Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Treasure Lake

Went on a backpacking trip up into the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains over the weekend. Kevin invited me along with him and his friends from the base.

We headed up towards Bishop on Thursday morning. We left the house around 8, but had a VERY slow start and didn't actually get on the road till noon-ish.

The drive was beautiful, but with all of the stops we made along the way, it was also very long.

We got into town at Bishop around 5:30, and still had to go driving around looking for a place to get a fishing license.

We made it to South Lake around 7.

The sun was already setting behind whe mountains by the time we were ready to head up, but we went anyway. It got dark pretty fast.

It was only a 3 mile hike, but it was BRUTAL.
In that 3 miles, we climbed over 4000 feet. Two thirds of the hike was stairs carved out of stone, which after the first hour or so, I started calling "The Stairs of 'NOPE'". They were carved un-evenly, and ALL of them were cut higher than normal stairs. Many of them were as high as my knees, and a few were even higher.

By the time we got near the end of the hike, I was stopping to rest every 5 minutes. Kevin was taking his pack up a ways, then coming back for mine because I couldn't carry it anymore. I felt terrible for letting him, but if he didn't, we would have had to stop and spend the night right there on the trail.

After around Kevin's 3rd trip back for me, he had good news. He had found the lake. VERY good news, as we were starting to get worried that we had missed it in the dark. It was around midnight. We got to the lake, set up our camping area, and passed out.

Friday morning, I got to meet Kevins friends, Percy, Angel, and Percy's son, Clint. We all had breakfast together. Percy brought mint from his garden at home for tea, it was delicious.

After breakfast, we went fishing. Kevin and I didn't catch anything, but the other guys caught seven fish. Therewere five of us up there, so that was plenty.

We had fried fish, rice, ramen, and corned beef from a can for dinner. It was pretty good.

The wind kicked up during the day, and by dinner it was REALLY cold, so we all turned in early to try to stay warm. Once I was in my tent, I stayed up late reading. I brought my Kindle just for that - I was reading book 4 of Song of Ice and Fire (the Game of Thrones books)

Saturday morning, the wind continued to blow, and it stayed really cold. There were wisps of clouds in the sky, where Friday it had been brilliantly clear and blue.

We tried to fish for a little while. I really wanted Kevin to catch something, because it was his first time fishing.

The wisps became more frequent, and more dense. Angel made a crack about rain and suggested heading down early. I commented that, as cold as it was, it would be snow, not rain. The clouds didn't look dark enough for rain, but we started packing up anyway.

We headed down the trail, and the clouds got denser and darker. Sure enough, about halfway down it started to snow. Not a lot, but enough that we noticed.

I still needed breaks on the way down. The stairs were murder on my knees just as much as they had been on the way up. We lagged behind the other guys a bit, so most of the way down it was just Kevin and me.

Around 4:30, we were nearly in sight of the parking lot when Percy came back looking for us. He thought we had gotten lost or something. Angel had headed home already, but Percy invited us out for dinner on him, saying we had earned it.

He told us that he had picked the trail, thinking that it was a nice, short, beginner trail that we could use to get used to hiking. Apparently Angel had been new to this too.

We went to a little place right next to the ranger station in Bishop called Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ for dinner. SOOO delicious.

Got home around 10pm Saturday night. Had an awesome time.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Big Bear Faire, Highland War, and a pool table

Did the Big Bear Renaissance Faire again this year. It was the best year yet. I took the dragons. It was Kaida's first REAL faire. She went to Market Night in Redlands a couple times for practice, but this was her first full-on faire/camping event.

We weren't there the first weekend.

SECOND weekend went really well, except that I tried a new kind of heat supply for the dragons, and it ran out during the night. They were fine, no ill after effects, but they were VERY happy to be left out in the sun for a bit in the morning. I put them on the little folding stool I re-furbished using the scraps from Kevin's vest.

While they were out on the little stool in the guild yard, Tia thought it would be a good idea to go on a little adventure. She attempted to walk off the edge of the stool, but Smaug stopped her. He put one of his big dragon-hands on the base of her tail, then flopped his head down on the middle of her back as if to say "No, you stay HERE!". It worked, she stayed. Smaug keeps his girls in line.

Gallows Humor's CreEPy CD: Gypsy tested, DRAGON approved!
THIRD weekend was much better. I brought backups and more backups of the heating stuff, and they had lasting heat through the night. Tiamat popped out of the travel carrier like a little Jack-in-the-box in the morning, followed by Kaida. Smaug is a lazy bum and didn't want to come out right away. He isn't a big fan of mornings. They also had wings for third weekend. During second weekend, I had a little girl tell me that they couldn't be REAL dragons, because they didn't have wings... well, I solved that.

Smaug wanted nothing to do with the wings, but Tiamat wore hers for a good 45 minutes before she stepped on one, and decided they weren't so great.

Kaida is still too little for hers. Once I had them finished, I realized they probably weighed as much as she did. Maybe next time when she is a little bigger.

That CreEPy CD was the last one we had for the weekend, and was auctioned off. It went for $40. I should have had Smaug do an ink-print of his foot on it... Everyone ELSE signed it, and he's kind of become the official un-official mascot for Gallows Humor.


Went to Highland War (an SCA event) in Victorville over the weekend.

Yes, I took the dragons. Of COURSE I took the dragons. They would never have forgiven me if I left them home.

They got a LOT of attention. So many people came over to love on them, and snuggle them, and carry them around camp. It was great.

And Smaug got to pretend to be the Pirate King.


I finally got a pool table. Highland War didn't have a lot of booths for shopping, so when I got home, I still had pretty much all of the money I had set aside for shopping over the weekend. I hit up Craigslist and found a nice pool table for cheap.

Craigslist rocks!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A day late...

Around 8am this morning, I was stuck in traffic for about half an hour or so. When I finally made it to the... obstruction... I saw a small, red, rather fast looking car (couldn't tell what kind anymore) wrapped around a signal post. There were something like 4 ambulances, 2 fire trucks, and maybe 5 or 6 police cars/motorcycles.

I desperately wished my cell phone camera still worked (stupid phone)...

...because that signal post...

...was right in front of the big Kaiser Hospital sign.

...I guess if you HAVE to wrap your car around a pole, the pole in front of the hospital is probably the best one to use.