Archive for August, 2009

A trash Rant

August 31, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing


First the fire update. 50% contained, over 4,000 acres burned. 900+ firefighters, planes, trains and automobiles are working to put it out. Dumb de dumb dumb.  The Tioga road is now having controlled traffic due to the load of fire equipment staging there. Sounds like you can still get through. I predict that the guys and gals on the line will snuff this beast and all will be well in Hooterville.  A tip of the hat to all of them. Not for me! Those heavy garments, the high temps, loose footing, picks and shovels, yada yada. Wow, they earn their money. Thanks!

Now a rant. The scene is at the Vernal Fall footbridge. As you know there are no trash cans from the valley up. Yet bozos continue to toss litter where they feel like.

CIMG9664

This photo was taken in the men’s restroom. “Gee, Gomer, let’s just toss our bottles  in the sink. Someone will pick up after us.”  WRONG. Talk about bad home training. And this is all of a 20-minute walk to the Happy Isles area. OK, it’s out. But I know this kind would never read a hiking blog. Sigh.
Related thought worth quoting: “It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong. It’s nature’s way of telling you in a song. It’s nature’s way of receiving you. It’s nature’s way of retrieving you. It’s nature’s way of telling you, something’s wrong” – Spirit

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

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Housekeeping and the Oops Fire

August 30, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

First off, I plan to be hiking the High Sierra Camps trails to the 5 tent cabin “complexes” of Vogelsang, Merced Lake, Sunrise, May Lake, and Glen  Aulin all next week.  Since there is no internet, this blog will go dark on Tuesday until I get back to the Carpe Diem Experience World Headquarters. My whole staff is going so no one will be here to process TShirt orders either. If you want one, you gotta get the order in before 8 am Tuesday Sept 1. I’ll mail them out when I get your PayPal transaction.
All this is predicated upon the “Oops Fire” coming under control. Yeah, somebody made an Oops and let a prescribed fire get out of control.  If you are following this, the best facts on it are found at this <LINK>. News is very hard to come by. Seems most of the press reports just parrot the info here. As of 10 pm Saturday, the fire was 30% contained with 3500 acres burned and a guess at control is by Sept 10.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday, charcoal burning everywhere. Rows of houses that are all the same and no one seems to care.” – The Monkees

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

June 6 non-fatal fall off cables

August 29, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Gina & friend Vanessa before the fall

Gina & friend Vanessa before the fall

The weather at Yosemite was really weird this June. Usually by then we see nothing but clear blue skies. Saturday, June 6 continued the overcast and ugly weather. As has been reported, this day Gina Bartiromo fell off the cables and slid down and don. Fortunately, she survived. I wrote up the brief information available then on my website “Accidents” page. I had heard nothing since as to her condition. Blog reader, Dean P. send me this link <HERE>. It’s a story from the  YOSAR site written by Gina’s friend and hiking partner Vanessa and  by Rick Powell who was there – VERY there when it happened.  It is along read but it’s important that rumor and hearsay get eliminated from the “facts” we all read about accidents.  It’s very somber and it looks like Gina may fully recover. Pretty somber.
I am planning on doing the High Sierra Camps hike on Tuesday for a week. We’ll be doing all 5 camps. And now we are watching the Big Meadow / Foresta fire to determine if the Tioga Road to Tuolumne Meadows will even be open – or if the smoke will cease the program. Fingers crossed. A prescribed gets burn out of control.  OK, I’m no expert but a purposeful fire in August? Hot, dry August? I spent a week in the Blackhills of South Dakota in July. They pile up all the loose wood into large stacks then wait until winter when the air is moist and even snowy.- Then they burn it. I dunno, seems like a bad decision here. AARRGGHH
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” – Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Magellan info

