Just wanted to show off my new framed prints from dresdencodak.com. Can't wait to get a bigger place where they'll really look good!
Ryan and I took a spur-of-the-moment backpacking trip to the Sespe Wilderness this weekend. His notes and photos are here.
All in all, I felt it was a so-so trip. It was all rushed, and only three days long, so I didn't quite get into the 2-person backpacking vibe. When you hike with only one other person, you find yourself with a lot more solo time than with 3 people or more. I also was hoping to go all the way to the Sespe hot springs on the first day, but blisters prevented that. We settled for the Willette Hot Springs, which took a couple of hours to find and was pretty disappointing. I think I've been spoiled by Big Sur. We also had some technical problems (always, always buy real Nalgene!) that didn't help the overall enjoyment of the trip.
Despite all that, it was worth it. The Sespe river in May is moderately strong, and our trail crossed it at least 6 times. So if you ever go in May, hike in river-running shoes, so you don't have to stop and change shoes every hour.
Ryan (my fellow IT worker), Chris (his girlfriend), and I took a well-deserved five days and went backpacking on the Pine Ridge Trail in the Los Padres National Forest (Ventana Wilderness).
On Thursday, we left San Diego at 1:00 AM so that we could get a full day's hiking in. It's over 10 miles to Sykes Camp, plenty of time to reacquaint oneself with California's gorgeous trees:
Once we arrived at Sykes, we partook of the hot springs. Here's Chris standing in a very small one:
The next day, we didn't move camp—just wandered up the Big Sur River in search of cool things. We found quite a lot of them, but I don't have any pictures to show you, and I probably would hide them from you if I had any. No sense making such a fantastic place too popular. Ryan found a turtle, maybe this pic will tide you over:
Saturday, we decided to hike on over to Cienega Camp, which sits above the North Fork of the Big Sur River. Here's a panorama of the North Fork valley:
That day...wasn't the best. Cienega is six miles away from Sykes, but the last three miles are a tough fight through thick brush. Wear pants if you ever try it. I didn't. Once we got there, we found Cienega to be little more than a wide spot in the trail, so we turned around and backtracked the three miles to Redwood Creek Camp, which was much nicer:
In the second picture, I hope you can see that the forest floor is a long way down. The "small" trees in the gaps are the same size as the near trees, just much further away.
Sunday, we continued our return trip, this time passing Sykes and stopping for the night at Barlow Flats Camp. Once there, Ryan and I decided to wade down the Big Sur River. I wanted to see the point where Logwood Creek fed out into the river, and once there, I cajoled Ryan into scrambling up its whole length until it rejoined the trail. Sure glad we did; this waterfall was 20 feet high, and fed into a pool at least 20 feet deep:
This is only one of the many cool waterfalls we navigated on our way up.
In Barlow Flats Camp, unlike the other camps, the nearly-full moon was visible, and astoundingly bright. I spent a lot of time trying to get the perfect moon shots:
On Monday, we headed back to the parking lot, having traveled about 40 miles in all. Here's a last pic of the trail which I particularly liked, due to its spiral structure:
We left the park about 1:30 PM, stopped for pizza in Monterey, and tried to head home. After road closures, rain, flash floods, accidents, wrong turns, and too many leftover snacks, we hit San Diego about midnight! But I got a neat picture of the moon over Tehachapi. Note that, for all of these moon pictures, I used anywhere from a 4 to 15 second exposure, and never had a tripod—just me holding the camera as steady as I could.
To Dan, I just have to say, we should have gone to Los Padres instead of Kern last month.
This is just a fun panoramic shot I took from Eunice's driveway, showing the view of the whole El Cajon valley from her house (keep in mind that it's a distorted panorama; the extreme edges of the pic are actually in a line with each other, not at right angles as it might appear).
I'm a bit reluctant to tell you where I went, because it's crowded enough already. Okay, if you want to do a little work, I took these pictures in noynaCs'gniK near AC, onserF. I might find the time to tell you the story...later. Right now, here's the pics I like most.
His 40th birthday, that is. Here's the obligatory pictures of:
The confetti. Lots of confetti.
Here's to the next 40, Stubaby. I want to be you when I grow up.
The matte appearance of the dark side of the moon, despite the fairly bright crescent, struck me while driving home tonight.
These two were taken with different exposure times:
The moon sets a bit north of west, and was almost perfectly in line with the airport. Here's a plane ascending after takeoff:
And another, after having approached and then turned toward the north:
This rare species of van is usually found in large groups, exhibiting mutually-beneficial social behaviors such as the "queue" when resources become scarce. Leadership is well-defined by skin color, with the larger, darker males taking precedence in directing the periodic migrations of the herd.
Note the coordinated display of bright red markings, signifying the vans' acquiescence to the dominant leader, as he signals the end of the day's journey.
These vans are quite docile under normal circumstances. Once separated from the safety of the other vans, however, the Plaustrum Exsputuminum (or "spitting van") quickly becomes agitated. The front, side, and rear doors are puffed out to make the beast appear larger and more threatening, although they are already impressive at nearly 5 tons. In some cases, the hood is also extended. Often, the animal will explosively eject its contents at an attacker, as you can see in this second photograph:
If you see a van with its doors or hood open, DO NOT APPROACH IT. Adult vans can accurately spray their luggage onto an attacker over 15 feet away. In addition, the frightened van may close its doors onto an unsuspecting victim's exposed hand, leg, or head. If you encounter a van in the wild, you should:
March/April and June through August are the best times to observe these gentle giants, as they head south, seeking campgrounds throughout northern Mexico.
Landsakes, but this church has assets.
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