Archive for September, 2010

Indian Rock & Arch

September 30, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>
     Continuing yesterday’s saga of the North Dome hike, on your return to your car – maybe an hour from North Dome – you will see a trail sign for Indian Rock. Go ahead and take it. The rock cluster sits atop a small hill that is only about 15 minutes off of main the trail. It gets kinda steep but it not too bad. You’ll come to a definite peak where the rocks lay striated. The top is a bit like a cupcake about 30 feet in diameter.     You can easily see the arch itself from the side. It is not like the Arches in Utah. They were slowly carved by eons of wind erosion.

 

     The Indian Arch is odd to describe – a hole about 20 feet long and about 8 feet at the high point. But it is granite rock. Perhaps weaker elements just flaked off leaving the arch. It’s easy to see how this place could have been involved in Indian ceremonies. Kinda eerie.  It will take you about 15 minutes to circumnavigate the attraction. Instead of backtracking down the trail you cam e up on, you will save a lot of time by just heading due west. In about 20 minutes you will intersect the North Dome trail, saving a lot of steps. This will take you through the forest, but it is safe. Once back on the trial you are just a bit over 1.5 miles from the trailhead. In summary the North Dome / Indian Rock survey was well worth it and can be done easily in a day from the valley.  None of the guide books describe how to get to Basket Dome but that may be a future trip.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes. 
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

September 30, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>

Due to my travel I may not be able to approve postings to request PERMITS diaily , but hang in there.

     I thought I’d give you my “beta” on North Dome. I have no idea why, but “beta” seems to be what climbers call the “scoop.” So here you. To get to this dome, head up Tioga Road from the Valley for about 45 minutes. You’ll pass Yosemite Creek and then watch for the Porcupine Flat sign. ¼ mile beyond is a nice pullout for the trailhead. There is even a “head” at the trailhead.  The route is well marked and you don’t need a GPS. You’ll be going downhill for most of this hike.  (Well it’s uphill on the way back.) It’s a nice trail with water sources early on, but zip for when you need it – so carry a couple quarts. After about 90 mins you’ll be view of North Dome. The actual dome is further out so don’t stop just because you are starting to see full views of Half Dome. If you continue on and down you can get to the downward slope of the dome for a great view of the valley, Half Dome and on around to Cloud’s Rest.

 

 

     A very unusual panorama. Be careful of the gravel surface. There are a couple hairy slots you have to descend to reach the dome and I highly recommend hiking poles. We took about 6 hours total. We lingered a long time because of the majesty of Half Dome from this angle. This was my first time on North Dome. It would be great to get on Basket Dome, just a bit east for a direct head on vie of the face. This would have to be a dedicated trip. I was told that although there is no formal trail, it doable. Did yo know that Yosemite has more domes in a concentrated area than anyplace else? Most were formed by glacial action – but NOT Half Dome. 

      On the way back to the car, I diverted 30 mins to visit Indian rock and the stone arch. But that kids is saved for my next blog.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “We live in a fast-paced society.  Walking slows us down.” – Robert Sweetgall

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Where’s Waldo?

September 28, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>

Rather where’s Mr. Half Dome?  It’s that time again. I will be out until Oct 9 on a  Medit Cruise. I just got back from a weekend at Yosemite and have some awesome pix of North Dome to share – and stories. So I will continue the blog as best I can from aboard Crystal Cruise 0323. Check back periodically for the continuing saga of the big hunk of Granite.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I dream of hiking into my old age.” – Marlyn Doan

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Indian summer

September 26, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>
     Indian summer . .  . a term that is ued to describe a hot spell just before autumn kicks in. Where does that phrase originate? Do the folks in Mumbai experience this? Did the Sioux and Paiute? Anyway it’s happening in Yosemite now. I’m at the park with the Hamburg delegation.  Saturday was free park admission day. Yes, ‘twas crowded. Here’s the mob at the tunnel view. You can’t see the 5 busses in the lot.

