Photos from some of our hikes in 2016.

 Until July of 2016, if you clicked on the photos, they will take you to our trip photo logs on Picasa.  But then Google decided to make that impossible, even though they had provided us with both the website software and the compatible Picasa software so that we COULD do that.  Now the photos are on Google Photos, where we cannot make albums visible to the public.  Gotta love Google..

Reflections in the inlet of Emigrant Lake ©http://backpackthesierra.com
Emigrant Lake, Emigrant wilderness

The Whaleback from Big Wet Meadow, SEKI

With our daughter at Glen Aulin in Yosemite National Park

We're back in business in Yosemite

posted Apr 26, 2017, 5:41 PM by Paul Wagner

You may have been following this story along with us;  Highway 120, the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite, was heavily damaged by the big storms this spring, and a part of it washed right down the hillside.  That meant a longer drive for many people in Northern California.  But the road is fixed, according to this story in the LA Times. 

That will make a lot of folks, including us, quite happy!

How deep is it?

posted Apr 22, 2017, 6:32 PM by Paul Wagner

Check out this report on the snow removal progress in the Sierra.  It's going to take some time to open up those roads...

Crossing Creeks

posted Apr 21, 2017, 5:55 AM by Paul Wagner

Sorry--we've been out of town for the past two weeks.  Actually, we've been out of the country, as P was a speaker on a cruise up the Danube from Budapest to Nuremburg: a wonderful adventure with AMA Waterways...

And while we were gone, this story caught our attention.  A very experienced hiker and her grandson swept away in a creek full of spring run-off water.  Very sad news, as they have now scaled back the search, and hope is dwindling away for any positive result.

Please be careful this spring and early summer,  With the huge snowpack in the West, the creeks will be roaring and rolling.  And you don't have to cross them, ever.  This warning applies not only to wading, but even using a log to cross a dangerous stream.  If you slip, you die--and it's not worth it. 

Water is the number one killer in Yosemite and most other national parks in the West.

As we have done quite a few times, you can always just turn around. 

Yosemite Bears go online

posted Apr 4, 2017, 7:28 PM by Paul Wagner

This is quite cool.  Yosemite National Park has now launched a website that allows you to get GPS coordinates for the bears in the park that have transmitters. 

Here's the link for that website: http://keepbearswild.org/

But once you get there, take the time to check out all the filters you can put on the map--including the one that shows how many bears have been hit by cars on the park's roads.  Very sad, and very sobering.

Slow down when you're driving in Yosemite.  The life you save may be a bear.

What not to do

posted Mar 31, 2017, 10:13 PM by Paul Wagner

Pretty exciting tale here from Yosemite, where a couple of experienced hikers/trailrunners/climbers still managed to get themselves into quite a pickle on Half Dome. 

I don't think this is recommended practice:

Yosemite gets some loving attention

posted Mar 30, 2017, 5:13 PM by Paul Wagner

A very nice show on Nature last night.  And in case you missed it, here is a link:

Well worth watching!

In Contrast

posted Mar 26, 2017, 3:29 PM by Paul Wagner

This year there is over 100 inches of snow in Tuolumne Meadows.  Here's what it looked like a few years ago in January of 2012, in one of those light snowfall, drought years:

Yep.  P's been busy with his brushes...

How much snow is there?

posted Mar 23, 2017, 10:04 AM by Paul Wagner

NASA Satellites give us this data chart:

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.08.49 AM

Striking satellite photos at source link.

Outdoor access for those with a disability

posted Mar 20, 2017, 9:13 AM by Paul Wagner

We received this article from Travis White.  While we don't usually accept outside articles for our blog, we liked this one so much that we couldn't resist.

How to Get a Rush from Sports and Activities Despite Living with a Disability


If you think your physical disability precludes you from so-called “extreme” sports and activities, think again. In fact, with modern technology and adaptive equipment there are very few avenues of adventure that you can’t travel.


