One Final Visit to Mineral King

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in Mineral King, Photography | 6 Comments

One last visit was made by Trail Guy; I was in Visalia at a backyard boutique. He had some final things to finalize, finally.

Here are his best photos from a very clear and sunny morning.

Final Mineral King Weekend

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal, Photography | 7 Comments

This will be a long post with lots of photos, and then I might run out of things to post about Mineral King for awhile.It didn’t have to be the final Mineral King weekend, because the Park gates stay unlocked until October 25. But, life down the hill beckons, fall is very full of events for us, and we need to close things up when the weather is still good during a season of unpredictable weather.

We have taken on the responsibility of closing the Honeymoon Cabin for the past several years. This is a little cabin left after Disney destroyed the resort in advance of building their ski resort, which never happened. The cabin is now a mini museum of Mineral King history, open all summer to anyone who wanders in. It is at the beginning of the Eagle/Mosquito/White Chief trail.

This is the interior. It is about 10×10′.

After our chores, we had time for a final walk.

Sorry to disappoint you, but this is a juniper tree, not a redwood. Mineral King is too high for redwoods.

The yellow tunnel isn’t very bright this fall.

This deer reminds me of Samson

Cowboy Bert listens to an animated Trail Guy explain something important.

It was a smoky smoky smoky day. There was a wildfire south of us.

My favorite ranger of all time!

These are cottonwoods.

These are juniper berries

And then we made time for one final pass down the Nature Trail. It goes through so many changes in such a short season. . . in July it was packed with all variety of wildflowers. Now, just look at this:

Sawtooth

The Captain

Three weeks ago these were goldenrods.

This was an unusual summer in Mineral King for several reasons. Perhaps I’ll make a list for you next Friday.

The Real Columbus Day

Posted by on Oct 12, 2017 in Personal, Photography | 8 Comments

Today, October 12, is the real Columbus Day. In fourteen hundred and ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Ferdinand and Isabella paid for the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. It’s a fine holiday, but it has fallen out of favor.

Fake Columbus Day has also fallen into obscurity. It changes every year, just chasing the 3 day weekend. Only federal and bank employees are aware of it. Postal employees, too.

Who cares?

Careen, Nicole, Kim and I. Happy birthday to us. 

Happy Birthday, Marilyn!

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Personal, Photography | One Comment

Extra birthday wishes to Sylvia, Pam, (oh no – is yours the first or the second of Sept.?) and Ron T.! Happy birthday, friends!

Today’s post is for Marilyn, AKA The Captain. Just some photos of new flowers, and a get-well wish along with a birthday greeting.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARILYN! GET WELL SO WE CAN HIKE TOGETHER AND DISCOVER NEW FLOWERS TOGETHER AGAIN.

(Remember when we found Western Eupatorium??)

What is this?

Collomia

Felwort

What is this?

What is this?

What is this?

What is this?

What is this?

What is this?

 

Western Eupatorium

Hiking Mineral King – White Chief Part 2

White Chief might be the most beautiful place accessible by foot from Mineral King. Short hike, steep, lots of variety. Any time Trail Guy encounters someone along the trail below the Eagle Lake/White Chief junction, he tells them they will be happier if they choose White Chief. 

Here are more photos from our Eclipse Day White Chief walk/hike.

What is this flowering shrub??

What is this teensy darker version of a Baby-Blue-Eyes??

What is this unknown yellow flower??

Slow but handy way to fill a water bottle.

There are more photos, but they were on Trail Guy’s camera because I overworked my battery. Aiming at the sun may not have been such a good idea. . . 

More tomorrow? Stay tuned. . .

Hiking Mineral King – White Chief

The eclipse. Big deal. Lots of chatter. Lots of ideas. Lots of rah-rah. What to do about it in Mineral King?

Easy! Poke a hole in a piece of cardboard with an ice pick, get a piece of white paper, and walk to White Chief. 

I say “walk” because I elected to not carry a pack or food. My camera was in my pocket, and a water bottle was in my hand. Let’s go!

Neither Trail Guy nor I had ever used a device like this. We both decided that if a “pinhole” (ice pick sized) is good, then why not a larger hole?

The answer is that the small hole works; the larger ones do not. We have a theory on why this is, but it will take too long to type.

I couldn’t tell the difference between light from an eclipsed sun and light when high clouds are obscuring the sunshine.

See the light in the ice-pick-sized hole? The moon kept eclipsing the sun for awhile, although I was hard-pressed to tell without the device.

