Sunday, January 29, 2023

Housekeeping 2023

 I am a little late on this blog. I had a few technical issues that I wanted to take care of before going into this. If you follow the blog you probably already know about most of this. I created a video I link that goes over the various issues for people that watch my videos and probably do not read the blog. A lot of this I have said before, but let me restate some here:

#1 I don't do Ads of any sort. If you see ads those are not of my doing. The internet is destroying itself with constant ads. There was a time when ads were rare. Btw, this is one of the reasons I am a bit sensitive about leaving comment sections open going back many years. I realize we live in a capitalist society, but scammers and just anyone that wants to try to sell something usually like to invade comment sections. 

#2 I do not give out GPS coordinates anymore. I started this policy last year, but many who do not read the blog still have e-mailed me so I am stating again and now in video. I am keeping up what I have had in the past, but no longer will in the future. I explain it a lot in the video below with examples, but it has to do with geotagging, too many people are showing up to isolated areas that are not designed for loads of people, and these people do not have the same values and love as others before them in regard to these locations.

#3 I have new Go Pro camera, microphone, and computer! What this means is I will be using this new technology in a slightly different way than in the past. I am trying to make my videos in 4k (or 5k) so one can watch them on a bigger tv screen. Most of the videos I have done in the past in 1080p were good for the time, but these days the quality is a little dated. They still work on smaller screens like cell phones and tablets, but I want to work for bigger quality screens. I have already done the first video I will release next month and I really like it. 

One downside is I am probably not going to add movie video clips on to my videos like I used to. I intend to use a lot more still pictures instead. It is a lot of work to do video over video like I did in the past and getting everything to line up. Then there is different "frame rates" and issues of copyright that I do not have time for. Also, just about any video I have done in the past I might "reboot" with a new version if I am in the mood. We shall see.

#4 I am not looking for work or other projects to do right now. I had a few e-mails last year about this, but I do not have the time right now.

#5 I could use the help on a potential project in the future if you or you know someone who is a mountain scrambler with a Go Pro 10, 11, or whatever they release in the future. I am getting to the point in life where a lot of the mountain scrambles I did when I was younger are no longer on my list of things to do. I am relatively healthy and in some shape, but definitely not the way I was ten to fifteen years ago. My main thing is I just do not have the motivation as I have in years past...too many years of getting in shape just to find out the Eastern Sierra was on fire! Lol! 

This would be a completely free venture. Just for the love of the experience. Basically, I would explain some of the way I like to do video to the person, the way I hiked the location in the past, then they would go hike it and take video in the summer. I would then edit the clips of video given to me and narrate my memories of the hike. I would give full credit to the person(s) doing the hike and video.

I am going to use Matterhorn Peak as my example. I have old video of this hike, but it goes back to the vhs era and just does not work. So if you know someone or are someone that thinks this would be a fun thing to do then let me know: thegreatsilence@mail.com

Not something I expect too many replies on, but it was something I have put some thought into this last year. 

Housekeeping Youtube Video (2023)

With that said, I intend to cover a location I have been asked about a lot over the years, but never knew exactly where it was until a few years ago. Sometime in February!

Sunday, January 01, 2023

The New Year Has Come! (The Silmaril Series)

Merry New Year! I hope you are simply having a wonderful holiday season. As I have stated before I have a tendency to think of Christmas time continuing until about the second weekend of January (or whenever Martin Luther King's birthday holiday is in the U.S.). So, I typically have what most would consider Christmas music in my mp3 player until then. Keep in mind I do not really listen to the popular Christmas music you hear on the radio during the season. I always enjoy taking walks at night listening to my music and seeing what houses are still decorated with lights. It gets less and less as the weeks go on, but I have seen some Christmas lights out until March before. 

Skipping back to my previous December 21, 2022 blog entry, I showed what happened back in May, 2022 when I hiked to Leavitt Lake. It was a strange weekend, but I was somewhat happy to get some sort of picture of the "winter-like" conditions there.