For those on the coasts


If you live near the ocean, you’re probably not too far away from a place with a rich surf culture. Surfing is one of the most popular extreme activities for the disabled, and there are two basic ways that those with physical disabilities can experience the thrill of riding some waves.


First, there’s adaptive prone surfing where you lay prone on the surfboard. Oftentimes you’re paired with a spotter or two who help you push out and catch the waves as well as get back on the board and back to shore. Second, there’s a surf device called a waveski that allows you to sit on the board and use a kayak paddle.


“Waveski’s come in many different designs and sizes, depending on your ability will depend on the shape and size of the board which will give you the best stability and confidence to catch and ride waves. There is also a tandem waveski in which an adaptive surfer will ride in the front seat and paddle, and have an able bodied person paddling and navigating both of them onto waves. This is a great method of giving a first time rider the confidence to get on the water and into some waves without having to do it unassisted,” says the Stoke For Life foundation.


For those in the mountains


If you live near the mountains, backpacking is a great outdoor activity that you can enjoy even with physical disabilities.


If you need the assistance of a wheelchair, you can still enjoy a good hike. There are tons of all-terrain wheelchair options available. If you’re dealing with a visual impairment, a service dog can help you on a backpacking adventure. If your condition is severe, you can always use the guide wire method to safely tether you to your surroundings.


“The wire should be made of lightweight rope or twine with knots placed every ten feet so that the individuals know how far they have walked. For higher functioning individuals, the guide wire may be attached to the backpacker directly and the other side to a fixed object like a tent or shelter. A survey of the area before the implementation of the guide wire is necessary. This survey includes picking up large branches and the notation of rocks that could hinder a wheelchair, walker, or cause someone to trip,” says the National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability.


If those mountains are a little … snowier … you should consider skiing. Through the use of monoskis and bi-skis, skiing with a disability has never been easier.


For those who want all the “extreme” they can get


If skiing, climbing, hiking, and surfing all sound a bit too tame for your interests, you should know that there are organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities experience truly “extreme” sports like base jumping, skydiving, and parasailing. Most skydiving operations only suggest tandem dives and possibly some minor equipment adjustments for those living with disabilities ranging from vision and hearing loss to paraplegia. Most parasails are strong enough to support the weight of a wheelchair, if that’s your thing. Of course, you will need to consult a professional before attempting anything like that. Just know, however, that it’s all more than possible!


Author:Travis White considers himself a foodie and loves sharing his cooking tips and recipes. But for this article he took a different route as he would like to advocate for his good friend Kevin to be active amidst the disability.

Paul Bunyan is alive a well

posted Mar 19, 2017, 8:35 PM by Paul Wagner

At least that's what it looks like up in the Sierra.  We've written about the massive tree damage in the Sierra, a combination of many years of drought weakening the trees, and then a major infestation of Pine Bark beetles, that's left something over 100 million trees dead.  You can see this at just about any point that offers an overlook of a forest:  huge swaths of brown trees among the living green ones.

It's a very sad sight.

Well, it's apparently time to do something about that; at least where people live and use electricity.  In our little community above Sonora, we counted at least six different tree companies at work, some of them from as far away as Alabama and Florida.  And they were taking down every dead tree that might threaten a power line in any way.  We were happy to see this work get done. 

It's quite impressive to see these guys work, sometimes more than 100 feet off the ground, and dropping limbs, trunks, and whole trees down in your neighborhood.  Yeah, there were flagmen and road closures, but all in a good cause. 

And on just about every street we saw huge piles of logs stacked up.  Sadly most of this is pine, not really great firewood, and not great lumber either.  So much of it may not get used for anything important.  Some of our neighbors were cutting and splitting it, figuring that free firewood is free firewood.  Another friend is planning to make a rustic fence out of some of the logs. 

We were lucky this year, in that we didn't lose any trees.  We had three taken down last year.  Two got chopped up for firewood.  One is now playing a featured role as the side barriers for our informal bocce ball court. 

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