I had seen Yosemite from the air before, twice even, but had yet to set foot in this famous park. The last weekend in March provided an excellent opportunity to do so and also to meet up with Ryan (formerly of Cville, now of the Bay Area). Ryan snagged a camp site in the Valley and I drove up after work on Friday 29 March to meet them. The drive was nice (especially once I got out of LA!) and I was able to enjoy some nice scenery before it got dark.
I arrived first, set up camp, and waited for their arrival.
An hour or two later Ryan plus two friends (Steve and Nick) arrived and set up their tents. After a quick discussion of hiking possibilties, we settled on the Upper Yosemite Falls trail and called it a night.
It is always good to have a goal. It is even better if you have intermediate steps with which to work up to your goal and with which to mark progress.
One of the hiking goals for the Spring (which I share with some of my hiking friends here in LA) is to hike to the summit of Mt. Wilson. Naturally enough, the Mt. Wilson trail is one way to get there. Snaking uphill for 11 km with over 1km of elevation gain, it will be a full day out. We’re doing some hikes to work up to it and the selection for this past Saturday was on the Mt Wilson trail, but only going halfway up, to Orchard Camp.
A couple weeks ago I went on a couple hikes near Monrovia (just east of downtown LA). It was a rainy weekend with clouds in the mountains. We approached the bottom of the clouds but never quite reached them. But staying below them had an advantage: we could see all the way to downtown Los Angeles.
There are more hikes planned for the weekend; check my flickr collection for So Cal hiking if you want to see more photos from these adventures.
In early November, Kelly and I drove down to Tennessee to spend the weekend with my grandparents and to give a talk for the Bays Mountain Astronomy Club. I had a fun time giving the talk and folks seemed to find it interesting; I was happy to hear that.
On Saturday Granddad, Kelly, and I got up early and pointed the car South to North Carolina.
Our first objective were some waterfalls, connected by some nice trails. The hiking was relatively easy aside from a couple steep sections. The falls were quite cool, and the final one even had me thinking about what it might look like as an ice climb…
One of my first outdoor memories from grad school at UVa was a backpacking trip I took with two fellow students to Mt. Pleasant. It is a nice short hike with some rewarding views. Why, might you ask, were there never any photos? Simply put, because at the end of the trip I drove off with my camera still on the roof of my car. Oops!
Five years later, and Kelly and I are looking for a short hike to do on a nice afternoon. Mt. Pleasant comes to mind and we set off in the car to spend a few hours outside.
The weather was overcast in the valley which meant we spent a good portion of the hike in the misty clouds. I’ve always enjoyed that kind of atmosphere for hiking, it has a wonderful feel to it.
Fall is starting to creep into central Virginia, especially at high elevations. The leaves are starting to show their age and are close to bursting out into full color. We spotted a few flowers and berries as well.
We both even documented the hike!
All in all, a recommended outing. Very suitable for an afternoon hike or an overnight backpack for a beginner.
For more photos see Mt. Pleasant on flickr.