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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July of 2019 All High Sierra Outdoors & Nature News Index


July 31, 2019









High Sierra Backpacker's News
 Man and Nature

, 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. 

The vast majority of our reporting on Nature comes from the American Association of Scientists summarizations of each day's bounty of the peer-reviewed research published by academic institutions and journals around the world.

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A World Without Forest Elephants Approaches



Forest Elephant
Forest Elephant, Stephen Blake, Ph.D., Saint Louis University.
Forest elephants engineer the ecosystem of the entire central African forest, and their catastrophic decline toward extinction has implications for carbon policy. Stephen Blake, Ph.D., Saint Louis University.


A World Without Forest Elephants Approaches

Elephant Extinction will Raise Carbon Dioxide Levels in Atmosphere,
Saint Louis University, July 24, 2019.


"One of the last remaining megaherbivores, forest elephants shape their environment by serving as seed dispersers and forest bulldozers as they eat over a hundred species of fruit, trample bushes, knock over trees and create trails and clearings. Their ecological impact also affects tree populations and carbon levels in the forest,...with significant implications for climate and conservation policies."

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Now the Whole World is All Warming. Fast.



Cooling Warming Rates Over the Last 2000 Years
Cooling Warming Rates Over the Last 2000 Years, University of Bern.
Global mean warming / cooling rates over the last 2,000 years. Big Version. In red are the periods (each 51 years) in which temperatures increased. Temperatures decreased in the periods in blue. At more than 1.7 degrees per century, the current rate of warming is significantly higher than the expected natural rate of warming, and higher than values for every previous century. Instrumental measurements since 1850 (in black) confirm these figures. University of Bern.

Now the Whole World is All Warming

The climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years,
University of Bern, July 24, 2019.


"Little Ice Age (from approx. 1300 to 1850)."

"Medieval Warm Period (approx. 700 - 1400)."

"...the team shows that there is no evidence that there were uniform warm and cold periods across the globe over the last 2,000 years."

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Bee-Flower Mismatches Rising with Temperatures



Two Solitary Bees and Their Flower
European orchard bee, the red mason bee and the pasque flower, Sandra Kehrberger, University of Würzburg.
Global warming can disrupt the mutualistic interactions of plants and pollinators as in the case of the European orchard bee, the red mason bee and the pasque flower. Sandra Kehrberger, University of Würzburg.


Bee-Flower Mismatches Rising with Temperatures

How Climate Change Disrupts Relationships,
University of Würzburg, July 24, 2019.


Bee & Flower Imbalanced
"The pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris), for example, is very sensitive to rising temperatures by flowering earlier each year, whereas one of its major pollinators, a solitary bee species, does not quite keep pace by hatching earlier. In the worst case, this may cause the seed production of the plant to decrease and impair reproduction while requiring the bee to switch to other plants to forage on to compensate for the lack of food supply."

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Global Warming Driving Increase in Numbers and Intensity of Southwestern US Monsoons



Tropical Monsoon Storm Hits East Sierra
 Fall Tropical Storm sucking up dust crossing Deserts before hitting the Eastern Sierra
A Long Voyage for Gulf Mexico Tropical Weather coming across the SW US deserts to smash into the Sierra. Article. Trail Guide.

Further South
Monsoon Clouds Passing Over Phoenix
Monsoon Clouds over Phoenix, Arizona, Wiki, by Syroco
Wiki, by Syroco


Southwestern US Monsoons Increasing and Intensifying

Monsoon Rains have become More Intense in the Southwest in Recent Decades,
US Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, July 23, 2019.


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FUNGAL Disaster on Our Horizon?



Fungus, Yellow, Eagle Creek, Toiyabe Wilderness
Fungus, Yellow, Eagle Creek, Toiyabe Wilderness.
Fungus, Toiyabe National Forest, Mokelumne Wilderness, Pacific Crest Trail between Carson and Ebbetts Pass at Eagle Creek below Reynolds Peak.


FUNGAL Disaster on Our Horizon?

Rise of Candida Auris Blamed on Global Warming,
American Society for Microbiology, July 23, 2019.


"...C. auris, which is often multi-drug resistant and is a serious public health threat, may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change."

Super-Fungal Forge
"Global warming may have played a pivotal role in the emergence of Candida auris, according to a new study..."

