Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

No, I’m not speaking Spanish or Italian today. But what is a Balaclava? Some sweet treat to eat? An after dinner snack? No, that’s baklava. A dessert made of paper-thin layers of pastry, chopped nuts, and honey. Yummy. 


The name “balaclava” comes from the town of Balaklava in today’s Ukraine. Popular during the 1850’s Russian – British Crimean War, knitted caps we call balaclavas were by the British to help them fight the bitter cold weather. They are traditionally knitted from wool, and can be rolled up into a hat to cover just the crown of the head. I suggest packing a balaclava for your Half Dome expedition. – But it’s not for the actual hike. It’s to keep you warm during those 37 degree nights.  OK enough banter. I’ve gotten a few emails wanted to know what a balaclava is.



As you can see it’s a fleece or wool head cap that encases your head down to your neck with only a “breathing hole” up front. Even in a down sleeping bag, your noggin will give off a ton of  heat. Cork that heat with a balaclava and you’ll get a better night’s sleep.  You can also stuff it in your pocket in case the weather turns south. Great for skiing, hiking, biking, etc.


TV tips –  National Parks by Ken Burns.  He’s the same guy who did the Civil War series and the Baseball one not too long ago.  I, for one, am getting saturated with the Ken Burns hype. I am sure that it is a great segment, and I am promoting it, but enough. The Sierra Club is conducting a promo for it.The Park is hosting many showings – some with him present.  There have been many other Yosemite specials that didn’t get a third the coverage. SECRET YOSEMITE was fantastic. Vertical Frontier – Rock Climbing in Yosemite was cool. California State  Parks are on the verge of shutting  down, I think diverting some marketing budget of this campaign to save them from closure would be worthwhile. Sept 27 8 pm, PBS. We use the converter boxes on our analog TV’s and I have not figured out how to use my VCR to record digital broadcasts. I think I need to hook a converter box up to the VCR independent of the TV and record from there. Dunno if the timer/station programmer with work. I’m sure PBS will be selling DVDs.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “If your child ain’t all he should be now, this girl will put him right. I’ll show him what he could be now, just give me one night! I’m the Gypsy, the Acid Queen, pay me before I start.” – The Acid Queen, Tommy, Tina Turner

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –*


3 Responses to “Balaclava”

  1. Rick Says:

    For the VCR, you can connect it to the video/audio output from the TV if you have one. It means you have to leave the TV on the channel being recorded, so that is somewhat limiting, but it works! 🙂

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      Thanks…but that means I have to be there with it. I don’t think the timer on the VCR will work since I need to tune it to Ch 3 to get the signal from the TV…then when it kicks on it will record the fuzzz on the dead Channel 3. yes/no?

  2. Duane Sand Says:

    Your digital converter (cable or broadcast) is putting out old-style TV analog signal on old channel 3 (or maybe 4) frequency. Your current channel setting on TV will tell you which. Using coax, connect the tv-out from digital converter to the ‘cable/ant in’ connector of your VCR, instead of directly to the TV. Use a second coax cable to connect the ‘TV out’ connector of your VCR to your tv’s ‘cable/ant in’ connector. When VCR is powered off, your TV will now run same as before without the VCR in the middle. Now turn on the VCR, and set its channel select to channel 3 (or 4). When on, the VCR will pass through only the single TV channel it is listening to (which happens to be whatever the digital converter is sending out). To do delayed record, set the VCR to that channel 3 and the starting time. There should be no fuzz.
    There are alternate ways to connect, using several non-coax wires, but the way above is simplest.

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