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Alex Wierbinski's blog


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Watch Out for the Green Water: Blue-Green Algae News and Safety Information sticky icon

Watch Out for the Green Water

 Do not drink, or allow your animals or children to drink from or play in water containing cynobacteria, otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae. Review the Blue-Green News just below and the safety information at the bottom of this page:


Blue-Green Algae Safety and Identification Information

 

July 2018,
&
August 2015:
Rising heat and declining waters are creating conditions even more favorable for cynobacteria,otherwise known as toxic blue-green algae.

In the Sierra the source of nitrogen feeding the blue-greens is cattle grazing. This is the same grazing that preserves High Sierra meadows, and for which the series of check dams that gave birth to countless lakes were created.



High Sierra Water Quality Articles

ALL WATER NEWS

 

The Latest
BLUE-GREEN NEWS

 2019

 

 April 24

NASTY WATER & CLIMATE CHANGE

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Bear News and Research sticky icon

 

The repository of Bear news, research, and stories we come across.

I've written about my experiences with High Sierra Black Bear Behavior in the Trail and Camp Skills section of the Trail Guide. Remember, bears act differently in different locations, and can be quite unpredictable in most situations.

Most times we can figure out what they want, and that typically boils down to two things: Food, and/or to be "left alone." Bears have personalities and feelings, which make them almost as unpredictable as that most deadly of beasts, humans. Almost...

 

   Latest Update

 

 October 26, 2018

BEARS

How to Get Along with Bears

Conservationists predict bear/human conflict hot-spots

 

 

 

 July 10

 

Yosemite Bear Activity

Summer 2018

Yosemite Bear Facts, June 17 – June 30, 2018

 

 

 

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Bee News sticky icon

Bee News 

BEE WORRIED

Insect Identification

Latest All Bug News

 

BEE NEWS

THE BUZZ

Updated

2019

 

June 7, 2019

BEE NEWS

16% Colony Loss over Winter of 2018

2018 Annual Euro-Bee Count

 

 

 April 22

BEE NEWS

Massive Bee Declines in Michigan

The Buzz about Bumble Bees Isn't Good

 

 

 

APRIL 4

 

BEE NEWS

Bees Winners in Forest Succession Debacle

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News of Health Science, Fitness, the Human Past, Potential & Pitfalls for Backpackers sticky icon

 Health, Fitness, & The Human Condition 
News and Science

Updated

December 21

 

Latest News Below

 

2018 Health & Fitness News

 

Our goal here is to provide the best information how to deal with internal and external threats to your health. But why?

 

FIELD GRADE
Our greater goal is to attain "Field Conditioning." Field Conditioning is an advanced state of fitness where we are capable of moving and operating effectively across great distances over all types of terrain, at high or low altitude, in hot, cold, wet, or dry conditions over extended time spans, under all seasonal conditions, while carrying the weight required to withstand these environmental conditions, feed ourselves well, and safely reach our goal. 

In "Field" status we can take some shots and keep rocking. But this is an "ideal" state of conditioning that is typically achieved by well-trained backpackers during their trips.

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Looking into the Mirror of Life sticky icon

ASTRONOMY, PHYSICS
&
Really Big and Really Small Scale Sciences

The Fundamental Nature of Reality Big to Small... 

We follow Astro-physics and Science for fun, because the Nature of Life itself is pretty darn entertaining on its own merits. Understanding the Nature and construction of our reality is a pragmatic move for all its "operators," but especially for backpacker's finding context in, and navigating the terrain to both ascertain & clarify our place in the Universe.

Interestingly enough, we have to understand the fundamental motions & relationships within the Universe around us to find our precise position on this Earth, to understand our context within its Nature, and how we can or cannot fit perfectly into the greater Universe around us.

We follow science to better understand ourselves and our choices.

