“Do it for the cheeseburgers!” is our mantra for the last day’s hike from Indian Ridge to our car on Tioga Road. We have adapted it from our biking mantra for the 40-mile round trip ride from our home in Half Moon Bay to Duarte’s in Pescadero, where we “Do it for the pie!”. Olallieberry pie, to be exact. A la mode. After the artichoke-green chili soup and warm sourdough bread with butter.
Having a goal in mind helps on the steep uphill climbs. When the idea of “conquering” a hill is just not enough to get the legs going, doing it for the pie sometimes will.
In this case, it is the thought of a cheeseburger from the Tuolumne Meadows grill, another twenty miles or so down Tioga Road from where our car is parked.
Our packs are getting lighter, I think. The ratio of food to garbage in our bear canisters has finally reached the tipping point of more garbage than food. These are the signs that we are nearing the end of our trip.
Our final night is spent on Indian Ridge, overlooking North Dome, with views stretching from Clouds Rest to Half Dome and all the way down the Valley to Eagle Rock and Three Brothers.
We score the campsite I had spotted on our first night, when we headed down to the creek for water. It is the most luxurious space of all the sites so far. Perched at the apex of the ridge, there are two Ponderosa pines positioned perfectly for sitting and enjoying the outstretched views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest. Two clusters of low madrone bushes provide some privacy from both the trail to North Dome and the rest of the ridge descending down toward the Valley. Three separate living spaces are defined by the borders of the madrones, the rocks, and the trees.
The wildlife show here consists of alpine chipmunks, which crisscross the trail and hop from one rock to the next, then disappear in the madrone bushes. Continue reading →
The nosebleeds started three years ago, on our backpacking trip from Tenaya Lake to Clouds Rest to Little Yosemite Valley. That was another case of trying to go light by carrying less water, and sleeping at a high altitude. Ever since then, Randy has brought a kit of supplies with him to deal with sudden nosebleeds in the wilderness. I pass the time by theorizing about the causes and possible remedies – not of the symptom of having nosebleeds, but of the determining factors.
I contemplate the mystery of how the blood vessel constricting effects of the pseudoephedrine in Claritin-D could paradoxically promote bleeding. I wonder if the drying effect of the antihistamine in Claritin is too much in the already dry alpine air. I blame coffee, wine, and not enough electrolytes. I wonder if he should have done a sinus rinse using water taken from the creek. I even imagine how it would be possible, on future trips, to bring distilled water to do sinus rinses in the backcountry.
These are the things that go through my head as his nose is bleeding in the middle of the night. I also note, with some mixture of horror and pride at the accuracy of my self-assessment, that this is the kind of parent I would be, if I were to become one — an analyzer, a fixer of things. I am not a natural when it comes to providing pure comfort and soothing presence. My mind is usually too busy understanding “why”. Any abilities I now have in the area of healing and calming presence I have acquired from many days, weeks, and months of attending workshops and retreats and practice. Continue reading →
I wake up early, mainly because I am cold. I didn’t think to bring my beanie or gloves (because July!), but I am wishing for them in the morning. I pull on some wool socks and slip on my Chacos instead of putting bare feet into flip flops. As I am tooling around camp, I notice a round, peach-colored glow from behind the trees. It is the moon set. And it is full. Could it be that we accidentally scheduled our backpacking trip for North Dome on the night of the Full Moon?
I just returned from an epic 12-day journey, my longest continuous stay so far, in Yosemite National Park. First night (a Tuesday in July) at Crane Flat Campground — lucky to get the one open campsite reservation online. Next five days/four nights in the backcountry. Entering at Porcupine Creek trailhead, camping on North Dome, then top of Yosemite Falls with a day hike to El Capitan, then back to Indian Ridge (near North Dome) for the final night. The final seven days were spent in Yosemite Valley Yellow Pines campground as volunteers with Yosemite Conservancy. This was our fifth year of service as volunteers with YC, and my first time as Assistant Cook, helping with preparation of hot breakfasts and dinners for the work crew of twelve volunteers all week long. I loved it!
I have just finished gathering and photographing/scanning all of the art images I created during my twelve days. A total of forty-six images, each with a mini story that will allow me to retrace my steps, one day at a time, and share each episode with you, in twelve, bite-sized portions. Each post will go up at 10:00am Pacific Time. At the end of the twelve days of posting, I will post the entire body of work on the front page of this website, as one project.
In the meantime, sit back and take a walk with me through one of our nation’s finest treasures. Continue reading →
It’s been hard to ride my bike continuously along the coastal trail these past few days. Every few feet I am stopped in my tracks by a breaching whale or pair or three! I have begun to observe how the birds show us where the next whale will breach. And I love seeing pairs breach in unison!
Fourth of July was a full day for me, starting with milking the goats at Vida Verde Education. On my way back, since I was with my partner who had never been to Martin’s Beach, we decided to stop and check it out. We were the first ones to walk the beach that morning.
But we were not the first to see the message placed on the bluff top like the “Hollywood” sign. I wonder who the lucky couple was.
This spring, I’ve been out on my bike, and on my own two feet hiking along the California coast.
I’ve also been inspired by children’s books, and the amazing artistic freedom shown by so many illustrators.
Check out my new portfolio of Wildflower Collage Illustrations (some of which are available NOW in the store as limited edition prints) and below, enjoy a sneak peek into my landscape sketchbook from this spring. All sketches were done outside! Follow me on Instagram to see these images in their natural environment. Continue reading →
Rainy day. This morning before I sat down to draw, I picked up my copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I received my paperback copy in 1993, as a high school graduation gift. She was an actress; he was a university chemistry professor and my dad’s PhD advisor. Both of them came to my graduation ceremony, as they were good friends of my parents and had no children of their own.