The Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

1-DSC_6358The weeks photo was taken at the Pinnacle National Park in California.  These crazy looking rock formations are visible all over the park.  I took this shot from the High Peaks Trail on the way to Hawkins Peak.

From the Pinnacles National Park site page:

Pinnacles National Park, located near the San Andreas Fault along the boundary of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, is an excellent example of tectonic plate movement. The Pinnacles Rocks are believed to be part of the Neenach Volcano that occurred 23 million years ago near present-day Lancaster, California, some 195 miles (314 km) southeast. The giant San Andreas Fault split the volcano and the Pacific Plate crept north, carrying the Pinnacles. The work of water and wind on these erodible volcanic rocks has formed the unusual rock structures seen today.

A great place to hike, with several challenging trails.  The forces of nature are evident from most of the high trails in the park.  If you are traveling in California, I would strongly encourage you to make a stop at the Pinnacles National Park.

Both of these pictures are taken from the picturesque, but challenging, High Peaks Trail:


Where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

Forces of Nature

Photo 101 – Triumph & Contrast

Mt Whitney Trail looking down to the Owens Valley

Photo 101 – Triumph & Contrast

I pulled this photo from my archives.  This was taken on the Mt. Whitney Trail looking down on the Owens Valley in California.  I boosted the contrast just a bit to emphasize the shadows on the left side of the picture.  I was really pushing hard at this point on the trail.  I was beginning to feel the effects of altitude sickness here at around 12,000 feet.  I love how the clouds and shadows are in the left side of the picture and how one can see the shadows of the clouds on the Owens Valley about 8,000 feet below this point on the trail.

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good when taking landscapes on the trail.  I was lucky on this picture.

Many thanks to my Photo 101 classmates for all of your constructive comments.  I know that I will carry the lessons learned from this class and push myself to be more creative when I’m on the trail with my trusty Nikon D40.  I’ve also been exposed to some really great photography blogs that I look forward to following.  Finally, thanks to Michelle and the entire Blogging 101 team at WordPress.  Your online classes have helped me push myself and renewed my enthusiasm for my own blog.

Thanks to all,


In the meantime, If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

The Thursday Picture – Lone Pine Falls

2010 Whitney Trail Falls DSC_4944Today’s Thursday Picture is one from my hiking archives.  Way back in 2010, my good friend Greg Jobe hiked up the Mt. Whitney Trail.  This picture is taken along the trail at Outpost Camp. That is about a 50 foot waterfall where Lone Pine Creek drops down into a little valley where Outpost Camp is located.  You can see the base of Mt. Whitney in the background.  Yes, there were still patches of snow in July…which is quite common for the Whitney Zone.

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick”

It happened in 1972.  My Boy Scout Troop, “Troop of the Eagle”, was camping at Pinnacles National Monument.  Yes, the same Pinnacles National Monument that was founded back in 1908 by this famous American:


It was late afternoon, and had been raining steadily since we arrived around lunch time. My patrol was getting hungry…to tell the truth, we were 11 and 12 year old boys that were always hungry. We had planned to cook something easy for dinner…our world famous aluminum spaghetti. We found that if we lined our cooking pot with aluminum foil, it helped us clean up faster! Of course, the spaghetti had a bit of a metallic taste…but, we were 11 and 12 year olds who were often ruled by our stomachs. Anyway, we were getting hungry but were unable to get a good fire started to boil water for the pasta. The rain was coming down like buckets, we were cold and wet, and there was mud everywhere.  Some of us had started to break into our pack of Oreos.  Desperate times…

Thankfully, some of the Dad’s who were chaperoning the trip came over and showed us how to start a fire in these very wet conditions. I flashed back to our wet camping trip and the miracle of fire when I saw this “how-to” on one of my favorite outdoor blogs, “Hiking the Trail.”  It looks like this was re-blogged from another great web site,

This is a fantastic graphic on how to start a fire (and get your aluminum spaghetti cooked up real quick!):


So, where are you hiking this weekend?

If you’re looking for me, I’m over the hill.

The Thursday Picture – Mt. Whitney Trail

I have so many hiking and backpacking pictures!  So, I thought that I would start a new feature called, “The Thursday Picture.”  I will post an outdoor picture every Thursday.  It may be a picture that I took…or, a picture taken by someone else.

For my first picture, I am posting one that I took back in July, 2010 as I climbed up the Mt. Whitney Trail on a backpacking trip.  This picture is from the trail at about 10,000 feet looking down on the Owen’s Valley…way, way down!  I really like how the two lone pines seem to partially frame the picture.  I loved this hike…until I got altitude sickness!  What do you think?  Have you ever hiked on the Mt. Whitney Trail?Whitney Trail