Here it is the Aiguille Dibona 3.131 m (France) during the blue hour, barely visible in the fog, the weather began to improve so - finally - I began to see the reason why I've been hiking 1.100 meters in altitude :-)
It's a slightly long exposure, not too much, just a few minutes, as you can see from the delicate trailing stars also immersed in the thinning fog.
At the end of the low stone wall, on the left, you can see the roof of the refuge du Soreiller (2.719 m).
A bit unusual shot I would say, may not be to everyone's taste, but every time I go to the mountains I have always just one wish: to see (and possibily photograph) something... different... no matter what, the important thing is to witness/admire something "new" which stands out from the usual experiences that I have already seen and lived many and many time.
This moment was the most valuable of the entire trip, in a matter of singularity.
©Roberto Bertero, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.
Tags: fog nebbia dibona Écrins National Park Parc National des Écrins blue hour ora blu aiguille Mountain tent bivouac
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The Snake River, between Hoback Junction and Alpine, Wyoming is picturesque and in autumn surrounded by bright fall leaves. It is also one of the most popular rafting, kayaking, float trip sections of river you will find. In the summer the buses carrying rafts and rafters, kayaks, and canoes, pretty much "fill this canyon".
But when my son and I drove through on our way to the trailhead to Big Sandy Lake, the campgrounds were closed, we only saw a couple of rafters, and there were no crowds.
Solo road trip: Backpacking trip with son; Road trip with wife.
Sunday September 14th through Wednesday September 24th, 2014
On this 11 day trip I would spend two nights in my backpacking tent in the Wind River Range; three nights in a motel room (one in Idaho Falls and two in Salt Lake City); and five nights sleeping in the back of my pickup truck (which has a cab high, screened window, canopy on it and a mattress in the back).
There are three parts to this eleven day trip, each with photos and a story or two thrown in along the way. Part one is my solo two day "road trip" from my home in Eastern Washington to Idaho Falls to meet up with my son. Part two is a two night backpacking trip my son and I took to the Cirque of Towers at the southern end of Wyoming's Wind River Range (a repeat backpack for me). Part Three is a five day "road trip" my wife and I took from Salt Lake City up through Yellowstone, the Canadian Rockies, and back to our home in Eastern Washington.
PART TWO (9.16.14. THROUGH 9.18.14) ~ Cirque of Towers backpack with my youngest son:
My son and I drove my pickup truck to Alpine, up the colorful (autumn leaves) Snake River canyon up to Hoback Junction, through Daniel and Pinedale, and Boulder, Wyoming - - and then on the dirt roads to the trail head for Big Sandy Lake. The last six miles of the road were very rough and dusty this time. I had backpacked in the area in September of 2012 with Fred Stillings and his sister. This would be a repeat of that enjoyable backpacking trip.
As soon as we reached the trail head, we shouldered our backpacks and started up the trail. We both had packed light and used internal frame packs. My son agreed to let me bum the use of his water filter, which lightened my load even more.
I noticed on my recent solo Eagle Cap Wilderness backpack and this one, that there are more and more women backpacking. Lots of folks accompanied by dogs as well, since both the Eagle Cap and the Wind River Range do not prohibit dogs nor horses on the trails.
Story: I was sitting on a trail side boulder drinking one of my caffeine loaded Diet Mt. Dew's, and talking with my son, when three young women came down the trail toward us. They each were accompanied by medium sized mixed breed, adorable dogs, each carrying their own colorful "packs".
The first dog in line, the boldest and clearly the "leader dog", made a bee line to me and let me scratch and talk to him/her all I wanted. We chatted with the three women and then they hiked on by. The two other dogs were either all business or all shy, and trotted right by me at a fast clip.
We passed other backpackers on their way out of the Big Sandy, talking to some, saying "hi" to others as we passed.
Soon we came to three more young women with backpacks, heading back down the trail to the trail head. The first in line had a concerned look on her face and asked my son and I, if we had seen a "red dog" carrying a pack. No, we told her, then told her of the three women and the three pack carrying dogs we had passed earlier.
The woman looked back at her companions and nodded, especially when I told the story of the lead dog being friendly and the other two dogs, all business.
She evidently knew the three women with the dogs, and said that her dog was probably trying to catch up with them, but my son and I told her that we were certain there were only three dogs with packs and we hadn't seen another "lost dog", since passing them. Still she seemed to "want to believe" that her lost dog was down the trail and not back up the trail behind them.
I asked her what we should do if we found her "red dog". She said his name was Arlo but seemed to want to believe that he just couldn't have got lost behind them. She was genuinely worried about Arlo, but offered us no advice as to what to do should we encounter the dog.
As my son and I hiked toward Big Sandy Lake (a six mile easy trail), we asked others we passed if they had seen a lost dog. They hadn't.
