Welcome to the High Sierra Backpacker's Magazine, including forums for local and long-distance hikers sharing info about hiking the Sierra between Tahoe and Whitney.

This Magazine covers everything Sierra. Its
Forums cover TYT, PCT, & JMT and alt-route hiker input from the Guide. The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide explores the trails  & the necessary skills, fitness, and gear required to hike from Tahoe to Whitney. This evolving Magazine covers Current Conditions, News, the Arts, Sciences, Physicality, Spirituality, Gear, Environment, History, and Cultures of hiking Tahoe to Whitney. 

Purposes: Expand Knowledge, Explore Potential

for Beginners: To get you off the couch, gear you up, get you into Sierra Shape, and onto the High Sierra Trails. Find info. Ask questions, get feedback, generate self-understanding and terrain awareness. Find killer short routes up and down the High Sierra Crest.

for Backpackers: Get you in deeper, longer, and higher. Train for the long trails. Find your next-steps trips. Hit the Long Trails. Hike the TYT and JMT. Find and explore side trails, alternative, and cross-country routes until you hike your skills into Winter compentency. Explore your potential.

for Experts: The information to come from anywhere in the US or world and backpack from Tahoe to Whitney. The Sierra Nevada is the ultimate wonderland for expert backpackers in top shape. But don't get cocky! The Sierra is bigger, stronger, and has been, and will be here much longer than any of us.  


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NOAA: Assessing the Global Climate, July 2019

 

CLIMATE CRASHING NEWS

Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles, July 2019
HOTTEST on Record
Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles, July 2019, NOAA map and report.

SEA of RED
The July temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.71°F above the 20th century average of 60.4°F and was the highest for July in the 1880–2019 record. July 2019 bested the previous record—set in 2016—by 0.05°F. NOAA. Big Version.

 

NOAA: JULY HOTTEST MONTH EVER

Assessing the Global Climate in July 2019:
July was the warmest month on record for the globe,
NOAA, August 2019.

MAIN POINTS

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August of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index

 

Updated
August 28, 2019

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA TRAIL NEWS
BELOW

 

LATEST HIGH SIERRA GENERAL NEWS
BELOW

 

SEPTEMBER ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

JULY ALL HIGH SIERRA NEWS

 

Latest
High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

 
August
, 2019

Happenings in the relationship between Man and Nature affecting our hike down life's trail through both worlds. We study both the reality created by humans and the uncreated reality reflected in, and tended by Nature. 

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It's Raining Exoplanets: James Webb Space Telescope Trappist-1 Solar System Potentials

 

ASTROPHYSICS, ASTRONOMY, EXOPLANETS

TRAPPIST-1 SYSTEM
TRAPPIST-1 SYSTEM, NASA/JPL-Caltech.
This artist's concept shows what the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system may look like, based on available data about the planets' diameters, masses and distances from the host star, in order from "b" closest to the star, to, "h," being the furthest distance from Trappist-1, as of February 2018. Image credit to NASA/JPL-Caltech. Full Size.

 

It's Raining Exoplanets: Trappist-1 Solar System

James Webb Space Telescope could begin learning about TRAPPIST-1 atmospheres in a year,
University of Washington, August 13, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

JWST
Limits of Sensitivity

Using..."the intriguing TRAPPIST-1 planetary system as a kind of laboratory to model not the planets themselves, but how the coming James Webb Space Telescope might detect and study their atmospheres."

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How Many of the Universe's Exo-Planets are in the Liquid Water Sweet Spot?

 

ASTRO-PHYSICS: PROBABILITY OF HABITABILITY

Kepler Oil Painting
Kepler Space Telescope Oil Painting, by NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter.
Artist's impression of NASA's Kepler space telescope, which discovered thousands of new planets. New research, using Kepler data, provides the most accurate estimate to date of how often we should expect to find Earth-like planets near sun-like stars. By NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/D. Rutter.

 

How Many Planets are in the Liquid Water Sweet Spot?

How Many Earth-like Planets are Around Sun-like Stars?
Penn State, August 14, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Eye on the Sky
A Universe of Exoplanets
"...Kepler observed a large enough sample of stars that we can perform a rigorous statistical analysis to estimate of the rate of Earth-size planets in the habitable zone of nearby sun-like stars."

The Sweet Spot
"The habitable zone is a range of orbital distances at which the planets could support liquid water on their surfaces."

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Growing into Destruction: The Diminished, and Diminishing Western US Snow Packs

 

CRASHING OUR OWN ECOSYSTEMS

"California Consumers" Formed Themselves into Nature-Killing Kamikaze Weapon

Back-to-Back Low Snow Years will Become more Common, study projects,
American Geophysical Union, August 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Already Happening
"Consecutive low snow years may become six times more common across the Western United States over the latter half of this century, leading to ecological and economic challenges such as expanded fire seasons and poor snow conditions at ski resorts."

