Hike to Kern Hot Springs

Before I started working again and before the snows hit the Sierras, I drove down from the Bay Area, into the smoke-choked central valley - billowing with smoke from the biggest fire of 2015 spreading into Kings Canyon.  I drove to the seemingly infamous Mineral King trailhead in Sequoia National Park.  Peter Beckman, founder of the delicious Santa Cruz sourdough bread producer of his name - who also drives a VW diesel wagon - advised me to take a cross country route (i.e. no trail) over a few high mountain masses before connecting to back to a trail for my 50 mile loop to Kern Hot Springs.  

The smoke was starting to clear up the further east I pushed. Atop the first pass...

Descending to Spring Lake...

Heading up to the next pass

And later the same day from Mineral King I made it to the top of aptly-named Hands and Knees Pass.  The loose scree and lack of trail with my backpack full of food made the climb a bit sketchy but also exhilarating. 

Solo hiking means more selfies.

Next morning closer to a real trail at Little Five Lakes

wild (and delicious) sierra onion

The air was fairly clear during my hike but mid-afternoon the second day - the smoke started pouring over the 12,000 ft high mountain ridges that had been blocking the smoke in the central valley from coming up into the mountains.

Descending down into Kern Canyon...

Warm water!

the tub...and the water is dang hot from the source!

mellow path in idyllic kern canyon

Does a bear shit in the woods?  Yes.

crazy-lookin' tree

Although the clouds were rolling in, I held hope that it would suddenly clear up for a sunset view atop Franklin Pass.  

Instead I faced thick clouds with high freezing wind with hardly any visibility.  I was worried about losing the trail up top but managed to stay on the mountain and on the trial.

A hike isn't an adventure unless you add a harrowing moment.

Brrrr!  Frosty morning at Franklin Lake

Black bear near Mineral King trailhead

27 mile hike to Kern Canyon hot springs - 23 miles back to the car


Burning Man 2015, part 2

The lamplighters circumambulate the Man prior to lighting him up on Saturday night.

The man blows up.

In the glow of the burning man.

Trevor and Cheer's boing board and their VW bus

Bridget, Larry and Daddy O

Trevor and Cheer 

R-Evolution at sunrise on Monday morning...

Monday morning, Burners gather around the embers from Sunday evening's Temple fire and waited for the sun to rise...

And that guy took off running naked towards the rising sun in the desert.

And then he stopped.


Burning Man 2015, part 1

Couldn't believe that this year marked my fifth time to venture out into the Nevada desert at the end of the summer for this giant spectacle of human creativity, ingenuity and wondrous sculptures.

Mannequins staring at their iPhones

Dusk on Thursday

The Man

These images are under a piece of art called Firmament.

Cozy cuddle puddle looking up at Firmament

At the Firmament at sunrise on Saturday morning...see some video of the installation with Steve Reich music here.

Some of the beautiful art seen at sunrise on Saturday...

Temple of Promise

Love by Alexandr Milov at dawn, the first official burning man art produced by a Ukranian

Firespinners at dawn...

Dawn at Camp Questionmark, possibly one of the better sound camps at Burning Man