happened in the past 18 years is the new habitat has brought forth new types of plants and animals there were not here before. So, the dead wood is being used in someway.

At the end of my last video on Devils Postpile I showed a little of this area. In the video that comes after the next one I added some alternative footage of this area. So, wait for the next blog or two for that one.

We were only about 1/2 mile until Rainbow Falls. The waterfall ended up being the highlight of the day for me. I think you will really like the next two or three blog entries. It is the stuff I really wanted to get to on this day we did in Mammoth.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Devils Postpile

(GPS:N 37 37.510 W 119 05.065)

After visiting the craters we headed to Mammoth. I knew we needed to take a bus to Reds Meadow Valley so we could get to Devils Postpile. After purchasing our tickets we waited. As I remember, we sort of messed up by not notifying the guy who reserves seats on the bus where the bus takes off that we intended to go on the next bus. Which meant we had to wait around another 30 minutes or so. That was not really a bad thing, but looking back on this it slightly messed things up, and I will come back to this in one of the next two blogs.

After the 10-15 minute drive up and then descending, we started the short hike to Devils Postile. I had never been back here before, so I was looking forward to actually seeing this landmark. It is a well known tourist destination, so there were lots of people walking around.
Basically, somewhere between 700,000-100,000 years ago lava flowed over this area. It slowly cooled over the rock. The jointing occurred while the lava contracted. Then a glacier polished the rock. This created the organ pipe look to it and the "postpile" of rocks below it.
Most of the columns are hexagons, but the rest are 7 sided, 5 sided, 4 sided, 3 sided. This picture is standing above the postpile.
From the dozens of pictures I had seen and what I had read over the years, I kind of knew what to expect in coming here. Nothing surprised me too much. I think the only thing was I thought the postpile would be a bit bigger. The area is pretty much isolated to what I show above.

So, I would say we spent about 15 minutes total below and above the postpile. The next thing to do was to head to Rainbow Falls which is an easy hike a few miles to the south. We did encounter something I want to cover in the next blog. You will see a part of it the video I did for Devils Postpile.

Devils Postpile (Youtube Version)

Devils Postpile (Vimeo Version)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Inyo Crater Lake

(GPS: N37 41.610 W119 00.250)

There are a lot of areas I show that I never feel that great about the pictures or the video I take. Usually, it means I have arrived at the area too early in the morning or there are other factors like bad weather involved. I always tell myself that I can just come back some other time, but it may be years before I do that. This is one of those times that I think the area is really cool, but I knew going that it might turn out this way.

This begins a bunch of blogs dedicated to a day I spent in Mammoth, CA last year. Normally, I stay away from Mammoth because it is a little too touristy. I am not saying it is a bad place to go because there is a lot of stuff to explore there. It just usually turns out that it is a little too populated during the times I go. Let's put it this way, it is the only place I drive by that I might encounter traffic and slow down the drive...and I do not drive that fast! ;) I do intend to go back at later time for some things I want to figure out.

In any case, I think some of the best stuff I got to was later in the day. It will take a few blog entries to get to those. I still want to cover this area and the next area I went to on this day.
The Mono-Inyo area is filled with many craters. I have shown a few in the past. This one I had always read about, but had never visited so I wanted to cram this one in as the first thing I visited on that morning last August. After a short drive on the Mammoth Scenic Loop Road, we drove a few interconnected dirt roads, and then hiked about a 1/2 mile to the two craters.

I am only going show a few pictures of the southern crater. The northern one is interesting too. It does have a lake, but there are many trees in the crater. The southern crater is a lot more opened up. There is another crater further north that can be hiked to, but I did not even bother going to that.
From what I have read, this was not a volcanic eruption. Basically, moltan rock heated up some water underneath creating steam. The pressure blew off the top of the crater. The lake is supposed to be shaped like a wine glass in that if you were to go down it would get more skinny. I actually waited around on this one hoping the shadow would go away. I would have to spend a few hours here during the middle of the day to get the pictures I was really after; I know others have done just that on the web so you can search others sites for that. We really had to keep our schedule for the day so we took off back to the car.

