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Friday, August 21, 2015

T-Minus -or- Lets Do This

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” - John Muir

My mountain adventure is going to be about 260 miles, southbound along The John Muir Trail. The JMT section is about 211 miles of the PCT in the heart of the Sierra Nevada plus some extra milage for resupply, a little side trip to summit Mt. Whitney (@14,505) then South, ending up at Kennedy Meadows.
A bit of upgraded and new equipment have made it into the pack.
And on the feet - scored a pair of La Sportiva Nepal EVO GTX Mountaineering Boots during an REI 'garage sale.' In the hands, a pair of Komperdell Carbon Approach Vario 3 Trekking Poles.

Four resupply points have been mapped and prepped for. The buckets are weighing in at about 16lbs each, pushing my final pack weight close to 50lbs!!! I've heard "the best day is the day before resupply and the worst is the day after..." From my inspiration, the film, Mile, Mile & A Half - on Netflix streaming now.

Here is a YouTube link to my GoogleEarth flyover of my trek.

The bear canister is required for my entire trek. Lucky each weeks food fits into the 700 square inch BearVault. The 5Gal HomeDepot bucket is enroute to the Muir Woods Trail Ranch deep in the mountains. I will catch up to it about 10 days in.

I trekked over 212 miles in trail training miles this year so far plus close to 600 miles of walking the dirt desert roads:)

This is a link to my realtime SPOT satellite tracker - Its a one way transmitting satellite based gps device. SPOT Tracking Map 

Some stops along the way:
Muir Trail Ranch
HorseShoeMeadow camp
Kennedy Meadows

Well, like 'break a leg' in acting, we say in the hiking world... You'l never make it. 

Update. Watch out situation the Rough Fire is at 47,000 acres in the Kings National Park. Doesn't look to be moving east to PCT but things can change

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trail dharma

                                                                                                                                PCT looking South near BigBear with iPhone6 Pano

Trail dharma (with a little d) 

Since my last post I have lost, yet to find, 13lbs and trail hiked 83 miles (not including daily 3 mile walks) Including the 10 miles I did with a full pack in the snow and the dark last night!!! Train in adverse conditions and you will thank yourself for the easy days I say.

I am learning much on my increase of strength, stamina and gear.
Some gear news and notes: I have been testing out several new items from REI (the mecca of outdoors if you take it seriously:-) First on cooking. I have been dehydrating many meals to my taste and to save mucho dinero. On that note I got myself a PowerPot. It is what it says, a cooking pot that charges electronic devices!!! So far its been cool because its an extra source of electrons when you are cooking (well re-hydrating) anyway. It comes with a extra bowl/lid and weighs all of 12.1 oz. If you compare it to my MSR cook pot I have used for years at 18oz, Im looking at a good thing. 

The next item on the re-charge list was a GoalZero solar panel. This little gem ties to your pack and charges up batteries that are in tern used to charge devises. Both chargers complement each other and seem to be working out well. Whats with all the electronics you ask? Its not much, but finding an outlet on the PCT aint happinin:) The devises on the charger are: My iPhone. Yes there is cell signal out there (sometimes, occasionally, maybe) but as a useful item, it is a camera, book, music player, flashlight, notebook and a useful GPS. I have tested it with no cell service and the Halfmile's PCT trail finder App. Another Item is my GoPro. Those are the only 2 video/still cameras I am bringing. What a photographer not bring 30 lbs of gear? ... I'm not THAT kind of photographer and anyway, if I want to shoot nature, I bring gear in the car to the location, not lug it 500 plus miles on my back!!! The last item is my BlackDiamond 'Revolt' headlamp. This little lifesaver is rechargeable, long lasting and powerful.

I have been toying with a couple of changes in 'the plan' to start later in the year (about Sept 15) and go South bound from Whitney to BigBear.
I will try and post when I have more, gear that is:) TTFN (Ta Ta For Now)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PCT CrayCray