So, we went back about two months later near the end of July. This time the issue was there was a lot of smoke due to fires going on. Again, this was frustrating. I was a bit fortunate in a few ways:

So, as one should expect during the summer, all that winter snow and ice was gone. The only downside I had was a small amount of smoke haze I had to deal with here. You have to look really closely, but on the right side in the lake is tiny little boat. Some guy was fishing there. There were others camping around the lake with the 4WD vehicles which you need to have to drive into this area. For this blog entry and the one back on December 21st we hiked in on the dirt road. In the past, I have been driven in with 4WD trucks. I have to stress that or someone will get stuck in the middle of nowhere! Do not drive this road unless you have the proper vehicle! 
I did get the drone to clear the lake. This is looking back across the lake. I kept pushing the drone to see if I could get all that pond in the shot, but at the same time I did not want to crash into the side of the mountain as I kept going backwards. So, this is the best I could do. 

The smokey haze was much more apparent in the background. I moved the camera down to focus on the lake. The mountainside was very smokey so no need to show that. You can see some of it on the upper right side.

We did not spend much time at the lake. Just enough for me to fly there and back again. There is more hiking that can be done around the lake. We have talked about doing more, but I hope to do other things before coming back here in the future.

So with that said, we start the new year! I will have another "housekeeping" type of blog entry in the next week or two. I am preparing a video for it that is more for my video watchers than those who read the blog, but stay tuned here since it will prepare how I go about 2023.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Winter Is Coming! (The Silmaril Series)

 At least in the Northern Hemisphere! 

So, will be the last blog entry of the year. Please have a great Christmas and New Year! Note that many are coming down with illnesses of various types, including Covid still being around, so please protect yourselves and bulk up on your vitamins. 

So, one of the goals I had this year was to use my drone at Leavitt Lake. This is one of the shots I took:

The trick on this one is I took it during Memorial Day Weekend. I had just re-registered my drone, and the week before the weather forecasts were saying that there would be lots of wind in the Eastern Sierra that weekend. Exactly what I did not want to happen.

Sure enough when we got there it was all very windy. We decided to go up the HWY 108 anyways to see what it was like at Leavitt Lake. Turns out that morning was not too bad for wind, but as we kept going the cloud cover was lower as we kept going higher on the road. 

We parked off the road. Normally one takes a 4-wheel drive to Leavitt Lake, but the road was blocked due to winter conditions still existing, and we were just going to hike the road anyways. Off we went.

It took us about an hour to hike in. A few huge trees had fallen down over the winter so even if the road were open, no one was getting through with any vehicle. As we got closer to the lake the more snow we encountered. In fact, at a few points I was pretty much sunk in knee deep. 

At the lake I had already decided I was going to fly my drone quickly. Go up, get a few pictures, and get down. There was a slight drizzle of rain coming down, but not overwhelming. I took the drone up and flew over some of the lake. 

I flew it back and took the above picture. I was going to do a little more flying over the lake at a lower level, but then the rain started to kick in a little more. I would have liked to have taken a picture of the lake without all the cloud cover around and the sun out, but that was not in the cards on this day.

I ended up flying my drone a few more times that weekend with the wind really blowing. I was kind of fortunate I did not lose the drone, but I had waited many months to fly again. Looking back now I will probably never fly in any type of rainy conditions or that type of strong wind ever again. 

So that ends my flight with winter conditions at Leavitt Lake. There is more to this drone story at Leavitt Lake, but I am going to wait until the beginning of January to tell the rest of the story. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Silence of Gaylor Peak

 As I explained in the last blog entry, I did this part of the hike in the morning. I then visited the mining area after I came back down. While the hike might look intimidating from the pictures I showed last time it really is not. This is because you do not need to climb it from the east side. 

This looks a lot different than what you see from the other side. I would say this is probably one of the easier hikes in the Eastern Sierra. Do not get me wrong, one does need to be in shape and prepared, but it is a little milder than others.

As I said, there are some rough moments when you look straight up. I spent some time zig zagging my way up. Not too far from here I encountered a ranger coming back down. He basically told me I was done, and I kind of figured I was. There were a few false summits though.

At this I looked back. When I came back down, and I then descended to the right toward Gaylor Lake you can see a small part of. 
Now I am at the summit. You can see Gaylor Lake looking toward the west of Yosemite.
This is looking toward the north-west you can see the Granite Lakes in the distance. I did not go to those on this trip. 
This picture is looking north at Upper Gaylor Lake. This picture is interesting because I am now looking to where I was going to be in an hour or two. In the background is the Great Sierra Cabin of Tioga Hill and mining area I showed in the last blog. You will not be able to see it, but the trail is on the other side of the lake that goes by the cabin. 

Finally, looking more toward the east you can see Tioga Lake and beyond that Tioga Pass. I did not show Mt. Dana because the sun was glaring down in that direction. You can see it briefly in the video.

