Friday, October 31, 2008

Drakes Beach

With news of Jeff, Jamie, Dustin, ++ having great fun at the Canoa ridge races, and Jonny marching back from food poisoning to 1st at Canungra. I needed a flying adventure! A front was appraoching meaning the wind would switch to south before the rain. There are a few sites in the bay area that work in a south wind. Ed Levin, Mt Tam... and a litttle known site in Pt Reyes above Drakes beach (I've not tried flying there before). The weather would be perfect, Ryan figured out the permit process and off we went. Things looked stella when we arrived, direction was good, wind was light and building. We set up, and I decided to be wind dummy. It was blowing about 9-14 when I checked, but the strength was varying with the cloud cover. I went to launch and felt that unerving rotor feeling like we get at Waddell, except it was really light? I launched and sank out, no matter, I can walk back up the 80 foot path. By the time I had wrestled my glider back up, the wind had come up to a perfect 14mph. Ryan was at launch, but just getting torqued all over the place with rotor. Dave had a shot in a different spot and the rotor was worse! Eventually the rain and wind came in, and it was time to drink beer. I wonder when this site was last flown ?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloween

I was greeted by this on my kitchen table when I got home today.

Halloween is tarantula mating season according to this local report.

So, er, sleep well !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stroll up Mt Rose

On the last day of our trip, we stopped in to see Bruce & Sarah in Reno. Bruce planned an excellent Hike up Mt Rose. We started at 8200 ft off the side of 431 and walked up through the meadows passing one frozen waterfall. Here's Sheena with Boca and Stampede reservoirs in the background. Here's Bruce with Reno in the Background. Tahoe and the trail up. At 10,761' above sea level, the top has a 360° view. It is a popular peak. To the northwest there was a prominant peak breaking the horizon. Looking at maps, is likely Sierra Butte.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Flume Trail

We went up to Marlette Lake then onto the Pacific rim trail. It was the first time I've ridden on it, I don't recomend it for tandems... Fun single track for suspended bikes though. A familiar view. Slide mountain up above the Washoe valley. It was an enjoyable ride, once we were through the boulder field. The flume trail is incredibly scenic and mostly easy, but for a couple of technical sections. Looking down on Sand Harbor. Back to Marlette Lake where the ducks are enjoying the fall.

Mono Lake

This formation is called the pirate ship. And is really pretty in the early morning light. The tufa towers are caused by carbonated fresh water mixing with the calcified salt water and making limestone. The water is 2.5 saltier than the Pacific ocean and more Alkali. This made the water foam more easily and the boat left an interesting wake as we headed out to Paoha Island. The rocks on the north end of the island contain boiling springs and steam vents. Impressive up close and also a bit wiffy. The top of the cone also has steam vents dotted around here and there. Heading back across the glassy lake. The perfect day!


The weather should have been good with the unstable air passing the day before, but it was short lived. We stood on launch hooked in for 20 mins in wind that was too cross.As soon as we gave up the wind straightened out for a moment and I decided to bail off solo.
It turned out to be a good long cycle that could have worked Tandem, however it was a sled ride anyway.I was nice to land next to my camper for a beer.It was a beautiful Owens sunset.

Wild Willy Hot Springs

It was a bit stormy at Mono Lake so we rescheduled Kayaking for another day and took a quick stroll up the newest mountain in the US. Planum crater at 600 years old. It is just a half mile south of Mono Lake. Then we headed south to Wild Willy hot springs.
It is not the easiest place to find, if you don't know the name of it! There are several hot springs in the area and some are way to hot to bath in.
A nice place for sunset !

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ellery Lake

Our plan was to head down to Mono Lake, but Ellery lake caught our eye and there were some beautiful campsites open next to it. We rallied to get the kayak in the water before sunset. The scenery was stunning. A snowfall the previous week left highlights on the surrounding peaks. The first turn revealed a Bald Eagle, hunting for dinner.
There were rainbow trout jumping out the water and pretty soon it was feasting.
The contrasting view across the lake at 9538 feet above sea level.
It was relatively warm in the sunshine.
Overnight the temperatures dropped to below 20'F. We weren't surprized but it was still cold !It was a while before we could brave getting up. We left the washing up in the bear locker. The colours were outstanding the in the early light.

I walked around for about an hour taking pictures, with my jaw on the ground.
Everywhere I looked the scenery was stunning.
There were Bear, Coyote and I think mountain lion tracks in the snow.
Sigh ! Awesome ...

On to Half Dome

It was the last day of the season to walk up Half Dome before the ladder is taken down. It was bitterly cold in the morning, which was good for clear air and good views. We took the easy route up by Vernal Falls. Up passed Nevada Falls. There were very few people on the ropes today, maybe only 8 at any given time. Last time there were more then 400, looking like ants on the lighter worn patch. First attempts at scaling the dome were unsucessful... Our stratagy was revised to walking. Here is Sheena strutting up the ropes. The diving board. I think this is the jump that first made BASE jumping famous. The view from the bottom, the round trip took about 11 hours and my calfs are still quite sore !

Friday, October 17, 2008

Festival of October - McCLure

Some engine trouble delayed Sheena's flight to San Francisco 3 hours and we missed all the festivities at McCLure. We caught the speed gliding landings Sunday morning, and I caught up with some friends I haven't seen for a while. There was talk of flights to 10k the previuous day! Wow. Sunday was nice and just breezy enough to use the middle launch. (Main launch was quite busy) Brian cleared the launch, reducing the relivence of my 100 foot mexican cactus brushing experience a couple of years back. Thanks Brian!We all flew around for a while occasionally getting to 5500'. There were a pair of bald eagles and a pair of golden eagles flying with us a rag wings.
I flew over to Pinon Blanco and on to Don Pedro Lake. Looking back toward Horseshoe Mountain.Looking back to Coulterville and the snow smattered Sierra in the background. About now Scott indicated it was time to go XC. I radioed to see if anyone was interested in chasing us and Chris and Ashley volunteered :)Off we went south. Horseshoe mountain offers a distant peak into Yosemite Valley. Heavily photoshopped picture! Looking back toward Lake McClure (top right) from Williams Peak.
Following Scott to Bear Valley. There are a few potential landing spots, but not many.Bear Valley, a few more LZ's and closer to Hiway 49. Mariposa airport is just over the end of the range.Just a 20mile flight but new terratory for me. Thanks to Shannon and Scott for the pointers (I definetly wouldn't have tried that alone!) Thanks to Sheena for fetching Scotts rig off the mountain. And a huge thanks to Ashley and Chris for giving chase.