Saturday, June 27, 2009

East of Phoenix

"See you on the other side," I say.

"The other side of what," is the usual response.

The void, the abyss, that place where everything is meaningful, where it's all meaningless; the wilderness.

I know, I know. Isn't that being just a bit melodramatic. Of course, but just a bit. I am in a campground in East Mesa, gwarfing a soda and typing this dribble into my Blackberry. There's a starbucks just a few blocks away. Showers and flush toikets. Not much like the wilderness. Nevertheless, entering a place like the Sonoran desert is a bit risky. Even as an idle camper, a fall can be catastrophic. Disorientation can lead to disaster. Bad planning can be fatal.

Traveling in the wilderness offers certain hazards. In the Sonoran desert the hazards are severe. In the Superstition wilderness they are at thier most extreme. There are no berries to pick, no rivers to bathe in, water is rare, hard to find and unreliable. The landscape is course and steep, the trails confusing and rarely travelled.

When I enter the Superstitions I do it with the grave seriousness and respect they deserve. At every opportunity this wilderness picks and tears at the human body, scratching, cutting, burning ... It's hardball.

To be in a place of such glorious beauty, such austerity, difficulty ... well it's sublime; profoundly good. To be back on this side, reasonably intact, is also good. To see an end to the thorns, the 105 degree temps, the humidity. To rest, to prepare to do it again, to have bragging rights or a good story to tell, is all good stuff.

I spent two days in the Superstition wilderness last weekend. The Happy Hiking Guy and I hiked from the Peralta trailhead to Le Barge Spring in a big ugly loop. It was largely uneventful, just two guys in the desert sun, a shitload of wilderness, and 16 miles of pain.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuff to Bring ... for a Moonlight Hike ... draft


___ 1 pair extra socks smartwool hiking
___ SmartWool Microweight Long-Sleeve Crew 6.3 oz.
___ Hat 1.90 oz.
___ Ultralight Rain Parka






___ Katadyn Hiker Microfilter with stuff sack 14.8 oz.
___ 1 Nalgene 1-liter water bottles 12.50 oz.
___ 1 Platypus 2-3 liter hydration bag/pouch.
___ coffee pot w/lid, cup, fork, and spoon 1 lb.
___ MSR Whisperlite Stove 15.4 oz.
___ matches 0.35 oz
___ cigarette lighter


___ Cheap compass 1 oz
___ map (1 @ .2 oz per map) 0.5 oz
___ Black Diamond led headlamp w/ 6 AAA batteries 4.2 oz.
___ (1)Streamlight Scorpion Stinger Flashlight 3.3 oz


___ first aid kit 6.0
___ (*) duct tape ~
___ (*) plastic whistle ~
___ bug guard/sun block 3.00
___ Dermatone Lip Balm with Lanyard 0.35
___ toilet paper 1.50
___ bandana
___ Fuel for 1 coffee
___ Food for 1 days (23 oz per day)
___ Two pouches of tuna
___ 3 apples
___ 4 power bars
___ 1 dehydrated meal
___ 1 pouch of dry gatorade
___ 2 servings of triscuits
___ 2 goo packets with caffiene
___ 2L Water 4 lbs. 4 oz.
___ coffee and dry cream


___ Canon 20d with 17-85 lens 3 lbs. 4 oz.


___ Pocket knife
___ North Face Polargaurd vest 1 lb.
___ Columbia Titanium Shirt
___ GPS with neck lanyard
___ REI Men's Sahara convertible pants 1 lb 3.4 oz
___ smartwool hiking socks & Wigwam Gobi liners 3.5 oz
___ Merrill GTX Overdrive trail running shoes.
___ Manfrotto 679B Monopod, to double as a hiking pole. 1 lb 4 oz.
___ Glasses/ Sunglasses 4 oz.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moonlight Hike to Half Dome

It looks like we have plan ... Leave San Mateo at around 7 PM om July 7 and drive to Yosemite Valley. At midnight or so start the hike to Half Dome from the valley. Photos at dawn from the top of Half Dome ... Hike down, nap and drive home.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness ... Breaking News

I tried to watch it but couldn't ... the Pursuit of Happyness ... I was reading my email, and it appears the CNN "Breaking News" about the Lakers victory was scooped by about three minutes by the Dicks Sporting Goods advertisement. All this time I thought junk mail wasn't useful.

I went for a bike ride today. My first in awhile. I think it might be my first since the last training ride with the Mushroom Girl, who last week rode her bike to LA in the Aids Ride for Life. While helping her get ready, I abused my hammies, which still hurt. It's ok, really. I still manage to knock out twenty plus miles today, introducing Robert to the very edge of Kings Mountain Road, a nice ride that we'll need to train for a bit, or just start earlier. Robert is a boy scout ... so I'm sure he can handle it.

Anyway ... I heard an idea about a moonlight hike to Half Dome and floated the idea. It goes like this ... leave the SanFrancisconess™ at about 7:00 PM the night of the full moon. Drive to Yosemite Valley and park. Walk the Mist Trail to Half Dome starting at Happy Isles at around 12:oo Midnight. Watch the sunrise from Half Dome and then hike down to Little Yosemite Valley and take a nap ... Hike out to the valley and drive home. I call it the "Avoid the Lightning Plan™."

The next full moon is July 7.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

... Woops!

Last week at the Kings Mountain Archery Range we shot this video ( which was cool because it was taken with arrows flying toward the camera. Really fun. Video © 2009 Angel Viloria. All rights reserved.
SO we went back this week to see if we could improve on it.

Photo of me at the Kings Mountain Range.
"Shoot this one a little higher," says Angel. "Are you sure," I ask. "Yep." "Ok." ...

Two shots progressively higher (one is hidden) and the third ...

The really disappointing bit was that the flight of the arrow that crushed the lens wasn't recorded by the device, so it died in vain. Well, there's not much else to say. The End.