The music from Incomptech.com is called Ice Giants and Either Vox.

As an aside, this video marks the end of a certain way I do videos. I am going to make some changes in the way I do things going forward. This is why I wanted to get this video up. I will talk about this at the beginning of 2023. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Great Sierra Cabin of Tioga Hill and "Dana City"

 Happy Thanksgiving! 

The next two blog entries deal with a Yosemite hike I did a few years ago in October. Why have I waited on this one? Well, I meant to do another hike along with it, but due to fires and other issues over the past few years I never got around to it. So, I am tired of waiting so here we go.

For this hike I am shifting to the very end of it first. I will show the early morning part of the hike in the next blog. For now, I will just say that this hike is started on the eastern side of the entrance to Yosemite. You literally enter Yosemite and then just park beyond the entrance to Yosemite to reach the Gaylor Lakes trailhead.

After going up some switchbacks for about five hundred feet, then descended about the same amount of feet, one encounters the first of the Gaylor lakes, and then one heads more in a north-eastern direction to get too Upper Gaylor Lake. Then one follows the trail up to encounter the remains of this:

This is known as the Great Sierra Cabin on Tioga Hill. 
Another look of the cabin. There were miners wandering around this area making claims as early as 1860. It was a shepherd, William Brusky, from Sonora that ran into a claim from 1860 during the year of 1874. He worked on the claim until he found a promising vein in 1875. A few years later the Tioga Mining District was formed, and people scrambled to the area.
Inside the cabin I looked at where the fireplace would have been. There were big plans to turn this whole area into a city: Dana City. At some point they planned to make a tunnel that would go from this side to the east to Bennettville. I showed some pictures way back of the mining tunnel they started over there in those 2006 blog entries.
Inside the cabin I framed Mt. Gaylor in the background. This is the view a miner would have had back when it was used. This is actually a common picture I have seen done by others that visit here. Most people that come here take this type of picture out the window. It is interesting to see what time of the year they show. I have seen some fun winter snow pictures here.
Stepping a few paces backwards I took another picture. See the snow/ice inside? I am going to recommend a book at the bottom that has some nice pictures of this cabin when it was still practically covered and complete.

Beyond the cabin heading more to the north-east I encountered a few mining holes. Please note that these holes are dangerous to get to close to. One can slip or the ground might cave in so that you would fall down into the holes. You can get trapped in them with no one around. Also, they did appear very cold. 
Looking in the mine.

 Not too far away I ran across some old mining equipment. Some of it is scattered around.

The community increased, a road was built to get from Sonora to here, and machinery was brought in to Bennettville from over the other side in the east. Yet, it was finally determined that while the mines were relatively good, the remote location, high freight rates, harsh weather, and other issues made it unprofitable. So, the tunnel remains in Bennettville were stopped. Both Bennettville and what was meant to be "Dana City" were abandoned. 

In the next blog I will show some of my hike up Gaylor Peak that can be seen out the "window" in the above pictures. It looks like a pretty mountain hike dramatic doesn't it? Stay tuned...

 While you can find some good information online doing some searches about the cabin, Tioga Hill, and "Dana City," I found that the book Yosemite's Tioga Country: A History and Appreciation by Gene Rose very good. It has a chapter that goes into much more detail that what I described here. Amazon has it much cheaper than I paid for it here.


The music from Incomptech.com is called Ice Giants and Either Vox.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Veterans Day 2022: My Day at the 2022 MCAS Miramar Air Show

Happy Veterans Day to all our Vets! Even though I am focusing on my day at Miramar I like to think that this is a tribute to all the services. 

So back in early 2020 I purchased a new camera with the intent to use it a bunch of air shows. When I got the camera I went to a local park every few days to learn how to use it with a bunch of ducks, birds, and some aircraft flying around. I was about a month away from two major air shows. Then Covid kicked in and everyone shut down. While I had been able to visit the Planes of Fame in Chino, CA a few times to focus on a one plane they would fly a month, this was the first time I was able to attend the big Miramar Air Show.

The day I went was very hot! The sun in front of me was bearing down on me in such a way that I was a little worried about myself at the end of the day when I was trying to get back to the car. This is one thing about air shows where I live: they always pick the days that seem to have really sunny conditions. Which is good for some reasons, but by the end of the day I am wiped out!

