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My Expedition Vehicle & Trailer

Sunday, March 19, 2017

California Wildflowers 2017

The recent heavy rains brought up a bumper crop of brilliant orange poppies and other wildflowers to grace the local canyons. Come follow along as I take you on an easy hike down an old power line road and up into the green hills of Southern California.






It is time to head back but let me share one last photo of a real beauty who sometimes comes out on my adventures. She really liked the wildflowers too!

Thanks for hiking along and please share my blog with your friends!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Expedition Trailer In The Fremont-Kramer Desert Wildlife Area

It was high time to take the trailer back into the desert and enjoy the fresh air and endless vistas with good friends!

Getting off pavement was more interesting this time due to the mud from recent rain storms but it was great to have minimal dust kicked up as it seeps into all of the gear. Puffy clouds abound in the sky but no hint of the upcoming changes to the weather.

Pretty soon I was able to set up in an area with great scenery and desert vistas. Our elevation was about 3400'. Note how green the area is appearing due to the nourishing rains. I had two awnings opened up in case of more rain, all solar panels deployed and the kitchen ready for creating the daily meals.

HF radio antenna and 30' tall mast deployed? Check!

We spotted some mine excavation tailings on the distant slopes so it was time to go on a hike!

 One of the large inclined shafts showed signs of recent collapse.

The other shaft showed itself to be very deep

This image cannot capture the true depth of this inclined shaft.
The views from the hillside location of the mine shafts included our campsite below with the dramatic rocky mountainside behind it.

Above the area we were at was the even higher rocky slopes of the peak.

It soon became time to head back to camp and we enjoyed the glowing colors of the sunset as we hiked across the rocky terrain.

 The next morning we awoke to a nice dusting of SNOW!

After cleaning the snow off, drying gear out and repacking it was time to head home.

  Thanks for enjoying the spring conditions in the desert with me! I hope that you'll follow along on the next adventure here at Sun To The North!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Climbing Mount Rainier

I've been meaning to share pictures from previous adventures so I've searched through my hard drives and found these gems from a really stellar climbing adventure with great friends.

Mount Rainier is an iconic 14,411-foot (4,392 m) composite volcano with a conical shape and made up of numerous layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice and ash. It is the highest point in the Cascade range and hosts more than 25 glaciers as well as waterfalls, meadows and old growth forest.

The amount of snow on the mountain is impressive and allows the initial climb in shorts when coming from the Paradise visitor center. You still need to bring your cold weather gear because a big mountain can become enveloped in massive storms before you can return from the heights. We started late in the day around 6 PM.

As we ascended the slopes of Rainier the peak of the mighty Mount Adams came into view.

At 10,000' is the climbers' shelter named after John Muir. On a previous ascent there was a really bad storm hammering the slopes and my climbing partner and I slept in the shelter one night rather than attempt to deploy our tent in the winds. On that trip the shelter was almost buried in the snow.

After camping overnight the rest of our party joined us and we traversed around the Cowlitz Glacier and pushed through Cadaver Gap.  


  Approaching Ingraham Flats

 These large pieces of the glacier were part of the crevasse to the right of our path.

At 11,100' and well clear of rockfall near the cliffs I set up my trusty mountaineering tent, the same one I used at Denali which I've chronicled on this blog.The Mountain Hardwear Annapurna tent is really bombproof. Sad to say this model was discontinued.

Our plan was to get ahead of the crowds coming out of Camp Muir by leaving an hour or two after midnight, making our summit push and then make our descent as the other climbers were still slogging up the mountain.

We launched on time and enjoyed a fairly quick ascent of the 3,000 feet to the lip of Rainier's summit crater. Here we are grabbing a quick break before traversing the crater to the true summit.

After making the quick trek across the snowfield this is a view back across the crater to where we had paused to rest.

I was happy to summit Rainier again but sitting on top of a big volcano can make you feel a bit somber!

A better view of Mount Adams

Now we can see Mount Saint Helens to the south of us.

Pretty soon it was time to scamper down the mountain, return to camp, pack up and blitz all the way down to the Paradise visitor center. With the bright sunlight we had nothing but great views on the way down.

Some climber dropped a water bottle into the gap, Not good for them.

Making steady progress

I can now see my bright orange tent far below us!

Long lines of climbers were coming upwards through a difficult section so we took a break and enjoyed the views while people passed us. They could not believe that we had already summited. Nothing like executing on a great plan!

As we pushed down the loose terrain while still wearing our crampons the enormous crevasses of Ingraham Glacier cam into view.

Before long we had reached camp and packed up, starting our descent. Soon Camp Muir was in coming into view on the other side of the Cowlitz Glacier.

Before we knew it, the great adventure was over and we were parting ways as we looked back up at the majesty of what locals simply call The Mountain. Knowing that we had stood on top and safely come back brought smiles to our faces.

I hope that this climb brought a smile to you and I hope to take you on another climb very soon!