Went for a hike to sea lion cove. We anchored and took a skiff to shore. There was a maintained trail by Alaskan DNR. It was about 6 miles round trip. The destination was the other side of the island, which was the Pacific Ocean. As soon as we starting walking across the island we saw a brown bear just across the way in a small meadow. He didn’t see or care about us. The walk was beautiful through the rain forest. It was a well-maintained trail by humans, which was obvious. There were a lot of man-hours put in to making the plank walks, bridges, and stairs. Once at the Pacific Ocean it felt like the edge of the world. The next thing from where we were was Japan. Quite an enjoyable day and hike. A little strenuous at times, but well worth the payoff to see the Pacific Ocean. Some pictures HERE of bear, eagle, the Sweet Family Reunion, and scenery if you are interested.
Finally after all the shake ups and changes we got on a boat named The Liseron. We gathered at the hotel and met up with the other passengers, there are 20 of us total. Most of the boat is sold to 1 family and there are 3 other couples. So my first introduction to these people is a conversation with a guy in a Trey tee shirt talking to his uncle about the Dead 50 shows that were happening at the time. I threw myself right into their conversation. I knew there was never going to be a better way to break the ice. What a perfectly kick ass start to having to meet strangers that I live with for a week. The boat is small, in comparison. The staff are all pleasant and this seems to be a fantastic alternative to our original choice of boat. We sail for a couple hours and then anchor to go kayaking or out on a skiff for sight seeing and visual animal hunting. I was surprised when Wifey chose the skiff. Whatever she wants. We saw some deer, a bunch of Eagles, and lots of other birds. The scenery is indescribable. If there was such a thing as heaven, it should be designed to look like this. After the boat tour it was time for our first sit down meal with the Sweet Family Reunion. 20 of us at a big oval table. The meal was top notch, king salmon, baked broccoli, and a rhubarb crumble for desert. After that it was sleepy time. Waking in the morning to a spectacular sunrise, coffee with a view, and awaiting threat of the world to come alive. Some pictures HERE.
A full day in Juneau Alaska. What could be better. We started the day with a nice breakfast and then took the tram up to the middle of mount Robert. This was our plan, the to hike back down. I was surprised wifey was into this, but she was. The plan changed and she decided to go UP the mountain. That was fine with me. She hung in there about and hour longer than I thought. We walked up the mountain, saw some amazing views that seem impossible this close to the coast line and found a couple geocaches along the way. Then we went for lunch and I walked her back to tuck her in for her afternoon nap. Once I got the go ahead to roam alone for a while it was back to the top of the mountain for me. This time I hiked the entire way to the bottom. After that I wandered the long way around town through an area called the highlands. Found a bunch more geocaches and then headed back for dinner. A dozen or more miles of intense walking, a couple of great meals, fun times with my favorite person, and finding things I would have never known about or seen thanks again to geocaching. A pretty great way to spend a day that was not supposed to happen in Juneau.
The luckiest boy in the world strikes again. Last weekend I won a hot air balloon ride at a charity event. Fresh off that victory, yesterday was the picnic to celebrate the end of CAM 2015, cache across Maryland. Like the last few years it was more fun than should be legally allowed. Driving hundreds of miles over 4 days just to walk in the woods, make fun of my friends, hang out with Charlie the Dog, and write my name on hidden pieces of paper. There is a photo contest each year at the picnic. Last year I did fairly well in the photo contest, even came in first in a category. I decided that was my cue to go pro, and upgrade my equipment. Yesterday I took 1st in two categories, and 2nd in a third category. I could not believe it. What a fun thing to have happen to me. Fun things rarely happen to me…sike. That makes me an award-winning photographer 2 years in row. That is definitely making it to my resume. If you are reading this (doubtful) I am available for hire.
After a big snowfall, there is nothing like a walk in the woods with my 8-legs of friends. Imagine who we ran into? It made for a wonderful photo opp. Sandy the Puggle was awfully brave today. More pictures HERE in case you are interested.
I also saw this amazing store while wandering around town. Where were these places when I was younger! Dammit!
A 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 knew 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
The 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.