Trail Guy insisted that the light was different from just a cloudy day. He’s observant and artistic like that; me? I just bumble along.

Since the steepest part of the hike was behind us, we decided to just keep on trucking up the trail into White Chief. The day became very crystal clear.

When this thick cloud passed over the sun, I aimed my camera at it. Does this look like an eclipse?

To be continued. . . tune in tomorrow.

Hiking Mineral King – Eagle Lake

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Photography | 2 Comments

Remember that I said the last time I saw Eagle Lake it was empty because some stupid hon-yock opened the dam? I didn’t want that to be my last view of the place, so I told Trail Guy I wanted to go there, and I hoped he would join me. 

He consented. I asked why he dislikes that hike so much; his reply is that the trail bed is horrible.

As usual, he was right.

We started around 8:45 a.m. on the Eagle/Mosquito Trail. It’s 1/2 miles from our cabin to the junction of White Chief Canyon. 

This is the prettiest area of the trail – flat, usually full of wildflowers, running water alongside the trail, shade, and TONS OF MOSQUITOES! So unfair. . .

Was it just 2 weeks ago that this meadow was completely full of Jeffrey Shooting Star? Now it is full of knotweed, but it is white so makes no impression in a photo.

We climbed through an area I had completely forgotten about. I knew the rocks were coming, and forgot about this buffer zone.

See? The rocks.

I looked back at Sawtooth and its shadow, but I didn’t turn into a pillar of salt.

Apparently the rocks aren’t all that stable.

After I navigated over/around this big boy, I caught up to Trail Guy standing by this:

I said, “WESTERN EUPATORIUM! I haven’t seen this in years, and the last time was on the Franklin Lake trail!”

Trail Guy probably thought I was a little delirious.

To be continued. . .

Trail Guy’s Favorite Mineral King Hike

Sometimes I have to be down the hill, feeding Samson, watering the yard, blogging, drawing, taking care of business, fulfilling promises. Meanwhile, Trail Guy the Retiree is in Mineral King, hiking and taking photos for me to put on my blog.

His favorite place to go is White Chief. Mine too, unless it is the junction of the Franklin/Farewell Gap trails, or Farewell Gap itself. The lakes might could be, but we don’t go there much so I can’t remember. (I might could go there, but I’ll prolly be down the hill at the liberry instead.)

And sometimes Trail Guy comes home, especially if the Giants are on teevee.

Not the Giants; Samson wants to know why the Giants’ games are blocked out in our zip code.

Mineral King Wildflowers for Carol

Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal, Photography | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Carol! These flowers are for you today.

Hiking Mineral King – Farewell Gap

Posted by on Aug 7, 2017 in Mineral King, Personal, Photography | No Comments

Two days after Trail Guy went to Farewell Gap via a loop, we returned together with our new best hiking buddy Jessica. The point of the hike was to see Sky Pilot, an elusive high-elevation flower that we’ve never seen anywhere except Farewell Gap (not that we go anywhere outside of Mineral King. . .)

Here are my photos of that trip.

The flowers are still great at the “Junction Cafe”. This time we didn’t stop here for lunch but just kept heading up and up and up.

A previously-ignored or never-before-noticed, not-in-the-books yellow wildflower

This reminded us of marigolds, and if I can’t find it in any book, I will simply title it myself: Mountain Marigold.

I think this is the same thing, looking down from the top. Most of them had 3 sections of petals.

Stonecrop? Nope, that’s yellow. This is an unknown high-altitude succulent.

More unknown high-altitude succulents.

Blue Lips are still in bloom up high. This is late for them!

Identify yourself, Unknown Shrub!

The lupine up on Farewell Gap have white accents, and the penstemon is a color I’ve never seen it in before.

Sky Pilot – THIS is why we hiked 6.7 miles one way, uphill.

I was thinking of this hat as a Lupine-head, but Jessica wore it in honor of the Sky Pilot.

I felt sort of tired, and thought, “How disappointing, I’m out of shape”. It later occurred to me that middle-aged people who are truly out of shape don’t hike 13+ miles in one day at high altitudes (or low ones either).

Sorry, Trail Guy – no one will come by to give you a lift back down to the cabin.

Jess and me with the Golden Trout Wilderness/Forest Service land behind us.

Jessica and me with Timber Gap in the background.

Franklin Creek continues to flow strongly, but it is easy to ford now.