Friday, September 28, 2007

Washington D.C.

Four days in DC for work. More touristing than working really. Visiting the National Museum of the American Indian has to be the best museum experience I've ever had. This is a pic of a reed canoe from Lake Titicaca.

The Library of Congress. An awesome building. I loved it that they store the Gutenberg Bible--probably one of the rarest and most expensive books in existence--in a rickety piece of furniture shoved into the corner of the main hall, like it was an outdated TV set or something.

Typical DC rowhouses.

Presidents get inaugurated here.

Lazy Fishing at Silver Fork

More picnicking than fishing really.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sunset Sunrise Shasta Soiree - Sunrise

The second half of our Shasta plan - Sunrise from Ash Creek Butte. Ash Creek Butte sits just northeast of Mt. Shasta and I figured it would be about the best place around to watch the sunrise. Ash Creek Butte from the north.

The forest is pretty dense on this side of the peak, but we managed to find a great campsite in a large open meadow just north of Ash Creek Butte.

Our meadow from above.

The view from camp.

I woke up at 4am and made coffee in the dark. Kristen, Hops, and I were hiking up through the trailless slopes of Ash Creek Butte by 6am. The first part of the hike went straight up a somewhat heavily logged slope to the western ridge. We hiked with headlamps, but by the time we reached the ridge the sun was just beginning to light up the upper pyramid of Mt. Shasta. We, of course, stopped and watched.

The ridge was good walking, with the talus filled north bowl to one side and the glow of Mt. Shasta on the other.

Our route followed this ridge to the summit.

Looking down the ridge.

We made the summit in a long hour and a half.

The view to the east.

Lots of birds perched on the summit watching the sunrise with us.

The women on the summit. Plus dog.

Shasta and our ascent ridge with the shadow of Ash Creek Butte stretched out across the forest below us.

Summit panorama.

The hike down through gnarly trees and a still dark forest.

Map of route. 3 miles. 3000' total vertical.

We got back to camp by breakfast burrito time.

On the way out, the Tercel and the Prius saw some off-road action like they've probably never seen before.

We spent the last half of Labor Day lounging beneath the falls on the McCloud River. A little fishing, some beers, food, naps. Labor Day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sunset Sunrise Shasta Soiree - Sunset

So, I love Mount Shasta. It is quickly moving its way to the top of my all-time favorite mountains, right up there with Mount Wilson, Mount Sopris, Mount Humphreys, Mount Olympus, Volcan Tres Virgines, Mount Taylor, and Whale Peak. Like these other peaks, I love Mount Shasta simply because it is awesome to look at. You can just sit somewhere and stare at the thing. It's entertaining. Nothing else is necessary.

This weekend Kristen and I went up to the mountain to get two views of it that I knew would be worth our time. The idea was to see Mount Shasta at sunset and at sunrise from two nearby peaks--Mount Eddy and Ash Creek Butte. Mount Eddy sits just to the west of Mount Shasta and is the highest mountain west of I-5 in California. I figured that if we hiked up there at sunset, we would have a chance to watch Mount Shasta (along the rest of California) as the last rays of the day lit it up from the west. The other half of the plan was to see Mt. Shasta from the east, at sunrise. To do this we would climb up Ash Creek Butte, the highest peak on the east side of Mount Shasta.

A map of our destinations. Mount Eddy in the lower left, Ash Creek Butte in the upper right. Shasta in the middle.

This idea was so good that we were able to enlist Val and Michael (Sacto) and Hops (Eugene) to accompany us, which was awesome. We followed the Pacific Crest Trail up from Parks Creek Trailhead.

This big tree caught my eye and I took a picture with Val for scale. When I got home I found the second picture on the web. It is of the same tree, pre-trail work. Apparently I am not the only dork that takes pictures of felled trees (by Reodell).

Like everywhere else in California, the Klamath Mountains are as dusty and dry as almost any other year in recorded history. These are normally lakes.

And this is the meadow above Upper Deadfall Lakes and below the west face of Mt. Eddy. The first pic is what it normally looks like. The second pic is what it looks like in September of 2007. (I found the first pic on

We camped at the biggest Upper Deadfall Lake. Despite being Labor Day weekend, there was only one other group camped at this lake. However, Lower Deadfall Lake, only a fifteen minute walk down canyon, was a tent city.

A couple pics of Upper Deadfall with Mount Eddy behind.

Around 6:30 pm we headed up to the summit to watch the sunset. The trail up Mt. Eddy is a great one, with views of the Trinity Alp Wilderness, Castle Crags, Mount Lassen, the Yolla Bollys, and everywhere else.

Nerd parade.

More nerd parade.

We spent more than an hour on the summit, lounging on our sleeping pads and sipping "apple juice". Oh, the views!

Looking back down at camp.

The nerds (pics by Val). Before apple juice.

After apple juice.

Dark panorama.

The sunset turned into a crystal clear night, the stars burning until a nearly full moon lit up the sky after midnight. The sky was so dark prior to the moon coming out, that the entire sky, milky way and all, was reflected almost perfectly in the completely still lake. I've never seen anything like it. I could look down at the lake and identify the big dipper. Kristen and I unrolled our sleeping bags in a rare patch of green grass on the lakeshore and slept beneath, and above, the stars.

Final tally. Five nerds. Two gay dogs. 24 hours. One sunset. 12 miles. 2400' vertical each way.