Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't forget to get the faces

My parents were in the National Park Service, so as part of their heritage they left us umpteen million photographs and a lot of home movies. The thing that struck me about the movies, some 60 years later, is how much I want so see images of people. I look at these unique movies of buffalo, bighorns, deer, moose, etc., but what I want to see is the faces of people I have known. In so many shots, the people are just an afterthought. The back of a head, a shoulder, distant views.

Recently I've been scanning in old slides of Susan's old neighborhood from about 30 years ago. She has done a little better at capturing faces. The batter here is backpack45, but I what I appreciated was the shot of her in a Renaissance dress.

Some of the others in that scanning are good examples of what I'd like to see:

These are all circa 1977


Thursday, June 26, 2008

StickPic test in Tilden and Timecheck and Backpack45 together

Did another of the East Bay Regional Park Trail Challenge hikes today. A nice route - starts at Little Farm, goes up to Nimitz Way, out for about three miles, down and back via Wildcat Canyon trail. Almost nobody out there due to the smoke warnings. We met one hiker early on, said he had seen a mountain lion a mile back. All we managed to see were cows. At our Pop Tart break, I decided to try the StickPic we had for testing. This is a little camera tripod like device that looks like a fat plastic ring, and fits on the end of the hiking stick.

It worked fine and resulted in one of the few pictures we have of the two of us. However, Susan vetoed her image, so I had to abide by her wishes and just post the above.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barking Frogs on Pleasanton Ridge

Our backpacks were sitting there, ready to go for our now fire canceled 4 day backpack. Water bladders full, etc. With an open schedule, we turned to our East Bay Regional Parks Trail Challenge book for a hike to keep us in condition. Pleasanton Ridge, 7.5 miles, challenging was the description, so we went for it, me with my full backpack, and Susan with a fanny pack.

It's a little tedious slogging up to the top of the ridge, but then the trail goes thru some ancient olive trees, and follows the ridgetop with shade when you want a break. The challenge route is a loop, and the back side goes by three cattle ponds. They look pretty stark - bare dirt surroundings with a small margin of green around the edge.

I walked over to get a better look at the first one, and heard this bark-splash. I walked a little closer and more bark-splashes. About every 2 or 3 feet around the lake there was a frog head sticking out of the water about 2 inches from shore, with a few actually on shore. Every frog gave this bark at the instant they jumped. I've scared a lot of frogs, but never encountered this bark and leap behavior. They were about 4 inches long. Don't know if they were baby bullfrogs or something else.

Anyway, near the end of the loop we passed a ranger residence, and a few minutes later another entry for Tom Managan's decrepit building contest:

One of the frog ponds had a large blue egg mass about 6 inches across. Anyone know if that is frogs, newts or what?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Decrepitude and Rusty Objects

I'm sitting here thwarted because once again nature has cancelled our attempt to finish the one 50 mile piece of the Pacific Crest Trail that we have yet to complete in California.

It's just a short segment from Kennedy Meadows to Cottonwood Pass, and when we finished our 250 mile segment from Agua Dulce to Kennedy Meadows on May 19th, our plan was to come back and do the Cottonwood Pass stretch on June 6, after the snow level had dropped sufficiently. Well, several days after we got home there was a big storm, and the Cottonwood Pass area got several feet of fresh snow instead of melting off. So, we rescheduled once again for June 22. We were all packed up and ready to leave, but checked to see if firefighters were still letting pct hikers go thru the small fire just north of Kennedy Meadows. That fire became a monster overnight and has gone from about 300 acres to 3000+. Wildfire Today: Clover fire approaches Hwy. 395 Hikers are barred from the pct, though they can detour around. Since it's our last 50 miles of California, finishing on a detour wasn't what we wanted, so once more we have rescheduled, now in late July.

The one good thing about canceling a trip is that suddenly you have a blank calendar. In my newly acquired idle time I learned how use Google Reader to read blogs automatically. I have favorite blogs, but usually forget to check them regularly.

I was reading Tom Managan's TwoHeel Drive blog this morning and he had an old shack picture. That reminded me that I've been accumulating photos of old cars, rusty objects, and decrepit buildings that we have encountered while hiking, and decided to share some of them.

The old truck at top, and shack at bottom are both at Fox Mill Spring on section G of the pct. The rusty vw is somewhere on section B or C.