 

 

Last Updated 

 August 31 2017

 

Covering Astrophysics
from
October of 2015 through August of 2017

SEE BELOW

 


  NEXT
Looking Into the Mirror of Life, 2017, II

 

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BUTTERFLY NEWS sticky icon

Video embed: 
See video

Endless Butterflies Video

 

Identification
Art Shapiro High Sierra Butterfly Identification by Common Name

 

Trail Guide
High Sierra Butterfly Identification & Resources

 

Review
High Sierra Nevada All Living Things Forum

 

 

BUTTERFLY NEWS
 The whole web of life is being distorted by the  changing character of the seasons on and around the the vastness of the North Pacific Ocean.

 The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is a significant element in the complex relationship of the North Pacific Ocean weather patterns with the North American continent.

 The relationship between North Pacific weather patterns and the High Sierra is vitally important for the vast overlapping webs of social and natural life depending on bountiful and predictable weather patterns.
These predictable and bountiful resources no longer exist on their own, in Nature, nor in the context of the vast populations to overwhelm Nature that we have spawned.

We have overwhelmed Nature and its resources fundamentally and on its face..

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High Sierra Nevada Backpacker and Hiker Geology Sources, Information, NEWS, and Resources sticky icon

This is the "go to" general page for geological sources, resources, and information.  For now we can use it to store information before it's sorted any further or lost to indexing.

Good
High Sierra Geology Introductory Texts, Links, & Resources

On the Trail Guide

Weather is the Speed of Life.
We consider the interrelationship between geological and biological processes.

 

Volcanic Tomb for a Granite Range.
We observe the slow reemergence of ancient hard granites as thousands of years of erosion scour the soft volcanic material off the buried High Sierra granite landscapes underneath.

 

Recent Discoveries.
A short set of links to a series of articles explaining the recent evolution of our understanding of the complex geology of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, but the latest information from 2015 to 2018 is chronologically listed below.

 

GEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

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High Sierra Mammals Reference-Identification sticky icon

High Sierra Small Mammals Forum, Identification, and References 

 

 

References

Mammals, identification, Greg Lasley Photography.

Mammals of Yosemite National Park, (1952) by Harry C. Parker.

For more links about animal, plant, geology, and astronomy information for backpackers see the High Sierra Backpacking links page on the trail guide.

 

 

MAMMAL NEWS

 

 Last Update

 

2019

 

March 27

SMALL MOUNTAIN MAMMALS

The Kangaroo Jumping Rat

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Peter's Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Report June 2014

Introduction
Upon the first publication of this report on June 8th 2014 Peter had just completed an early season snow-hiking trip along the Classic Tahoe to Yosemite Trail route. At that time he sent us very valuable information about early season conditions early in the season, which we first put up here on June 8 of 2014.

This information is not only valuable for backpackers trying to ascertain the conditions along the unmaintained segments of the trail, but also preps backpackers for the difficulties and challenges of hiking and navigating the Sierra Crest and backcountry through Spring snow conditions.

Though the particular stage of Spring conditions Peter describes transpires at a different times during each season's unique progression from Winter to Summer conditions, Peter well describes mid-to-late Spring conditions in the High Sierra.

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Hobbitbook 2013 Trail Report: Summit City Creek along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail Route

Hi Alex,

I had a great trip through Summit City Ck canyon last week... its BEE-OO-TEE-FUL! Wow, what a gem.

Finding the trail was just fine, probably because I was expecting the worst from your website description.

People had left many cairns to follow, and it seemed like a number of folks had been there already this year, leaving their trails to follow through bracken and undergrowth, including the enchanted forest.

The trail has a real personality, very playful, and it loves big trees. There were plenty of those in the enchanted forest - wow, what an incredible place. It feels so ancient in there.

I did want to report that someone left their mark in nail polish along the trail: On the Horse Creek signpost: "Danger Not Horse Safe," "Lost the trail 2.5 mi," "GPS needed"

Horse Canyon trail junction marred by Finger Polish Lady, Summer 2013.

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July 2015 TYT Unmaintained Trail Update: Clarks Fork Trailhead to Saint Marys Pass Trailhead

Video embed: 
See video

Tropical storm brings heavy hail, lightening to Saint Marys Trailhead, just below the Sierra Crest, July 8 2015.

