Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Summer Vacation

Thought I would finally put together a little collection of shots I've taken since I got back to the States from SE Asia, which was about 5 months ago, so I'm a bit slow, but I don't care. For those that wonder I am indeed back in the deep, deep south for another season of fun on Ice. This will be my last season for a bit, maybe forever, who knows, and it's been a wild ride so far. I'm not really doing much photography these days so I don't know if I'll have a lot to share from here. Anyway, on to some pictures!

12Jun2013_outer banks-2342 Nope, that's not me paragliding. It's a shot from Jockey's Ridge in North Carolina, which Liz and I visited during our almost annual trip to the Outer Banks with her family. While we were there we did give hang gliding a try, it was cool but the weather was not cooperative. I did enjoy watching this fellow learning to launch his glider and try to set down softly in the sand at the bottom of the dune.

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[L] Liz's nephew races to the top of Jockey's Ridge. [R] Later I help him fly a cool new toy I picked up. I've had my eye on a steerable kite for some time but never committed. Now that I have it I wonder why I waited so long!

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Here are a couple of shots from the Bodie Island lighthouse. It was just renovated and re-opened to the public. It's much smaller that the Cape Hatteras lighthouse but just as much fun to visit.

03Apr2007_yosemite-8 After visiting on the East Coast we went to visit this guy, Mr Big Stone, El Capitan, or simply El Cap. I'd been invited to try and climb the Nose, one of the most classic routes of all time, and would be meeting a handful of friends for our attempt. The Nose is like this...

03Apr2007_yosemite-8_The Nose ...and it climbs about 3000' of rock right up the most prominent line on El Cap. It was also the first route up El Cap and if you're interested you can read all kinds of history about it; I will simply say that it has, more than once, been the scene of the most impressive climbing feats of a given era.

Many people climb the Nose in many styles. Most take around 3 days, some take less than three hours, we spent five days and three nights on the route which I know is confusing but you'll just have to trust me. We slept at Dolt Tower, Camp IV, which is just below the Great Roof, and Camp V, which is just above the Great Roof. It was a stressful, exhausting, and completely amazing experience. Thank you El Cap.

Here's another shot of El Cap that I took a long time ago, back on my first trip to Yosemite. Can you spot some features like the Boot Flake and the Great Roof? How about the climber's headlamp at Camp IV?

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On the left my partner cleans a pitch low on the Nose. You can see some other folks below on Sickle Ledge. On the right our friends lead the same pitch.

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[L] Leading up to Dolt Tower is a long section of beautiful cracks called the Stovelegs. Good times. [R] The next morning we left Dolt Tower. The small space you see there was shared by six people, not ideal.

27Jun2013_yosemite-2534 Just a bit above Dolt Tower are Texas Flake and Boot Flake. Here I am looking down from the edge of Boot Flake as Don hauls bags up to the top of Texas. After Boot Flake we slowly made our way to Camp IV below the Great Roof. It took the rest of the day.

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[L] Caleb leads the Great Roof which I believe is one of the coolest features of rock I've ever seen. Rad! [R] And above the Great Roof is a fantastic pitch, the Pancake Flake.

It was a slow day and we stopped just a couple pitches later at Camp V with a whole lot of rock left to climb. You'll notice I took less and less photos as we got higher on the route, guess I got too busy!

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[L] A self portrait at the top. Relief? Satisfaction? [R] Sunrise the next morning. It was about 80 degrees two seconds after I took this photo and it didn't get cooler on the way down.

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Preparing for the long walk down...and then doing it.

01Jul2013_yosemite-2568 After finally getting back to the valley floor I was ready for a few days of rest. Liz's friends showed up and we spent a few days hiking around and doing mellow stuff. This shot is from a walk up to Vernal Falls.

01Jul2013_yosemite-2569 Me and Liz watching the rush of the Merced River below Vernal Falls. Mine are the clean ones.

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[L] Vernal Falls. [R] The Merced River.
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[L] Cathedral Peak as seen from Cathedral Lake. [R] Flowers.

An unusual view of Fairview Dome.

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After Staci and Keith left we drove out to the coast to see some redwoods. We drove along the Avenue of Giants, one of my favorite stretches of road in Northern California.

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Liz poses with giant redwoods along the Avenue of Giants.

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Looking up.

07Jul2013_redwoods-2653 In the national park we hiked out to the Tall Trees Grove on an overnight trip. There was beautiful camping along Redwood Creek...

And some fun fishing for tiny trout too.

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We saw a few wild animals along the way.

And hiked many miles of wonderfully lush trail.

My favorite shot from the redwoods. And then we went back to....

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After much discussion we had decided it wasn't worth spreading ourselves too thin traveling around the northwest. Also, Liz and I hadn't had a chance to do much Yosemite climbing together, so it made plenty of sense to head back.

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[L] We headed up the initial pitches of the Nose with the idea of solidifying some big wall skills. It was a fun little adventure. [R] We also climbed some smaller classics in the Valley like After Six.

Then it was time for a Snake Hike on the classic easy route up Half Dome. It was a long day with far more walking than climbing, but a lot better than doing this...

Crowds line up on the standard summit climb, the Cables Route.

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Toward the end of the trip we spent some time in Tuolumne, the Yosemite high country.

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21Aug2013_lawn lake-3013 When we were done fooling around in California we headed back to Colorado where there was plenty more camping, fishing, and hanging out to be done. One of the final trips we took before heading south was to Lawn Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Liz and I both had some luck catching beautiful Greenback Cutthroats in this deep alpine lake.

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And then we got walloped by a summer hail storm on the walk out.

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Alright, that's pretty much all I've got. Hope you had some fun looking around, I'm not sure when I'll get to posting again, it may be a long time. It's been fun though!!