Final Stretch

It has been a crazy week since we’ve moved out of the house. But it has all been good.








In a nutshell, we tied up a few loose ends in Oregon and headed south. 

We spent the weekend with our resupply goddess getting a late delivery of food put together;

We drove south through California’s central valley.  We were planning on taking a couple of days to get to San Diego, but got word that there were just a handful of spaces left at our planned auto storage facility that were first-come, first-served, so we pushed hard to get there and get our spot.  We did;

Then it was last-minute chores of sending out resupply boxes and getting everything ready. But since San Diego is my old stomping grounds as a teenager and Jennifer has never been here, there was food to be enjoyed and places to see.

We will catch a breather before we hit the trail.

I hope.


The packing continues.

We got the entire house packed, cleaned and handed over the other day. We wanted to spend yesterday napping, but there is still plenty to do.

It doesn’t help that, thanks to a shipping snafu, that we are still waiting on delivery of about 120 meals worth of dehydrated vegetables and protein.

Here’s our hotel room right now. I suspect the housekeeping staff is shaking their heads every time they walk past the open door.


It’s a last minute sanity check, as we have realized that some important items are now somewhere in the storage unit. No show-stoppers, but things we will need to find (not likely right now) or replace.

Once this is done, on to the last minute packing of meals as tracking tells us that the food shipment is in town as of yesterday, but apparently too far from the mailbox to pick up.

The adventure begins and continues.


Wow, has it really been two weeks since the last post?

In the immortal words of Bob Marley, we’re jammin’.

We spent a week in Kansas experiencing what we’ve been missing here – winter.  A nice bout of snowfall and single-digit temperatures, made all the more enjoyable by spending the time with very dear friends.

Plus, they gave me the opportunity to shoot “baby bump” pictures for them as they’re just a couple of weeks from having their first child.  I’ve never had experience and it was nothing short of amazing.

Once we got back, we had to hit the slopes.  It’s late-spring conditions here, with the nights on the mountain not getting below freezing.  So we had a day of pushing slush and skipping rocks, but it was a great time.

Then a full weekend of trail-related activities.

Friday night had us at a local screening of a movie called “Only the Essential“, a documentary of a couple of hikers on their thru-hike of the PCT back in 2013.  It was a heck of a lot of fun to see the spots through someone else’s vision.

The best part was the Q&A session afterwards, when an audience member asked the producers what the most eye-opening moment was for them during the hike.  Colin Arisman responded, relaying the moment when he realized that he truly was house-less.   The look on Goddess’ face was priceless.

That part is really sinking in.

The rest of the weekend was trail work with the Siskiyou Mountain Club, building rock steps, build drains, clearing brush, clearing fallen trees and rehabilitating old, faded trail tread.

Misery WhipTaking a break.

Bean Meadow SunriseWatching sunrise on a morning when people were fretting over whether their clock was telling them the right time or not.  Sunrise is sunrise.

Boccard Point ViewView from Boccard Point in the Soda Mountain Wilderness.  That’s Pilot Rock to the left, Mount Ashland in the distance, just right of frame center.

We worked the majority of the trail from Pilot Rock to this viewpoint, skipping just a couple of miles of deadfall trees because it was late Saturday afternoon and we needed to set up camp before sunset.

Those will be taken care of next weekend.


PCT – Permits

Hello everyone.  It has been a while.  My semi-regular posting schedule has been much more semi than regular lately.

Things are rolling quickly.  In just over a month we hand the keys to the house back and we’re effectively homeless.

Not long after that, we’re walking.

Did you catch that? In just over a month…

I’ll let that sink in.

Mostly for us.


A trek like this isn’t possible without permits.  We cross a lot of public land that is protected for one reason or another, not to mention several National Forests and National Parks.  Each requires a permit.

PCT:  For the purposes of a long-distance hike on the PCT that is longer than 500 miles, the PCTA manages an interagency permit system that covers the myriad permits along the way.  That’s much easier and more efficient than  trying to coordinate with all of the different agencies.

Especially to summit Mount Whitney.