August 27, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

In the world of GPS, the leaders are Magellan and Garmin. I have one of each company’s best units, sporting the Garmin 60CSx and the Magellan Triton 2000. These high end units both offer the user features that make back country hiking much easier – and safer. The breadcrumb “trackback” feature will always get my tail back to the car! I’m not here to give a technical review, but rather present a business perspective. Did you know that Magellan was bought in January by a huge Taiwan company called MiTAC International Corp? They acquired the assets of the Magellan Consumer Product Division of Magellan Navigation. This included the navigation software, patents, trademarks, licenses, intellectual property rights, business team, customer base and sales channels. Magellan’s consumer GPS products are well established in outdoor, personal handheld and onboard GPS markets. You may also be familiar with their RoadMate and Maestro series of vehicle GPS navigation units. My portable auto unit is a RoadMate. So who is MiTAC?? They are a leading worldwide maker of wireless communications products including portable GPS navigation devices. They are selling their own Mio brand GPS independently from Magellan brands in North America, but the brands will share technological expertise. MiTAC Digital Corporation headquarters moved into the Magellan business offices in Santa Clara, California, right across the street from an alma mater of mine, Santa Clara University. This is a HQ office only not a service or sales center. Interesting how the economy is causing these kind of changes. In a big digression, another hobby of mine is Classic Cars – did you know that Shell owns Pennzoil and Quaker State? So much for brand loyalty! 

Fire update: The Foresta Big Meadow Fire has now burned 1,200 acres. 50 Foresta homes evacuated. Only 10% contained.   

Rockfall update: The Ahwahnee will remain closed at least through Friday noon.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Ch-ch-Changes. Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older. Time may change me.  But I can’t trace time. I said that time may change me. But I can’t trace time.” – David Bowie
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin

August 27, 2009

Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin
Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

 
The planned, prescribed burn near the Big Meadow and Foresta has gotten out of control. The fire has jumped Hwy 120 and the Big Oak Flat Rd. is closed from Crane Flat into the Valley. The Foresta Access Rd. is also closed. Firefighters, helicopters and aircraft are now on scene.
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Royal Arches Rockfall

August 27, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
The Royal Arches is the name of the huge formation just to the east of the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite. (No, not the Golden Arches.) Those 3 large curves were etched out by the Glaciers eons ago.

royal rches

Today a rock fall off the Arches caused several decent sized boulders to roll down and into the Valet Parking area of the Ahwahnee Lodge. Stones about 2 feet across came tumbling down from about 100 feet up the formation. While the Lodge is not directly under it, it’s close enough to cause concern. The entire hotel was briefly evacuated about noon today. That’s 300 people who paid in the order of $400 a night.

Yosemite Falling Rocks

As of Blog press time there were no injuries – only a few cars got dented. I  blogged previously that the park has many sensors targeted to the cliffs to try and collect data about them. The head geologist, Greg Stock, is out of the park today, but other geologists are checking things. While not fun, this rock fall is minor compared to the recent ones off Glacier Point and near the face of Half Dome. Helmets aren’t a bad idea!!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes. . . . Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” – The Beatles
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Climbing photos

August 26, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

El cap photographer

Who is that man out standing in his field?  Why it’s Jerry Miller. You might see him in the meadow just across Northside drive, away from El Capitan. He sets up his telescopes and high power camera to snap shots of climbers. Check out the lens on that thing. You can almost make out the laces on the hikers shoes. He’s a photography buff and snaps shots of the boys and girls going up the face. Real good stuff. Jerry spends a lot of time at Yosemite and knows a lot about big wall climbing. He admits to not being a climber himself but, like me, he respects the skill it takes. Check out his website – pretty amazing shots. Click <HERE>.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel tower. Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna. Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe. I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus.” – The Beatles
Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Curry Tour Booth

August 25, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

tour kiosk ps

As you wander around Curry Village you may have a need to stop by the Tour Reservations kiosk. In this little buildings sits a wealth of knowledge. I refer to Catherine Rhodes. She is there to help inquiring visitors get oriented to what the park has to offer. She can book you on most Valley activities or at least give you the 4-1-1 on almost anything. She seems to be more of an Information Booth than a pure tour office. All kinds of questions come her way – from operating hours to how do I get to ______.  She is the first line of support for people who may be on their first trip and need a nudge to find the many park sights. If she doesn’t have the answers on the tip of her tongue, she has folders with the skinny on most Yosemite things. I also learned that she is a true survivor of the Great Flood of 1989. Seems she was residing in the park when the Merced started overflowing and gushing through the valley. She was literally racing the rising water in her car as she attempted to get to a safe spot. She remembered what her dad told her years before … keep the car moving and don’t turn off the engine – you don’t want water to enter the exhaust pipe and kill it. Next time you are in Curry, stop by the little phone-booth sized kiosk and say hi! A tip of the hat to Catherine for her fine work.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Callin’ out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat? Summer’s here and the time is right for dancin’ in the streets” – Martha and the Vandellas

