I walked through Maryland on the Appalachian Trail

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I saw enough of these white blazes for 1 weekend

I don’t have much to say, or a bunch of pictures to share. HERE are some pictures. When asked how it went 1 word springs out of my mouth every time, “miserable”. Me, Josh, and Freaky set out on my birfday weekend to spend 3 days, 2 nights, and 47 miles of walking through the woods. It was a perfect time of the year for this adventure. The leaves were at an almost perfect state of changing, the weather was cool, cold at night, and we even saw a little snowfall on our final day. We survived with no problems. We had plenty of water and food at all times, too much actually. We got dropped off in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on Friday at sunrise and picked up Sunday late afternoon in Pen Mar Park, Maryland, which is right at the Pennsylvania state line. I am overly joyed that I completed this trek. I had apprehensions but Wifey was encouraging and insistent that I could make the walk. Even through all the pain we found some time for a little Geocaching and signing pieces of paper hidden in the woods, yay for us. It has created a memory that will not soon be forgotten. Most of the weekend was spent simply putting 1 foot in front of the other. In between those steps we saw several gorgeous overlooks, bumped into interesting people and scenes, and did not murder each other. As miserable as the walk was we had a lot of fun and laughs, which happens organically in a group of complete assholes. This was definitely a horrible experience that I hope to relive again one day. That is a lot of what makes a good memory. Remembering something that frightened, sickened, or made me nervous and knowing I did it anyway. Due to weight limitations I didn’t take my good camera, but I did take a small camera that I apparently do not like too much. HERE are some pictures if you are interested.

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Prelude to an adventure

Last weekend Charlie the Dog and I went to Frostburg, Maryland for an overnight. We camped in a park and hiked both days. In the morning we woke up to completely frost covered ground, in Frostburg, how ironic (yuk). It was mostly a successful adventure. We had a great time with some fun people. I dropped my fancy camera and pack into moving water on Sunday. I panicked, but quickly realized I can’t travel in time, so there is nothing I can do. Thankfully I think only 1 thing is ruined, and it is one of the less expensive things. This weekend a few of us are going to adventure along the Appalachian Trail through the state of Maryland. I doubt I will make it alive. Wish me luck. How about these few great pictures from last weekend?!?

What a handsome fella

What a handsome fella

You don't see this in the part of Maryland I live

You don’t see this in the part of Maryland I live

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Final camping weekend in Shenandoah Park

2014-10-26-Shenandoah-53A few weekends ago I went down for an overnight in Shenandoah National Park. It was the last weekend that the park was open for camping. Unfortunately I had to go down without my best hiking buddy, he’s still not doing great, definitely not up for mountain scaling. I wanted to try and get down for some of the leaf peeping. I think I was about a week too late for optimal photographic beauty. I still had a great time, went on 2 amazing hikes, first thing at sunrise and another shortly before sunset. In the morning I stumbled upon a place called Rapidan Camp. I 2014-10-26-Shenandoah-13knew nothing about it or that I was even going to end up there. Turns out this was the home of President Hoover. I was there first thing in the morning, nobody else around. There is a small museum there and the presidents actual home is still there by tour only. A nice older couple came walking out to greet me and asked if I wanted a tour of the presidents house. It wasn’t on my agenda of things to do that day, I don’t find presidents interesting in the slightest, but how could I turn down a private tour. It ended up being a very interesting and informative hour. I never would have imagined enjoying that time so much. I have never had a favorite president before, but I do now, President Hoover seemed pretty great. Anyone that would live in Shenandoah must be OK.

I did not take too many pictures and unfortunately did not get anything that I am crazy about. HERE are a few of the better ones: www.jimmysellers.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=111

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Yosemite 2014 – Getting lost in the woods – Glen Aulin & Pacific Crest Trail