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US Wells Chasing Disappearing Groundwater Ever Deeper



Groundwater Well Drilling Equipment in California's Central Valley
Looks like a rocket, but one pointed at the blood of the Earth... Photo Credit: CHAD RESS, UCSB.


Original Research

Drilling Deeper,
University of California - Santa Barbara, July 22, 2019.

After-market Article

In the US, wells being drilled ever deeper as groundwater vanishes,
Ars Technica, July 25, 2019.


Not Sustainable
"...current levels of groundwater use are not sustainable: resources are being steadily depleted as groundwater use outpaces natural replenishment."


Recent Research
The Destruction of American Groundwater


March 2019
Our Frightening Groundwater Future of, Fright, Flight, & Fight


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Life Moving with Changing Climate and Seasons




African Bird Breeding in UK
African Bird in UK, European Bee-eater, Zoological Society of London.
"The European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is one of the species moving with climate change, traditionally breeding in Africa, southern and central Europe and East Asia -- they have reportedly bred in Nottinghamshire."


Life Moving with Climate Changes

Species on the move,
Zoological Society of London, July 18, 2019.


"...A total of 55 animal species in the UK have been displaced from their natural ranges or enabled to arrive for the first time on UK shores because of climate change over the last 10 years (2008-2018)..."

The Study
"The analysis also considered UK Government environment reports as well as 111 scientific papers, leading to a total of 55 species (out of 39,029 species in the UK) being identified. The research focused solely on species which had established sustainable populations through natural, rather than human-assisted movement."

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Carol Crooker Trip Report Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop.

Carol Crooker Trip Report
Desolation Wilderness Lollypop Loop.
Member Profile


Trip Statistics
Lower Echo Lake North PCT
to Middle Velma Lake.
West to Camper Flat.
South to Lake Aloha,
PCT to Lower Echo Lake

Distance & Duration
40 miles in 9 Days
June 9 to 18, 2015

Temps and Weather
33 degrees and the highest was 83 degrees

Starting Pack Weight
About 32 pounds

Trail Guide Resources 
Desolation Wilderness Map

Detailed Map of Carol's Route

Trail Guide
Lower Echo Lake Trailhead

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit


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BIRD BRAINS? Chickadees Understand Complex Sound Emotions at Distance



Black-Capped Chickadee
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay.
Black-Capped Chickadee, kriswaid, pixabay. Note the  beak on the bird in the image with the research notice below kind of looks like a Jackdaw (??), whatever it is, but not a Chickadee, not with that beak...


Complex Emotions Understood at Distance

Hear them roar: How humans and chickadees understand each other,
University of Alberta, July 12, 2019.


"The idea is that some species can understand other species' vocalizations."

"For instance, a songbird is able to understand the call of distress of a different type of songbird when they are in the presence of a predator, like an owl or a hawk. Or, for example, if your friend scared you and you screamed. Both of these are high-arousal vocalizations, and being able to understand what that sounds like in a different species can be very useful."

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Changing Timing of Life Bleeding Fertility Out of Nature, The Case of the Japanese Bumblebees



Big Jap Bumbler & Its (Once) Perfectly Timed Plant Pal
Jap Bumblebee Visits Corydalis Ambigua after Overwintering, Yuimi Hirabayashi (Bihoro Museum), Hokkaido University.
Coming in for Landing: A far Northern Japanese Bumblebee visits Corydalis ambigua after overwintering, by Yuimi Hirabayashi (Bihoro Museum), Hokkaido University.


Changing Timing of Life Bleeding Fertility Out of Nature

Early arrival of spring disrupts the mutualism between plants and pollinators,
Hokkaido University, July 12, 2019.


Bummer for Jap Bumblers & Flowers…
"...demonstrated that early snowmelt results in the spring ephemeral Corydalis ambigua flowering ahead of the emergence of its pollinator, the bumblebee."

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Bribed Dems Make Us Pay PGE to Burn Us Down



Bribed Dems Make Us Pay PG&E to Burn Us Down

Newsom authorizes $21 billion fund to protect utilities from fire costs,
SF Chron, July 12, 2019.


Demon Corporate Rats
"AB1054, which overwhelmingly passed both chambers of the Legislature..."

Public Funded Private Profits
"...a new wildfire fund for claims associated with future blazes started by power lines, mandates safety investments from the major utilities and changes crucial aspects of how the state regulates them, among other provisions."

