Archive for July, 2010

Social Science

July 31, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>

    You may have seen young folks doing surveys at thepark. They are part of a Visitor Use and Social Science Research project ongoing this summer (June 15 – August 31, 2010)
Cooperating organizations include The Student Conservation Association, University of Vermont, Arizona State University, Colorado State University, Resource Systems Group, Humboldt State University, and David Evans and Associates. These studies range from visitor survey implementation on trails and roadways to pedestrian and vehicular visitor use estimation efforts using instrumentation and observation. The general locations where these studies are being conducted are throughout the Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Mariposa Grove, Wawona, Tuolumne Meadows, and Hetch Hetchy. Staff members will be in university, agency uniforms, or NPS volunteer attire when interviewing. You may see them at the Half Dome cables counting noses.
    I’ll be attending the annual Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City all next week. This is the manufacturers and buyers conclave held at the Ice Palace. It’s huge. Every company involved in the Outdoor market will be placing orders for items coming out in the spring. I bring my camera and will take shots and give yall info on neat stuff and the happenings. The event is not open to the public. I’ll be meeting with several and walking the booths in search of gear we can use on the Half Dome trail.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Feeling’s gettin’ stronger. Music’s gettin’ longer too. Music is flashin me –  want to take you higher.” – Sly and the Family Stone
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

The Body – Finale & other news

July 30, 2010

  Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give permits<HERE>

    A last thought on taking care of your temple. Get a good night’s sleep 2 nights before your Half Dome hike. It is that rest that will carry you through on the big day. The night before is important, but you may be so excited that you may not hit REM sleep for very long … Don’t sweat it … use ear plugs, eyeshades and lay quietly – rest your body even if your head is jittery. Oooo ahhhh – bears, cables, dehydration, sore muscles ….  Oooooo you have plenty to run through your mind. Get to bed about 9 – have all your stuff laid out for the morning. Use your checklist and touch everything your plan to take the night before. No sweat.
    I’ll be up at the park the 6th and 7th I was able to give some permits out to readers on the Get or Give permits  thread above. If you need tix, keep reading for nay new entries. I’ve seen a ton of “wanted” listings on Craig’s list. Neil R. of Newark, CA won some of my permits and scooted up the rock with no problem. Here he is on the Visor.


    I’m thinking of skipping HD this time and instead hike the old Big Oak Flat Road just west of El Cap to the top near Tamarack Flat. I do HD so much that I need to do other hikes. Then maybe kick back in the El Cap meadow and gawk at the big boys and girls going up. Mellow.
    By now you heard about the grizzly maulings at Jellystone Park. Not good. But if it helps, no one has ever been killed by a bear at Yo-Semite since the white’s stumbled in. Whew.
    The park has developed the Yosemite Web GIS Portal, a new web-based mapping site  similar to Google Earth. The site is extremely user-friendly yet contains detailed information about park resources and infrastructure, based on the park’s extensive GIS spatial data library. Employees are getting trained now and a public version of the site will be introduced later.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I Fell into a burning Ring of Fire. I went down, down, down and the flames went higher. And it burns, burns, burns – The Ring Of Fire.” – Johnny Cash
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

The Body – Part 4 Working it

July 29, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>

   When preparing for the Half Dome hike, it is a good idea to get the old body in shape. Your legs are the most important. You will be hiking about 16-miles, PLUS going up/down a mile each way. So, how do you know when you are ready? I can’t tell you – only YOU know. I don’t care what you did last year or in High School …. this is now. OK, can you walk on the flats for 6 hours, then turn around and come back?  Try it. That’s at least what you will be doing to do the HD hike. Whew.  Hike hills then do it again. You cannot over train.
    Since you’re going up over 600 feet at a 45-degree angle to get up the cables, you need to have decent upper body strength. This means lifting weights.

