myrtle 2017 – my golf bag is now lighter

Great golf and many lost balls. Summarized nicely in 4 videos.

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Two views of hiking

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Mom 85 – the big fun birthday gala

Happy birthday to my mom, who continues to inspire me and love me. We ended up doing an excellent “Things we love about” board, and all the young-uns wrote letters, which was really nice. I also did a presentation, with appropriate mocking from the sisters, with a nice video finale from pop. For those what want to relive it, see below.

Happy birthday “chopped” !

Click here to see the multi-faceted presentation.

Click here to see finale video



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A party for Tim – 70

Great time last night – Happy birthday to Tim….

The roast went well… although he confounded me by singing “climb every mountain” for some reason .

see Things you dont know about Tim.pdf


And I got a good video of my favorite long gone daddies song –


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Backpacking 1000 Island Lake !

Years ago, I heard about 1000 island lake. I believe it as was a TV “motion” episode which was mostly memorable for spectacular scenery, and the hazards of altitude sickness. Couple that with the recommendations of master-hiker Kate, this was I place I needed to see. Glacier fed lakes, Alpine exploring, and the self-reliance and suffering of backpacking were the goals.



In the flight to San Francisco, I usually look for Mono Lake. When I did not see it, I started thinking we were south of it (I was on the left southern looking side of the plane). And sure enough, there was my destination! Agnew meadow is in the valley to the left, below Garnet.

After a few days of acclimation hikes (Devils pilepost, Duck Lake pass), we left on a bright Friday morning from Agnew Meadow with our packs, headed for 1000 Island lake. The River trail took us around 5 miles on a very gradual incline, until the end of the valley and the final push up to the lake. We made good time and were done in around 4.5 hours or so, with a fair amount of sweat and toil.

After the usual waiting for Brodie to find the perfect campsite, we set up camp. I took a swim to get the stink off me. And we did a few short hikes to explore. And then it was time to eat. And sleep – yes – as the sun went down at 8pm.

From some research on the lake (I found this amusing): “I think the ascent to Thousand Island will be an eye-opener …. it’s a beautiful climb. Add two miles to the point where you reach the end of the lake and you’ll be happy– you can’t camp within 1/3 mile of the tip of the lake and the further west you go, the further you get from Bear Central, which is the zone with all the cool campsites and clustered groups of campers starting right at the 1/3 mile mark. Follow the coast west until you reach the fleur-de-lis shaped cove (check it on the map) and you’ll have camping and fishing to yourselves. In the morning, you can giggle over the terrified screams of those campers who were savagely mauled by Yogi Bear and…well, you can chuckle when you leave and campers near trail tell you they had a visit in the dark.”


The next day was dedicated to a long exploration of the shoulder of Mr Ritter, with the beautiful Lake Catherine on the other side. We explored snow fields, drank pristine water, and spent the entire day exploring. Just magical.



On the way back to camp, we decided to traverse the scree fields of Mt Banner, thinking it looked like a nice gentle and interesting way back to camp. That was not the best plan, as it was far longer and harder than we thought. As we then trudged into camp after a 10 hour day, only to hear thunder and see rain in the nearby valley. After some prep (as best we can) we waited to see if we would get rained on (we had no rain fly). We lucked out, and had a peaceful night.

The next day (Sunday) we broke camp and traversed from 1000 Island lake, past 2 great smaller lakes , and then camped for the last night at Garnet lake, but not before huddling under a tree as what we thought was rain came thru, but turned out to be hail… (seriously?) ….

Finally, Monday came (my birthday), as it was time to go. We packed up and left Garnet Lake, and somehow got on the wrong trail down, headed for the River trail and back to Agnew meadow. After traversing down a wall with our packs, we came upon three unmarked trailheads. We took the one in the middle which was delightful, until we had gone down for 45 minutes or so, only to have the trail end… yeah. Just ended. Not great. With the last battery from Brodies cellphone and his trail map, we went cross country for a bit, until we heard a guy yell “hey there”. He was standing 30 feet above us. I told him “do you know where the river trail is?”. He said “I’m standing on it”. Ahhh…. A small miracle.


After that it was time to trudge out , separately, rockin out to mostly Green Day. An end to an awesome trip (thanks Brodie).. and “damn you Brodie” !

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1000 island lake – the top 4 mistakes Brodie made

Most things went just fine, and in fact we did emerge in one piece (so – there’s that), but let’s just go ahead and document the Brodie blunders, if only to annoy him:

  1. Just because it is the Siarras, that does not mean it cannot rain, causing us to tape our Gortex’s to the tent (which was essentially a convertible), as well as borrow plastic bags from other backpackers (the rain fly will never be left behind again).. This was our Saturday night, at 1000 island lake.. with weather coming… we could hear it.. it would have been grim to get rained on… but we were ok.

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2) As we arrived at Garnet lake, more weather seemed to be coming, from the direction of Mt Ritter.. this time, it was a good course of hail… in September. Great fun.


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3) When spending the whole day exploring Mt Ritter, why not head back across 90 minutes of dangerous skree, a snow field or two, and then a dodgy descent finally to 1000 island lake… All because of the brodie montra – “if I am up here, I want to be down there”. If I am down there, I want to be up there” .

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4) And finally, on the final hike out, we got lost…. When presented with 3 unmarked options , Brodie decided on the center one (that is totally what happened, just ask my friend Hannity), which took us on a hour long downwards trail, which then ended . We then bushwacked for a while, with no great results, until a miracle happened and passing hiker on the actual trail 30 feet above us called out.. and saved the day…


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Italy – Venice – the city of water

Our final stay was 2 nights in Venice, a city surrounded by water. I actually got a good look at that while on the original flight in, as we passed the city on the way to landing on the mainland. It really is stunning to see just how built up it is, and surrounded by water.

As for the city itself, it is very interesting, with lots of narrow alleys, and canals everywhere. It had the best bookshop ever, Euro 2016 soccer games in a plaza, and San Marcos square at night , with the chamber music, was a delight (to br avoided in the daytime. All in all a good cap to the overall Italy trip, but it paled in comparison (to me) to the magnificence of the Dolomites (see other posts). It was a city… an interesting and quirky city.

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