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Jun. 25th, 2015

Last Summer: Driving, Hiking, Fishing, Camping the Beartooths

The Beartooth Highway is probably the prettiest drive I’ve ever been on and it’s not for lack of trying. This is the best photo I have, but it’s not that communicative of the vast excellence of the drive.


beartooth highway


So there was that. The Beartooth Mountains are in southwestern Montana, south of Bozeman a ways, a little northeast of Yellowstone. Sort of also in northwestern Wyoming.


I ended up going on a couple of overnighters, one solo and one with my brother. The solo one came first and I wanted to do something in sort of the south part of the Beartooths since the previous time out there I’d spent in the area around Red Lodge, hiking to Keyser Brown Lake for a few nights, and then a day trip with a different brother up to Glacier Lake.



Ended up hiking to Fox Lake. The most notable things about this hike were (1) mosquitoes and (2) tree prison. Eventually I got to the lake and it started raining. I just wish the mosquitoes would stay out of my ears.


I caught a few fish. They were all this size. It may have been the same fish every time.

I caught a few fish. They were all this size. It may have been the same fish every time.


This is my tent, rained on.

This is my tent, rained on.


The sun came out for 15 minutes in the morning.

The sun came out for 15 minutes in the morning.


Fox LakeThere were a couple of other guys who were also camped there and were trying to fish, but I didn’t see them pull in anything. Ergo, I am better than them. Whoever they were. I’m sure their families like them.


Also, I have a hard time sleeping to the sound of rain hitting a rainfly. I don’t get how rain sounds are always included in white noise apps. Seems counter-productive.


Right on. So then I was sleepy and hiked back through the mosquitoes.


The next day (I think), I kind of talked my brother into going up to Red Lodge and Glacier Lake (we’d had something else planned), since that area was more bona fide and I knew I wouldn’t have so much of the tree prison problem. We ended up camping on Emerald Lake (in Wyoming!), which was pretty and offered an extra mile or so buffer between us in civilization. We didn’t see anyone else at Emerald while we were there (we did at Glacier) and, for whatever it’s worth, most of the fishing success came at Little Glacier Lake (between Glacier and Emerald).


Now you know. Also: this all happened last summer. On some road trip. Because I was homeless and my job didn’t start till the middle of August.


Glacier Lake

Glacier Lake


Evidence of my brother fishing.

Evidence of my brother fishing.


If a giant boulder had come off the mountain, the trees would have protected me. I mean, a *really* giant boulder.

If a giant boulder had come off the mountain, the trees would have protected me. I mean, a *really* giant boulder.


Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake


Everyone loves reflections. Everyone.

Everyone loves reflections. Everyone.


And then I woke up.


bkd




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Jun. 24th, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (Last Year): In Washington

Oregon gives way to Washington. BTW, this, all this last summer stuff, was part of a homelessness-inspired road trip I took in 2014. My house in Pittsburgh sold way faster than I meant for it to sell and — well anyway. Starting June 8th or something I was on the road. Went from Pittsburgh to Norman to look for a place to live, then drove up to Utah (by way of the Colorado posts I’ve posted) for my niece’s wedding, then down to San Diego. From SD, I had to fly back to Pgh to defend my thesis, then I flew back to San Diego and started driving north. Ergo: Eastern Sierras, State of Jefferson, then Oregon, then this post.


Also, driving from Bend up to Hood River is a really nice drive.


After crossing the Columbia on a bridge, I camped somewhere and then went to look at some cave where people in the nearby town used to visit to get ice. Because there’s year-round ice in this cave. It’s a real thing.


Trout Lake Ice Cave


There were also some natural bridges around there, but they were odd and green and maybe not quite as dramatic as the ones in Utah. Here:



Natural Bridges near Trout Lake


I mean, they were fine. Totally fine. That ice cave was super cold though.


The drive from Trout Lake, past Mt. Adams on the unpaved roads up to Packwood, was also super scenic and highly recommended (although it’s kind of a long stretch on a rough road).


NF-23 is the road"s name. It"s got some other names too, but also that one.

NF-23 is the road’s name. It’s got some other names too, but also that one.


Then a couple photos from when I was hanging out with my parents in Tacoma. I know, you’re only here for the text. Sorry.


Mt. Rainier from Commencement Bay

Mt. Rainier from Commencement Bay


Yakima River — my dad"s fly-fishing in the bottom-right corner.

Yakima River — my dad’s fly-fishing in the bottom-right corner.


Rail transport! And then it was time to go to JHole for the family reunion by way of the Beartooths.




Jun. 23rd, 2015

Last Summer: Bend, Bachelor, and Broken Top

I had never been to Bend before since I skipped out on the family reunion that had been there. There’s less threat of golf when visiting solo I think.


I went to a really good Thai place there and had the Kao Soi:


Apparently the restaurant was called Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats. There weren"t many eats on the menu though.

Apparently the restaurant was called Wild Rose Northern Thai Eats. There weren’t many eats on the menu though.


The very next day, I drove up to Mt. Bachelor to see what there was to see and go on another famous day hike. It’s not a bad drive.


