Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Mile.. Mile & A Half – The Muir Project

February 15, 2012

The John Muir trail is a 211 mile trail that follows 160 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Most think there are so many passes along the trail and find that be a discouraging factor but there are only 3 passes spread far apart from each other so that only leaves being gone for about 3 weeks as an excuse. More time equals more enjoyment then just zipping through it’s the sides trip up Whitney from the backside and so many other lakes, trails, peaks and passes to see along the trail. Most start the trail in Yosemite Valley and it just passed Mt Whitney. The documentary film was created last year during the highest snowpack in the decade melting away so it will display how the mountains weep those heavy tears.

The suspense is certainly building for this film for me, enjoy!!

MILE…MILE & A HALF (trailer) from The Muir Project on Vimeo.

Here’s one of their older trailers
JMT Project

Waiting Out the Fog

September 5, 2011

From a view earlier that day I noticed large gaps in the marine layer may let light into fog from above and it did just that.

It seems that the further you travel on the coast in California the more likely you are to get bogged in by the fog. If you’ve ever driven the California Coast you may have noticed when the road climbs a large hill you may rise above the fog and descend back into it as it drops in elevation. At the time the second photograph was taken I had remembered the view a few thousand feet above the fog earlier that day, there were large gaps in the marine layer and if you looked closely you could barely make out the watery ocean surface in some of the gaps.

Waiting out the fog amongst sea cliffs with a view of remote sea stacks on California's Lost Coast.

While we stood on that ocean cliff in the King Mountain Range I knew it was not likely to open up completely but maybe the light from above could seep down through the gaps in the marine layer. I was with Christina and knew she was waiting patiently for me to finish up so we could cook dinner so I almost left before the light changed. You never know!

Have you ever experienced a close call when you almost left a scene that looked grim but lead to dramatic light?

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Dunes of the Mojave Desert

August 2, 2010

Mojave Desert Dunes

If someone were to mention dunes in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley’s Mesquite Dunes at Stovepipe Wells would come mind first for some people. The Kelso Dunes might even come up. There are more dunes out there that in lie outside of the National Park and Monument boundaries, you just need to look a little further. With all the dry lakes out there the sand has to blow somewhere.

Dunes in black and white

Some dunes fields are extremely small and others such as what is shown here are significant in size. Many dunes are similiar and usually can be identified with the mountain back drop if there is one.

OHV use in designated wilderness

These dunes are designated wilderness where people may seek desert desolation but I have come across people ignoring the desigated wilderness boundaries with OHV use. I can imagine how dificult it can be trying to protect something out in the middle of nowhere. It would be nice if there were signs posted with violation fee amounts in all parking areas near wilderness areas.

Mojave desert dunes

Frost covered dunes in the Mojave Desert

Frost covers the dunes during winter in the early morning. Sometimes solitude comes with no foot prints.

Moon and dune

If anyone is interested in a private or small group workshop between the late fall and early spring please email me via the contact page on my website.

Winter Backpacking for the First Time

January 24, 2010

Backpacking San Jacinto State Park above Palm Springs in the Winter

Just thought I would share an experience I just had this morning, I was invited by a few friends from a California photography forum to go winter backpacking, something I have never tried. I was pretty excited to hear this but I didn’t have all the gear. I’ve been slowing collecting the gear for a while now, it can be a huge chunck of change to pick it all up at once. Long story short, only Eric Good wanted to go. I can’t blame anyone for not going, it’s been snowing for days non stop up there. Eric had the equipment that I did not have so the only thing that kept me hesitant was the cold, getting lost, and avalanches, the usual stuff a mind could conjure up.

There is a tram that will take you up to 8,500 ft above Palm Springs from cactus to clouds. There is also a trail if you are really serious, it has a gain of 11,000ft. Looking out the windows of the tram it was almost like flying through the mountains and clouds. With all the snow the visibility was only a few hundred feet, you could see the beautiful and rugged terrain of one of North America’s most steepest inclines. Gliding through the atmosphere with granite spires and monoliths rising into the stratus cloud and coming only a few feet from the tram so you can really experience what the side of the mountain is really like. You could lose yourself just by looking out of the window for a few seconds.

We got off the lift and the hand rails heading down were completely covered, woo hoo, that ‘s about 4 feet of fresh snow. Skis would have been nice, I had enough wait but a little more wouldn’t of hurt. We snowshoed almost a mile before setting up camp in round valley or somewhere near it, there was not a soul around. At this point it was still snowing too much to scout out a place for morning photography.

At 6AM I looked out of the tent and the clouds were gone and it snowed about an extra foot. I grabbed the camera and one lens, my tripod would not open, the threads were frozen shut, this usually happens when it gets wet and freezes, should of kept in the tent at night. Lever locks seemed to better in this cold enviroment. I found this very limiting but having broken a tripod in the past trying to get it to work so I didn’t chance braking this one. My only choice was to shoot a foot above the ground with the tripod sinking into the snow. Eric and I both went our seperate ways exploring the area for photographs.


I had no idea that this ridge was so close to camp, I can see why some people only return with tree photos from snowshoeing trip. This was the case for me since that was all I found at the time when the light was at it’s best.


The view from my extra short tripod.

For a first time I don’t recommend snowshoeing through 4-5 ft of frest snow, it can become very exhausting. I have snowshoed with just camera and it was a lot easier. I was layered up pretty well so my torso was warm the whole the time and my -20 sleeping bag kept me toasty through out the night. My fingers nearly froze most of the time on this trip while taking pictures, I use mitten flaps when it’s dry out but this time I used goretex gloves with fleece liners so keep that in mind. I did have a hard time getting used to all of this, it is a completely different experience adding the backpacking equipment. I can see how one might find it to be a miserable experience but just the fact that I was experiencing something new again was enough keep me happy. Seeing so much untouched fresh snow heading off into every direction at first light is so worth all the hard work one has to do get there, with or with out a tram. I will definitely try this again before the season is over, of course throw in a little extra cardio into my weekly routine.

Cliffs on Mt San Jacinto


Condensation got me at the bottom of the mountain, not a great idea to whip out the camera when going from 25 degrees to 60 degrees. If this happens to you just place your camera back in the bag and don’t open it up as soon as you get home, let it sit for a while.

*This was not a pretty picture show so stayed for some of those in the next post.

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