Due to the increasing popularity of the trail, they’ve had to institute a 50-hiker/day start schedule.  That move caused a lot of consternation amongst many hikers, folks who by their very nature are easy-going and just go with the flow.  The new quota meant that we hikers had to pick a date and stick to it.  For those that didn’t jump on the registration site right after it opened, their preferred date might not have been available.

That’s a bit problematic for folks that had already bought airline tickets.  The system is even getting press in The Smithsonian.

But it’s working out.  After the initial consternation, most folks are realizing that the system is the only way to minimize impact on the trail.  Our start date is already full, at the beginning of a stretch of two weeks where every day is fully permitted.  So we’ll see a lot of folks on the trail in those first few weeks.

Campfire: Since we’ll be camping mostly outside of established campgrounds in California, we are required to obtain a campfire permit.  It’s a simple system consisting of watching/reading a short fire prevention presentation, then taking a test.  A successful test completion means a permit.  Done.

Canada: Yep, we need a permit for Canada.  Why?  The final 9-mile stretch of the trail is in British Columbia, finishing in Manning Park.  But there isn’t an official border crossing there, so they need to know we are coming.  Plus, we need the official stamps to show that we aren’t in Canada illegally.

That makes sense.  Otherwise, I might take away someone else’s job at a Tim Hortons.*

Mind you, we don’t have to go into Canada to complete the PCT.  We could stop at the monument right at the US/Canadian border, take our pics and not enter Canada.  But that means a 30-mile hike back to the first US town south.

Since we don’t have anything keeping us from entering Canada (e.g., criminal record), we’re going to keep walking.

The added advantage of going into Canada is that a very good friend lives nearby.  It will be good to finally meet him on his home turf, as we’ve only been able to get together in Germany and here in the US.

That’s it for permits.  It doesn’t seem like much, but the PCT and Canada permits add a bit of stress to the process, as they don’t open for application until so late in the planning.  But it has worked out.  We’re fully permitted.

*Tim Hortons – my only experience with a Tim Hortons has been their furthest east franchise, a lovely garden spot known as Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I must say that they make a fine doughnut.  Hopefully I can get another one at the end of the hike and see if it tastes just as good.


There has been a lot of walking around here lately.  A lot more than usual.

We do live in quite a walkable town.

But we’ve got a longer walk to get ready for, you know. So it’s a lot more hours on the feet, more frequently.

Today was one of those days, complete with errands and appointments.  It helped that our errands and appointments in town today were spread out.  That forced us to get walking early.

It was also a great opportunity to test the rain gear that we have on hand (we’re still mulling over a couple of  items), plus check to see how the sock/shoe systems work while soaked (verdict: swimmingly).

The best part is that once the appointments were done and we were waiting for the shop to finish with the car, the walk delivered views like this:

We took the rainbow as a sign that our car was done at the shop.  Three hours later, we found that to not be true.  But four hours later, all was right.

That image was shot right after we stopped for our “lunch”.  I put “lunch” in quotation marks because we’re working on our feeding schedule on these walks, trying to stick to every 90 minutes or so for a snack, then keep moving.

This specific feeding was closest to noon, so that counted as “lunch”.

Just 90 minutes later, it was mid-afternoon and it was time for a break.  It had been raining pretty steadily and hard for several hours, not to mention all of the water blowing off of the trees in an increasing wind.  But we were comfortable.

Just a touch hungry.

As Goddess boiled the water for some hot tea, I snapped a couple of pics, which didn’t stop her from eating some of the salami and rehydrated veggies.  But her look here, a look that I did not notice at the time, is proof that if I didn’t act fast, I was not going to get any of it.

Now that’s what I call “hangry”.


Yep, He Got Us!

Over the past few weeks I have been culling my photo database.  Starting with my the first images in 2004 when I switched from analog, I’ve been looking at every single one.  I’m up to 2011 so far.

As I look at each one, I’m looking for:

– Technical quality – is it in focus, is it exposed properly, etc.

– Duplication – Is it a duplicate?  If so, is it the best of the rest?

– Uniqueness – Is the image of an event that can’t be repeated?  Will I have the chance to observe it again?