 

     We went up to Glacier Point to catch sunset. The roadwork is totally done there – just in time to close for the coming snows. Again the horde was there.

 

A Canadian visitor had this very unusual camera. .  It’s a modern Japanese-made version of the old large format box cameras. He just a hobbyist but said the images are huge – like 4” x 5”. He said in today’s digital terms its equivalent to about a 20 MegaPixel camera. He had to carry all this gear including his tripod on the plane. Gee, my little Casio does fine by me (all pix here are from my EX-H10). 

 

     Sunset was not too exciting. I guess there is not enough smog in the Central Valley to bring out the “alpenglow” on Half Dome. While we waited at the point sitting on my lawn chairs, we shared a bottle of Carpe Diem wine – a 2007 Cabernet. A semi-full moon rose about 8 pm. Here’s the best my little point and shoot could do at 10x zoom. Can you make out the junk left behind at Tranquility Base? 

 

      No Half Dome hike this trip – Sonke is still reeling from a bug he picked up. So maybe North Dome and maybe just a mellow Valley walk. I’m off Tuesday to the Mediterranean for a stint teaching Nordic Walking on a Crystal Cruise ship. We’ll circle Italy – my mom’s ancestral roots. Depending on the price of Internet the blogs may be sporadic. Few pix – they really eat minutes. If you’d like to get an order in for TShirts I can get them out Monday – if not I’ll have to wait until Oct 9.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.”

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Can’t you read?

September 25, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>
     First the sign:


    

Then the bozos on the Silver apron, 100 feet from the sign. Darwin award candidates.

 

In 2005 a guy went over Vernal Fall

 

     I’ll be up at the park this weekend for a meeting with our German bureau. Sonke K. flew in from Hamburg and came down with a horrendous cold. Wanted to hike North Dome, but he is too sick. We may just hang around the valley.
     In other news: If you read this in time to do any good – on Saturday, September 25, Yosemite will celebrate National Public Lands Day. Free admission!
     Dates to remember:  Yosemite was designated by an Act of Congress on October 1, 1890, making this the 120th birthday of the park. And Oct 12 is the day that George Anderson first went up Half Dome in 1875. We are not worthy.

    Check out this YouTube.

 
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “If you pick ’em up, O Lord, I’ll put ’em down.” -Author Unknown

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

A mountain birthday

September 24, 2010

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

Yesterday was the birth anniversary of a Yosemite Mountain guide named Scott Gerhman. His friends knew he loves Half Dome and had this cake made up … yes, that’s HD!!

Happy Birthday Scott!

 

     You might have run into him on the trail. He is the Executive Director of a non-profit called Lasting Adventures, Inc. He’s stepped off over 3,000 personal miles across the Sierra in 14 years.   He’s not a dumb lumberjack – he holds an MA in Counseling as well as the required certifications in Basic Backpacking Awareness and Wilderness First Responder. We met at the 100th Boy Scout Anniversary in Pleasanton (attended by about 16,000 people!).  Give him a call if you need a guided trip! 

      Here’s a shot of John T. at the top of HD  …  say, what’s the book he’s holding???

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Walking isn’t a lost art – one must, by some means, get to the garage.” – Evan Esar

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Wacky hikers

September 23, 2010

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

    I love to watch people having fun on the Half Dome hike. You gotta smile when you see a group like this trekking up to pay homage to the Dome.

