Bilbo's Adventures

Friday, October 28, 2011

20 Lakes Basin

This past summer I took two trips to Twenty Lakes Basin, one with my son and the other with a few local hiking comrades. Twenty Lakes Basin is located near Tioga Pass which is the north entrance to Yosemite National Park. These pictures were taken in early August which gives you an idea of how much snow there was this year in a record snowfall year. I have never seen so much snow in the Sierras in all my years of hiking.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Great Day on the Central Coast

Today, Alan, his son Justin, and I hiked to the top of Valencia Peak which is located in Montana de Oro State Park. The views from the top were spectacular and wildflowers were in abundance. The hike to the top is steep in places but is accessible to just about anyone who works out two or three times a week or is willing to grind it out. While hiking down the mountain we spotted a point along the coast that was covered in yellow wildflowers and when we reached the bottom we decided to check it and was I sure glad. The yellow covered point along the coast was accessible via the Point Buchon Trail which is a relatively new trail just south of Montana de Oro. The coastline along this trail is absolutely spectacular, especially when the wildflowers are in bloom. Great day, good company, and stunning scenery. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Point Buchon Trail

Today was the first time I hiked the Point Buchon Trail. The views along this hike were stunning. Point Buchon is a trail along the coast just a bit south of Montana de Oro State Park. The coastline along this stretch reminds me of the rocky and rugged coastline north of Bodega Bay on the Northcoast. During the springtime the bluffs are covered with a carpet of yellow flowers and poppies which makes the short loop walk spectacular, some of the best on the Central Coast. Point Buchon Trail is currently owned and maintained by PG /E and is open to the public Wednesday through Monday. The trail can be reached by the same road that takes you to the bluff trail at Montana de Oro. If you like Montana de Oro, you will love the Poin Buchon trail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wildflower Bonanza: My Last Hike

I wasn't sure if my last blog entry would be my last because my final hike of the trip was on a trail that I have posted pictures in the past which is why I said my previous blog entry was probably my last. When I arrived at the trailhead I initially was going to leave my camera behind to save weight but I am really glad I brought my camera along. While I have hiked the San Joaquin Ridge trail many times before I have never seen it so alive with wildflowers. The hillsides were literally carpeted with yellow, pink, purple, and red. It was in another words, a wildflower bonanza.

The wildflower bonanza was unexpected because generally by this time of the yellow the wildflowers have already peaked but I had forgotten that this has been a very, very, late spring and summer. Also, this was a very wet winter which contributed to the abundance of wildflowers.

Although there are many other hikes I could have ended my trip with I am now really glad I ended my trip with this particular hike. I have hiked all over North America during my lifetime and seen some incredible beauty but The Minaret Mountain Range near Mammoth Lakes California is as good as it gets. I have been coming up here now for almost 40 years and I never get tired of this I have done this hike more times than I can remember I am glad I ended my trip here, otherwise, I would have missed the beautiful wildflower bonanza.

Mammoth Mountain in the distant. The hills were lit up with purple, red, pink, and yellow wildflowers.

The tips of the Minarets

Mount Banner and Ritter

Mount Banner and Ritter dominate the landscape

The Minaret range near Mammoth. One of the great mountain ranges in North America.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bishop Pass: Classic High Sierras

The last time I hiked up and over Bishop Pass was in 1976. I remember the trip quite well because I had to carry my cousins pack the last mile to the lake because he couldn’t go any further. I never dreamed I wouldn’t go back to this wonderful place for 34 years…but…getting married, working, raising a family and ongoing back problems prevented me from making this hike…and…after the last couple of years with my back problems I never imagined I would ever be up here again. But, I made it.

The day started off quite cool. According to my car thermometer is was 44 degrees outside when I hit the trail at 8:30. The trail leading from the parking lot of South Lake is very steep for the first couple of miles but I flew up the trail at light speed. After three weeks out in the wilderness hiking mountain peaks and passes I guess my body has finally adjusted to any challenge the mountains have to offer.

The first couple of miles of the hike are nothing to write home about as you hike through the forest but once you reach the first lake, Long Lake, everything opens up and high mountain peaks come into view. The last couple of miles to the pass are spectacular as you pass one lake after another. I can’t remember all the names of the lakes but there was about three or four of them I passed on my way to the pass.

Reaching the pass ended up being a bit of a disappointment “initially” because I assumed there would be numerous people waiting on top to congratulate me on my great accomplishment. But, there was not a single sole in sight when I arrived at the top. Since I was full of energy when I reached the top I decided to hike further down the trail to get a better view of the surrounding mountain ranges that encompass the Bishop Pass area. I don’t think I have ever been to a place where there are so many high peaks. I didn’t count them but I estimate there must have been at least a dozen peaks over 12,000 feet which you could see from the pass. None of the pictures I took really do justice to how grandeur this area is. You are surrounded by peaks on all sides. It truly is an amazing place where all you can do is stand in awe of God’s incredible creation.

Once I reached my final destination I just sat down and reflected on what I had just accomplished and the beauty of it all while I ate my power granola bar. Even now, this all seems like a dream…because….as I have chronicled elsewhere one year ago I was reduced to walking with a cane and could go no further than halfway around the block. I never, ever, ever, imagined I could do what I have done not only today but what I have done hiking over one mountain pass after another from California to Colorado.

As I conclude what may be my last blog entry for awhile since I am going home tomorrow and starting work on Monday I can only express gratitude for being able to go and see all the incredible places I have this summer. I have been to 11 national parks and who knows how many other wilderness areas. I don’t know if I will ever be able to do what I have done this summer again but even if I don’t I am forever grateful for this once in a lifetime adventure this summer. At the beginning of the trip I was a bit anxious regarding my back situation but my back has held up fine and all the hard work I have done over the past six months has paid off. Well, I don’t really have anything more to add but to end this with nothing but praise to God for providing me with this opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights in the world and for my health which I never take for granted.

One of the numerous beautiful lakes one passes on the way up to Bishop Pass.

One of the numerous surrounding peaks which one can see on the way to the Bishop Pass.

Another beautiful lake on the way to the pass.