U.S. 395 FALL COLORS October 19, 2015

Apprised of the fall color peak by June Lake, I had made a decision to organize a Meet-Up group. Setting a climb of Tioga Peak, one signed up, but cancelled. The weather was due to storm, with snow above 9,000 feet, by the Yosemite Facebook lead. Saturday, I saw rain, and cancelled this event to see how that goes. I had made an offer to one hiker on my Meet-Up event Friday, to Red Hill in Golden Valley. I ran another Meet-Up event to the top of Patagonia Hill, or Mayberry Park Hill, but with only one taker. Disappointing.

With heavy attendance on other hikers’ peak climbs, I felt rejected. Getting only a few, I figure that no one really likes peak bagging as much as I do. I’d try it again, with another Meet-Up event for this coming week. They must figure me for a looney, to have to climb to the top, as one said he couldn’t care less. I explained to him that, “We don’t want fakes and frauds taking over," as may have happened on some club or online venues. Not my kind of hikers.

Waking up early on Monday, I felt good for this drive. I had cancelled the suggested Meet-Up event which never got posted. So, I’d drive alone, as always, nowadays. Leaving home, I had made reservations for lodging at Mammoth Lakes, CA, hoping that I’d feel good enough for a peak.

Motoring south on my favorite highway in the dark, I right away came upon a traffic jam. Patient, I was looking forward to this day. The sun rose, and wasn’t much of a photo op. I had my dash cam running as usual, and figured to do some speeded-up video, later. I drove steadily on, getting gas in Minden at 2.379. I stopped for breakfast in Bridgeport at the Inn.

Coming to the USFS ranger station, I talked a bit with the duty person, and took telephoto pictures of the Sawtooth Ridge. Then, my first good photo stop at about Conway Summit. Some seasons previous, the leaves would have dropped off, and the peak would have been long past. I feel that climate change is upon us, and the colors are coming later. Making two photo stops, I stopped again at the Mono Lake vista point. Fresh snow on the peaks made for a good call to cancel Tioga Peak for Sunday.

Taking then the Lundy Lake road, I ran video both ways. Satisfied that I had gotten down my video technique, from my rear view mirror, I had time to see that it didn’t zoom out inadvertently. No still photos, as I like video to show, and it is the wave of the future as far as reality. How many photos on the Internet are either misrepresented on when and where they were taken, or even Photoshopped, has me leaving still photos in favor of more real video.

I stopped at the USFS Mono Lake visitor center, taking some panoramas of Mono Lake. Then it was taking the northern turnoff for the June Lake Loop. I started my video as I could recall where the good color was. With intent to stay overnight, I repeated driving the good portions, making sure that I captured the road scene correctly. Making two passes, I discerned CHP checking on speeders, and checked my video, to make sure it had not zoomed in or out. It looked good, so I continued on.

Getting back to U.S. 395 southbound, I started to think that I had done well on time. I turned off to capture the McGee Creek road colors. Going up a ways, I turned around, and stopped for a panorama view, and then a video selfie. Trying to cancel my room reservation, I couldn’t get a signal.

Motoring on to Rock Creek road, it was mid-afternoon, so I had time to get back home. I managed to cancel my room reservation, saving me $63. I motored up toward Mosquito Flat, then turned about past the lodge and started video on my downhill, with the sun favoring this angle. The Internet site for fall colors, had rated the road and areas as peak. With no good reds, I was slightly disappointed, giving this season a 6 out of 10. There were just too many greens, with leaves that just had not yet turned.

Motoring back north on U.S. 395, I figure that now, I live here in the Eastern Sierra. It’d be so great for peak bagging, but I seem to think that my time is past. With Meet-Up, it may be a new start, but they seem not to think highly of my sport. I proposed a 53 peaks club, as with Vegas and their 52 peak club, but no one has commented yet. In my checking registers, few if any hikers come from Reno, NV. Mostly, they all are from the big California cities, for a wilderness escape.

I enjoyed seeing the highway view of Ritter and Banner, with the Minarets silhouetted by lighter clouds, then figured not to do the June Lake Loop again, as the sun was setting. The aspen might not anymore be in sunlight, there. I stopped once again at the Mono Lake vista point, then for another Conway Summit photo op, and headed on home. Clouds darkened the scene, so I didn’t set my camera anymore for the shots ahead. My dash cam would capture it all.

The sunset wasn’t very good, with mostly dark clouds. I filled up my tank in Carson City, NV, at 2.299. Then it was chicken katsu at Reno’s Summit Mall. I had a good day. Going to the computer company store, I picked up another new device, and motored on home. One of my 32 GB mini cards refused to download, so I presume the data is all lost, there. Only dash cam video of my drive south, but paying for retrieval is too much, with no guarantees. I store a lot of dash cam video, as I have memory and back-up so easily done. It can easily be deleted and the storage emptied for what is to come. Or, I can buy more storage, and save it all for what, who knows? This website may shortly have no more online presence, but as a crossword puzzle, it occupies my time. I will be able to review everything, but should anyone be curious, my contact information is at my Facebook site.

Capturing 776 images and movie clips, I didn’t hike very much, and spent or charged a sum, with $32 for gas, coming home nearly full, and $40 for the meals, and some odd amount for soda or other drink.

My Meet-Up evening hike was O.K.’ed for this next week, and I’m really hoping to ignite a peak bagging flame. The local Club has attempted to start its own peak section, but that looks to go not very far. After the chapter stopped my Climbing-Knapsack Section, I left, so the old Peak and Gorge failed. A masochistic sport, but I get my rewards. Exercise, summit views, and so many photo ops.

My peak buddies were all retired, as was I, and then they halted due to advancing age. I’m good for maybe a few more years, and then I’ll plan like my old buddy Rex. He enjoyed motoring about, and easy hikes, and so I may do with an electric car. He never went for tech, but I certainly enjoy the best of it. Rex seemed to enjoy life, and then he finally passed away, about 12 years after he gave up going with me. Another sad chapter hiker, had a T-shirt, reading, “Life’s a B****, then you die.” I’m hoping somehow to live to 100. A Ski Mountaineer and UCB physicist, Joel Hildebrand, did just that. Lucid and aware to his death, he sets my example for myself. That I’d be around to 2050, that would just be too good to be true!