    They were from a Bay Area Junior High School. Pretty clever way to keep track of everyone. The balloons got a little deflated as the day wore on. Cool!
     On Saturday,  a 42-year-old Spanish climber fell while speed climbing up the Nose on El Capitan. He was doing a pendulum traverse between 2 points when he lost control, swung for approximately 50 feet, and hit the wall. He fell 80 feet below his last anchor. Thud. YOSAR plucked him and he is now in Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. So far no one has fallen off Half Dome. Knock on granite!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” – Vince Lombardi, former NFL coach
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Fall Gathering – Oct 2

September 22, 2010

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

     The Yosemite Conservancy, (formerly the Yosemite Fund and Association) will be hosting its 35th annual fall gathering for members at Wawona on Saturday, Oct 2. National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy management will give updates on the YC programs. I’m hoping that Mr. Half Dome blog readers are all members of YC, the non-profit group supporting the park. The Fall gathering is attended by about 200 people and it is a good way to network and meet the big shots.  Here’s the itinerary for this year.  Wear your cowboy hat and boots for the big dance!

7:30 am – 11:30 am Outdoor Activity Programs – Wawona Hotel
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Optional Buffet Lunch –  Wawona Hotel lawn
1:30 pm – 5:00 pm YC  Celebration  Pioneer History Center
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm Reception/Silent Auction – Grey Barn
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm  Barn Dance – Grey Barn
    I won’t be there this year since I’ll be teaching Nordic Walking on board a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, so someone please take notes and email them to me for posting.  to register, click <HERE>.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Walks – The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird.” – Jules Renard

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

Visitor Center – Tuolumne County

September 21, 2010

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

Get or Give Half Dome permits<HERE>

     There are several Gateway cities to Yosemite including Groveland, Mariposa, Oakhurst, Sonora and Lee Vining. Each has Visitor/Tourist Centers that cater to the businesses surrounding the park. When arriving from the Bay Area via Hwy 120/108, you will make a hard right turn just south of Sonora onto Hwy 120. If you were to continue straight on 108 the road heads over the Sonora Pass. Just after you make the turn to Yosemite, look to your left. You will see the Tuolumne County Visitor Center building.

     It is a seasonal facility with the main office being in downtown Sonora.  This county boasts the Gold Country towns of Sonora, Columbia, Jamestown, Twain Harte, Angel’s Camp, Murphys and Groveland. One of my favorite things to do is spelunking (caving) in the foothill caves. The visitor center can link you up with everything about Yosemite and the surrounding area. Stop by and tell them Mr Half Dome sent you.

Pat Newton is a wealth of information

Other news:  Yosemite Fire & Rescue is holding an open house at their Crane Flat Helitack base on Saturday and Sunday Sept 25 & 26. 

 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” – Wallace Stevens

*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

The Plant

September 20, 2010

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

Ever see this building while at Yosemite??
   

    Here’s a hint – it’s about a mile below the Pohono Bridge (near the junction of 120 and 140/41) on the Merced River. That’s a short distance below the western end of Yosemite Valley  Give up?
     It’s the Yosemite Hydroelectric Power Plant. The plant was completed in June, 1919, at a cost of $212,000.00 and delivers electric power thru seven miles of high power transmission lines and nine miles of distributing lines. It has a 2000 kilowatt capacity.

      The energy developed here is used for power, lighting, heating, and electrical purposes in the hotels and camps, and in the residences of park employees and other government buildings. There is a diversion dam about 160 feet long that send water through a pipe  6,000 ft long.

Intake

 

Water falls 330 feet to drive 2 Pelton Water Wheel turbines.

     It was dedicated to Henry Floy, an engineer whose congressional testimony was instrumental in getting the funding for the project. The Plant is a rare and good example of its type. There are no other known penstock-fed systems in California with their original Pelton wheels (a particular type of turbine), generators, switch boards, and design intact.

    Here’s an interesting linkage. During the planning for the opening ceremonies, it was suggested that an air flight into the Valley take place. The construction of the power plant was a big deal and organizers felt it befitting to have a plane be a part of it. Remember it was just a decade before that the Wright Brothers got airborne. The proposal was declined partly because of the uncertainties of landing due to the unusual winds that exist between the canyon walls.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Say you want a revolution; we better get on right away. Well you get on your feet and out on the street. Singing power to the people, Power to the people, Power to the people, Power to the people, right on.” – John Lennon
*MrHalfDome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com