    I suggest triceps and biceps curls with dumbbells or a machine. Your lats and back are also important. As much as you want to use your legs, it’s hard at a 45-degree incline. Start out light then see if you can do 12 reps. If so, add more weight so you can do 8 reps. Then slowly continue to add weight. You will reach a plateau at a certain weight. Do 3 sets of lifting, with a 2-minute rest between. Another tactic is to pyramid: start at a low weight and keep adding increments, but reduce the number of repetitions. Go in about 4 increments of heavier weight for 10 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps then 4 reps. Then take weight off and increase the number of reps again. It’s an inverted pyramid. Alternate aerobics and resistance days. For a real workout, try light weight but do the reps at half time – real slow. Take 1-2 days off, but be diligent. Get serious about 2 months before your hike … like now. Taper down the last week and do nothing the last few days before going to the park. You don’t want to have nay last minute injuries. Make sense??

    I found how how renegade Google ads appear on my site. WordPress tells me that they insert Google ads on all blogs on when non-logged-in users visit them. “This helps keep their free features free.” – nice to let us know!!!  Cost $29 to avoid the stealth ads. Hmmmm

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “All the world was before me and every day was a holiday, so it did not seem important to which of the world’s wildernesses I should first wander.” – John Muir, 1912
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

The Body – Part 3 Nutrition

July 28, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE> August must be the month to go hiking. I am seeing a ton of requests for permits. Check back frequently as some folks are putting in comments WITH permits. It’s first-come, first served here. Don’t count on anybody contacting you. I just entered a Craig’s Listing from a guy with tickets for late August.

    Today we talk about what to eat on your Half Dome hike. Don’t leave just yet, you might learn something. This is not your typical “eat your veggies” discussion. Hopefully you do that and have fish a couple times a week, eat foods of different colors and have your 5 servings of fruits a day. And lay off the chips and fries. Enough said on that.

    When I arrive at the park I plan on a balanced dinner at the Curry Village Buffet. $16 for all you can eat and 2 bucks off that for old farts over 55. I don’t pork out and I don’t eat anything that might come back to talk to me the next day during my hike. No jalapenos peppers. No strange sauces or heavy deserts. I don’t try to “carbo load” either, but rice, pasta and potatoes are a good idea. Did you know that your meal will sit in your stomach for 2-4 hours where acids and muscular movements will turn that burrito into a paste. From there it slides into your small intestine where it sits for 3-5 more hours where most mineral and liquids are absorbed. By the way, the small intestine is really not all that small. It is about 20 feet long but its only about an inch in diameter!   The journey continues into the large intestine (5 inches in diameter) where the goo can stay from 10 hours to several days where every last morsel of nutrient is absorbed. From there the indigestible matter heads south – and we won’t go there!!
     For my breakfast the next morning, I get my treats out of the bear box and enjoy a muffin, a banana, an orange or maybe open a can of tuna. A nice bottle of orange juice, chilled by the night air tops things off.  Now, what to eat on the hike? OK, after 27 times I have it down pretty good. Sandwiches will look like smashed meatballs after 6 hours and the meat and mayo may not agree with you after sitting in the hot backpack. So I take 7 Powerbars, a baggie of trail mix, a baggie of beef jerky and a roll of lifesavers. That’s it. And I bring stuff back. I plan a pad in case I need to stay out longer than planned due to an injury or I can help a fellow hiker who is on empty and hurting. Nibble as you go – don’t save it all for noon on the top. Bring a zip-lock for allyour wrappers and trash. Don’t toss your apple cores – practice “Leave no trace” hiking.
     For dinner I like the buffet again. The Curry pizza is great, but the line is always huge after 7 pm. In a panic, you can go inside by the bar. A little known hamburger stand will get you food in about 10 minutes. Then hit the ice cream parlor inside.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I never believed the doctrine of deserts, whether applied to mountains or men. Nature’s love is universal.” – John Muir, 1824
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

The Body – Part 2 Hiking and Asthma

July 27, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>
The following is provided by an eminent southern Asthma and allergy physician . .  . who has hiked Half Dome.

    If you have asthma and want to go hiking, there are things you need to consider. But before we go into that, let’s go over some asthma basics. Asthma is reversible obstructive airways disease. The obstruction is caused by two things, airway muscle constriction and inflammation in the airways. Things that trigger this obstruction may vary from individual to individual. Allergies, respiratory tract infections, sinus disease, stomach reflux, irritants (smoke, air pollution, strong odors, etc.), exercise and even food allergies can trigger symptoms.

