Sunday, October 14, 2007

3000 miles

Recently the Mrs. and I loaded up the family truckster with our offspring and some gear to tour the west for a few weeks. While the main goal of the trip was to visit friends and family, we (well, I) managed to squeeze in a little outside time.

The Sky Lakes Wilderness Area of Southern Oregon is one of the most amazing and under utilized spaces around. With a variety of entry/exit points, a multitude of trail options, and stunning views, this is a chunk of the Rogue River National Forest not to be missed. Those who have completed the Pacific Crest Trail have already seen the splendor this area has to offer.

Another spot we (well, I again) were (was) fortunate to visit was Yosemite Valley. The park is always a treat for you and the 64,537 other visitors there on any given day. Even on a weekday in late September I found the place jammed with tourons like me. With all camp grounds full, I was forced to rent an overpriced tent cabin in the housekeeping camp. The thought of not heeding the advice of metal signs and sleeping in my car crossed my mind repeatedly, but I’m a straight and narrow kind of kid, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

With a less than alpine start of 7:00 AM, I took a little jaunt up to the top of this place called Half Dome I had heard much ado about. The weather couldn’t have cooperated more and the trip was perfect, save a couple of issues I take personally:

Does anyone know how to say “cutting switchbacks is bad” in French?

Littering is another problem that blows my mind. How is it, as intelligent and evolved we humans are, some still think throwing a food wrapper or a water bottle on the ground in the middle of paradise is a good idea? WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL BUYING BOTTLED WATER FOR THAT MATTER?!

[pause for soapbox dismount]

Fortunately, I had room in my pack for the nearly one pound of garbage I hauled from the trial. A big thank you also goes out to the group of climbers that swarmed the park the same week to pick up what others leave behind.

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