My son and I hiked on up the trial until we came to a meadow where the Big Sandy River flows through it and the mountains behind, make for a great landscape photo ops. Fred, his sister, and I had stopped at the same spot for photos in 2012. We took off our packs and were snacking, when my son spotted Arlo, wearing his colorful pack, hiding from us in the forest. He was truly a scared little dog.
He would move away from us when we moved towards him, and when we called him by name, he clearly recognized his name, but just didn't want to trust us to get near to him. It was Arlo for sure, and my son, offered to hike down the trail as fast as he could in the hopes of catching up with another out bound hiking party so they could carry the message of the "found lost dog" to the owner at the trail head.
Meanwhile I tried to figure out how to gain Arlo's trust. We couldn't help him if we couldn't catch and leash him, and he showed no inclination to head down the trail to catch up with his lost owner.
So I took off my Tilley hat and my sunglasses and sat down in the grass beside the trail and started "talking" to Arlo. It worked. Ever so slowly he approached closer and closer. He stretched out his neck as far he could and let me touch his nose, then his ears, and finally he reached the threshold of trust and he turned around and sat down beside me, up close to me. He was obviously feeling secure in his decision to accept help from a stranger.
We sat together, waiting for my son to return, and then Arlo seemed amendable to having his pack removed. I hoped to find a leash in the pack but there was none, only dog food, and some light camp garbage.
My son returned. No luck. Hiking fast he had not been able to overtake anyone and we were likely at least three of four miles from the trail head. My son moved slowly and carefully as to not scare Arlo, and soon we were both scratching him behind the ears, telling him we were going to help him (though I am not sure either of us were really wanting to consider hiking him all the way back to the trail head and then if his lady owner was gone..then what)?
Just then a young man with day hiking gear came hiking down the trail toward the three of us (My son, Arlo, and me). Before he reached us I said to him "How would you like to be a good Samaritan?". "Depends" he said. Then I went on to explain Arlo's plight and situation. Jessie was the name of the fit young day hiker. He said he didn't have a dog but his girl friend did and he loved animals. Jessie was from Texas.
Jessie agreed to hike Arlo out to the trail head and would look for Arlo's owner there. Now to come up with a "leash". Without digging to the bottom of my backpack to get the cord to my camp food hanging bag, I couldn't think of what to come up with quickly and I knew the sooner Jessie and Arlo could head down the trail the more likely it would be that Arlo and his owner would be happily reunited.
So I grabbed a 48" leather boot lace from my Everything Pouch and tied one end to Arlo's collar and made a non-slip loop with a bow-line knot on the other end.
My son and I were so pleased that Arlo seemed to sense that all of us were trying to help him, so off he and Jessie went down the trail at a good pace, with Arlo accepting his leather boot lace leash with dignity and aplomb.
With all the backpackers coming out down the Big Sandy Lake trail, we expected lots of company at Big Sandy Lake and that we would have to look for awhile for an agreeable "base camp" at the lake. That was not the case.
The spot Fred, his sister, and I had used as a base camp in 2012 (on Lost Creek) was taken by horse packers. They had a huge base camp tent set up there and three or more grass munching horses, watching us with interest as we located an excellent site not too far away (up in the pine trees).
My son and I pitched out tents, ate dinner, he put his food in a bear canister and I hung mine high and properly in a nylon sealable sack. Them we took our cameras and went for a walk.
That night a, soon to be familiar, type of short but strong "storm" would hit our camp. The air would be still. Then huge widely spaced rain drops would fall; followed soon by extremely high gusting winds and a determined but short period of heavy rain fall. Then the rain would stop, the wind would calm and it was over.
These Wind River Range wind and rain squalls would last ten to twenty minutes at most, then they were gone. No lightening, no more drama, just short bursts of high winds and brief heavy rain. We would hit two or three more these squalls the next day hiking.
With too little good reading material our first night at Big Sandy went by slowly for both of us. We had to zip the vestibule doors shut to our tents when the first big squall hit, so we got our eight hours of sleep in "short shifts" and basically waited for dawn to arrive.
A quick breakfast and we were off on the trail to the Cirque of Towers. We would put on rain gear at times and sun screen at others as we made our way to the waterfalls below Pingora Peak.
A note at the trail head said that there was a dead horse between North Lake and Arrowhead Lake and to beware in case bears had found the carcass and might act protective of their food source. It must have been on the mountaineer's trail, because we didn't encounter the dead horse nor the stench of same. Still we both carried our bear spray where we could reach it.
We hiked to the falls the same way I had solo hiked the route in 2012, following a climbers' pat to the saddle trek below Warbonnet Peak. From there it was easy to hike faint trails and cross country to the falls below Pingora Peak. The falls are a small creek which empties from Hidden Lake, at the top of the cirque.
