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Vito

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Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Sierra-bound   Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:38 pm

I'm heading up into the Sierra Nevada range.



I just gotta go. It has been too long. It's time.

Keep the faith, boys and girls.  

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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:48 pm

Beautiful Veet! Enjoy.....

.......and take your fly rod.............

Cool 

Cheers,

RR
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loneredtree

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:12 am

I was in the Banner Ritter area last year. We went in the High trail and out the John Muir trail. I hope you Enjoy it.

bounce bounce bounce 
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:04 pm

Brewdude wrote:
Beautiful Veet! Enjoy.....

.......and take your fly rod.............

Thanks, RR. The only rod I'm taking is the one I was born with, and I won't be using it on any fish. This is ...er, a spiritual trip.  

loneredtree wrote:
I was in the Banner Ritter area last year...

Actually, that's close, loneredtree. I'm headed for the Minarets, just south of Ritter. Really looking forward to this...
YOW!

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loneredtree

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:11 pm

Are starting from Agnew Meadow? If you camp the first night at the campground they let you drive in and then park at the trail head the next day BTW.
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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:24 pm

Enjoy ! Cool 

What a Face
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Briar Spirit

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:28 pm

Have a wonderful time, wish I could go with you Buddy, look forward to your tantalising report upon your return. Smile
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:48 pm

Thanks Kirk and Yak.

loneredtree wrote:
Are starting from Agnew Meadow? If you camp the first night at the campground they let you drive in and then park at the trail head the next day BTW.

Agnew Meadows campground is closed and probably won't open until next year. Vehicles are not permitted past Minaret Vista. The only access beyond that point and down into Reds Meadow is via mandatory shuttle. They won't even let hikers walk up or down Reds Meadow Road. Apparently they're still cleaning up from the massive windstorm damage in 2011, November.

I'll go in at the Minaret Lake trailhead, just south of Minaret Falls campground. The John Muir Trail (North) heads NNW from there, and then Minaret Lake trail breaks off toward the west near Johnston Meadow, and follows Minaret Creek. I've been up that way before. It's nice.

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loneredtree

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:11 pm

Things have changed since last year.

Yes, the damage from that storm is impressive. The trees form the JMT to the Agnew Meadow parking lot were stacked 15- 20 feet high.

Have a good trip.
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:14 am

loneredtree wrote:
...Yes, the damage from that storm is impressive...

One of the Devil's Postpile rangers said they had winds up to 180 miles per hour in that storm. At first they thought they lost dozens of trees, then they revised it to hundreds, but ultimately they found that the storm took out thousands of trees.

Anyhow, it still beats hiking in the Puente Hills above the San Gabriel Valley. I'm outa here tomorrow. See y'all later...  

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Sean68

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:01 am

Sir,

That photo above is beautiful! Will you be taking photos? If so, please do post them.

Cheers!
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:22 pm

Well, it was a great idea, but the timing was wrong, courtesy of the Aspen wildfire in the Sierra National Forest.

Case in point: Here's what the view from Minaret Vista is supposed to look like:



Here's what it looks like now:



The Mammoth Lakes air quality monitoring station showed the following PM-10 graphs (concentration of particles less than 10 microns) for the duration of my stay in the area:







Things looked to be improving (slightly) on July 31, but the spike just after midnight on August 1 was the deal-breaker. Acclimation was impossible...not just because of the high concentration of particulates (although that was bad enough), but because of the atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) content. CO's ability to bond to hemoglobin is between 200 to 300 times that of molecular oxygen, so it gloms onto the hemoglobin cells and saturates them...meaning, they can't bind oxygen. You can breathe as hard and as fast as you want, but you'll develop an oxygen debt just sitting around in camp. Light hiking is inadvisable; strenuous hiking is impossible. Camping at 9,000 feet felt like hoofing it at 14,000 feet.

The air quality folks finally issued a "Stage 1 Health Advisory" on Thursday, August 1, but by that time I already knew it was hopeless. The fire was only about 35% contained at that point, and the decision had already been made to let it burn up to the treeline. The terrain is brutally steep, and all they can do to get containment is try to cut firebreaks very far away from the fireline, where they have some kind of access, and let the fire burn up to them. That means the fire is going to be burning for many days to come.

To top it off, the winds were mostly out of the southwest, which drove the smoke smack dab toward Mammoth, where I was camped. I checked with the rangers at the Red Meadows Road entry station on Wednesday at about 5:00 p.m., and they said they were advising everyone to stay east of Minaret Summit Road — in other words, not to go exactly where I wanted to go. And they were advising people with respiratory issues (I'm mildly asthmatic) to get the hell outa Dodge. They expected the winds to kick up to around 30 mph on Wednesday night, bringing lots of new smoke into the area. That's exactly what happened.

Anyhow, after three mostly sleepless nights of hacking in a couple of Mammoth Lakes campgrounds (Lake Mary and Twin Lakes), waiting out the fire, I threw in the towel on Thursday, and headed for home. As of today, the fire is 50% contained, but even after they get full containment, they're just going to have to let a huge area burn itself out. It will be weeks before the area is habitable for anything but indoor living.