Taken from the road that goes to Mt. Bachelor.

Taken from the road that goes to Mt. Bachelor.



Then I went on some hike. It was one I’d studied out. I think it was, like, Green Lakes trail up to the Todd Trail, and then to the Broken Top trail. It was middle of July, but there was snow at the trailhead and, eventually, too much snow to keep going. I did get to hike through a lot of snow before then, though.


IMG_0761 - 2014-07-07 at 10-35-03


IMG_0814 - 2014-07-07 at 11-56-41


IMG_0837 - 2014-07-07 at 12-14-46


IMG_0845 - 2014-07-07 at 12-19-51


IMG_0858 - 2014-07-07 at 12-34-42


IMG_0861 - 2014-07-07 at 12-46-59


IMG_0871 - 2014-07-07 at 12-56-57


IMG_0894 - 2014-07-07 at 14-05-38


It was a much more amazing hike than the pictures might lead you to believe. You get to cross a couple of creeks, it’s not much of a tree prison after the first half mile or so, and you keep coming onto new vistas. The second-to-last photo is where I stopped. I wasn’t going to find where the trail picked up again at the other end of the snowfield I didn’t think. I mean, I tried, but then decided it would be okay to lay out on the rocks like a lizard and enjoy the silence.


I’d like to try this one again some time without all the snow so I can actually get to the cool high alpine lakes. Maybe next year.


I also drove around some “activities loop” or something around Bachelor. There wasn’t a lot going on there, though, in spite of there being a lot of people trying to do something. Just, you know. That was my take-away.


And then I went to Carl’s Jr. in Redmond. To the important details, I hold fast.


bkd




Jun. 22nd, 2015

Last Summer: Lava Beds National Monument

Getting out of Lake Tahoe’s ugly Bay Area traffic and into the beautiful State of Jefferson was a nice transition.


State of Jefferson -- Farmland


State of Jefferson - Forest


Was trying to work my way up to Bend, Oregon. On the way was Lava Beds National Monument, of which I had not prior to this trip heard. Maybe. I can’t remember. It’s been a while and saying I’d never heard of it before sets up the story to be “more impressive” by creating a wider gap between expectation and reality.


At any rate, Lava Beds is mostly, as the name would imply, A BUNCH OF CAVES. Not like Carlsbad Caverns caves, but a bunch of human-scale caves that you can head off into and run around in (depending on how good your flashlight is). Fun, self-guided, very dark caves with stairways down into them and enough jagged rocks to bang into such that you feel like you’re really doing something.


IMG_0712 - 2014-07-06 at 12-12-01 Lava Beds National Monument Cave IMG_0702 - 2014-07-06 at 11-47-30 Sentinel Upper Entrance PathIf you were a kid, this would be like the greatest national monument ever. A lot of no-cost NFS campgrounds around here also. And if you hadn’t been there before, you could have also gone to Lassen, which was fun the first time.


Caves, then.


bkd


 


 




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Jun. 20th, 2015

California, Holiday Weekends, and Tahoe Traffic

Picture > many words.


Instagram made it better.

Instagram made it better.



There was no accident, there were just this many people. At which point — how is this a vacation for them? It was a good reminder of California. For reals, though, it took 3 hours to get from South Lake Tahoe to Tahoe City, which — man. I really should have looked at Google Maps in Menden to see the traffic report.


Yet somehow, once you were anywhere north of the 80, all the people disappeared.


bkd




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Jun. 19th, 2015

I Know What I Did Last Summer: Eastern Sierras

I had planned to do this Thousand Islands Lake hike and had permits for it and had borrowed my brother’s bear canister. I didn’t go, though — I think I got sick instead or something. Probably from that stupid too-fancy sandwich place in Bishop, the one with the world’s worst parking lot.


Somewhere north of Bishop.

Somewhere north of Bishop.


But anyway, camped for a couple nights, went on a couple day hikes. Extremely hot, extremely crowded. Note to self: never Sierras between June and September. There: done.


These hikes meant so much to me, I don’t remember what they were called. I don’t *actually* know what I did last summer. The Thai food in Bend was excellent, though. Eventually. After spending six hours stuck in traffic in South Lake Tahoe. A few days after. Etc. Never South Lake Tahoe on 4th of July weekend.


Here are photos taken on hikes in the Eastern Sierras about which I recall no further details:


IMG_0617 - 2014-07-04 at 14-11-39 IMG_0626 - 2014-07-04 at 14-37-36 IMG_0608 - 2014-07-04 at 14-02-55 IMG_0605 - 2014-07-04 at 13-58-29 IMG_0584-001 - 2014-07-04 at 13-32-05 IMG_0570 - 2014-07-04 at 13-19-14 IMG_0523 - 2014-07-04 at 12-40-03 IMG_0464 - 2014-07-03 at 17-44-09 IMG_0467 - 2014-07-03 at 17-50-10


There are, like, two and a half hikes represented there. For some reason I had a hard time having water with me. It was in the 100s every day. Also, travel is a little less fun when you’re poor to start with and your next paycheck isn’t coming for another couple of months. This is the kind of mindset that results in buying houses that are way too new, way too big, and way too yellow. Avoid it if possible.


