Nearly all of my best friends from high school and their families spent a very fun weekend hanging out and watching our kids play on the hammocks at the newly established Webber Lake Campground.
Our entire group took a lovely hike through Lacey Meadow and got to play in Lacey Creek where several other families of young children were already playing. Along the way we spotted 12 different species of wildflowers!
And, while I have no photographic evidence, Dave, Lucas, Zephyr and I were witness to a bizarre display of animal interactions while on an sunset canoe across the lake. We were skunked fishing, but what we saw really made up for the lack of fish. We witnessed a young black tail deer, no more than a year old, antagonize two sandhill cranes and a huge gaggle of geese. I had heard the cranes chatting-up a storm, so we tried to canoe around the inlet delta's willows to take a peek. As we stealthily paddled to within several hundred yards we could see the young deer put its tail up and head down as it ran towards the cranes. The cranes leapt out of the way each time and gave the dear an earful. But the dear was undeterred, and much like a bullfight, the dear circled round and made about eight more passes at the crane, sometimes chasing it into water about 18" deep.
With the cranes fully pissed-off, the deer shifted its attention to a gaggle of three-dozen Canadian geese that were sitting on the marshy shore minding their own business. Like an impetuous human toddler, the deer again raised it's tail and, with a 35-meter run-up made a beeline for the gaggle of geese. The deer was like a bowling ball plowing through the geese. The geese flew-off just in the nick of time, tumbling out like bowling pins and all the while probably wondering what in the hell they ever did to the deer to deserve this kind of treatment. To cap-off the evening's events a bald eagle swooped down about 20' above our heads and landed in some trees on the north shore of the lake. The sun was setting and we raced back across the lake so that I could take the picture below.
I'm lucky to have such awesome friends! We'll be returning to Webber Lake next year.
Since Laura had to spend a week in Monterey for an AP Environmental Science professional development conference, I thought it would be fun to spend a father-son-grandma day hiking in the Sierras. Our goal was to reach Grouse Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness, but we knew the relatively gently 3.5miles to the lake might push Zephyr’s limits. While the trail was relatively gradual in its topography, the volcanic breccia made the trail quite uneven in places and slowed us down (as did a crazy-stubborn 5yr old that had a hard time remembering not to jump on or off rocks).
In the end we made it to Pine Valley and Lily Creek, which Grandma Hollister and I decided would make a great place to hang out before turning around. After a dip in the creek Zephyr was refreshed which aided in the increased rate at which we were able to hike back. I think Grouse Lake would take me about 1.5hrs to reach if traveling solo.
The road to Pine Valley Horse camp was SEVERELY degraded during this winter’s RAIN storms. What used to be an excellent graded road is now only suitable for 4WD. I hope they get the road fixed soon.
Big news! I've spent several days manually migrating all of my 2004 to 2014 adventure photo journals to a brand new Esri Storymap. You can find the newly revised "Hikes and Adventures" page in the navigation bar above. The tabs are pretty self-explanatory and are color-coded by category such as "Day Hikes", "Backpacking", etc. I've tried to give an honest description of each hike and adventure, including a fishing rating for those so inclined to fish.
As the weeks go on I'll do my best to backfill all of my hikes from 2014 to present that were never added to the map. Hopefully before September I'll be all caught up!
Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.