Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Ranger Duties

Ranger Dave overlooking Half Dome.

I Love Korea.
John Kim - Me - Ester and Andy

Ranger Dave guiding a nature hike to Sentinel Dome.

Ranger Dave interpreting a Jeffrey Pine tree to a group on my hike.

That is Sentinel Dome in the background. We are almost there.
I am walking and talking with one of the visitors on my hike.

Ranger Dave decending from Sentinel Dome.

I Love Germany.

A few days ago The Travel Channel photographed and video taped my sunset talk so watch for me on TV someday.

Sunset Talk Video

Glacier Point where I am stationed is a very popular location in Yosemite to view a sunset. From the point we can't see the actual sun set because a large mountain is in the way, so everyone sits on the granite rocks of Glacier Point looking at the sunset color on Half Dome. There will be hundreds of people at Glacier Point each evening. We Rangers do sunset talks almost each evening while standing among all of the people. The evening of this video I am talking about "The History of Glacier Point". I have broken the presentation up into two sections, introduction and the talk in order to reduce file size of each. Enjoy.

The Introduction

"The History of Glacier Point" Sunset Talk

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Ranger Duties

I spotted this young man walking toward me on the sidewalk. Before I saw him, I saw his spirit, his cleanliness, his aura of pure white light. He surprised me and I was drawn to him. I learned quickly that he had severe brain motor disfunction from a traumatic injury. I had seen this injury before. I instantly felt close to him. I am not sure why yet but he was a real blessing to me. He is a loving person with a very supportive family. I was impressed. Mario's family has written a book about Mario and his injury recovery. I have purchased the book and started reading it. I will write again about Mario. In the meantime, go here. Thanks Mario for finding me.

Mario and his therapy dog

I have expanded outside that park to lecture to school groups. I usually talk about bears. Everybody loves the bears and everybody needs to learn about the bears when they live close to Yosemite. It's fun for me. These fifth graders were fantastic.

More bear talk

These hikers from Germany are really impressive. They hiked a long distance over many mountains in record pace time. This is the one time I asked a visitor if I could have my picture taken with them.

This year Yosemite will experience about 4 million visitors to the park. 95% of those visitors never venture out to leave the valley which is about 0.5% of the park. Some visitors never leave their car.

I love LA

I love Japan

I love Japan

I love Spain

Bristlecone Pines

Bristlecone Pine grows at a very high elevation (12,500 feet) in very specific soil and growing conditions. Unlike most other pines, these trees grow high enough to avoid glaciation effects so some of these trees are over 4,000 years old. One is 4,600 years old. I haven't seen the oldest tree yet, but I have seen the largest Bristlecone Pine in the world. I will find the oldest next summer. Enjoy. They are amazing trees. I really enjoyed walking through the ancient forest taking these pictures. It is a quiet sacred place. I was moved and blessed by spending time there. Gods angels are there in the forest. You should all experience this place. I was the only human in the forest. It was a special time with nature. I will never forget it.

The largest Bristlecone Pine in the world.

Just a cool Bristlecone Pine tree

The reason these trees seem dwarfed is because they survive in high wind conditions on the top of mountains. Since the wind is so high, it is difficult for the dropping seeds to take hold because the wind blows them away. There is a bird that has a symbiotic relationship with the tree called the Clarks Nutcracker that harvests the pine cone seeds, digs a hole in the ground and burys the nuts for later consumption in the winter.
How does that help the tree? Well, the bird has a 70% memory effeciency.
Nature is so cool!

The wood is beautiful.

A big storm blew this tree over centuries ago. It still has one root in the ground and one living branch. Even though it is lying on the ground, it is still holding on to life. Even trees want to survive. Life lesson here is: "Never give up".

Climate Change

These ancient Bristlecone Pines died when the tree line moved down the mountain. Today with the climate changing, the tree line is moving back up with new growth back up into the old tree line.

More evidence.

Cool Trees

Giant Sequoias

Lodgepole Pine

Insence Cedar

Lodgepole Pine

Lodgepole Pine

Jeffrey Pine

Insence Cedar


Black Bear

Muletail Deer


OK OK... here is another deer picture for you.

Death Valley

I arrived in Death Valley just a few hours before sunset. I hiked a few miles up the Golden Canyon to try to capture the deep setting sun colors on the red and yellow rocks. This is a panorama photo of Red Cathedral rocks.

Sunset in Death Valley

9000 square miles of desert minerals sheds into this low level basin. You can see many of the minerals here.

Mount Whitney Hike

Mount Whitney at Sunrise.
Yeah, I had big plans of hiking the highest point in the lower 48. I had been hiking all summer to as high as 13,000 feet and as long as 15 miles in one day. I was now ready to hit the big one...Mount Whitney 14,491 feet. Two days before my scheduled assent, I got sick. I couldn't believe it. I made the trip anyway, just in case I started to feel better. I didn't. I got worse. I went through the process of acquiring my permit and driving to the trailhead portal. I hiked up the trail for a while to just check my strength and endurance. It was not good at all. I was too weak from my illness. I arrived at the portal a day early to acclement to the altitude so I just hung out for the day to see if my health would improve. Bummer. I felt terrible. I decided to about the hike. Mount Whitney is nothing to play around with. I need all of my horse power to attempt Whitney. 66% of the people who attempt Whitney fail even when they are healthy. I certainly didn't want to get up there and get into trouble, so instead of hiking to the highest point, I decided to hike to the lowest point in the lower 48 states...Badwater Death Valley.

Since Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain, it receives the rising suns light first of all of the mountains.

These are the walls around the Whitney portal. It's rather intimidating to look up and know that is where you have to go.

This looks high above the valley doesn't it? If you said "Yes"...wrong. It is just the starting point to Mount Whitney.

Here I am a day prior to my scheduled hike to Mount Whitney. I am hydrating myself and acclementing to the altitude. I'm sitting next to a creek reading about how to pack light and hoping to get healthy. It didn't work. Shortly after this picture was taken I decided to head for Death Valley.