  

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

Post-Storm July Tropical Sunset
Fine tropical-influenced sunset from Clarks Meadow hiking the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail in July of 2015
  From the North Edge of Clarks Fork Meadow along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Clarks Fork Trailhead 
to
Saint Marys Pass Trailhead
on
Highway 108
11.25 miles along the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
 The Iceberg, sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.
Above: The Iceberg sitting across Iceberg Meadow from the Clarks Fork Trailhead at the end of Clarks Fork Road.

July 2015 TYT Status Report
The Trail

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Scott's Summit City Creek Trail Report June 2014

Introduction

An excellent way to approach the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail is as a section hiker. This is how Scott, his hiking partner Rich, and their backcountry hiking dog Melika approached the difficult Carson Pass to Lake Alpine section of the Tahoe to Yosemite Trail.

Carson Pass
Scott Rich and Melika begin their TYT section South out of Carson Pass.

Mokelumne Wilderness Backpacking Map

Scott and Rich executed this TYT section hike early in the hiking season. Despite the drought conditions and earlier Spring Thaws a late May hiking trip is still early in the backpacking season.

Hitting the Snow at Frog Lake
Melika digging the snow with Frog Lake in the background.

  High water levels in the river fords, the potential for extensive snow covering the trail, and the much more unpredictable weather during early Spring brings makes Spring a challenging time to hike an already challenging trail.

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Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking: Crabtree to Gem Lake, Deer Lake, and More

Backpacking Emigrant Wilderness

A fantastic  4 day Backpacking Trip into the Emigrant Wilderness from trailhead East of Pinecrest Lake near Highway 108.

Status Update

MAY 2019
Carson Iceberg & Emigrant Forest Roads Closed in Aftermath of the Donnell Fire

 

Peter describes food resources there and back, roads, fishing, trail culture and terrain descriptions that make this a fantastic description of a fantastic backpacking trip.

Trail into Emigrant Wilderness from Crabtree Trailhead.
 Backpacking Trail into Emigrant Wilderness through Crabtree Trailhead

Thanks to Peter and Jason for sharing this!

Maps
Emigrant Wilderness NF PDF

All Tahoe to Whitney MAPS
INDEX
Emigrant Wilderness Backpacking Maps
PCT & TYT

 

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High Sierra Cow Anxiety in Upper Clarks Fork Canyon

Close Encounter of the Cow Kind

As I was hiking down the Clarks Fork of the Stanislaus on the unmaintained Tahoe to Yosemite Trail I picked up the enchanting sound of softly clanging cow bells bouncing off the rocky canyon walls until absorbed by the forest.

I figured I'd meet some cows. The narrow canyon certainly makes "our" shared route along the visible bits of route along the unmaintained trail the best solution for both grazing stock and passing backpackers to reach our respective goals. It's cozy. No problem. I like cows.

My goal is always to get past cows with as little trouble as possible. I've dealt with cows many times before, and always gotten myself through quickly, sometimes employing sweet talk, and other times threatening a re-branding if cow-cooperation is found lacking.

I will go freeking cowboy on their huge cow asses.

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2018 Season High Sierra Fire, Smoke, and Mountain Safety Information

SUMMER & FALL
FIRE-BACKPACKING
SEASONS
of
2018

 

High Sierra
Fire and Smoke Information

 

ALL
SMOKE INFORMATION

 

ALL
FIRE & SMOKE INFORMATION

All Federal Fires
Managed Fires
Parks, Forests, and Lands

INCIWEB 

Inciweb has been downgraded in services and quality by their redesign. For a list of National and California Fires, now see:

 

NATIONAL INTERAGENCY FIRE CENTER, note fire lists by states...

 

 

All California State Fires
Managed Fires
CALFIRE Incident Information

  

 

 

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Stoves: MEMBERS FAVORITES for High Sierra Backpacking

Members Favorites

High Sierra
Backpacking Stoves

We have considerable range of selections from a wide range of fuels and gasses, delivery systems (below), wind shields and pot supports, not to mention the ability to construct a wide range of homemade alchol stoves.