After spending a long time at the falls, we hiked cross country to intercept the trail back over Jackass Pass. My son and I saw just three mountaineering tents and one climber near his base camp, in the area and that was it. The falls and the Cirque of Towers, we had mostly to our own on this sun then storms visit.
In 2012 I had started my hike before dawn and returned to Big Sandy Lake base camp, where I ate lunch and then headed up to Clear and Deep Lake. It was earlier in September then and the days were a little bit longer.
This time I knew I would be too tired, too foot sore and with not enough time, to do the same route up to Deep Lake with my son. He is in excellent shape and condition so on our way back to Big Sandy Lake, I mentioned, if he would like to take off and hike faster, that he would have enough time to make the Deep Lake hike, by hiking at a steady brisk pace. I told him that I would take my time back to camp and relax and enjoy the scenery there. Done deal. Off he went, and we parted ways just south of North Lake.
I returned to camp and put on my camp shoes (Crocs) and ate dinner. I walked the lake shore and gathered more firewood. By early evening I had a fire going as I spotted my son, returning on the trail at the east of end of Big Sandy Lake. He had enjoyed a successful solo hike high up on the slickrock of Haystack Mountain, where he got spectacular views of Big Sandy Lake, Clear Lake, Deep Lake, Black Joe Lake and all the peaks surrounding them. Now I wish I would have tagged along behind him. Next time.
It had been a great day and we were both tired as darkness sat in. We watched the campfire burn all the way down to glowing coals, then headed for our tents.
The next morning (after a long night but no rain), we ate, broke camp and started back for the trail head. We were both feeling good and made the hike back to the trailhead in exactly two hours. I grabbed a cold diet Pepsi from our cooler and headed for the trail head rest room to change from sweat soaked poly hiking clothes to all cotton shirt, socks, and jeans. Comfortable running shoes replaced my hiking boots.
When I came out of the rest room in my cotton attire my son gave me a thumbs up. At first I thought it was an approval sign of my sartorial choice but when he held up a note with two pieces of duct tape attached to it, I knew what it was and why my son was smiling so. The note read:
" Thank you Steve for finding Arlo Red Dog!!! and donating your shoe lace - - > for a leash *9/17* "
The arrow pointed to where my leather boot lace had been taped to the note, but due to wind or another hiker in need, it wasn't there. The message was there though, and that was the important thing.
The short note said it all. I had given my name and that I was from Washington State to Jessie but never used the phrase "red dog". Arlo's owner was smart enough to check the trail register for 9/17/14 and know that my son and I, had hiked in that morning and were driving a pickup with Washington plates. Also by referring to "red dog" in addition to Arlo - - my son and I had no doubts it was her, who left the message taped to our windshield.
A story with a very happy ending. I would have loved to have seen Arlo and his owner the moment they saw each other at the trail head or on the trail that day. Good for you too Jessie. A true, good Samaritan.
I was proud that my son was as interested (or more) in seeing that Arlo was reunited with his owner, if we could do anything to help. The note "made our day".
Tuesday and Wednesday night had been spent in our backpacking tents at Big Sandy Lake. Wednesday we had taken scenic day hikes: Cirque of Tower for me and my son and Deep Lake as well, for my son.
At the trail head early on Thursday morning we now pointed my pickup truck toward Salt Lake City. There we would have an interesting reunion. It sounds complicated when I think about it but all worked out perfectly.
I had last seen my wife on Thursday September 4th when I dropped her off in Pasco, Washington for a flight to join our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter for a vacation in the Bahamas (while I headed on to the Eagle Cap Wilderness for a solo, two day, backpacking trip there).
Back from vacation our daughter-in-law had a business trip to Salt Lake City, so she, my wife, and daughter-in-law were there in a motel. I got a motel room for Thursday and Friday night for my wife and I and our son moved into his wife and daughters' motel room for those two nights. That gave Friday for me to spend some quality time with our "charm grandpa and grandma's socks off", almost two years old, granddaughter, Sierra McKenzie.
Saturday (9.20.14) was a family dispersal. Daughter-in-law and granddaughter flew home from Salt Lake City. Our son headed for California for a planned backpacking trip up over Mt. Whitney and to the Kearsage Pass area of the John Muir Trail. He was teaming up with a friend for that one. My wife and I planned a four or five day looping, camping in the back of our new pickup truck, road trip back home to Eastern Washington.
That is Part Three of this tale.
Tags: Cirque of Towers Wind River Range backpacking trip Big Sandy Lake Snake River Alpine to Hoback Junction Wyoming Wyoming fall color fall color Snake River
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A massive cloud building over the White Mountains last week.
Tags: clouds building White Mountains Bishop Eastern Sierra Inyo County California USA Canon 5DMarkIII photo copyright 2014 Jeff Sullivan weather day cloudy
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