Thursday, May 30, 2013

Panorama Looking East

This is a 180 degree panorama looking east from the saddle of Baylor Peak. 11,004 feet. The highest peak in the picture is Mount Dana. 13,054 feet. I climbed that mountain about 3 years ago.

Panorama Looking West

This is a 180 degree panorama looking west from Baylor Saddle. I highest peak in the picture is Mount Conness. I plan on climbing this mountain this summer.

God Bless America

I love America and the mountains of America.

Mono Lake

I spent the night last night at this overlook of Mono Lake (pronounced with hard o's. It's not like the disease.) The city of LA decided they needed the water from this lake so a channel was built to canal the water. They drained the lake dry and then abandoned it. When will we ever learn to not mess with nature.

Mountainman Breakfast

This is the grub a mountainman needs to make it up the next big hike. Gaylor Peak today. 11,004 feet.

Gas Prices Here

Complaining about the gas prices in your town? Take a look at this in my neighborhood. Ouch!

My Trading Card

Here is my trading card.

Big Red Fir Trees

All around my cabin are giant ancient Red Fir trees. This one in the picture is about nine feet across at the base and very tall. It is many centuries old. The relationship of the tree size compared to my van will give you some idea of scale. I'll be talking more about Red Fir trees and White Fir trees in this blog later this summer.

Snow Plant

This is a pretty little flowery thing isn't it? After walking through desert mountains and seeing only desolate brown and grey stuff for hours, it is a delight to once in a while spot one of the red things popping up among the dead fallen branches of the Red Fur trees. Yes it looks like a plant and it looks like it has flower blossoms all over it, but it is neither a plant nor a flower and it has absolutely nothing to do with the snow. In fact, there is no snow. Whoever named this thing must have eaten some of it because it does not properly describe the thing at all.

It is actually a type of fungus that lives around and feeds on the roots of Red Fur trees. In the spring they can be seen all over the forest floor popping up everywhere. They are visible for only a week or two and then they wither up and die. They have no predator as you can imagine. They have no spine so they can be knocked over very easily. They feel like Jello that has been left in the refrigerator for a week uncovered. 

This was a light snow year. During normal snow years, the Snow Plant can be seen coming up through the snow. Many years it is the first color and first sign of some kind of life for spring. Hence the name "Snow Plant".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Greeted by Yellow 48

I was walking from my car to the cabin on my arrival day and I was greeted by our resident bear Yellow 48 even before I made it to my cabin door. She is 15 years old and has two yearling cubs this year. She is a very good mother, but she is very human habituated and causes trouble for us. It was good to see her though.

On my first day at Glacier Point another bear tore the door off of a car and rearranged the interior looking for food. Another bear tried to enter my partners cabin. The bear actually knocked on the door. My partner answered it thinking it might be a visitor needing medical attention and there was the bear. The bear tried to enter his cabin. There was a struggle with the bear, the door and my partner. My partner was able to keep the bears head out of the doorway otherwise the bear would have won. No telling what would have happened then.

With all of the bad bear activity at Glacier Point recently, we have been issued tazer guns and mineral ball paintball guns to adverse condition the bears if possible. We do this in an attempt to save the life of the bear.

I will be video recording my bear presentations this summer. If you are interested in knowing more about Black Bears, check back for these bear talks called "Bear Essentials". They are fun and informative. 

These cubs are experiencing their second spring. Mom will be kicking them out soon to be on their own. Bears are amazing creatures.

View From My Cabin

I am the only ranger that I know of who can sit down at the table for a meal and view the mountains. I am in a very special place. Here is a picture from my window and from my porch.

View from my porch.

View from inside.

Home Sweet Home

Well, here it is, home for the summer. This is a very homey little cabin. It was probably built around the 1930's or so. It has a small kitchen/dining area with two bedrooms. It has running cold water but I don't use it. The original metal pipes are still in place and the water is the color of rust and smells like it too. The source of our water at Glacier Point is from snow melt. The melted snow is piped to a large tank above the cabins and runs by gravity to the cabins and to Glacier Point. I have a five gallon plastic water bottle that I use to capture water directly from the storage tank bypassing the pipes. It's time consuming and a hassle to gather and transport the water but I have a system worked out. It's not too much of a burden anymore. If I need hot water, I have a pan and a gas stove.

There is no toilet in the cabin. We have an outhouse that is shared among 4 cabins. The outhouse has toilets, showers and a cloths washing machine and a water heater. I don't use the washing machine because the rusty water stains my cloths. I stock enough cloths to last for weeks, then when I do go to town, I drop off all of my cloths at the laundry service or the dry cleaners by 9 and everything is ready for me to pick up by 3 after I perform all of my other errands.

I can't wash my hair in the shower. I made that mistake my first year in 2009. My white hair turned orange from the rusty water. I have to wash my hair in the kitchen sink with my bottled water.

In the winter, this cabin is used by cross country skiers who ski about 16 miles from Badger Pass to Glacier Point. If you plan to attempt that trip, be sure you master your stopping technique before you get to Glacier Point.

I have electricity! Yeah!!!!! So I have a refrigerator, electric heat, a microwave and a toaster oven. I stay comfortable if I wear down house boots. There is no insulation in the floor. The weather is mostly clear and warm but it can turn cold fast here at 7500 feet. I keep the heater on full-time. I gets cold at night. 

I have no cell signal. I have to climb a mountain about a mile up to find a signal and it is unreliable and intermittent. I have no internet. No TV, No commercial radio. I do have a government land line in my cabin and I have a Yosemite Park radio that I monitor full time. The closest law enforcement ranger or paramedic is an hours drive away from us. I have to monitor the radio in case there is a lost or injured hiker in our area. Then we go into search a rescue mode. I have a 4x4 government vehicle for transportation.

I like this little cabin. Life is good. I'm still having fun in my old age.

It's Good to be Back

I was planning to drive my hot rod cross country out here, but it didn't work out for me. That's ok. The van did very well and it is more comfortable. My hot rod sure is fun though.

I entered the park about a month early to acclement to the altitude and hike around some before I start work. Coming in from the Tioga Road there was still a lot of snow even though Yosemite received only 55% of normal snow fall this winter. It's always exciting to enter Yosemite. I was hooping and hollering, jumping up and down in my seat and waving my fist in the air. Yahoo!!!
I am just an excitable guy anyway. Here are some panorama pictures.

This is just outside the park on the Tioga Road.

This is Tioga Lake and Mt. Dana in the background. I have climbed Mt. Dana. 13,054 feet. The second highest mountain in the park.