Saturday, October 20, 2007

Giant Sequoia National Monument, October 2007

In October, 2007, we took the trailer up to the Giant Sequoia National Monument in the Sequoia National Forest, above Porterville in the southern Sierra. The road was very twisty but not impossible. Snow flurries were predicted. We stayed at Quaking Aspen Campground at 7000 feet, which was practically deserted. After a very cold and dark night (no problem, with lots of blankets!), we awoke to find that there had been more than just flurries:

But the snow really added to the experience of hiking in the Sequoias, especially in this seldom-visited area. Freeman Grove was very impressive:

The aspens were particularly striking during the snow flurries:

Even the oak leaves were turning yellow:

After a couple of days, the sun came out and lit up the snowy aspens:

The cold nights made the aspens change color every day, going from pale yellow to gold to red:

On our way back down the hill in Camp Nelson, we came across a New England-style maple:

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuolumne Meadows, September 2007

We camped for a week at Tuolumne Meadows on the east side of Yosemite, in the Tioga Pass area at about 8600 feet. The nights were very cold -- lots of blankets. One of our first hikes was right nearby, at Lembert Dome, a big granite knob:

Although the trail wasn't steep, the sheer granite face was intimidating:

On another memorable hike, we went out to North Dome, which overlooks Yosemite Valley and Half Dome:

On the way back from North Dome, we climbed up to Indian Arch:

The landscape of the high country was stark, inspiring me to imitate Ansel Adam in black-and-white:

Toward the end of the trip, the weather started to get stormy:

On our way home, we stopped off at Parker Lake, north of June Mountain:

We hiked up to Fern Lake, where the aspens were starting to turn:

Friday, July 20, 2007

Washington and Oregon, June-July 2007

We spent the last two weeks in June and the first two weeks of July, 2007, mostly in northern Washington. We were worried that a month in our tiny trailer would be too much. It wasn't. We started out on the Olympic Peninsula in the Ho Rain Forest:

Our "RV park" was in back of a remote café; the elk paraded across every morning and evening:

We took a hike along the South Fork of the Ho River on a misty day; we hiked for eight hours and didn't see another person. The ferns were enormous -- -- more like trees than bushes:

We discovered that the horsetail ferns had an intricate radial structure when viewed from above:

We then moved to the northern part of the peninsula, staying in the Elwha Dam area. Sol Duc Falls was very impressive:

One afternoon in Port Angeles, we spotted this "wildlife" creature calmly sifting through a garbage can:

On a snowy morning, we went up to Hurricane Ridge. The marmots were striking noble poses for us:

Across a snowy meadow, we saw a deer and her fawn. The fawn suddenly realized that his mother had gotten too far ahead of him:

From the top of Hurricane Ridge, we could see the skyline of the central Olympic Range:

After about a week in the Olympics, we took the ferry over to the Bellingham area and then camped in a primitive campground near Mount Baker. If you click on this picture, you should be able to see the glacier:

Several of the hikes in this area were pretty snowy; sometimes, we had to turn back because of avalanche chutes. But the snow caves were rapidly melting:

As soon as the snow would melt, the wildflowers popped out. These are glacier lilies:

And these are penstemon:

The columbines were everywhere:

On a snowy and windy afternoon, we decided to go for a "snowshoe hike" up on Mount Baker:

Everywhere we looked, there were waterfalls and streams; I don't think that we were ever away from the sound of running water:

In early July, the weather warmed up, and we headed for the Central Cascades. This is a view from Sauk Mountain, toward Canada:

Mount Baker, which was now to our north, looked a lot different in the sunshine:

We hiked up Cascade Pass. The trail passed Johannesberg Glacier, which was shedding large blocks of ice into the canyon. It sounded like thunder:

Along the trail, there were fields of leopard lilies:

We later headed over to the east side of the Cascades to Leavenworth. It was very hot, but the streams and waterfalls were lovely:

We left Leavenworth earlier than we had planned (because of the heat) and headed over to the Snoqualmie Pass area. This is Franklin Falls:

One evening, we went to Snoqualmie Falls and saw a spectacular sunset:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sequoia National Park, May 2007

We took a quick trip up to Sequoia. Most of the trails were pretty snowy. On our long hike to Heart Lake above Lodgepole, we didn't have snowshoes and had to "post hole" through deep soft wet snow (in other words, our boots punctured the crust and our footprints looked like post holes). But our first view of the lake made it all worthwhile:

There was no one else for miles around, and the lake was still partially frozen:

On our drive back to the Montecito resort, we passed a couple of early-season bears tearing up a log, looking for grubs:

We took a short hike to Lost Grove. Click on the picture and look carefully at the ground between the bases of the trees: