Over the last 4 years Just Kidding, Happy Pants and I (Gottago) aka Melissa, Jen and Linda, have done an 8 day northbound section backpack on the PCT over the girl’s work vacations. We initially started at the Mexico/Ca border Monument and have backpacked to where we left off at Soledad Canyon Road this year.
I’ve done this section 3 times before but had forgotten how hard it was. Climbing Baden Powell on the second day was no easy feat carrying 5 day’s worth of supplies. We were not prepared for the ice on the trail 1/4 of a mile from the top of Baden Powell’s 9,000 plus foot mountain. Nor had we trained liked we had in the past. We wanted to go lighter but gave up gear and clothing weight rather than food weight (we all like our food and fear not having enough) so experienced some chilly days and nights. (I had forgotten we were doing this section 2-3 weeks earlier than I had in the past so it was colder!).
We always have a good time. We laugh a lot. But our 12 hour hiking days and 14 – 15 miles felt long and hard. Getting to a campsite at night is always the highlight of the day. We love taking photos and even not so great sunsets don’t stop us from getting our cameras out and shooting for a half hour or more.
Here are a few more photos (I posted some on FB already). I keep saying I’m going to start using my blog rather than posting on FB and hopefully I will.
Click the link if you would like to see an Animoto Video Show of some pictures I took at Frank’s 5th Annual Holiday Party.
If you have the time and interest, I’ve posted all my fav Salton Sea photos I shot last weekend here at this link: http://gottago.smugmug.com/Classes-Workshops/20141205-Salton-Sea-Keith-Skelto/
I’ve been sick with a cold since I returned from Keith’s California Photography Workshops at the Salton Sea. The upside of being sick is that I’ve spent the last two days completely going through the editing and posting of my favorite 88 photos! That’s a lot of keepers for me.
I can’t seem to stop going to the Salton Sea. I’m finding it is almost a sure bet I’ll come across some incredibly beautiful shots there. The beauty comes in all different forms, colors, shapes and sizes. I really never know what I’m going to shoot or what I anticipate seeing there. It is always different and a surprise! And I have come to realize I am never disappointed. So why not go back, right?
This past weekend even I surprised myself with how many varied shots I got. I’ve heard it said many times that if you get one good photo out of 500 that’s good. The more I shoot and the longer I shoot while I’m out there shooting, that percentage of good shots increases. I’m finally seeing my own progress, but not without the help of many friends, family and other photographers who have been very positively generous with their feedback on my photographs lately.
Enjoy and come on down to the Salton Sea with me sometime.
I just got back this afternoon from a Salton Sea Workshop lead by Keith Skelton. I shot Thursday through Sunday and had a great time with the other photographers and also got some nice photos…..this is always a good thing!
I edited about 29 photos from today’s shoot and posted them all on my Smugmug Portfolio site. If you are interested in taking a peek, here is the link: http://gottago.smugmug.com/Classes-Workshops/20141205-Salton-Sea-Keith-Skelto/
Here is a teaser……
Canon 5d Mark III
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +2X
Focal length: 260mm
Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/5.6
Manual exposure and Spot metering.
http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/ Interesting read.
Here are links to where you may see some of the shots I took.
Friday, The Gay Pride Festival – http://gottago.smugmug.com/Events/2014-Gay-Pride-Parade/
Saturday, The Gay Pride Parade - http://gottago.smugmug.com/Events/2014-Gay-Pride-Parade/
Orisson – Roncesvalles
I’m finally getting to write up this day’s blog entry from some bullet points I kept. There is very little down time here on the Camino. When our day of hiking ends we begin getting ready for the next day’s hiking, showered, fed and prepared with snacks for the next day
We left the Orisson Alburgue way before anyone was up. We hiked by the light of Pat’s headlamp. It was very windy and walking on the narrow road I was concerned with cars driving up behind us (there was no room to pass us off the mountainous road) and with the loud noise of the strong wind we couldn’t hear an auto approaching and because of the light from Pat’s headlamp on the road we also wouldn’t be forewarned by the head lights of an approaching car, so I asked Pat to turn her headlamp off.
The higher we walked the windier it got. We put our rain jackets on. I also put my backpack rain cover on as one of the many large clouds looked dark enough it might release some rain.
We passed a Pilgrim who had gotten caught in the evening lightening storm trying to hike to Roncesvalles around 10pm last night. He said he slept under an over hang and prayed for his life as the lightning landed all around him! yikes.
We’d been reminded that because of some Pilgrims and their not so nice manners Basque Sheepherders we not happy with the Pilgrims. Well we ran into a Basque Sheepherder and went over to talk to him. We were impressed with how he communicated with his dog and precise his dog was herding his sheep. Of course I took photos. The gentleman brought his dog over and let us pet him. It was a wonderful experience watching both the man and his incredibly we’ll trained dog work the sheep spot on moving them exactly where he wanted the sheep to go.
All along this mountain road we saw sheep, wild horses, hawks and farm horses. Bells hung from the animals creating all too familiar mountain music all morning. We stopped for a quick snack break and just after we were getting up to walk again, rain fell. The first Pilgrim to catch up with us had just said he didn’t think it would rain. I told Pat he’s not very experienced reading weather. We’d been watching the approaching cloud letting lose of rain as it approached. The hiker was wearing shorts and a tee shirt.
The dramatic black skies against whiter sky and a thin sliver of red sunrise hopefully will make for some good black and white photos. I was cold but loving this morning and all the photo ops. I walk ahead of Pat and then wait for her. This morning I got cold waiting. Sometimes I take lots of photos and then catch up to Pat. This seems to work but it is difficult when two people have such different paces. I now understand why some of my backpacking friends can’t backpack with me:-)
Right after our snack break while it was still raining we came up on a roadside snack truck. I bought some of the local sheep cheese made by the vender along with two slices of nice looking bread.
All the many Pilgrims started passing us after about 2 hours. We ran into Cate and her daughter, Erin who we sat next to at dinner the night before.
We ended our day’s 10.5 mi section at 2:30pm. This was Pat’s longest day ever hiking. My body and feet felt good. The Dueter pack works well.
There were no hotel rooms to be had in Roncesvalles. We tried the three hotels and asked a nice taxi driver to call the next little town for a room. No luck. So we headed over to the Alburgue, a massive one, clean, we’ll organized and MANY rules. Lights out at 10pm, no packs on our bed, no shoes anywhere inside, but free! Not coin operated 5 minute showers. They have a water spinner for your clothes if you washed them yourself. I washed mine and the lady helping in the laundry room said no when I asked if I could get my clothes dried in the dryer. The dryer is only available to use if one’s clothes had been washed in the washing machine there. Understandable.
We’d grabbed a quick bite to eat, a Spanish Omelete (like a quiche made Ali’s with potato) rather than make reservations at one of the 3 dinner settings for the Pilgrims staying at this Alburgue. All the other 3 restaurants required reservations and they were also full.
I was tired and got into my lower bunk at 7pm (the hospitalero had compassion for Pat and me and gave us lower bunks!). I got a lot of sleep.