Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wireless Camp

It's true. Wireless, in the campsite, via someone elses shared wireless connection. It is a better world after all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's About the Weather ...

When you have it this good, it's hard to complain. Rumour has it that it will cool down on Friday -- to 70. Drag. Another rumour is that there is a bike ride scheduled this afternoon with the happy hiking guy.

Anyway, I went out for a short hike from the campground this morning. Turned into about 6 miles including the Blevins loop and the Wind Cave trails. Very cool.

Morning sun moonscape.

This bee hive at the top of the wind cave trail.

And all these (22) people going up to look at them.

Blevins trail with the Superstitions in the distance.

Desert Check

Outerwear? Oh, you know -- shorts and a t-shirt.

ummm ... 6 liters of water, raincoat, long johns, wool hat, first aid kit with ice pack, map, compass, gps, headlamp, flashlight, light stick, batteries, gatorade, margarita power bloks. Outerwear.

That's the Pass Mountain in the background ...

What is this bird?

Phoenix's brown cloud oozes toward me -- threateningly.


I was wondering what limiting customer spending has to do with controlling fuel costs ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Condor Sighting

I did want to mention that on my trip to the Pinnacles, I did see a California Condor. I just saw it briefly ... mmm ... so there are no pictures.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Balconies Cave -- Pinnacles National Monument

From the exit of the cave looking in.

That'a me just inside the cave. Lighting is artificial.

That's a bat, I think.

The gate at the start of the cave so they can lock people out when the bats are breeding.

In the cave.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

When it Started ...

That's me. Years ago. On a trip to Joshua Tree -- then a National Monument. My old boots were new. My friend during grad school had insisted that I go to Joshua Tree and learn something about the desert. She was from the desert and liked it, and I was going to like it too, or at least learn something about it.

So off we went. Me -- younger -- in love, and quite naive about the desert. She was in her prime, and in her element. Miles of desert fell before our willing feet -- it was gloriously hot. Sweat and dust and bottles of water and a Wagoneer. Wild, sweaty lovemaking and the sound of a cactus wren. The smog sweeping in from Los Angeles, and her chiding me for having never been there, really. We chased phainopepla and the elusive desert tortoise and talked of Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams, and post modernism. We showered in the noon sun under a hand pump in the Cottonwood Springs campground. Our first resemblence of running water in many days. Ocotillo, and Cholla, and Oases.

Fighter jets flew below us as we looked down from the higher altitudes of Joshua Tree.

She's responsible, actually. It's her fault. There's an old Polaroid of her in a scrapbook, dressed up to go for a beer and a burger in town -- standing in that desert in a white dress, the wind blowing, entangling her. A dichotomy of the desert's beauty. The Mohave. White skirts and cactus. Austere, lean and sharp. Gorgeous. She started all this for me. Leading me to the well. This desire to be in the desert. The pleasure at its insanity. A chameleon scrambling across the hot desert sand, invisible.

I'll be retuning to the desert for a bit. Contemplating a permanent return. I am growing tired of smog and potholes and fog and cold, and crowded 4 star restaurants, rock concerts and the opera. Go figure. It would be nice to see the coyotes in the firelight, or just hear them squeal with delight as the moon approaches.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The House of ...

... hmmm™ ... contortion. Stopped by the House of Pain™ for a little breakfast workout. I managed to get past the overhang on the curiouser and curiouser route mentioned the other day; I was dreaming about the route the other night, which is odd. Dreaming about climbing, who would have ever imagined. Perhaps that is why it was possible.

Once you've conquered an obstacle like that it seems anti-climactic to just climb up a flat wall, even if it's a 5.9 route. So I didn't do it. I hung there on the wall looking spent. I was spent.

I rested, watered and .. then tried the overhang on the Hamachi route. ... It's dicey and ... well ... maybe next time.