Feh. Great idea, bad timing. So it goes. The best laid plans of mice and men...etc. :whatthehell:

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Puff Daddy
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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:58 pm

That's almost as bad as the smog poisoning you'd have gotten if you'd have stayed home in LA Laughing 

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:30 pm

Shocked Crying or Very sad 

What a Face 
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:45 pm

Puff Daddy wrote:
That's almost as bad as the smog poisoning you'd have gotten if you'd have stayed home in LA Laughing 
HAR! Laughing Good one, PD.

Actually, things have changed since you were a local denizen in days of yore. On most days, we can see the San Gabriel Mountains from here, and on many days even the San Bernardino Mtns. That horrid, stinky, ugly brown layer of air sludge that made the L.A. basin live up to its Valley of Smoke moniker has often gone missing in recent years...largely due to reformulated gasolines.

And on toppa the general improvement in SoCal air quality over the past several decades, this year has been remarkable. Here it is August 3, and it's only 80°F today. It's actually enjoyable to walk outside — even in the middle of the day.

Also too, I've planted lots of trees here, which eat CO2 and poot out fresh oxygen, and we have a wilderness area behind us, which provides even more airular scrubitation. Walk out back in the evening and breathe deeply, and the air actually smells good.

It's prolly not quite as rosy for the folks who live down by the "free"way (which isn't free at all, of course), but up here in the hills, it's pretty decent. 

Still, if I had my druthers, I'd have been breathing yer regular high Sierra piney air right now. But I fear that the folks who live up there are in for a bit of a siege for the next few weeks. Compared to that, our SoCal air sure beats breathing 400 µg/m3 pine and chaparral smoke.

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Briar Spirit

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:52 pm

That seriously blows your trip turning out like that, feel real bad for you, and I was hoping you'd have such a wonderful time away, oh well, now you can enjoy looking at our ugly mugs more, aint ya lucky eh. affraid I love you 
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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 7:02 pm

Bummer. That smoke was here in N Cal through Wednesday. The wind shifted and cleared it out. I guess you can try it again. I hope so. I does not look like we can make it up there this year anyway. But we were hoping for mid August. Oh well.

No 
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Vito

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:08 pm

Kirk Fitzgerald wrote:
That seriously blows your trip turning out like that, feel real bad for you, and I was hoping you'd have such a wonderful time away, oh well, now you can enjoy looking at our ugly mugs more, aint ya lucky eh. affraidI love you
Ah, well, Kirk...by now it's no surprise that life is full of surprises, amigo...and they're not always pleasant. But expectations are the root of disappointment, and I made up the former, so I can drop the latter. I got outa there with my life intact and my sanity intact, which isn't a bad outcome, considering the alternatives.

Besides, y'all ain't all that ugly...and it's a friendly kinda ugly.

loneredtree wrote:
...does not look like we can make it up there this year anyway. But we were hoping for mid August. Oh well.

No 
I think August is pretty much going to be a write-off for anywhere north and east of the fire unless the area gets some rain. There's quite a drought up there. It's bad enough to have driven the bears down into the Mammoth Lakes campgrounds.

I caught this one just off the Mammoth Scenic Loop Road on Wednesday afternoon, on my way back from Mono Lake:



Then on Wednesday night at about 9:30 p.m., a yearling walked right into my camp and poked at the bear locker, while I was sitting around the campfire with three other folks. I ran him off; he was still too young not to be afraid of people who yell at him, and too inexperienced not to wait until everyone in the campground was asleep. I heard folks in the nearby campsites yelling at him for the next couple of hours until he finally went elsewhere.

There wasn't a bear problem when I first camped in the Mammoth area 32 years ago, but since then they've migrated over from Yosemite. Every developed campsite has a bear locker now, and you have to be very diligent about food management when you're wilderness camping...but you already knew that.  

Anyhow, I might try for the Kings Canyon area in September or October, depending on the fires, the wind, the weather, and getaway opportunities. It's closer, and usually the nights are a bit warmer later in the year than points farther north.

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Slartibartfast

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PostSubject: Re: Sierra-bound   Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:30 pm

Sorry to hear that you had to cancel Vito, but certainly glad that you & yours were never in any real danger.  I'm up in Tahoe myself, so obviously we're all keeping a sharp eye on this one as well.   Here's a link to an update on the fire, if anyone's interested, from friday evening.

http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/mariposa-daily-news-2013/157-august/9296-aspen-wildfire-in-the-sierra-national-forest-update-for-friday-evening-august-2-2013

As of friday night the fire was at 17,791 acres with 50% containment.   $17.2 million cost so far and 1,941 personnel on fire.


Vito wrote:
Ah, well, Kirk...by now it's no surprise that life is full of surprises, amigo...and they're not always pleasant. But expectations are the root of disappointment, and I made up the former, so I can drop the latter. I got outa there with my life intact and my sanity intact, which isn't a bad outcome, considering the alternatives.

I love this attitude - you'll never make it if you can't hit a curve!  Wink  Arrow



Impressive pic of a smoke plume off the Aspen fire.


Vito wrote:
Here's what the view from Minaret Vista is supposed to look like:


[/img]

With all due respect, I beg to differ.  Here's what the Minarets are really supposed to look like...cheers Laughing 

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