Asthmatics usually know the things that are likely to set them off. Exercise causes the rapid movement of air up and down the airways which may cause wheezing. This tends to be worse with cold dry air. Running causes more rapid air movement than bicycling. That is why cross country runners have more difficulty than cyclists or swimmers. They also tend to be worse in winter environments. Before you hike, make sure your asthma is stable. If your asthma has been acting up, wait until it is stable before you hike. Stay on all of your maintenance medications and make sure you have been taking them weeks before your hike. Make sure you take your “rescue” inhaler, and it doesn’t hurt to have a spare. If you always wheeze when you hike, you might want to consider Warm up periods before exercise can be a big help. Start off slowly and take your time.
    Hiking is not a race. If you begin to have problems, slow your pace. Take frequent rest stops.
If the air is cold, try to breathe thru your nose or wear a scarf over your face so you are re-
breathing some of the warm, humid air you are exhaling. Cold air exercise masks are useful.  Make sure you drink lots of water. Failing to do this is the biggest mistake hikers make, and it is double trouble for asthmatics. If you don’t have to urinate periodically, you aren’t drinking Finally, if you begin to have problems, STOP. Use your medications and take a long rest until things are well under control. Don’t force it. Let your friends about your problem. If you don’t feel right, don’t do it. Slowly go back down. There will always be another day.

    Editor comment: Speaking of noses…did you know that of all animals, bears have the strongest sense of smell. A dog’s sense of smell is 100 times stronger than a human, while a bear’s sense of smell is 7 times stronger than a bloodhound or 2,100 times stronger than that of a human. Don’ think they can’t find your hidden candy bar.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself.” – John Muir, 1867
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

The Body – Part 1

July 26, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>
    I’m calling this week’s blog, The Body. I plan to go over some important “stuff” about your temple, the hunk of protoplasm you scoot around in everyday. There’s a lot to know to keep you in tip top shape for hiking Half Dome, so we’ll look at some information that you may not know – and not get bored. Hey, alI ask for is 3 minutes of reading a day!
    So today let’s go over being fit or “in shape.”  For optimum health, most doctors suggest we all do 5 to 7 days of vigorous exercise a week.

    And do that for at least 30-45 minutes. This means hard breathing, grunting and sweating.  Do you? Well turns out that your body burns carbohydrates for about the first 30 minutes of exercise. It doesn’t know if you are running from a saber tooth tiger or maybe a woolly mammoth. So it just gives you premium to boggie fast. Then after 30 minutes or so, it realizes that you are either dead from being mauled or you are on an endurance task – like maybe running to meet Zork, from the other tribe. Then your body uses stored fats for energy. See, that Milky Way comes in handy! (Or the spare tire around your belly.) So then it “burns” this for fuel. Ah ha! You say! So if you want to lose weight, go for endurance for 30 minutes – right!! Plus your heart gets a workout. The best pace is to be at about 60 – 80% of your maximum heart rate. To find that, subtract your age from 220. This give you your calculated beats per minute. Then take .6 and .8 of that to find your range. Do it once each year and you are done. Wear a heart rate monitor or just take your pulse and see where you are. One thing I try to do every few years is to take a treadmill stress test. They wire you all up, then crank up the speed and slope of a treadmill for about 3 minutes  in 7 increments. Well, this old man got to level 7 for 1 min 20 seconds. They said I have the body of a 25 year old (I told them he wants it back!) These are expensive tests so you have to really beg your GP to approve it. Tell the doc you think you had a heart murmur.  But it’s a good test to make sure the ticker keeps on ticking.
   Got Azma??  Tune in tomorrow to learn about the wisdom of hiking with asthma from Tony the Doctor.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Doctor, my eyes have seen the years and the slow parade of fears. Without crying; now I want to understand. I have done all that I could to see the evil and the good without hiding. You must help me if you can.”  – Jackson Browne
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Vernal Grotto

July 25, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>
    When you go up the 700 steps of the lower Mist Trail, you will be tuckered out. It is hard. Your group will probably become separated here. I figure most groups comprise 20% fast, 60% average and 20% slugs. So you need to decide up front if you are all going to wait for Uncle Sluggo or just meet on the top.
    As you approach the steps cut into the upper part of the trail with the railing on your left, pause for a few minutes and look to your right. You will see what I call the Vernal Grotto.