                                                                                                                      PCT @VasquezRocks/iPhone Pano/by Eric

As some of you know (some of whom I've talked with others who have used their superior detective skills on Facebook & Instagram) that I have decided to backpack over 500 miles this year, at one time, on my own.
  Those who know me know that I am an Eagle Scout and have been hiking/backpacking/camping my whole life. That said, although I am not the jackrabbit on the trail, I have always immensely enjoyed life on said trail. I have always wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail aka PCT but, like many others out there, never have the 5 to 6 months to hike the 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada! So 500 seemed like a bite size goal for only about 7 weeks.
  I was watching a documentary on the John Muir Trail portion of the PCT (the 229 miles from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney) called "Mile, Mile & A Half" -streaming on Netflix- with about 20 of my Sierra Club friends last year and that got me thinking... again.  Some of you may have seen the movie recently released called "Wild." That did it. So from Christmas 2014 I began training by slowly gaining strength and stamina first by walking (at least 3 miles every day) then hiking and backpacking 6-8 milers at least once a week. So far so good. The other aspect is that we backpackers obsess over pack base weight (the pounds before consumables like food, water and fuel are added) so spending lots of time (mostly while walking) thinking about the gear I own and improvements to be made, always a cost vs weight and need vs want battle. Oh, and I also needed to loose about 30 to 40 lbs of my own 'base weight' haha off my knees and ankles. Again, so far so good.
  Those who know me know I have never been a 'new year's resolution' kinda guy, so like my world traveling adventures, I decided to make an all-out attempt at this beast, new year or not. There is a lot of planning and preparation, from food preparation and food drops (caches or mailed to locations ahead of you on the trail) to permits (the 'Whitney Zone' is a bureaucratic nightmare) that I have mulled over for years.
  From my Mojave Desert home, I join up with the PCT in Big Bear and walk North to the summit of the highest mountain in the lower 48, Mt. Whitney at 14, 505 feet!!!
  I try and not put too much stock on outcomes, or at least I am teaching my self not to, but I hope this will be yet another trip of a lifetime off the preverbal bucket list. And of course I could not do it without the support (in any form) of my friends and family (some of whom have signed up to do a few miles with me). So keep it up and keep me moving... Que gingle.



Thursday, February 06, 2014

Caffeine Fueled Adventure

Five weeks to 'wheels up' on another adventure! I am so amazed, but not too surprised, at the awesome resources and friends I have discovered on the internet! I have made new friends to hang out with down there already. Its like photographers are just friends anywhere in the world and want to hang out shoot. And I am so looking forward to the coffee:)

Ansel Adams prints on the cheap:)

Ansel Adams prints on the cheap:)

Before the internet was actually useful to most of us I took on a personal challenge to get an Ansel Adams photograph for next to nothing and were not talking postcards. For those of you who don't know, images taken for the government, Federal U. S. Government in this case, are under public domain. Which means the copyright is not owned by the photographer because you, the taxpayer, already paid for it. In this case, if you know anything about out late Master Photographer Mr Adams, prints can and have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. And as many know, his popular black and white images of the Yosemite Valley are his most know works.
Enter the commercial professional photographer. All pros of the photo persuasion can tell you of the work that needs to be done to actually pay the bills. Most true artists do not let this stop them from creating imagery that sings to them. Adams was no different. Some of his major commercial ventures were government projects. One of which is "Fiat Lux" a book on the University of California system up to the building of UC Irvine in the 1960's. Another was to document the Manzanar, the Japanese American Internment Camp near Lone Pine California. Located in the shadow of Adams' favorite subject, the Sierra Nevada he spent time documenting the war relocation camp in 1943. I have had a fascination with this period of American history for a long time. It is important to remember what choices we have in time of war and the consequences of those choices.
Because his work was paid for by the people of the U. S. Adams' work can be reprinted and purchased at cost from the Library of Congress in Washington D. C.
What we take for granted now was a three hour, three building process in 1993. That was the first year I had an email address and was savvy on all things photo while about to graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
The print. I had a good idea where to start because as with most libraries you need a library card to get anywhere. Once a card was obtained it was off to the archive building to the research microfilm and books of archive images by subject to find an image I wanted. Once I lighted on that it was off to a reproduction building to order the 16x20 archival mat print! It turns out I was the first person to order that image so an internegative needed to be made so the original negative can be preserved. Again, before a digital scan could be made. Four weeks later with print in hand, I began the process of spotting for three hours and matting and framing it myself. I have enjoyed it ever since.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A New Venue for New Work

A new venue for new work. I felt it would be to appropriate to officially work with Zuma Press, an international picture agency based in San Clemente, Calif. upon my return from Asia. Founder and CEO Scott Mc Kiernan and I had a long conversation before my latest trip and he gave me some sage advice...(I'm paraphrasing of course) "Don't bring back crap." So upon my return I presented my projects to the news director and got the green light for us to work together.


I have also (since you have to be a Zuma member to see them there) posted a coupple of the photo stories I have edited and sent in on my new Photoshelter.com site.


Ps This will be a good excuse to post a few stories and photos from the Asian trip here too:)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Packing Light

Well. After great time and consideration, I was able to get my internal frame backpack to 50lbs. Through a miss calculation it was 60 and I whittled 10 lbs more off here n there. Much of the weight however is the minimum camera gear necessary to still achieve the quality I expect in the field. The minimum list (20 hrs before wheels up) is: Nikon D3s with video. Three lenses, all Nikon 2.8 17-35 and 70-200. A 50 1.4 a Zoom H4N audio recorder and the minimum amount of support gear. I guess one flash and a teleconverter may be in order. And a Canon G12 as backup ;)