Anyways, I was able to get some good pictures that day back in September. I took a short video that I will link at the bottom that shows you the short landing ability of the F-35B, If you have not seen that before it is quite amazing.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the Marine Air Ground Task Force demo which shows how the Marines can occupy an area. Basically, the air forces are given the okay to start bombing and take out targets, More air forces come in to make sure the area is clear. Then the Helicopters come in to clear out the area. Then the marine troops show up. Obviously, a lot more complicated this this, but you get the idea as the fighters come in at fast speeds:
Later on the F-22 showcased some of its abilities. It was very fun to watch that! Eventually, they flew it a long with a P-51 from the Planes of Fame in Chino. It was their Heritage Flight at the show.
Finally, the Blue Angles took over at the end of the show. They were great:
So, I was very satisfied and exhausted at the end of the day. It was a great show.
Even though I was tired for a few days, I was already thinking of better ways to take pictures of these jets if I ever get to another show like this. We shall see!

The following is the link to a short unlisted Youtube video of the F-35B landing:

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Cell Phones of Power

 So I am in the mood for a self-reflection type of blog entry...

It never ceases to amaze me as I get older how much people try to control others. Lessons I learned as a child through such things like the Bible, fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, etc. always emphasized that power can be a really bad thing. It has its limits and trying to control others through power is not what we should be doing. The ability to control what others do is not really up to me.

Years ago, I was shopping for some food at a chain grocery store. I got to the register to check out and the woman asked me if I had the "members card" for the store and asked if wanted to sign up for free. I said, "Oh no, that is okay." The deal was I would save a dollar or two by having the card for the store. She looked at me kind of strange and took some other person's card to give me the discount. 

While I appreciate discounts, my concern then was why do you want my personal information for some card? Are you keeping records of what I buy each week or month? That was then, this is now.

I am not a big fan of cell phones. I really do not like talking on the phone very much. I was forced to get one as a way of instant communication with my family when I was dealing with my mother's health issues.  

Now when I go to stores, my membership cards that I do have, are not as important as having some app on my cell phone. All you need to do is install an app I am told. The best discounts are now on apps. The last thing I want is my cell phone filled with these stupid apps for each store I visit.

Of course, as I have said in the past, social media apps are a big problem in this area too. All these programs are designed to keep you using your cell phone. It is all "FREE" we are told, but...they can get your personal information, keep you online for more ads, try to "influence" your thoughts and beliefs, etc. As an aside, if a new "can we be friends" person communicates with me wants my personal info or cell phone number, I consider that a bad sign, and typically a scammer. 

It feels like the whole point of "someone" out there is to create addictions in us, so we are controlled by our cell phones.

What is my solution to this? Turn it off. That is easier said than done when instant communication is needed between family and friends for many of life's events. That is the paranoia that I have when I turn everything off. What if something happens when I have it turned off and people are trying to get a hold of me. 

In The Lord of the Rings story there is the character of Gollum who we find out was once a hobbit who was corrupted by the power of the one ring. He has a love/hate relationship with it calling it his "precious".  While there are many characters we can relate to in those books, I think the character of Gollum is a lot closer to the way we humans are then we would like to admit. 

As I have always tried to emphasize on this blog. It is important to turn off the computers, cell phones, etc. and get out there in the real world. You may not have easy access to nature where you live, but at least getting out of the house is a good thing. Explore the real world even if it is the streets of the big city. Do not get sucked into thinking that what is online is the real world. It is not. 

Also, do not neglect paper books or other reading non-electric materials. I will say that reading a book or classic on an electronic tablet I own can be considered in this, but I do risk interference and distractions from the internet.  

Some level of discipline must be kept in our lives regarding this. This is why turning things off and getting out there exploring nature has been so important to me. Believe me, my feelings would not be hurt if you decided to stop reading my blog or watching my videos in order that you could get out into the real world. 

Friday, September 30, 2022

Catalina Glass Bottom Boat and the Buffalo

 To wrap this one up I wanted to go over the last two touristy things I did back on the July 4th weekend. I had never been on a glass bottom boat before. My dad always talked about it. So, I was able to do that this time around. A picture does not really cover the experience so I will link a short video at the bottom of this blog entry that is a few minutes long.

The last thing I did during the afternoon was go on one of the eco-tours they have. I had been on one before, took a lot of video and pictures, but never got around to uploading anything about it. On this tour we were taken to the Catalina Airport which I always find interesting since the runway is very small. We did see some buffalo on the way, but the best pictures I got were on the way back not too far away from the airport.