You can easily scamper up and to your right. There is a nook there that you can kick back, watch Vernal Fall pouring over and look at hikers as they struggle up the final steps of the trail. It’s pretty neat to just sit and imagine the folks in the late 1800’s going up the ladder contraption to get to the top. I have a neat vintage photo of that scene on page 80 of my book. You can see the THEN and NOW comparison. I’ve found some old chicken wire and pipes up there and wondered what that was all about.
    The park is getting summer rains now and slow moving thunderstorms are passing through. Currently 20% chance to rain – the same as on June13 last year when a man fell to his death and 41 people were stranded on the cables in the rain. Start your hike early and get down before noon. Be cautious of lightning and be aware of small streams flooding.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Well now, they often call me Speedo, but my real name is Mr. Earl. . . . Known for meetin’ brand new fellas and takin’ other folk’s girl.” – The Cadillacs
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Throw no stones

July 24, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>  We’re seeing several donations of permits – check often if you are requesting … and thanks for offering your extra permits.

We talked about Hans Florine and his presentation at the Pleasanton Library yesterday. He said something that made an impression. He has gone up many of the peaks at the park and of course, Half Dome. He kinda jokingly said to make sure kids don’t throw rocks off of the face. But this is serious. I’ve inched over the edge and looked down at climbers coming up. Some send an advance man to put a cardboard sign there, but most just rely on your common sense. Actually this real metal sign is right near the top of the cables. I wonder people how many don’t even see it.

I know none of the readers of this blog would do such, but it’s easy to shuffle your feet near the edge and let a pebble go over…I don’t know what the terminal velocity of  a pebble traveling down 2,000 feet is, but I think I’d want to be in a Sherman Tank and not just wearing a plastic helmet. Courtesy and caution.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Ooh, ooh that smell. Can’t you smell that smell? Ooh, ooh that smell. The smell of death surrounds you.” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Hans Florine

July 23, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>

Hans scaling Half Dome in a day


On Thursday night I met Big Wall Speed Climber Hans Florine. He gave a talk at the Pleasanton Library. I told yall about it but did not see you among the 60 people there. He holds the World Record for climbing The Nose of Yosemite’s El Capitan in 2:37:05, with Japanese climber Yuji Hirayama. That is flying up 2900 feet.!Hans is a personable guy and related stories of the pursuit of the record. His slide show and video clips were fun. He’s still active even though he holds down an 8-5 job and is raising 2 young kids. I bought his DVD called Master of Stone VI which features the 2 climbers in action. He also has an instructive multimedia CD called “How to climb the Nose.” Not me, I’m content to slog up the Half Dome Trail for my thrills. He has indeed hiked the HD trail like us mere mortals also. I do admire Hans and the men and women climbers that have made Yosemite THE place for the sport. We do have one thing in common – Power  Bars. I pay to eat them and they sponsor him to eat them. To follow his exploits, click <HERE>.  I hope to see you Sunday at 2 at the Pleasanton Library for my riveting talk.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Everything new and pure in the very prime of the spring when Nature’s pulses were beating highest and mysteriously keeping time with our own.” – John Muir, 1912

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –

Checkpoint Charlie

July 22, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give permits<HERE>
    Checkpoint Charlie was the name given to the “access point” into East Berlin manned by the USA. Ffor years this was the main control of people traveling between Communist East Berlin and the Western sector. With apologies to those who were behind the Ion Curtain, I have dubbed the place at Sub Dome on Half Dome where the Rangers are inspecting hikers for permits, “Checkpoint Charlie.”


Gateway to the Cables

Mr HD gets passport and visa checked by Ranger Jesse

 If you need something to do Sunday, come to the Pleaston Library for a free presentation by the yours truly- 2 pm.  Scan <HERE> for info.


Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Sheep, like people, are ungovernable when hungry.” – John Muir , 1869
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –