Monday, August 27, 2012

June Lakes

We had a fine trip, Taylor, Sam, Carole and I had five days traveling together up 395 to the eastern Sierra’s June Lakes. It is a wonderful and most attractive area. My previous drive-throughs worked for scouting and I knew it would be stellar. We all enjoyed the spacious cabin almost on the lake. The little lakes, including Gull in our photo, at 7600' elevation sit in glacial potholes, most less than a mile in any direction. They make a delightful necklace cast about the arc of the valley on the east Sierra escarpment where Reverse Ridge provides the western hub in the glacial valley. The small ski operation shut down this year from lack of profit and looks to be devastating for winter months’ tourism. There will be people for cross country skiing, maybe skating on the lakes and possibly ice fishing. TV won't bring in many I suspect.

Sam on June Lake
Our kayaking on the lake every day and some hiking garnered great views. We visited the ghost town, Bodie with a fascinating tour of the stamping mill. It was the best explanation of hard-rock gold mining and processing. While many buildings stand today, they are but 5% of the town before burning in 1932.
We spent a little time at Mono Lake visiting the center we missed in previous trips. The movie filled in more geology on the surrounding area so when it blows up we’ll know what we lost. After Yellowstone, this is one of the more probable volcanic action points in the west. Contemplating over a sundae in Lee Vining brought us full circuit on another day.
Bodie Ore Bus

Friday, August 3, 2012

Early Summer Santa Barbara

Summer in Santa Barbara often means fire, in fact, we have only two seasons, wet and fire. This year, not so much wet. So I entered May and June with some personal trepidation about the fire this time. Fog is boring, but every foggy day  is a day without fire! The cat paws of dampness reached up the mountain slopes to engulf us after a brief window of bright clear sky and slipped away on light breezes by afternoon. Now in August, we've had boring, but not burning! Light breezes, but no sundowners of dragon's breath.

Brown Pool
Why this is important: 1. Our swimming pool morphed into a brown pool. It's better than it sounds. Seventy-seven tons of gravel and 10 tons of decomposed granite turned our old pool into our new bocce court and a creative one at that. There's none of that straight-line thinking with an over-abundance of granite to be covered by the bouncing balls. The rules play the same and no one gets wet!
The New Pool
Red Rocks in SB
Bocce, on cool summer evenings, is a great game for gathering and sharing with friends and family. On a hot summer day, well, we might be wishing for the splashy sort of pool again. 

2. Hiking is more pleasant and longer, strenuous hikes can stretch further into the sizzling summers days. 3. There are fewer air tankers to cover the fires AND they were busy in Colorado. Ok, the priority might be debatable, but it works for me.

Where you see these rocks the wall of soaring heat usually melts my summer hiking resolve, but we had the good fortune to catch these ice-cream boulders before they melted. Only turkey vultures and a few hang gliders get these views when the heat turns on. How did red-rock material end up in SB where the sandstone came from the ocean? Hmmm.

We hosted our old friend Kaan Kocali who lived with us back in the Twentieth Century (1980s) for all too brief a time. We reminisced about times when Kaan and Jen were teens in what turned out to be the last high school year for both of them. Kaan got a degree and Jen, well, she went to college next. Here they are again at lunch comparing notes on family and careers.