– Sentiment – Does the image have some sort of sentimental value?  Oftentimes, this and the previous step are the same.

It can be quite tedious.

I was never shy with the shutter button when I was shooting film.  That hasn’t changed since I moved to digital, but I know that I do shoot more.  Rarely did I have a 4-roll day with film, but I can easily shoot 200 images in a session.

But they all aren’t keepers.

I haven’t kept track exactly on numbers, but I know that I’ve regained ~120GB of hard drive space.  That’s at a time when I was needing to get at least one new hard drive for storage.  In this case, it’s almost “free money”.

And I’ve already started using the process for the new shoots.  During the session that included last Friday’s image, I shot 58 frames.  I applied those same four steps to the session and now have 10 frames to pick from.

Especially when it comes to landscape, the “duplicate” step is the deciding factor.  I can click back and forth between two images dozens of times to see the minor differences.  Sometimes it’s a matter of flipping the coin.


Anyway, what in the world does all of this have to do with the title?

Bear with me.  It does.

I wanted to post a slightly different angle of Mount McLoughlin, one from a real winter.  The last one we’ve had in this area was two years ago.  That’s when the mountain lakes froze hard enough that folks could go out and fish, ski, snowmobile, etc.

So I jumped forward to 2013 and went for images of Mount McLoughlin, viewed from the frozen surface of Lake of the Woods and worked one to post here.  Then I realized that today would be the seventh anniversary of Skinny’s Gotcha Day.  Although in reality, it’s our Gotcha Day.

For those of you not familiar, when adopting a greyhound there is a house visit.  The visit is to make sure that the potential adopters have a suitable house and enclosed yard, plus watch the interaction with the greyhounds, the adopters and their families, both human and animal.  For such a home visit, a few greyhounds are brought along.  They are happy, social animals.

We had our eye on a specific greyhound that we had met a couple of times.  The adoption volunteers brought him, along with a couple of other greyhounds, including Skinny.  Skinny wasn’t on the list to be adopted.  Instead he was being reintroduced to the home-visit process and new people after he had been returned to the adoption agency.  He didn’t mesh well with his previous adopted family and had, as we learned, a “pupitude”.

Full on attitude.

So the group enters the house.  The grey that we had our eye on and the others shyly enter and sniff around, staying close to the volunteers.  Not Skinny.  He immediately explores the whole house, then flops down in the middle of the living room floor.

He announced he was home.

And he was.

He never lost that pupitude.

Never, not even at the end.

He still makes us smile.

Thanks for picking us, Skinny!



Well, it’s already 2015 in some parts of the world, but it’s still New Year’s Eve here and in Europe.

Our German neighbors introduced us to their NYE traditions and this is one of our favorites, watching Dinner for One.  It has now become a tradition on this blog.  Sit back, have a good laugh, then be safe out there this evening.

Goddess and I hope you have a great year!

Here’s a fun little read on the history of Dinner for One (click here), along with the longer cut, complete with German introduction.

Christmas Tree

Goddess and I got rid of our Christmas tree last week.  We hadn’t put it up in years and found someone who needed one.

So it’s set up in another home this season and is decorated beautifully.

So, unbeknownst to Goddess at the time, the other day I adopted this tree when we were out at one of the mountain lakes, hoping for a break in the snow and clouds for some late afternoon mountain pictures.

A bit of a Charlie Brown tree, but that’s OK.  Considering the amount of downed trees around it, it’s doing quite well.

Once again, thanks goes to Goddess, my ever-patient VALS, providing the lighting from camera right.

Mossy Snow

We had quite a storm move through the area starting Wednesday.  It really got rolling early Thursday morning.  Here in town, we had winds gusting up into the 70mph range.  The sensor on a nearby mountain top measured 117mph.

Just a tad breezy.

After things settled down Thursday afternoon, I headed out to find some images.  I eventually ended up on Mount Ashland, which received 6″ of snow during the storm.

A good start to the winter.

Here’s a handy tip for you – if you find yourself in the forest without any toilet paper, that green moss is a very good substitute.

Hopefully you’ll have a good weekend, wherever you are, doing whatever brings you joy.