Get Used to It
"Across the West, we're generally losing a lot of our snowpack - in many places, low snow conditions will be increasingly consistent from year to year."

Destroying Our Natural Legacy
ALREADY Beyond Sustainable
"Every time we have a snow drought, we're delving into our water resources and the ecosystem's resources. We're drawing down on our savings without restocking the bank."

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Recent Rapid 88 Percent Decline of Big Freshwater Animals

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS

Alligator Gar
Alligator gar, by Zeb Hogan, Forschungsverbund Berlin.
With a maximum weight of about 130 kilograms, the alligator gar (wiki) is one of the largest freshwater fishes in North America. By Zeb Hogan, Forschungsverbund Berlin.

 

Already Outrageous Human Population Still Rising -- Nature Crashing Rapidly

88 Percent Decline of Big Freshwater Animals,
Forschungsverbund Berlin, August 8, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"Freshwater megafauna include all freshwater animals that weigh 30 kilograms or more, such as species of river dolphins, beavers, crocodiles, giant turtles and sturgeons."

1970 to 2012
88% Decline
"From 1970 to 2012, global populations of freshwater megafauna declined by 88 percent - twice the loss of vertebrate populations on land or in the ocean."

Major Decliners
"Large fish species such as sturgeons, salmonids and giant catfishes are particularly threatened: with a 94 percent decline, followed by reptiles with 72 percent."

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PFAS. What's Really Inside Your Body?

 

 

HEALTH & FITNESS

What's Really Inside Your Body?

California 1st State to Require Notification of Toxic 'Forever' Chemicals in Water,
Desert Sun, July 31, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

PFAS Reporting
"California's law would mandate that consumers receive information on about 5,000 of them if they're detected."

PFAS
"The PFAS chemicals, which have been widely used in everything from firefighting foam to Teflon pans, rain gear and even some dental floss, have been linked in research to cancers, developmental problems and thyroid and liver disease. They're known as "forever chemicals" because they don't break down in the environment or in human bodies."

SOCAL Contamination
"More than 2.4 million people across Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange Counties may be exposed to the dangerous chemicals, according to estimates by environmental advocates and based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data. Major airports, military bases and refineries are all conducting testing or will be, per state requirements. While New Hampshire and New Jersey have imposed limits on two PFAS chemicals..."

 

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Autism Increase Linked to Endocrine Disruptors in Womb

 

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & UBIQUITOUS ENDROCRINE DISRUPTORS FROM PLASTIC USE & WASTE

Keys to Understanding the Mechanisms of Our Degradation of Ourselves & Our Environment

High levels of Estrogen in the Womb Linked to Autism,
University of Cambridge, July 29, 2019. 

MAIN POINTS

"Scientist have identified a link between exposure to high levels of oestrogen sex hormones in the womb and the likelihood of developing autism."

"...further evidence to support the prenatal sex steroid theory of autism first proposed 20 years ago."

"Today, the same scientists have built on their previous findings by testing the amniotic fluid samples from the same 98 individuals sampled from the Danish Biobank, which has collected amniotic samples from over 100,000 pregnancies, but this time looking at another set of prenatal sex steroid hormones called oestrogens. This is an important next step because some of the hormones previously studied are directly converted into oestrogens."

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Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests

 

PLANTS & TREES

Acid Rain Makes Thirsty Forests

Previously unknown mechanism causes increased forest water use, new study says,
Indiana University, July 31, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

New Approach
"The impacts of soil biogeochemistry on large-scale forest water use had not been investigated."

Acid Rain Consequences
"Sulfuric and nitric acid fall to the ground when fossil fuels are burned, causing acidification of the soil. When that happens, a significant amount of soil calcium washes out of the soil, and then plants suffer from calcium deficiency."

Plant Biochemistry
"Calcium plays a unique role in plant cells by regulating the minute pores, called stomata, in the plants' leaves or stems."

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Axionic Approach to Dark Matter and The Elemental Universe

 

ASTRO-PHYSICS

The Elemental Universe

Dark matter may be older than the big bang, study suggests,
Johns Hopkins University, August 7, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

What
Though not directly observable, scientists know dark matter exists by its gravitation effects on how visible matter moves and is distributed in space.

Failed Particle Search
"If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already."

Scalar Particle
"...the study shows that dark matter may have been produced before the Big Bang during an era known as the cosmic inflation when space was expanding very rapidly. The rapid expansion is believed to lead to copious production of certain types of particles called scalars. So far, only one scalar particle has been discovered, the famous Higgs boson."