Refer to the Inyo Craters Section in this link.

Wikipedia article on the Mono-Inyo Craters

My Video on this one:

Inyo Crater Lake (Youtube Version)

Inyo Crater Lake (Vimeo Version)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Yer A Bunch A Idi0ts!

How is that for a title? Insult my audience. If there is one thing I have learned from something like Youtube is the way to get more people to watch your stuff is to anger them. It is the whole, "there is no negative publicity," thing. The unfortunate part is you get a bunch of people that do not watch your stuff because they like you, but quite the opposite. A mob mentality forms. I am totally not like that, and the last thing I need after a hard day at work is dealing with an angry mob during my "hobby" time.

In light of what today is...check the get the idea...I thought I would offer up a screwball video and a little commentary on a screwball documentary.

You can figure this one out:

Left Turn to Nowhere (Youtube Version)

Left Turn to Nowhere (Vimeo Version)

Okay, a little while back I referred to a tv documentary that I felt almost made a mockery of what I do. It had nothing to do with me, but the coincidences were kind annoying. There was a series on the History Channel called Monster Quest. It deals with legendary animals/creatures and the paranormal from what I can tell. Well, I was told I needed to watch the episodes called, Sierra Sasquatch. At the risk of taking something too seriously that the producers were probably laughing at behind the scenes, here we go...

First, before I turned this on, I was thinking, "why is this on the History Channel?" Maybe Sci-Fi, Discovery, etc., but the History Channel? Of course, I realize there is the issue of putting stuff on to get ratings, but even this was so over the top I thought I better comment here.

This episode might have worked with me had it been somewhere in Canada I have never been, but the fact it was practically my backyard during just about every summer of my life was just too much. The premise of the episode is there have been Bigfoot sightings near the Mono Lake vicinity.

In my experiences, there are lots of animals that have watched me during my hikes, but I really seriously doubt a bunch of Bigfoot are out there. This particular area is remote, but not THAT REMOTE from people crossing by. I think I would have been more impressed with a documentary on wolverine's in the Sierra because they are out there, but are very rare to see.

They had a guy who was training at the marine base in 1985 that supposedly saw some while doing a training mission, they had a glider plane fly over Mono Lake and the June Lake area with radar, a hunter who allegedly encounter some a few years back, and one of the lead investigators supposedly saw one cross the road out near the June Lake area. Then the had 11-13 foot tracks at what looked like Grant Lake. Yeah, my shoe size range. The main thing they showed was video footage taken in the early 1990's at the western tufa site of Mono Lake.

We are told the video footage was done by a father with his family and was not seen until 17 years after while going through the video. Of course, the father was shown as a shadow since he feared for his families privacy. Yeah...right. ;) This is what showed up:

You can clearly see something moving by.
Is it a man with a parka or bigfoot? They went to the site above these days, and it is under water where the "creature" would have been standing. Take whatever you want from this, but these days video footage is very easy to manipulate. Inserting something like the above would not seem to difficult.

Here is what was sort of funny about this episode. They did it during the time I was there for a weekend in October. I hiked in both Lundy Canyon and near June Lake and both were the main featured areas in this documentary. I will blog about these in the future, but the funny thing is I seemed to remember driving by a bunch of people when I left Lundy Canyon that could have been a film crew. I might have walked right by some of these guys out there and not even known it. Check this out, this guy was out there looking for tracks:

I saw that plume of smoke in the background. I knew I was there the few hours that thing was up. This is right after we got done hiking in Lundy Canyon. It was a bizarre thing to see so I said we had to stop and take pictures.
A close up. That was there only on this day.
So, it was downright creepy they filmed in exactly the two main areas I hiked that weekend. I told my brother we need to stop hiking these areas because some idiots think were Bigfoot/Sasquatch. ;)

There is a sucker born every minute. Don't believe everything you see on tv. Alright, enough for the screwy fools day. More serious stuff next time.