I figure the benefit of some wisdom and experience will help us sort this all out, and find the stove that best suites us. Thus we poll our members for their preferences. Since we have lots of different types of members with lots of different types of goals and experiences we come up with a range of classic solutions.

Well, at least a good place for you to begin your investigation into what's the best backpacking stove for you.

 

 

Members Favorite Backpacking Stoves

 

NEW BRAND

BRS

Hiking 50                       BRS Ultralight

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The Existential Zone

 

 The Existential Zone

Research increases distance at which supernova would spark mass extinctions on Earth
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS, May 11, 2017.

 

ISSUE:

“The Supernova Kill Zone,”

“The Big Rock from Space,”

along with

Super-Volcanos,

and Humans:

Q: Which term above is different from the others?

A: Humans. The other events were not created by will and choice, but by Nature.

 

UPDATES
BELOW

 

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

Every now and again Nature kills everything on a planet, on a regular basis. This brings up important questions for an evolving life form, once they figure out death is coming for them.

The spectre of inevitable extinction, if not our typical, individual deaths, makes important the broader questions of what are we as living things, and what Nature itself is doing with Life. Nature's "big program" could be used to give some context to our individual lives by understanding what IT is doing and where IT is going, contrasted against our behavior.

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Filters and Purification: MEMBER's FAVORITES for High Sierra Backpacking

 Member's Favorites

What are, and how do we select the best Water Filtration, Purification, Treatment, and Usage System for High Sierra backpackers?

The fundamental requirement for me is clean water quickly. By clean I mean taste as well as purity, so chemicals are regaled to emergency status.

Next, I want to purify as little water as possible. I will filter only the water for drinking, while my cooking and cleaning water will remain unpurified. Thus I need a system to bring unfiltered water to camp for cooking, cleaning, and to provide stock for purified water.

 

Build Your Backpacking Water Systerm
Water Filter/Filtration Basics

"The Alex"
Water System
&
Gear List

 

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Snags: Camp, Trail, Cross Country and River Crossing

 

Mountain Safety

Snags

June 2018
The High Sierra Tree Mortality situation induces me to repost this at the top of the list as Summer Backpacking season gets started. Snags are presenting heightened dangers this year, as is the related threat of fire.

 

Snags are standing dead trees. Backpackers interact with snags in a number of ways. The most common is hiking by or through them. Next comes camping in proximity to snags, and finally we find fallen snags providing bridges over narrow necks of surprizingly wide rivers. Occassionally we find ourselves climbing a wall of downed snags like a jungle gym. That generally happens while hiking cross country or after bad storm seasons where snags are swept down canyons. A freshly fallen snag also provides the best firewood if you are into making fires.

The only truth is snags constantly and always fall, maybe blown down by wind, swept away by water, or when their internal structure rots to the point it can no longer support its own weight, or yours.

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Boots and Footwear: Member's Favorites for High Sierra Backpacking

Member's Favorites
BACKPACKING BOOTS & FOOTWEAR

 

Selecting Backpacking Boots and Footwear from among our many, many Options. The goal is to get exactly what you need fit perfectly.

 

INTRODUCTION

The Range of Choices
 We have an extensive selection of types and styles of backpacking footwear available from extremely heavy to virtually none at all. The barefoot and neoprene fads are quite amusing...

Finding the proper trail footwear for each of us is the same game as the rest of our backpacking gear selections; they be dependent on our own body-design, our own capacity for cold, and our own tastes and preferences.

Trippy-Hippy
I am my gear, in that my first piece of gear is me.
Everything else just layers on and comes back off, as necessary and required. We started at the top by thinking first, now we are going to  get physically started selecting our gear at the bottom, by matching up our feet with the proper gear, the proper footwear for the job.

 

Intro to Backpacking Boots, leading to the primer to boot construction and selection on the trail guide.

 

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