Friday, September 21, 2007

Back to Las Vegas

And so back to Las Vegas, 3000! miles later. Just time to see the bright lights and visit the all you can eat buffet at the Rio before flying home.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

LA (Briefly) & Joshua Tree National Park

San Fran    sea lion

Our journey south went as far as LA, nothing much to interest us there, we saw the Hollywood sign up on the hill and that was enough. So east to Joshua Tree National Park, a new place for both of us.

And it didn't disappoint. Lots of granite boulders (quartz monzonite if you're interested) surrounded by, unsurprisingly Joshua Trees. Lots of fun scrambling about, the rock is some of the roughest I've felt, very grippy! Found myself a throne, and a nice little hole to lie down in, would have been a great bivy spot but the rock was so coarse I worried about my sleeping bag getting torn so stuck to the tent.

Elsewhere in the park were the chollo gardens, thousands of cacti all together on this one particular hillside. At night we had fun pretending to be joshua trees as the sun went down.

Definitely a place to go back to (and I'll be taking a full rack of climbing gear next time). The campsite right amongst the boulders was once of the nicest I've been to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pacific Highway 1

Revisiting another place I've been before but this time the sun was shining and going south rather than north means it's much easier to pull over and stop whenever you feel like it.


A visit to Point Lobos State Park for a spot of wildlife viewing. Pelicans, seals and sea lions all plentiful in and around the water. Mikkel decided to do a spot of ocean side bouldering on the frankly, rather dodgy weird conglomerate and lived to regret it when he managed to leave a quantity of skin there!

Monday, September 17, 2007

San Francisco

San Fran    sea lion

Completely avoiding the hassle of parking in San Francisco and getting a nice ride across the bay to boot we caught the ferry from Larkspur into the city.

Had a nice little wander, visited the sealions at pier 39 (they're noisy buggers! see for yourself below) did the obligatory tram ride, saw wiggly Lombard Street and then did a bit more wandering. A day was more than enough city time for us. Back on the ferry with all the commuters (what a great way to commute!) then back in the car and onto Pacific Highway 1 down the coast.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

China Camp

A lazy day after a lot of driving. First night out in the new tent in a wonderful little spot in China Camp state park overlooking the San Francisco Bay Area and I finally got to indulge in a spot of rock (pebble?) balancing.

An evening trip to the Golden Gate Bridge overlook, Mikkel complaining that it's not gold at all but red/orange - there's just no pleasing some people!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


BearHalf Dome

Moving on from Tuolumne we drove down into the valley, great views round every corner, it really is an amazing place.

Caught our first and only glimpse of a black bear wandering along the valley floor and tried to spot climbers on the huge expanse of rock that is El Capitain.

To Glacier point to look back down on the whole valley, with great views of Half Dome then down to Mariposa Grove to feel small amongst the giant redwoods. Walked through a tree and were treated to a close encounter with a deer and her fawns. Camped at Crane Flat under a blanket of stars.

From Yosemite west towards the San Francisco and the Pacific Coast. Resisted the lure of a small town Chilli cook off but couldn't resist a quick stop at REI and picked up some more spacious sleeping quarters. An evening of deja vu as we failed to find a vacant campsite north of San Francisco (well, we did find one but I remembered the reason we'd ditched that idea last time $45 a night! for a campsite!) and ended up in a motel (ok, so it was more expensive, but better value).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sierra Nevada


After the heat of Death Valley we travel north, up through Bishop and Mammoth until we reach a point where we can cut west across the mountains and into Yosemite at the Tioga Pass.

Mono Lake and its Tufa Towers provided an interesting distraction along the way, lots of birds and creepy amounts of alkali flies along the shore.

Then up into Yosemite, shades of green a welcome sight after a week with the sometimes bland colours of the desert and finally some cool air. Although as we discovered later that night, maybe a little too cool, but I realised what a good investment my expensive sleeping bag was and I stayed snuggly warm. Low of -5 C we later learned.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Heading West

Badwater Basin
Originally uploaded by ebygomm
In search of cooler weather we head west towards the Sierra Nevada.

Via Death Valley, so no respite from the heat just yet, in Badwater Basin 282 feet below sea level, 85.5 metres and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mystery Canyon Aborted

Enjoying Zion
Originally uploaded by ebygomm
We got an early start, planning to do Mystery Canyon, shuttle sorted, permits sorted, gear sorted.

Had a nice walk to the head of the canyon, dithered a bit about where the trail down started, got going, scrambled amongst horrible chossy mess and scree, abseiled various bits, route not looking anything like the description and we got to an abseil that would mean the point of no return so we decided to scramble back up as we just weren't happy with the way things were. Back at the top we just had an 8 mile walk and over 2000 feet back to the valley floor in 38 C (100 F) heat - phew!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Horseback riding in Bryce
Originally uploaded by ebygomm
Escape the heat by driving up to Bryce Canyon National Park. At around 8,000 feet it's a good deal higher than Zion and a whole lot cooler.

Mikkel persuades me to take a horse ride, it was...ok, although I have to say I still prefer walking but I rode a proper horse, Mikkel just had a donkey, well a mule but it looked like a donkey! But it was really nice to wander around amongst the hoodoos.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Zion - Hot!

Woke up to the sight of the towering red walls of Zion, and spent a leisurely day seeing some of the sights and trying to stay cool. It's unseasonably hot here.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Canoeing on the Colorado

Shower time
Originally uploaded by ebygomm
After a very warm night camping alongside Lake Mead we had an early start ready for our canoe trip, we hired a canoe from Desert Adventures which included the shuttle service and the relevant permits - great service

We put in just downstream of the Hoover Dam and spent the day paddling nearly 12 miles downstream to Willow Beach(map). Along the way lots to see, caves to paddle in, hot springs to shower under, the cool (12 degrees C) water of the Colorado to dip into when we got too hot.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Lake Mead
Originally uploaded by ebygomm
Unseasonably hot here, first day spent getting some supplies, went for a drive and a quick dip in Lake Mead.

36 degrees at 2am meant we didn't get a great nights sleep.