As noted in my last post, I’ve been sorting through and categorizing my Burning Man photos from the 11 years I have attended the event: 2004-5-6-7-9-10-12-13-14-15 and 17. I’ve created 15 categories and will do posts on several of my favorites from each category over the next several weeks.
The bigger tribes (groups) at Burning Man often create large mutant vehicles to transport their members around. Many of these come in the form of large animals— like really big animals.
And why worry about a sheep when there are rhinos and lions and hippos and angry unicorns about! Oh my! Following are my photos of the large mutant animals I have found wandering the Playa during the day and at night. Enjoy.
NEXT POST: A PCT post if I have the time to put it together. A post on smaller animal mutant vehicles if not. It’s ready to go.
I’ve been sorting through and categorizing my Burning Man photos, all 11 years’ worth including 2004-5-6-7-9-10-12-13-14-15 and 17. As you might imagine, there are several thousand pictures. I’ve created 15 categories and will do posts on several of my favorites from each category over the next few weeks. My plan is to use Mondays and Wednesdays for my Burning Man posts and Fridays for my Pacific Crest Trail posts. Expect a few other subjects on Fridays as Peggy and I wander.
I debated with myself over how to kick the series off. Frankly, starting anywhere works when focusing in on the creativity of this annual event in the remote Nevada desert. Art is everywhere. Appreciating and enjoying it is the primary reason I have returned to Black Rock City again and again. Of course, people go to the event for many other reasons as well, such as dancing and drinking to the rolling thunder of heavy metal into the wee hours of the morning. They also go to see and be seen, to dress up in elaborate costumes, to attend lectures, to escape from their everyday worlds, and to participate in and contribute to Burning Man’s unique culture. The latter is central to the event. I consider photographing the art and sharing it with you as part of my contribution.
One of the most creative endeavors at Burning Man is the building of mutant vehicles, which is undertaken by both individuals and groups, or tribes as they are sometimes called out on the Playa. They are three ways to get around at Burning Man: to walk, to bike (which most do) or to travel in radically altered vehicles— i.e. mutants. Normal cars, vans, trucks, etc. must be parked. Mutant vehicles come in a variety of forms from bugs, to animals, to ships, to you name it. Today I am going to focus on dragons, most of whom breathe fire! Now, back to the green dragon featured at the top of the post.
NEXT POST: From dragons to bugs, to cats, and hippos! More mutant vehicles.
The Grand Canyon is truly one of the world’s great natural wonders. It’s celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year and I am quite pleased— and a little proud— that I have been returning there on a regular basis for 50 of those years. I’ve posted on my trips into the Canyon by foot and boat many times. Today, since I am still working on Burning Man photos and don’t have another Pacific Crest Trail post ready yet, I decided to reach back into my WordPress archives and put up some Grand Canyon photos. Happy 100th Grand Canyon!
NEXT POST: Either on Burning Man or the Pacific Crest Trail. Depends on what I get done. (grin)
The climate here in Southern Oregon along the Upper Applegate River is worth crowing about, however. Mild winters are hemmed in by colorful falls and warm springs. The summer can get a tad warm at times, but they are mainly tolerable. Only the seemingly endless fires of August and September are a royal pain in the derrière. Pardon my French.
What snow we do get is always an invitation to go for a walk. I like to see what animals have left their tracks for me to peruse and to admire the beauty of the freshly fallen snow. And, of course, my camera goes along. It insists. As a result, you are pretty much guaranteed to get my annual snow post. I feel obligated. (grin) So here it is!
NEXT POST: I’ve been working hard at going through and categorizing and culling out my umpteen thousand Burning Man photos. Assuming I finish, it will be fun to go through and highlight some of the better ones. I’ve created 12 different categories!
I remembered Noble Lake from my 2003 trek when I backpacked 360 miles from Lake Tahoe to Mt. Whitney to celebrate my 60th birthday. For some reason, it didn’t seem as ‘noble’ this time. Maybe that’s because of all the other lakes I had passed on my hike down the PCT. But the views looking back toward the Mokelumne Wilderness were spectacular.
NEXT POSTS: Time’s limited since I am preparing for the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. I have one more post on this section of the PCT and then Peggy has two posts on her experiences as ‘trail angel.’ I think I will hold on these three posts until after the conference. In the meantime, I will put up some Burning Man eye candy since Peggy and I are hoping to go this year, assuming we can get tickets.
I left you in the last post about my hike down the PCT with photos of spectacular rocks and impressive trees. I say goodbye to the Mokelumne Wilderness in this post, hike across Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass, and continue my journey southward. Of course there will be more pretty trees, but roots, snags, flowers, a family from Taiwan and through-hikers are the main subject for photos today.
NEXT POST: Adios, Puerto Vallarta… with a few spectacular sunsets.
Usually when Peggy and I visit Las Vegas, I do a complete post on the Strip. Not this time. We went downtown to the Venetian Hotel and discovered that it was the Chinese Year of the Pig. The pig shared a room with a Burning Man sculpture that Peggy and I had admired on one of our many trips to the event.