"...if it has anything to do with any scalar particles, it may be older than the Big Bang."

New Search Points
"The new study also suggests a way to test the origin of dark matter by observing the signatures dark matter leaves on the distribution of matter in the universe."

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Disturbances in the Force: El Nino & La Nina Ocean-Land Weather Relationship Disruptions

 

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: EL NINO & LA NINA

Weather Patterns Breaking Up

How the Pacific Ocean influences long-term drought in the Southwestern U.S.,
AGU Blog, August 5, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

The Rule
"The general rule of thumb had been that El Niño years — when the sea surface in a region off the coast of Peru is at least 1 degree Celsius warmer than average — tend to have more rainfall, and La Niña years, when that region is 1 degree Celsius cooler than average, tend to have less rain. But that simple rule of thumb doesn’t always hold true."

2015: Driest Year in Ca History during Biggest El Nino seen…
"About 1 in 20 drought years could see an El Niño that doesn’t deliver rain."

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ECO-CRASHING NEWS: 2019 GREENLAND MELTING EVENTS

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: 2019 GREENLAND MELTING EVENTS

Greenland Temperatures July 30 vs. Average Temps
Greenland Temperatures July 30 vs. Average Temps, Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS), by Joshua Stevens, NASA.
July 30 Temps compared to Average
Dark Blue, -39F, White = Average, Yellow-Red +39F, Dark Red >46.4F
Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS), by Joshua Stevens, NASA.

 

Rare Melting Events Becoming Common

Warm Weather Brings Major Melting to Greenland,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 2, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"In late July 2019, a major melting event spread across the Greenland Ice Sheet. Billions of tons of meltwater streamed into the Atlantic Ocean throughout the month, making a direct and immediate contribution to sea level rise."

"The melting was provoked by a bubble of warm air that moved over Greenland after delivering unseasonably warm temperatures to Europe."

"...the last major melt event on July 11, 2012."

"The difference is that in 2019, the main melt event spanned two days, with a few hours of melt also occurring on July 31."

 

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NASA Does the PCT from Space

 

 

 

NASA DOES THE PCT, FROM SPACE

New PCT Emblems, North Yosemite 2016
New, large PCT emblems in the North Yosemite Backcountry, Falls Creek at Wilmer Ford.
New, large PCT emblems, 2016, in the North Yosemite Backcountry, Falls Creek at Wilmer Ford. Hiking Map.
 

 

The Ultimate Top Down View

Trailing the Pacific Crest from Space,
NASA Earth Observatory, August 1, 2019.

 

The Ground-Up View

 An Older Emblem, Same Location
Old PCT emblem, Falls Creek Ford at Wilmer Lake, 2016.
 

 

More Information on the
Crown Jewel of the PCT

The Tahoe to Whitney Trails

 

 

Trail News, August 2019

 

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Fungal Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

 

HEALTH, FITNESS, & SKUNKS

Skunk
Skunk, Skeezer, Pixabay.
Skunk, Skeezer, Pixabay.

 

Antidote for Skunk Spray Found

Fungal Compound Deodorizes Skunk Smell,
American Chemical Society, July 24, 2019.

MAIN POINT

Skunk Unique Defense
"When skunks feel threatened, they spray fluids from their anal glands that contain several nasty-smelling organosulfur compounds. The human nose can detect extremely low concentrations of these substances, making it difficult to completely rid clothing, hair, fur or skin of the stink."

Human Tech Insufficient
"Available "de-skunking" formulas often either don't work well or can irritate the skin and eyes."

New Fungal Champion
Pericosine A
"...researchers...have identified a compound from fungi that safely and effectively neutralizes skunk spray odor."

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DNC, Devil Never Cares, Paid Pirate's Ransom by Feds, Aramark, & Taxpayers for Yosemite Place Names

 

FOREST, PARKS, PERMITS, & INFRASTRUCTURE

Camp Curry
Camp Curry Sign before DNC turned it off.
DNC forces us to pay for our own property...

 

Devil Never Cares Paid Pirate's Ransom for Yosemite Place Names

Lawsuit Settled Between National Park Service, DNC Parks and Resorts, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC Over Trademarks and Service Marks,
Yosemite National Park, July 15, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Issue
Classic Yosemite Place Names
"Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Badger Pass Ski Area"

Dealing with Thieves
"DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, Inc. (Delaware North), the United States of America, and Yosemite Hospitality, LLC (Aramark) have settled the lawsuit filed by Delaware North related to Delaware North’s former concession contract at Yosemite with the National Park Service."