2014-09-Yosemite-688The final hike of the trip was a doozie. It had everything you might want in an adventure. Action, suspense, drama, cowboys, people getting lost, and waterfalls. The journey for the final day was mostly a circle starting from our tents, heading to the high country camp Glen Aulin, and then back down to civilization and Tioga Road. We started early and picked up the Pacific Crest Trail not far from our campsite. The PCT is the west coast equivalent of the Appalachian Trail on the east coast. It is a footpath through the wilderness that runs from Mexico to Canada. It has been my life long dream to set foot on the PCT since I first heard about it 2 months ago. Imagine how excited Josh and I were when we saw Pacific Crest Trail on the Yosemite map of the high country. It didn’t matter where that trail was, once we saw it, we were going to walk on it. The walk up to Glen Aulin was beautiful, mostly along a river with sporadic waterfalls. The only downfall was the time when Josh and Matt lost me. We were all together one minute, and then separated for the next hour or two. I was never worried, I had a GPS machine, and they had the power of numbers, although one of those numbers was Josh. I realized there was a problem when I ran into a cowboy, yes a real life cowboy, riding a horse, wearing chaps and a duster, carrying a gun, and leading a large line of donkeys. I asked the cowboy if he saw 2 other hikers the way he came from. He said no, I said no problem I’d meet them at Glen Aulin. He told me Glen Aulin was behind me. I wanted to argue because I’m so smart, but he was a cowboy with a gun. I turned around and starting running in the other direction hoping to catch the other guys as quickly as possible. Running might be overstating the forward movements I was making, but I tried. I went about 2 miles out of the way, which does not sound like a lot of distance, but it is a lot at that elevation, incline, and running as fast as possible. I finally met them just as they were getting to Glen Aulin. They were planning to wait for me there if the need arose. I think I pissed one or both of them off, I apologized and explained what happened. It was an honest mistake, even a sweet boy like me, with my own GPS machine could get turned around and go the wrong way in the woods.

From Glen Aulin it was mostly down hill and back to Tioga Road. This was not a full loop, we got picked up by Dan and Drew at a parking area near the trailhead. I really wanted to hitchhike back the 10+ miles, but nobody else was into that idea. I hang out with unadventurous bums. The last of Yosemite 2014 pictures can be found HERE. Also a “Best Of” pictures page is HERE. Thanks for reading.

Yosemite 2014 – Elizabeth Lake and Tuolumne Meadows

2014-09-Yosemite-651We made our move of camps from the Yosemite Valley to the high country and Tuolumne Meadows. Once there and camp was set up we immediately set out for a hike straight up in the air to Elizabeth Lake. We hiked across the 9000 foot elevation point to about 9500 feet. Once at the lake we circled the entire lake and took some time to scamper up and across some rock formations. I believe this particular hike, in conjunction with the time of day and weather conditions made for the best photo opportunities of the trip. You know the conditions are great to take pictures when even a life long seasoned professional photographer like Matt was super excited to take pictures. A place he has probably shot several times before, and I could see his boyhood excitement. The mirrored effects of the mountains, sky, and clouds off the water were spectacular. It was the most fortunate of timing for us. The entire hike was great, the weather cooled down nicely because of the elevation and late afternoon. We made it back down to camp just around sunset. Perfect time to put on warmer clothes, eat some food out of a bag, and bundle up for sleeping in the cold. I fooled around with some of the pictures. Some I made the way I saw them with my eyes, and a few I made with some fun effects that I like. Some pictures HEREwww.jimmysellers.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=109

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Yosemite 2014 – Camp change & Olmsted Point

After a few nights sleeping outside in the Yosemite Valley, it was time to move camp to the high country. We packed up camp and started driving to Tuolumne Meadows. As the crow flies it is only about 20 miles, probably less. But it takes 3-4 hours to drive there. The elevation climb is several thousand feet and the drive is across the beautiful ridge of Tioga Road. We came up to the high country of Yosemite last year, but only for a day trip. This year we were going to sleep outside, under the stars for a few nights, and wake up in the most beautiful part of the park. As Bob Hrabek the park ranger said to us as we entered, “Welcome to Paradise”. He wasn’t kidding. Ranger Bob then proceeded to hook us up 2014-09-Yosemite-534with what must have been the best campsite on the grounds. We were nestled in the trees and backed right up to the trail that lead to everywhere you could possibly want to wander. A giant change from down in the valley. The climate changed too, once the sun was gone it was freezing. Perfect for sleeping outside.

On the drive up to our new home we stopped at Olmsted Point. Another place we stopped last year, but completely different this time. The weather and skies were very cooperative for photography. The skies were deep blue with cotton ball clouds. I was able to capture a picture of a tree I loved last year, but couldn’t do much with it on camera because of a dull sky. We marched out to the Point for another view of Half Dome, and then continued to our new home in Tuolumne Meadows. Once there we set up camp and went for a hike straight from our tents to Lake Elizabeth. It was an elevation change of over 1000 feet, maxing around 9500 feet. Elizabeth Lake is were the most amazing photo experiences happened, while we were there everything changed to make for the perfect conditions. I hope I was able to capture something. I will find time to get to those photos next. For now I was able to get through a few more photos, Olmsted Point and our hike toward Elizabeth Lake. Those pictures are HERE. www.jimmysellers.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=107