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Required summer reading

August 24, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Last week I attended the Mt. View REI presentation by Amy Racina. She is the author of “Angels in the Wilderness.” It is the TRUE story of her mind boggling survival from a 60-foot straight down fall in remote Kings Canyon that broke both her legs and left her to figure out a way to survive against tremendous odds. I won’t spoil the book for you, but consider getting it. It is now in paperback. She has a nice website that should help you get motivated. Click <HERE> And if you need a little push to get to the top of Half Dome, listen to this: Just 4 years after her fall and long recovery she sent me this photo of her on top of Half Dome.

amy1

Yes, she made it. Don’t let that little blister get you down! Just think of all she had to overcome to not only merely walk again, but to stand on the top of Half Dome.

The massive REI Labor sale begins this Friday. Get ready for those big discounts. Join today if you have not.  Also, I will be hiking the 5 High Sierra Camps all next week so the blog will go dark then and I will not be able to ship out the “I made it to the top” T-Shirts. So get those orders in NOW so I can get them in the mail.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Well east coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear. And the southern girls with the way they talk, they knock me out when I’m down there. The mid-west farmers daughters really make you feel alright. And the northern girls with the way they kiss, they keep their boyfriends warm at night. . . . I wish they all could be California girls.” – The Beach Boys
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Mt. Whitney next??

August 23, 2009

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

mt-whitney 2

After hiking to the top of Half Dome, many hikers set their sights on the next two logical peaks in the easy-to-get-to California environs. Mt. Shasta and Mt. Whitney. Today we’ll chat about Mt. Whitney Pull up a chair and sip your tea. Mt. Whitney – named for good old Josiah Whitney, California’s Geologist in the early days of the state. It has good stories associated with it about false peaks and the race to be the first up it. But I will not go into all that. It is the highest peak in the USA besides Denali in Alaska. THAT is a big boy, but Whitney is a do-able by us mortals who want to preserve our brain cells. 14,500 ft. Measurements of the height tend to get revised with advances in measuring equipment, but it is the tallest in the lower-48. The actual vertical rise is not a whole lot more than the Half Dome hike, but the kicker is the altitude. Air is pretty darn thin above 12,000 ft. You will feel the effects. Sickness is a roll of the dice. Acclimatization is best, if you have the time. So try going gradually up higher each day… but few do that. In fact is is very common for hikers to do the whole enchilada I one long day. Ugh. The trail is better than the granite laced one on the John Muir and Half Dome routes. There are plenty of water sources to filter. But the rules have changed over the years. They took out the 2 toilets and you must now learn how to pack your human waste. You also need to use bear proof containers. And generally you will want to spend 2-3 nights so you have to haul a 30-40 pound pack up. We did it in the 90’s and only ate Power Bars and beef jerky rather than carry stoves and pots/pans. Yummy. If interested you have to enter a lottery and tell them when you want to enter/leave the Wilderness. Then you wait. All this is explained in the Inyo National Forest website <HERE>.  A few good reference books for your planning are: “High Sierra Hiking Guide – Mt. Whitney” by Thomas Winnnet; “Climbing Mt. Whitney” by Peter Croft; “One Best Hike: Mt Whitney” by Elizabeth Wend (looks just like my book – same publisher); “How to climb Mt.Whitney in a Day” by Sharon Baker-Salony; and “Mt. Whitney” by Paul Richins. A super website is the Whitney Portal Store <HERE>. They have a great message board and a webcam. Go for it!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Remember – a bad day at Yosemite is better than good day in the suburbs! “ – Me

*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com