Friday, July 30, 2010

07_30_2010 It isn't always go go go.

I know I said that the next blog post would be about the super fun bike ride we took, but I was wrong. Hopefully we'll get it up tomorrow. Until then, I thought I'd show you what a "rest day" looks like here. Like father, like cat.

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07_24 to 26_2010 Eastern Sierras -Cardinal Pinnacle, Dike Wall and Convict Lake

We arrived at our top-secret, uber-awesome, free camp spot late in the afternoon on Friday. It was HOT! So, instead of charging down into the Owen's River Gorge for some late-afternoon climbing, we set up the trailer, made margaritas, Dave took some photos and we enjoyed the view.

(NOTE: Several blog entries that come before this one will be posted soon. Keep your eyes peeled! I'll get the up as Dave gets the photos to me)

It is gorgeous here.

Though my feet are greatly improved, climbing remained a bit of an unknown. Last year, we climbed Cardinal Pinnacle when we were here. It was great fun, and I was most surprised that my feet did well on it. So, we thought it'd make a good choice to see what he hooves would tolerate.

I mean, check them out! They look like normal feet now.

We hiked up the talus field. Dave took off. Then I. Misery. My feet could not do this since it was pretty much 100% slab moves with marginal hands. I believe I made the first "no feet" ascent of the first 10a pitch. Then we had to bail.

We spent some time driving in the canyon, checking out a couple of rustic lodges, looking at the lakes, etc. It's quite a beautiful area. This is about when the "stable" Sierra weather started seeming not-so-stable. It started raining. No biggy though. We returned home to the trailer to figure out a new game plan.

The next day, we hiked to the Dike Wall. It is just a little over a year since John Bachar fell to his death here (still hard to believe). I'd never been, and Dave hadn't been in some time. Not only did Dave want to climb some, we both wanted to go to where this terrible event happened.

We hiked around the lake and got to the wall. The weather was pretty unstable again. Dave climbed several pitches (given the nature of the climbs, it was clear I couldn't do them due to hoof-resistance). (Not sure how we managed to take no photos of the climbing).

Then the weather got increasingly worse (lightning, thunder, etc - NOT good stuff when one is up high at all). So we started hiking out pausing where John fell. A prayer wheel is mounted on the wall, and a pile of rocks marks where his body came to rest. RIP JB. It's was a somber moment.

We started hiking out quickly given the dark weather. We had to avoid a big bear who was stealing food and a bit aggressive (according to the family that lost their food). Before getting to the car, we had to take cover next to a tree. Not only was the lightning a problem, it started hailing...a lot. (See movie below).

We finally ran back to the truck while being rained/hailed on. Crazy.

That evening, we headed into Mammoth and met our friends Fish Finder (Greg), Donna, and Chez. We had dinner together and enjoyed a fun evening chatting. We headed back to the trailer. We came to find out later that FF and Donna hit a deer on 395 their way home. The deer was the only fatality.

The following day, we hiked up into the Canyon behind Convict Lake. We'd hoped to find a huge display of wild flowers, but like pretty much everywhere else we'd been looking, there was not any grand stand of them. We did get to enjoy watching a Bald Eagle soar around the area. We always manage to see them here.

While my feet are cranky when it comes to some climbing, they are happy on the bike. Up next, a really fun ride involving a big pass in which we managed not to become road kill!

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07_02 to 06_2010, Houston, TX, Part III

We went to Houston for a family reunion over the fourth of July. Every year at my parent's home, there is a HUGE fireworks display. This is not your ordinary backyard fireworks either - I have pyros in the family. They are spectacular displays and to date no one has been maimed, and only one yard caught on fire. (It was my old yard in Houston - it's now family lore we know as the "burning bush").

Happily, though it'd been wet the mosquitoes were minimal. The fire ants were alive and well. I'd forgotten to warn Dave about them...he learned very quickly - like the moment he stepped out of the car wearing flip flops into a mound of them. He was not pleased. And he doesn't know why anyone lives in Houston. :)

It was a fun evening of visiting, fireworks, food and hanging out. Enjoy the photos.

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07_02 to 06_2010, Houston, Texas - Alligators, Buildings and Galveston! Part II

While in Houston, we hit a few areas that Dave had never been to. We went to Galveston. Galveston (imo) is on destination, but if one is so close, they may as well go. It was as it always is - murky. I can't believe people go in that water!

This trip had some added benefits. First, oil globs from the big oil debacle. Second, lots of sea weed on the beach that washed up on shore from the hurricane. Ick. At least there were a lot of Laughing Gulls and other Gulls to watch pick food out of it.

We also went to Brazos Bend State Park. This is a favorite destination of mine - I love the alligators! This is a swampy park area where they live along with lots of birds. I think the best time to go is in about March during breeding season. Lots of mating behavior and lots of gator activity. It's not a park where one should take a dog off lease (unless they are trying to provide the dog with an *accidental death*).

I worried we wouldn't see many gators in July since it's so hot and they stay low in the water. Happily, with the hurricane rain, the water levels were up, the water temperature had fallen so the gators were out looking for the warmth from the sun! Yay us.

As usual, there were tons of water birds that Dave got nice shots of. Lots of babies being fed by parents. It was great fun.

Dave may disagree a little bit. It was about 93 degrees and the humidity was in the 90%s. This particular combination didn't work very well with him. He swore it was 118 degrees. He can't believe anyone lives in Houston.

He now understands what I mean when I say I like it "hot". And he still doesn't understand how it was that I wasn't even sweating.

Aside from the heat though, he loved the park. We ever went back at sunset to see the gators. They were still active then too. They are spooky too because they are huge and can be mere feet away and we can't see them! Yikes. Good times.

Finally, we spent one day going to some other places. I love going to the Transco Tower. Yes, it's not longer officially called the Transco, but it'll always be the Transco to me. It's a beautiful building with a building fountain on the grounds. We spent some time here then did some driving around to look at houses I once lived in and other assorted nostalgia type places.

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07_02 to 06 2010 - Houston, Texas, Part I

Dave and I flew to Houston for a family reunion. The remnants of the hurricane were making a mess of Houston so it was a long trip with a lot of circling, diverting to Dallas, hitting turbulence that make grown ups cry etc.

We were happy to get on the ground finally. While we sat an hour in the car going 7 miles due to street flooding, I think we both preferred it to the turbulence!

We spent time with family which includes a lot of birds. Many - if not most of them are pets! You can see here some of the pet peafowl, Dayle and Dewey (more of the Lilac Crowned Amazon family), pet ducks, geese and other assorted critters.

There were not that many wild birds around. We didn't see a single Scissor-tailed flycatcher and they are usually everywhere. No kestrels either. Bummer. Still, the birds we saw, pet and hung out with were a treat.

There were not that many wild birds around. We didn't see a single Scissor-tailed flycatcher and they are usually everywhere. No kestrels either. Bummer. Still, the birds we saw, pet and hung out with were a treat.

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