Mount Lola hiking trip, July 30-31, 2005

I'm going to mostly let this be a photo essay and interject snarky commentary as necessary. So, without further ado, let the pictures -- which my uploading program doesn't feel like even putting properly right-side-up; sorry for the neck strain -- commence!

You can click on any picture thumbnail for a full-size (well, old camera -- 800x600 or so) version. Please go easy on my bandwidth, though.

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Testing, testing ... yep, the campground works.


It's me. Except sideways.


Part of the path we walked, looking back out over the valley we started in.


And here begins my habit of taking many pictures of the same thing, which you will notice at multiple points on this trip. This is because I have actual Training as a Photographer, and one thing they always emphasize is: Take more shots than you need. ...


... The idea being, if you get just one shot of a given subject, it might be ruined by bad timing or technical difficulty. If you get many shots, you can pick the best one and people will think you're clever. ...


... Of course, this only works if you hide all your shots but the best one. I'm too lazy to do that here, so you get to wade through the crap to find the good stuff. Lucky you!

Oh, look, while I was talking, Kady and Rob have hiked up the trail. Everyone say hi.


We hiked most of the way up the mountain along Cold Stream. Cold Stream feeds into the Little Truckee River. Cold Stream is clear and apparently has no fish. It is properly named.


This is Kady hiking. This is Kady hiking before her feet started really hurting. We learned on this trip exactly how painful ill-fitting hiking boots can get. Please, do yourself a big favor and only backcountry hike in sturdy, well-broken-in, well-fitting boots.


This is Rob hiking. This is Rob hiking before his skin started looking like cooked lobster. I'd like to say he learned on this trip exactly how painful sunburns are, but really, he does this all the time, and shrugs it off. Rob is a crazy, crazy man.


Brain freezy!


I'm not entirely sure what inspired Rob to do a headstand in Cold Stream. I'm also not sure how he talked me into doing one too ...


(If you look closely, you can see Kady waving.)


... Oh, that's right! That's how Rob talked me into dunking my head in the stream.


Brain freezy!


I'd like to say that this is a lot more fun than it looks, but, really, WYSIWYG.


Our first glimpse of Cold Stream Meadow, elevation 7,700 feet.


The skies looked like this for most of the trip. Until Rob got to them.


Pine tree saplings. 0/1 creatures, 1 green mana to summon.


Cold Stream Meadow. Scenic, isolated, lovely. Also host at one point to a giant, diesel, converted Mercedes truck that had been custom built out into the world's most awesome RV. I somehow managed to not take a picture of the RV. What the hell was I thinking?


Shortly after our RV encounter, we started walking up the logging road out of the meadow up the ridge to the east. This was a mistake we wouldn't recognize for quite some time, because A) the map claimed the road turned into the trail, and B) I was an idiot and left the map in my pack while we walked instead of saying "Hey, we shouldn't be walking up this ridge." This view is back down the road, to the south ...


... looking at the ridge we were supposed to be aiming for. Double oops. Anyway, this was our first view of the peak itself -- this shot is looking a little more to the southwest, and the peak itself is centered, just to the left of the snow field.


One of the disadvantages of logging roads is that ... they were used by loggers. We soon ran across a big clearing absolutely piled with abandoned deadwood. It was pretty sketchy footing trying to cross it, and it really looked ugly to boot.


Thank you, G.W. Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative. Can I have the old sickly ones back now?


Lest you get any misapprehensions of scale, those are indeed Kady and Rob at the upper left.


Rob claimed this patch of snow as his very own. On an unrelated note, he also saw a big white bird in the trees around this part of the trail, and I quickly took it as an opportunity to educate everyone on the dangers of snow phoenixes.


About this time, we realized we were way off trail and busted out the map. Spirits were really low for most of the rest of the afternoon as we did some scouting, beelined up the ridge and walked around it toward the mountain -- all cross-country. Kady's feet were also starting to hurt. Despite this, there were moments of odd beauty -- like this fallen tree nestled in the crooks of its comrades' trunks.


I convinced Rob and Kady to hike to the top of the ridge and walk along it rather than stay at our current elevation and traverse the slope in the forest. I'm glad I did. The ridgetop was simply beautiful -- not just the views, but also the profusion of wildflowers that the trees had inhibited further down.

Hiking continues on next page >>

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