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Europe Frequently Frying During Summer of 2019

 

ECO-CRASHING NEWS: EURO HEATWAVES OF 2019

European Heatwave, July 25, 2019
European Heatwave, July 25, 2019, depicts air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F), Joshua Stevens, NASA.
Yellow: Greater than 77 (25C), Light Red = 95 (35C), Dark Red 113 (45C)
"...depicts air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground. The darkest red areas are where the model shows temperatures surpassing 40°C (100°F)." Joshua Stevens, NASA.

 

Europe Frequently Frying

A Second Scorching Heatwave in Europe,
NASA Earth Observatory, July 26, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"On July 25, 2019, at least seven countries broke temperature records in a scorching heatwave. The United Kingdom experienced its hottest July day at 38.1°C (101°F)—0.4°C shy of the all-time UK record. Germany hit 41.7°C (107°F) to set a new record daytime high temperature. Belgium (41.8°C), France, (42.6°C), Luxembourg (40.8°C), the Netherlands (40.7°C), and Scotland (31.6°C) also registered their hottest days ever."

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Where are we, Exactly? Mapping the Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood

 

ASTROPHYSICS

YOU ARE HERE
A Smoothed Rendition of the Structure Surrounding the Local Void
Local Void in our Neighborhood of the Universe, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

A smoothed rendition of the structure surrounding the Local Void. Our Milky Way galaxy lies at the origin of the red-green-blue orientation arrows (each 200 million lightyears in length). We are at a boundary between a large, low density void, and the high density Virgo cluster. University of Hawaii at Manoa.

 

Where are we, exactly?

Astronomers Map Vast Void in Our Cosmic Neighborhood,
University of Hawaii at Manoa, July 22, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

"The universe is a tapestry of galaxy congregations and vast voids."

"...our Milky Way galaxy is also at the edge of an extensive empty region that they called the Local Void. The existence of the Local Void has been widely accepted, but it remained poorly studied because it lies behind the center of our galaxy and is therefore heavily obscured from our view."

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Pacific Salmon Going Down Hard

 

FISH, OCEANS, WATER & ICE: THE SALMON

Salmon Populations Especially at Risk from Climate Change
Mapping Pacific salmon and steelhead vulnerabilities to climate change. PLOS

Mapping Pacific salmon and steelhead vulnerabilities to climate change. BIG. Credit to PLOS.

 

Pacific Salmon Going Down Hard

Some Pacific salmon populations are especially at risk from climate change,
PLOS, July 24, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Climate Change Vulnerable
"Four population groups of Pacific salmon in California, Oregon, and Idaho are especially vulnerable to climate change..."

US Coastal Waters
"To better understand the vulnerability of Pacific salmon, the authors studied 33 threatened or endangered population groups of Pacific salmon, encompassing local populations from the Mexican border to the Canadian border."

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Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker

 The picture at the bottom of the page was taken at sunset on Usal Beach. And it was the end of an excellent day at Usal Beach, on the Southern end of the Sinkyone State Park, which contains the Southern 14 miles of the Lost Coast. The next day I headed North into the temperate rain forests that characterize the Southern part of Lost Coast.

But that evening I dined on fresh abalone caught by the most interesting person I had ever encountered at Usal Beach.

I had driven my truck in the 6.8 miles on a well-maintained dirt road from an obscure turn-off about 35 miles North of Fort Bragg, California. I had found a nice camp site in the Aspens a bit behind the beach, and I had decided to walk to the beach before sunset.

On the grassy flat just before the beach, there was a strange site. There was a horse grazing about a hundred yards from an old '40s red and white international pick-up. The truck was strangely equipped, with chuck wagon style boxes set-up along the length of the bed's sides. Their downward opening doors made shelves, on which there was a Coleman white-gas four-burner, a cast iron skillet, and various food stuffs and cooking implements.

 

Horse Story-Lost Coast Backpacker
Embed Map: 
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2019 Russian Bee Losses Show Bee Decline an Emerging Global Disaster

 

GLOBAL BEE DISASTER EMERGING

Honey Bee Visiting Flowers
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.
Western Honey Bee, Wiki, Louis Docker.

 

Russian Bee Losses Make Bee Decline a Global Situation

Russia Alarmed by Large Fall in Bee Populations,
BBC, July 19, 2019.

MAIN POINTS

Scope
"...20 regions had reported mass bee deaths...regions include Bryansk and Kursk, south of Moscow, and Saratov and Ulyanovsk on the Volga River."

Causes & Effects
"...might mean 20% less honey being harvested. Some officials blamed poorly regulated pesticide use."

Beekeepers cite Climate
"...beekeepers blamed climate change, noting that late frosts had been followed by a severe heatwave in France."

"Sunflowers and buckwheat are just two of the staple crops pollinated by bees in Russia. Orchards also rely on bees for pollination."

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