Having done the Las Vegas thing, it was time to head home. We decided to travel on Nevada 95, which runs up the west side of the state from Las Vegas to Reno. Most people experience the trip as vacant desert to be driven through as fast as possible. We see it as filled with beauty and quirkiness. It is one of our favorite drives.
NEXT POST: Speaking of the PCT, we will journey back to it in my next post.
Abandoned mines litter Death Valley’s history. In my last post, I featured one of the most successful mines in the area, the Harmony Borax Works. It was so successful that the twenty-mule team responsible for hauling its ore across the desert served as a logo for the long running TV show, Death Valley Days. The show was hosted by none other than Ronald Reagan in the 1964/65 season when I was a student at Berkeley. It’s possible I even watched an episode or two while avoiding the baton-wielding police sent to campus by Edwin Meese, Oakland’s District Attorney at the time— and Reagan’s future Attorney General.
Mercury, talc, gold, silver, sodium chloride, Epson salts, tungsten, and copper were some of the other minerals that miners pursued with visions of wealth dancing in their heads. Few were successful. Some 2000 mine ruins were left behind as their legacy. Ashford Mill is one such ruin. It was built by the Ashford brothers to process ore from their Golden Treasure Mine located 5 miles to the east in the Armargosa Range. The brothers alternated working the mine and leasing it out to various companies for over 30 years until they finally gave up in the early 40s. A lot of money, work and heartache was devoted to the effort, but the ‘golden treasure’ was not to be found. Today, all that remains of the mill are the cement walls of what was the office and a few remnants.
For all of our trips into Death Valley over the years, Peggy and I have never entered from the south end of the park. We remedied that this time by heading over to Pahrump from Las Vegas following Highway 160 and then cutting over to the remote town of Shoshone on 178 and on into Death Valley. Following are some of the photos that Peggy and I took illustrating this route.
NEXT POST: A bit of Las Vegas and the road north to Reno.
The red hood of our truck reflects a desert scene from the Twenty Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley. The short 2 1/2 mile side trip is one of our favorites in the National Park. Imagine, if you will, driving an 18 mule/2horse team hauling 10 tons of borax over 160 miles of desert. The total weight including wagons was 36 tons and the livestock and wagons stretched for over 180 feet! I asked my 278 horse power truck if it would like to pull such a load through Death Valley. The answer was a resounding no. Having struggled with hauling only myself and gear over the hills and mountains of the Park on my bicycle during my 10,000 mile bike trek, I heartily agreed.
The real treat in driving over the short distance is the almost unreal beauty. Peggy and I stopped the truck several times along the road to get out and take photos. I’ve posted before on the canyon but we took all of these photos on Sunday.
NEXT POST: I’ll conclude our journey through Death Valley National Park.
“Only the Devil could play golf here.” 1934 National Park guide book.
Peggy and I are playing hooky, extending our seemingly endless time away from home. One would think that backpacking the PCT, visiting Puerto Vallarta, and spending over a month with our kids in Florida and North Carolina would satisfy our wandering needs for a while. But no, here we are in Las Vegas, or Lost Wages, as I like to call it, ensconced in a comfortable suite at the very southern tip of Las Vegas Boulevard, the infamous Strip. Or is that famous?
Few people who visit this city venture outside of its mecca of gambling and entertainment pleasure palaces. Peggy and I always do. There is much to see and do. There is a desert on its doorstep, and it is a desert of rare beauty. Death Valley National Park is a prime example. It is a mere two hours away and Peggy and I drove out there on Sunday. To us, it’s like seeing an old friend; we have been there many times.
It is a geologist’s dream— there are rocks everywhere, and the rocks all have stories to tell. It’s a story of ancient seas and lakes and volcanic activities and clashing, mountain-building plates. Death Valley is a rift valley, or a graben in technical terms, formed along a fault zone between two mountain ranges. As the mountains were thrust up by tectonic forces, the valley dropped between them, several thousand feet. The two mountain ranges have since filled the valley up with eroded debris.
The shallow Lake Manly filled the basin a few thousand years ago. As the climate of the area changed and became more desert like, the lake dried up. Its briny waters left a deep deposit of salt behind, which brings us to today’s post. The Devil’s Golf Course is located a short 10 miles away from Bad Water Basin, which, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point on the North American continent. Water that drains into the Basin melts the salt and becomes undrinkable, thus the name. The Devil’s Golf Course is several feet higher and avoids the melting water. Instead, capillary action pulls salty subsurface water up creating the crystalline structures that the area is famous for.
Peggy and I caught the area at a particularly good time for photography, which surprised me, given the location of the overhead sun. Anyway, here are the results.
NEXT POST: A ghostly reminder of Death Valley’s past, and more.
The Bush Devil Ate Sam is an important record and a serious story, yet told easily, and with delightful humor. This is one of the most satisfying books I have ever read, because it entertained me thoroughly AND made me feel better informed. —Hilary Custance Green: British Author... Click on the image to learn more about my book, the Bush Devil Ate Sam, and find out where it can be ordered.
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