2010 starts tomorrow and I haven’t finished posting about 2009. The last few months have been a blur of activity and compositing so Live Journal updates have suffered. Fear not, my three readers, a flurry of updates has arrived!
Karl of Extreme Things has been trying to get us all to jump off a bridge for months now. He had arranged a bungee jumping event on two separate occasions that were each canceled because of circumstances beyond any of our control such as a huge wildfire in the Angeles National Forest. Thankfully, the third attempt was successful and a few of us were able to bungee jump off the Bridge to Nowhere. I’ve made this hike a few times prior and I always enjoy it. It includes my favorite aspects of hiking: stream crossing and rock scrambling. This time, although, I was able to jump off the bridge with the help of Bungee America.
I flew three times and each experience was different (See a list of jump styles here). First, I tried the front swan dive. It was fun, but not especially frightening or jarring. The backward plunge, on the other hand was quite exciting. Not being able to see where you are falling or anticipate when you will stop is quite a rush. Lastly, I tried the Elevator Drop. I have never felt so aware of acceleration before. Streamlining your body and leaping straight down is a frightening, but fun experience. Karl said my eyes were huge.
At the moment I have no photos of my own jump, but Karl and Trails promise to send me pictures and video in the future.
2 More Photos
Erika and I helped a friend of mine evacuate his home in Altadena. From his backyard, we could see huge plumes of smoke and flames burning the mountainsides less than a few miles away. I expected the fire to be close, but not so close. Helicopters and planes of various sizes soared overhead pouring pink blankets of fire-retardant along the perimeter. An anxious wild rabbit scurried through the bushes every few seconds. The streets were littered with rubberneckers aiming cameras and cellphones at the horizon until the police evicted them. His house is both his home and place of business so we loaded up his valued possessions and inventory. As we drove away, more police cars were appearing alongside news vans and firefighters. Presently, he is grabbing a few extra things while he can before the police kick him out of the area. Let’s hope for the best.
In the late 80s, as a child, I had a subscription to a children’s science magazine called Odyssey. I would read it cover-to-cover and especially enjoyed the astronomy articles. One issue referenced a coming meteor shower and gave times for viewing it. I eagerly awaited the coming of the meteors. I awoke early on the proper Saturday, somewhere around 3:30 or 4:00 A.M. I made my way into the dew-covered backyard and laid out a lawn chair. For a long while I laid there staring into the dark morning sky waiting for the stars to fall. I was alone in the dark yard surrounded by the sounds of the night creaturesâ€”the frogs, the crickets, the various noises from the nearby woods. I watched and waited. No star ever fell. Later I would discover the times listed in my magazine were intended for a different time-zone. Over 20 years later, and I had still never seen a meteor shower. Sure, I’d seen numerous falling and shooting starsâ€”small white flashes jetting across the skyâ€”but never the main event.
Last Wednesday night, Erika and I drove up into the Angeles Crest mountains to watch the Perseids. The real flurry of meteors was alleged to show in the wee hours of the morning, but flashy precursors were supposed to appear as early as 11:00 P.M. (proper time-zone this time). We laid atop my car and then upon the ground watching the sky and often shielding our eyes from frequent passing headlights (the excitement of the coming shower had made the highway through the mountains oddly popular) for nearly an hour. We saw over a dozen. They were spectacularâ€”large varicolored spears of light shot across the sky every few minutes. Occasionally one would appear suddenly off to one side illuminating my peripheral vision. Some would be gone in an instant, others would trail through the sky for a few seconds fading slowly into the night. My disappointment as a child was rectified.
We also saw an adorable fox run past into the overgrowth.
I’ve been relatively silent for the last couple of months.
Thus, it’s time to play catch-up.
Here is what has been going on between April and the present.
After being beaten by the unrelenting Strawberry Peak, I accompanied Extreme Things for an overnight backpacking excursion into the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. I had a newly purchased Camelbak, four quarts of water, ample foodstuffs, water shoes, a light tent, and everything else Erika and I would need. This time I would be prepared. Unfortunately, neither Erika or me were well-versed in the multitudes of backpacking sleeping bags. While everyone else could compress their sleeping bags down to the size of a football, we lugged oversized cottony Swiss-cake rolls six miles into the wilderness (as you’ll see in the photos). The learning never ends.
The hike brought us back down the path to the Bridge to Nowhere. We continued past it heading deeper into the mountains. By nightfall, our group of over a dozen squeezed multiple tents into a small area overlooking the mild rapids of the river. I quickly regretted my decision to leave behind a jacket as temperatures plummeted with the setting sun. My regrets paled in comparison to Karl’s after his drunken stumble into the ice-cold river after midnight. We had a great time joking around and dining on mediocre camp food while admiring two of our group cooking carne asada, rice, and later, eggs. I am awaiting the debut of his outdoors cooking program any day now.
The next morning we all hiked six miles back to our cars. Our hike was probably considerably more enjoyable than the man we met earlier who had gashed open his knee after slipping on a rock. My highlight was an uncomfortable deposit beneath some bushes along the river’s edge.
Egads! More Adventure Awaits!
I kept busy this weekend: three puppet shows with two workshops, a hike through Angeles Crest, and swimming this afternoon. Below are pictures of our hike through Angeles Crest to Switzer Falls. This is the third Extreme Things event Erika and I have attended and it was a good time. If you are in the L.A. area looking to do things outdoors, I recommend joining.
More Pics Here