Saturday, February 24, 2024

Best Winter Camp

The 2024 HALT winter camp was the best ever!  Tom's Place had snow but like last year, so he headed up to the parking spot at the end of the plowed road.  There were several skiers and snowshoers there but still had plenty of parking.  After getting all our gear ready, we headed out over about 2' of snow with some very light snow falling.  We made camp in East Fork campground about 3/4 mile from the car.  After dinner and melting snow, it was an early night.
The next day was sunny and nice.  There wasn't enough snow for a good quinzhee but we made a small one to demonstrate the technique.  For lunch, we hiked back to the car and drove to Tom's Place Cafe which is highly recommended.  We also did a hike towards the Rock Creek Lodge.
Overnight, it snowed about 4-6 inches.  Our tents looked like igloos due to all the snow.  We got up early to start packing and it was still snowing.  Tree avalanches were dropping all around us.  We finally got to the car and drove out on the snow.  We passed the plows on the way.
It was a great trip!

Home sweet home

Great weather

Got a nice fire going

Tent igloo

Ready to bug out

Car covered in snow

Tom's Place cafe

Up valley in the snow

Sunday, February 04, 2024

Winter Desert Overnight

With an off Friday, I decided to squeeze in an overnighter in the desert between a couple of storms.  I started out by topping off with gas in Ocotillo and then heading into the Dos Cabezas area.  It was drizzling as I explored the Mortero Palms area.  I hiked up to the palm grove which was the densest grove I have see.  The hike had some tough scrambling but worth it.  Since it was too early to setup camp, I headed north to Indian Valley.  It got dark as I drove into the south branch.  I got camp setup and ate a quick dinner.  It was quite windy and cold so I headed into the tent.   Later in the night a couple other folks showed and camped there as well.  They weren't too loud except for some snoring :(  In the morning I checked out the north branch of the valley and then hiked Torote Canyon.  Lots of elephant trees in the canyon!  I then headed north again and decided to take Oriflamme Canyon to exit.  It was a tough but great trail.  I got to the end in Banner just in time as about a dozen rigs were at the gate just about to come up.

Mortero Palm Grove

Mortero Canyon

Camp in Indian Valley

Sunrise in Indian Valley

Elephant Tree in Torote Canyon

Along Oriflamme Canyon trail

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Baltimore Christmas 2023

  • Mt. Vernon tour; great even with the rain
  • Center Club for dinner and annual meeting
  • Lots of games
  • Walking the dogs
  • Taking a flight with Kevin and dad

Lily's first flight

Preflight at Martin State Airport

Backseat selfie

George Washington's Tomb

Mt. Vernon

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Time Team Drinking Game

Rules: during an episode of Time Team, take the listed number of drinks when the listed item is seen.

1 Drink

  • Phil's Daisy Duke's
  • Helen's Daisy Duke's
  • Raksha's laugh
  • Bridget's belly
  • Anyone's butt crack
  • Anyone's cleavage
  • Mick drinking wine
  • Francis making a wild ass guess that has no chance of holding to day three
  • Ian operating a digger
  • Stewart riding a bike
  • Matt volunteered for re-enactment duty
  • Tony hauling tea
2 Drinks
  • John Gator doing any sort of excavation
  • Victor speaking
  • Trench opened on the basis of a strong geophys anomaly that results in something modern
  • Robin smoking
3 Drinks
  • Mick drinking something other than wine
  • Carrenza's belly
Note these rules are based on the original series not the reboot.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Thanksgiving Desert Jeep Trip

For Thanksgiving weekend, Jo and I headed into the desert for a planned overnight jeep trip.  We headed into Borrego Springs and made a stop at the visitor center and enjoyed the nice nature walk there.  Then we hit Font's Point which has spectacular views.  Next, we headed up Coyote Canyon.  The road was in better shape than I expected and people were already setting up camp along the road and creek.  However, we were blocked at the gate.  The gate is normally closed during summer months to protect the habitat for bighorn sheep; but it should be opened by now.  We parked at the gate and started hiking in to check it out.  It was evident right away that the road was gone as the creek now flowed strongly where the road used to be.  It seems the recent storms rechanneled the stream away from its normal course at 3rd crossing which is now dry.  Heading farther in, the road up the to the next valley was severely eroded and mostly unpassable to cars.  I don't see this road being opened up anytime soon, if ever, especially given the way the state parks runs its business.  Anyway we turned back and hit Inspiration Canyon which was awesome and decided to head home since it was getting cold and windy.  On the way out, we hit Old Culp Valley Road which was very lush.

At Font's Point

Overlooking Borrego Badlands

Creek running through Coyote Canyon road

Eroded Coyote Canyon road

Hiking into Collins Valley

Green desert!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Atlanta Fall Visit

Jo and I had a great time in Atlanta visiting relatives.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Not Death Valley 2023 Jeep Trip

Due to the closures in Death Valley, this year's trip was done farther north in and around the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Day 1 started in Bridgeport and we headed up into the mountains.  The scenery was great with lots of golden-leaved aspens.  Lots of water crossings as well.  The "high point" was Mt. Patterson, the highest point in California that you can drive to. We camped at Belfort ghost town where I did some exploring amongst the old mining camp.

Belfort sunset

Line up in Bridgeport

Lobdell Lake

Trail up Mount Patterson

Atop Mount Patterson

Belfort ghost town

Camping out of the jeep

On Day 2 we headed downhill in great terrain and then into Sweetwater ranch.  After a short drive along NV 338 we got back on trail headed west. We met up with Desert Creek and stopped for a great spot for lunch.  We then headed along the creek, crossing it a few times until we reached camp at the old NF campground.

Great views

Lunch along Desert Creek

Camping along Desert Creek

We started Day 3 by continuing along the creek and reaching NV 338 again.  After heading south on the pavement, we turned off at East Walker River. From there we headed mostly south through the Masonic mining district until we hit the Bodie ghost town and had lunch.  Our planned route from Bodie was closed so we continued south to CA 167 at Mono Lake.  There was quite a bit of pavement miles back into Nevada and turned off at Rattlesnake Flat. We headed through the Excelsior Mountains and made camp in a great spot.  That night was windy and a bit rainy.

Lining up near NV 338

Views of the Sweetwater Mountains

Masonic mining district

Backside of Masonic Mountain


Long straight empty highway

Camp in the Excelsior Mountains

On Day 4, we headed south and stopped at Cow Camp and then into Tells Marsh and stopped at the old Marietta ghost town.  From there we headed mainly east through the Burro reserve until we got to NV 360 we were finally aired up our tires.  From there, I made the 8 hour drive home.

Heading out of the canyon

Cow camp

"Wild" burros

Marietta ghost town