Evidence of crowdedness.

Evidence of crowdedness.


Aperture’s “Vibrancy” slider is like a drug. (Mid Contrast also sometimes, depending on the camera.)


bkd




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Jul. 24th, 2014

http://d-schlarship.pitt.edu



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Jul. 19th, 2014

Cedar Breaks National Monument = Bryce Canyon – (.5 * Bryce Size) – (.95 * Bryce Crowds)

Basically Bryce Canyon, but not as big and definitely not as crowded. Similar hoodoos though. I was there on June 22nd, driving from SLC to San Diego.


Later that night I slept at a rest stop on the California side of the CA-NV line. I-15. The idling semi trucks were like white noise. The person whose car alarm went off once every two hours will one day pay for his (her) insolence.


Long before that, though:


Cedar Breaks National Monument


DSC_4049


A marmot.

A marmot.


The road out.

The road out.


It’s a national monument that warrants about four photos and I *do* now realize that I should have taken more (a non-zero number of) pictures of the rest area. Although you’ve probably been there yourself – metaphorically if nothing else.


bkd




Jul. 6th, 2014

Mills Lake Hike and Rocky Mountain National Park

This happened a long time ago. Before I did my dissertation defense. Before my niece even got married. A long time ago.


Rocky Mountain National Park is a National Park located in Denver. There are a ton of people since in Denver (fine, “in Denver”, where “in” means less than 90 minutes away). The Mills Lake Hike was one I found out about online. It was pretty good. Get to the trailhead early to ensure parking and that the way up the trailer won’t be in bumper-to-bumper traffic.


I stayed at some campground just outside the park. It cost $26 because it’s in Denver.


Here’s the payoff from the hike:


Mills Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park


Nice, right? I think it’s probably the highlight of the whole park.


On this photo, I think the horse’s head should be crossed out:


No Horses Sign


And somewhere along the way you see this:


Alberta Falls at RMNP


I think it’s called Alberta Falls. There’s no better angle without a helicopter and wires. Sorry. They should have angled the waterfall differently, I agree.


I actually remember thinking it was a great hike three of four weeks ago or whenever it was I actually did itt. I’m just a little jaded right now since I’ve been outside for the last week and seen a lot of mountains and lakes. Tomorrow I will see more mountains and lakes. We’ll see how disappointing they are. Here’s another photo of Mills Lake sort of with some mountains behind:


DSC_3914.NEF


There was an ice field you had to walk across close to the lake. I got to the parking lot by like 8:30 or so. No problem finding parking and not too crowded on the way up. On the way down, all of Denver was on its way up. And most of Denver is part of one of a variety of youth groups. Then some dude commented on my hat so he could get to his punchline about how dumb it is for Under Armour to make pink camouflage underwear for girls.


After the hike, I drove through the rest of the park. Given that it’s located in a major metropolitan area, the drive over the crest of the park (parks have crests now) was conducted in heavy midday traffic and looked like this:


The top of RMNP


Vorwärts. Immer vorwärts nur.


bkd


 




Mills Lake Hike and Rocky Mountain National Park

This happened a long time ago. Before I did my dissertation defense. Before my niece even got married. A long time ago.


Rocky Mountain National Park is a National Park that’s basically in Denver. There are a ton of people since it’s basically in Denver (fine, “in Denver”, where “in” means less than 90 minutes away). The Mills Lake Hike was one I found out about online. It was pretty good. Get to the trailhead early to ensure parking and that the way up the trailer won’t be in bumper-to-bumper traffic.


I stayed at some campground just outside the park. It cost like $26. Because it’s in Denver.


Here’s the payoff from the hike:


Mills Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park


Nice, right? I think it’s probably the highlight of the whole park.


On this photo, I think the horse’s head should be crossed out:


No Horses Sign


And somewhere along the way you see this:


Alberta Falls at RMNP


I think it’s called Alberta Falls. There’s no better angle without a helicopter and wires. Sorry. They should have angled the waterfall differently, I agree.


I actually remember thinking it was a great hike. I’m just a little jaded right now since I’ve been outside for the last week and seen a lot of mountains and lakes. Tomorrow I will see more mountains and lakes. We’ll see how undisappointing they are. Here’s another photo of Mills Lake sort of with some mountains behind:


DSC_3914.NEF


There was an ice field you had to walk across. I got to the parking lot by like 8:30 or so. No problem finding parking and not too crowded on the way up. On the way down, all of Denver was on its way up. And most of Denver is part of one of a variety of youth groups. Some dude commented on my hat so he could get to his punchline about how dumb it is for Under Armour to make pink camouflage underwear for girls.


After the hike, I drove through the rest of the park. Given that it’s located in a major metropolitan area, the drive over the crest of the park (parks have crests now) was conducted in heavy midday traffic and looked like this:


The top of RMNP


Vorwärts. Immer vorwärts nur.


bkd


PS, The most important thing: another National Park I get to cross off the list.




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