Rock Bench

It’s amazing what a change in a viewing angle will do.

This was the opposite direction from last Friday’s view of the smoke from the wildfires to our south.  In contrast to that view, this is looking north and a bit earlier in the day.

Rock Bench

I liked the way that these rocks were lined up.  It sure looked like a comfy place to sit, lean back and enjoy the view on both sides of Big Red Mountain.

First Snow

Well, not first snow for the local mountains, but the first chance I had to get up there after they had received new snow.

The first shot of snow was at the end of September, which gradually melted off.  Then another, which did the same.  This one will too, but it will take longer.  If it doesn’t, I’ll be quite happy, as long as there are more layers on top of it.  I’ll be quite happy because this was taken about 1/2 mile from the local ski lodge.  So the more snow on the slopes, the better!

First Snow

Believe it or not, it’s a color photograph.

This is just to the south of the beginning of almost 20 miles of single track bicycle trails that lead back to our house.  It took me another 45 minutes to drop 2,000′ in elevation before I dropped below the snow line.  From there, the trails were tacky, perfect for flying down the trail.

There are some fire roads in the area, so if that’s your thing, you can hop on those.  But I’m really enjoying the single track, even the very technical parts.  While I’ve spent the last 25 years riding a lot, it’s all been on the roads.  I’ve never been comfortable on the dirt, even though I’ve had this mountain bike for 14 years now.  But with some great trails right out our front door, I’ve decided that it’s time to push myself.

Even though I’ve been heading up there for just the past couple of weeks, my comfort level on the loose stuff, the rocky stuff and the steep stuff has progressed quickly.  Perhaps a bit too quickly, since I don’t have a lot of the safety equipment (just my helmet).  I’ve already had run-ins with trees (including a full face of snow-weighted branch today) and have had to dismount the bicycle over the handlebars.  Luckily I haven’t gone off the side of the trail (yet).

I’m having a heck of a lot of fun, it’s beating me up quite nicely and it’s getting my body and brain ready for ski season, which is right around the corner.

I can’t wait!

McLoughlin Driftwood

Although it’s not quite autumn, we’re getting hints of it here in southern Oregon.

The last few months have been quite crazy for both Goddess and I.  I trained for and rode the annual Seattle to Portland bike ride (200 miles/322km), then jumped right into Bike School.  As soon as I was done with Bike School, Goddess started her schooling.

I’ll leave it up to her to announce what that may be, should she choose.

Knowing that I had but a few weeks before I started the next phase of Bike School, we decided to head to one of the high mountain lakes for a bit of a breather.

She took her books to study, I took my camera.

McLoughlin Driftwood
McLoughlin Driftwood

Here we are at Fourmile Lake, one of the highest lakes in Oregon, sitting at 5,800′.  Up there, it’s autumn.  Unfortunately, it’s all evergreen trees.  I’m hoping for some color.

But after a long, hot summer, the lake water, all from snow melt, is still darn cold.  Just as it should be.

It was a nice break before the weekend, where I spent a morning tackling Mount Ashland, our local mountain, on my bicycle.

Nothing significant, but it can be when the race starts in town (1,800′) and it’s every racer for themselves to the top (6,500′).  For the quick ones, it’s between 1.5 and 2 hours.  For the rest of us, it’s closer to 3 hours.

Most of it suffering.

For all of us.

But when there’s scenery like this around, none of it should be considered suffering.

Panamint

I love the colors and textures of this view of the Panamint Valley and distant Panamint Range from the Father Crowley Vista.

But the coolest part about it was that it was only 85F (29C), some 30 degrees cooler than the floor of Death Valley, some 30 miles distant as the crow flies and 4,300′ feet lower in elevation.

Panamint
Panamint

The Panamint Range is the northwestern mountain boundary of Death Valley.

And before anyone thinks I need to straighten the picture, trust me, I don’t.  The Panamint Valley slopes steeply south in this view of the north end of the valley.

Painted

I truly do not understand when I hear people say that the desert is ugly.

Or boring.

Perhaps they are doing it wrong.

Painted
Painted

Goddess now understands.

Black Mountains, Amargosa Range, Death Valley National Park, California.

Black Sky

I’m always amazed at the power of a red filter at high altitude.

Black Sky

Yes, in this digital age, the red filter was applied in post-processing.  But the effect was no different than 20 years ago, putting that same red filter over the lens and burning through roll after roll of B&W film.

And the occasional roll of color slide film too.

Just for fun.

Bavarian Knee Buster

Just got back from a rough week in the Bavarian Alps.  Business calls, you know.  ;^)

Days full of meetings, nights full of discussion.  I know that all of the world’s problems were solved at least once, but I doubt anyone took notes.  Sorry world.

But one afternoon was set aside for a team-building hike.  Seven of us decided to make it a run.  Nothing long, just 5.5 miles.  Starting at 3,575’, dropping down to 2,000’.  And then back up.  Did I mention that this was in 5.5 miles?

Profile goodness:

Trail Berchtesgaden, Germany 3-30-2010, Elevation - Distance 2

That’s 2,029’ of total climbing.  Sorry guys, not the 2,400’ that the Garmin was telling us, but I warned you that the Garmin adds a bit.

And the driveway at the bottom of the steep climb?  Corrected grade of 45%.  That’s before it got steep.

Somebody please remind me – who’s idea was it to run this thing?