Jammin’

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 – Trail Maintenance

In case you weren’t out traveling earlier this month and missed getting a copy of USA Today slid under your room door, there was an interesting article on the state of the National Forest Trail system, which is pretty dismal.

Here’s the article.

One thing you’ll notice in the article is the increasing reliance on volunteers to maintain the trails.

We’re eager volunteers.  Personally, I enjoy the excuse to get out into the wilderness and do some work.  The crew members are great and everyone’s excited to be there to work.

Plus, for me it’s a chance to see new areas and scout out where I’d like to return to shoot photos.  Like this one.

For me, it’s a win-win.

As much as we’d like for the work to get done on its own, just through the love and dedication of the volunteers, it can’t.  For many of the volunteers, they sure wish it could, but it can’t.

So please consider donating to the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the non-profit organization responsible for the trail-work coordination and execution, as well as the protection of the trail corridor.

The PCTA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, meaning that your donation may be tax deductible on your taxes next year (sorry, if you were looking for an angle on the forms you’re doing now, that ship sailed two months ago).

We are 1/4th of the way to our goal!  Would you please help maintain the trail that Jennifer and I will be walking this year?  Your help will ensure that the trail is available for hikers in the future too.

Please click on the picture of Jennifer and Skinny on the PCT below to lend a hand.

Thank you,

Bill & Jennifer Anders

Jen n Skinny Deadfall

 

 

 

Remembrance Day

Day of Remembrance


The following was originally posted 6/21/2013:

Manzanar National Historic Site, one of ten camps where American citizens of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II.

Just because of their heritage.

They were Americans, held prisoner, without due process, without a trial, by their own government.  A government that they trusted.

A government that held them prisoner.

Just because of their heritage.

Manzanar War Relocation Center, Independence, California

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After Goddess and I drove through Death Valley, Manzanar was an absolute must-stop.  I was aware of the history, Goddess was not.  I also needed to see how they had improved the site, since the National Historic Site complex was not opened until 2004.  Prior to that, there was nothing to mark the location other than a single stone obelisk that was the edge of the cemetery for those that died here.

Some 30+ years ago, I lived just 90 minutes south of here and on our many trips on US 395, I’d see the sign marking the dirt road to the obelisk.  Just the simple act of reading it as we passed by a few times a year was enough to cement the name in my mind.  Later on I became familiar with Ansel Adam’s landscape and documentary images of the camp, which led to research and learning.

It was a place that came to mind often while we lived in Europe, touring places like Dachau.  Although I could never equate Manzanar to Dachau since there was no plan or action to eliminate the prisoners in Manzanar.  Some studies of the mortality rates of Manzanar show it to be statistically similar to free cities with the same population.

With heavy hearts we drove onto the grounds, just thinking about American citizens who were imprisoned just because of their heritage.  The point was driven home as we walked into the visitor’s center.  Seated on a bench was a park ranger with two kids of Japanese descent.  Mother stood nearby as the ranger explained to the kids, the oldest about eight years old, that had they lived in the United States during that time, they would have been rounded up and held prisoner in this camp.  Just because of their heritage.

That was tough to hear and see.

If you are ever driving along US 395 along the Eastern Sierras, take an hour or two and stop in.  The site is large and there are several displays scattered about several miles where they were able to restore artifacts that made life more bearable for the prisoners.

—————————–

As far as the landscape goes, that’s the Eastern Sierras in the background.  Absolutely beautiful chunks of rock, if you ask me.  Of course, I’m biased, having been able to spend several years of my youth living with them in sight, being able to camp and hike and fish all over them.

And if you look at highest peak left of center, that is Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States, topping out at 14,505′.


In just a few months, Goddess and I will be standing on top of that peak as part of our hike along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

Lunch Interrupted

Midday Sunday.  We were making lunch before we ran out the door to take care of some errands.

I was pulling the vegetables out of the drawer for a salad when I became distracted.

For the next couple of hours.

It’s a good thing that Goddess is patient.  She took advantage of the time to not only finish preparing lunch, but to eat it and take a nap.

That was time well spent.

The subject of my distraction was a pair of lovely carrots that we received from one of our local farmers in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

Aren’t they lovely?

You’d never find these in a store.  Honestly, I don’t know why.  It’s not like they are less nutritious.  The human mind is odd.

Truth be told, mine is too.

Watching these carrots suspended in space in my makeshift studio (the hallway) for a while gave rise to many different stories in my mind.

Which stories can you come up with?


Later this week will be our last delivery for this winter through our CSA.  This is the second winter that we’ve received bountiful baskets full of in-season vegetables from Barking Moon Farm.  Thanks for the flavors and the exploration, Melissa and Josh!