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A little more Yosemite September 2014

I finally had a chance to go through a few more of the Yosemite pictures from last month. I can’t believe it has already been a month ago. I went through and processed a few of the 2014-09-Yosemite-252-HDRpanorama photos and HDR photos that I made. Some are fun, others are nonsense. I also went through the pictures of the day Josh and I went to see the big trees on our own. Giant sequoia trees, and they are giant. Pictures do them zero justice. We hiked up to a point that is only a mile from the museum and could tell that nobody goes up there. It was an amazing vista point, but since there was no road to drive up there, I doubt it gets many
visits. That was a fun day in Wawona that started out hectic and full of uncertainty. It definitely worked out for the best. Later we were able to find a spot and watch the sun set on Half Dome. People queue up and wait for hours to get the perfect picture of the “golden light” on Half Dome. Josh and I fell ass-backwards into a spot in a meadow and watched from there, with nobody else around. Josh was able to watch some of the football game by Peeping Tom’ing through a stranger’s window. My pictures are not the storybook pictures of Half Dome, but I’ll take it for my personal collection. I still think the best pictures are yet to come. I haven’t even gotten to the days with the amazing skies and mirrored lakes. Some of the newest pictures are HEREwww.jimmysellers.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=105 2014-09-Yosemite-427-HDR

Yosemite September 2014 – Days 1 and 2

2014-09-Yosemite-114I finally had some time to look through pictures from Yosemite last month, September 2014. I have only made it through the first day and a half of pictures. I know the best are near the end of the trip, but I have to go through them in order. That is part of my CDO disorder.

We hiked the Panorama Trail on our second day in Yosemite. The group of 5 went together. The first day Josh and I set out on our own to circumnavigate would is called Mirror Lake or Mirror Meadow. It was a lake when I was here last year, and a meadow this year. Amazing what this planet does.

Pictures are HERE in case you are interested or overly bored. http://www.jimmysellers.com/pictures/thumbnails.php?album=1042014-09-Yosemite-126

Shenandoah National Park May 2014

Pictures are HERE, boring diatribe is below.

2014-05-Shenandoah-358Last weekend Charlie and I spent a boys-only, long weekend camping in Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive. Wifey was heading out of town to scuba dive, and I wanted to find something fun for Charlie and I. He had never been camping, or even slept outside. Pretty lame for a supposed wild animal. I wasn’t sure how it would go, or if Charlie would hate me for this, but all went fairly smooth. A secondary purpose to this trip was to test out and break in my new camera.

2014-05-Shenandoah-99We packed up and headed out from home at 3am. We were inside the park by 6am, the booths were not even open yet. There was a sign in the windows that said, “Welcome, please pay when you leave”. By 7:30am we were geared up and out for our first hike. The weather on Friday was a bit rainy and very cloudy and foggy. There was no sunrise to speak of. Most people would have been unhappy not to be able to see anything from the vista points. Where Charlie and I were, in the woods, walking along the river, the mist and fog added to the overall ambiance and experience. The first hike was amazing and mind blowing. I couldn’t believe how nice this park was. After the first hike we had a nice breakfast and went to find our campground. In short time we had our tent set up and completely modeled our new home for the next couple nights.

Later that afternoon we did another circuit hike to a beautiful vista. After dinner we drove out to a pull off on Skyline Drive to watch the sunset. After being mesmerized by the campfire for a while it was time to see how sleeping in a tent with Charlie was going to work out. It went OK, he was a bit tentative, but realized that I would never do anything to hurt him.

The next morning we were up for the sunrise and then off to a waterfall that we discovered the day before. I wanted to get there before the sun came up and try to get photos of the waterfall in action. A total of 3 hikes this day. On the second hike at the summit we ran into a young couple from Harford County. I told him I lived near him, from Cecil. His response blew my mind. He said, “I figured you were close to me, I saw the Hillside on your car.” 200 miles from home. We finished the evening by hiking out to the edge of the park to watch the sunset. After the sunset we hiked back in the dark with only the light of a headlamp and keen canine sense of smell possessed by my pack leader.

The next morning we woke, made breakfast, and headed home. At the park exit I needed to stop and pay my fee, since they were not open when we entered. The ranger was shocked that I actually stop to pay, said they do not have this happen very often. It was an amazing, rejuvenating, refreshing, perfect life resetting weekend. I can’t wait to go back, I forgot how much I enjoy camping. Pictures HERE.