It is kind of odd seeing bison on Catalina Island. The story is pretty well known though. During the filming of a silent movie in the 1920's about twenty bison were sent to the island as part of the movie. They were kept there and reproduced to as many as five hundred over the years. These days the population is much lower. We were told on the tour they had not reproduced, partly due to birth control, for over a decade. They try to keep the population in check, and in the past have sent extra bison to the Great Plains. However, they were forced to bringing in two new females to keep the genetics and population going. 
This is the same bison from the other picture as we drove by. I was given permission to open up the side part of the eco-tour van to get this picture. One of the young ladies kind of freaked out as I did that. This was during the period that a few attacks had happened in Yellowstone. I am used to dealing with wild animals so I kind of know the distances I need to stay safe, and how quick I would need to close the door. We were completely safe, but from her perspective she probably thought we almost died, and I was reckless. Lol! This bison just moved to the right side of this picture and took off after this picture. 

So, it was a fun trip to Catalina Island. Usually after I go I kind of feel like I do not have to go back, but over time I remember certain things and enjoy one day stops on the island. One thing I should mention is due the drought they were hurting for water. At the restaurant I ate at I asked for water rather than something else, and they asked if I was okay with bottled water. I totally forgot about the situation. Normally, when I ask for water at a restaurant, I do not think much of it, but for people on the island they were suffering due to the drought.

The Glass Bottom Boat Tour (Short Youtube Video)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Inside The Casino at Catalina Island

 So in the last blog entry I showed my drone shots I took last July of The Casino at Catalina. I noted that it is primarily used as a movie theater and has a ballroom upstairs for special events. I am going to travel back ten years in time to show pictures I took inside of The Casino when I took a tour of it. At the time I had all these ideas of showing what I did on the island that day when I went, but I never did show anything on here. That is kind of the way I have been over the past ten years or so. I have taken lots of pictures and videos of things, but unless I am motivated with something I think is worth mentioning I tend to just leave it on an external hard drive, DVD, etc. Something touristy like this is rather well known too, but I am in the mood so let's go back ten years...

Here is what the inside of the theater looks like:

One of the first theaters created when silent movies became "talkies" in the late 1920's and early 1930's. I would not mind seeing a movie here, but typically my trips to Catalina last a day. I leave before the night movie is shown.

Going upstairs to the ballroom:
One thing I knew going into the tour was that an old movie, Murder on a Honeymoon (1935), had been filmed in here. A murder takes place near the end of the movie:
I was listening to what our young lady tour guide was telling us, but meanwhile I was trying to hunt down where they filmed this. 
It has been ten years, but if I remember correctly, I concluded that the murder took place in the background here. You can look at the windows and artistic signs above the windows and doorways. Some of the artistic signs might have been changed around because the area has changed a lot over the years. In the Airwolf tv series episode, Sins of the Past, from 1984 they show the ballroom as well and it looks different too. In any case, even if I am little off here you get the idea of how the ballroom would have been used for the murder in that movie.
Finally, looking up I saw this. 

In the next blog I will show the next thing I did that day at Catalina.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Casino at Catalina (Drone Shots)

Over the July 4th weekend I was able to revisit Catalina. Over the next few blogs I will describe my adventure there. I have been to Catalina a few times over the decades of my life. Let me start this blog with my latest adventure, and then I will talk some about my past experiences.

So the first thing I did was get off the boat and head to the other side to where The Casino is at Avalon, Catalina. I got my small drone out and took off to get some pictures.
This is a rather common shot I have seen in the past while watching the weather report in Southern California over the years. I assume it was a helicopter flying by, but now people are able to this by just using a drone. 

Maybe a more unique shot of The Casino as I was just flying above it with the drone.

Then I flew it in a more northerly direction and took a picture looking more to the south at Avalon. I just spent enough time getting it up, flying it around for a few pictures, and then got back down. There were other things scheduled for the day, so this was just something meant to be done rather quickly in the morning right as I got on shore. 

The Casino is primarily used as a movie theater and for special events like weddings on the upper floor. On the day I was here they were showing The Batman movie there. In the next blog I will time travel back about ten years as I show some of what was (and I hope still is) inside of the Casino.

My brother mentioned to me that in the Airwolf tv series in the 1980's there was an episode where they blow up The Casino. The episode was called, "Sins of the Past".