Walking

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”.

 

Icy Mount McLoughlin

Just a few steps to the left (west) of where Skinny was lying.

For me, it’s all about the clouds, although the mountain is nice too.

Mount McLoughlin, viewed from the frozen surface of Lake of the Woods, Klamath County, Oregon.

This was taken in March of 2013.  If only we’ve had a winter like that since.

 

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!

 

Play

The last few weeks have been much more work than play.  Although compared to work in years past, this work is still play.

The days are filled with culling and moving the belongings as well as researching and planning for the long walk.  Other than cataloging items or recording other items before disposing of them, I hadn’t grabbed the camera in almost a month.

That’s bad.

It was time to get out for a shoot that wasn’t about working.  Although it was long walk related.

We drove the approximate route of a possible self-imposed deviation from the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that we’re considering taking this summer.  It doesn’t really increase or decrease the length of the walk, but might make a minor resupply easier while getting us more consistent access to water on a 30-mile stretch of the trail.

That access means that we’d have to carry less water, which is less weight.  But more exposure to mosquitoes.  It’s a tradeoff we’ll consider along the way and likely not make a call until we’re back here in Oregon.

All while keeping in mind a quote from a much faster thru-hiker than us when referring to part of the trail that we would bypass:

“As soon as we crossed the highway, it was like walking into a wall of mosquitoes.  There were hundreds at a time all day every day.  Carry DEET and a gun to shoot yourself with”.  – Straight Jacket

And we’re considering a route with more water.

Granted, we’ll be later in the season, around mid-August, when the mosquitoes really die off up near the mountain lakes, but they’ll still be an issue.  Perhaps those will be the days that we get in 30 miles per day to just try to get through it.

A bit of manic hiking, perhaps.

Once we covered part of that detour, we hiked, following the PCT north into that bit of what would be mosquito hell in a few months, then turning back south, crossing the highway and hoping to get a good view of Mount McLoughlin.  The day had been clear and I was hoping to get some good late afternoon shots of the snow-covered mountains.

Of course, once we got into a clearing, we could see the clouds moving in.  Mind you, I like the clouds.  They give some interest and texture to what could be  otherwise boring.

But these clouds were getting thicker to the west and really cutting down on the sunlight.  I rushed ahead, tramping over the crusty snow and bare trail to find a good vantage point.  I left Goddess behind and she wasn’t too pleased with that.  But we were losing light.

The view turned out OK.  Not quite what I was hoping for, but it was part of a few hours out on the trail.  That’s always a good thing.

Plus we were able to attend a viewing of a new movie covering the John Muir Trail (JMT), a 210-mile trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains.  During our long walk this summer, we’ll cover about 160 miles of that trail, as they share tread.

The movie is a documentary of two ultra-marathon runners who set a “fastest known time” for the trail back in 2013.  It just so happens that one of the runners, Hal Koerner, owns our local running shop and is a certifiable badass.

This trailer gives a glimpse of some of the beauty that we’ll be walking through.

How’s that for motivation?

 

Homeless?

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that if anyone had any questions about this idea of hiking the PCT this year, to ask.

Twice this week I was asked “so does this mean that you’re going to be homeless?”

In the traditional sense, yes.

We will turn over the keys to the house that we’ve been renting for the last couple of years.  All of our stuff, well the stuff that hasn’t been donated, recycled or thrown away, will be in storage.

Once we put the car in storage and step off from the southern terminus of the trail at Campo, California, everything we have or need will be on our backs.

I will carry the shelter, Jennifer will carry the kitchen and we’ll each carry the stuff that we each need for the hike.

That’s it – we will have a house and we’ll be together.

That’s home.

We’ll just have a different view out front every morning.

After the hike?  We don’t know right now.  That’s part of the fun of the hike.  We’ll figure out where it takes us.


The picture at the top is the view of one home.  It was the last morning of a long hitch of trail work down in California.  It was the middle of summer, August 5th to be exact.

It looks like snow on the ground, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t.  That’s the remnants of the hail storm we had overnight.  By 2am there were several inches of hailstones blanketing the entire area, but most of it had melted in the summer warmth by sunrise.  The evaporational cooling created quite a thick layer of fog over the area by the time we broke camp.

That little tent did a fine job of protecting that young man through the worst of the rain, the hail and the runoff.  It was extremely loud inside my tent, which was protected by trees.  I still can’t imagine how loud it was for him out in that meadow.  But he emerged in the morning with a big smile on his face.

That was a fine home.


Do you have any questions about this journey of ours?  Let me know and I’ll talk about it.

Thanks for reading.