MASSIVE Corporate Subsidy
"The fund is expected to be $21 billion, with half of that coming from utility customers through the extension of a charge on their bills that would have otherwise expired. Lawmakers anticipate that the three major utilities will cover the other $10.5 billion through shareholder profits, not rate increases."

Bought & Paid For
"...I couldn’t be more proud,” Newsom said..."

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Cautionary Levels of Blue-Green Algae in Lake Isabella



Warming Climate & Human Runoff Turning Waters Green

'Potentially harmful' blue-green algae found in Lake Isabella, lake users should exercise caution,
Bakersfield Californian, July 10, 2019.


The Kern County Public Health Services Department, "...received water samples from eight different locations in Lake Isabella, and two water samples indicated the presence of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, at a cautionary level. This type of algae can be considered potentially harmful."

Main Page

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

Recent Blue-Green Algae News, Research, & Information

Nitrogen Runoff & Algal Blooms Increasing Due to Global Warming

Summer of 2018: Watch Out for the Green Water, Salem Oregon Water Supply Compromised

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Loggerhead Turtles Face Extinction due to Global Warming



Loggerhead Turtles
Loggerhead turtles in Cape Verde, University of Exeter, Lucy Hawkes.
Run little turtles, run! Loggerhead turtles in Cape Verde, University of Exeter, Lucy Hawkes.


Turtle Troubles

No New Males: Climate Change Threat to Cape Verde Turtles,
University of Exeter, July 11, 2019.


Hot End of Loggerhead Turtles
"...by 2100 - more than 90% of loggerhead nests on the Cape Verde islands could incubate at "lethally high temperatures", killing turtles before they hatch."

Turtle Troubles
"The sex of turtle hatchlings is determined by incubation temperature..."

Low Heat Not Happening…
"Even under a scenario based on low future emissions and warming, by 2100 just 0.14% of hatchlings would be male."

"Under mid and high-emissions scenarios, hatching of male loggerheads could cease entirely."

Nearing the End
"We estimate that 84% of current hatchlings are female, and warmer temperatures will increase this proportion."

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Solar System Formation, Planets & Moons



Circumplanetary Disk
Young planet designated PDS 70 c has a circumplanetary disk, a feature that is strongly theorized to be the birthplace of moons, credit to ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) A. Isella; ESO.
This is a composite image of the young star system PDS 70. Comparing new ALMA data to earlier VLT observations, astronomers determined that the young planet designated PDS 70 c has a circumplanetary disk, a feature that is strongly theorized to be the birthplace of moons, credit to ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO) A. Isella; ESO.


Solar System Formation, Planets & Moons

'Moon-Forming' Circumplanetary Disk Discovered in Distant Star System,
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, July 11. 2019.


Distant Moon Formation
"...made the first-ever observations of a circumplanetary disk, the planet-girding belt of dust and gas that astronomers strongly theorize controls the formation of planets and gives rise to an entire system of moons, like those found around Jupiter."

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Looking into the Mirror of Life: Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Science News & Research for Good Observers, Summer & Fall of 2019



Really Big and Really Small Scale Sciences

The Fundamental Nature of Reality Big to Small... 

We follow Astro-physics and Science News 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.

This is the amazing universe we are walking through.

Interestingly enough, we have to understand the fundamental nature of the 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, what we are hiking through, and our choices along our journey.




October 12, 2019





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Nasty Asian longhorned Tick Rapidly Filling up Staten Island, NY, & East Coast



July 2019
Direct to Article

Savage Tick-Clone Armies are Sucking Cows to Death; Experts Fear for Humans, ArsTechnica, July 11, 2019.


Deadly Tick Attacks
"Ravenous swarms of cloned ticks have killed a fifth cow in North Carolina by exsanguination—that is, by draining it of blood—the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services warned this week."

Clone Armies of Death
"...a single well-fed female can spawn up to 2,000 tick clones parthenogenetically—that is, without mating—in a matter of weeks."

Unique Persistence
"...unlike other ticks that tend to feast on a victim for no more than seven days, mobs of H. longicorni can latch on for up to 19 days."

"...the National Veterinary Services Laboratories looked back through their tick samples and discovered a larval H. longicornis was isolated from a white-tailed deer in Tyler County, West Virginia, in 2010, backdating the first case known in the US. Still, researchers don’t know when the tick first arrived and were it came from."

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Big Ohio Study Matches Global Butterfly & Insect Declines



Swallowtail Butterfly
Swallowtail on flower, Oregon State University, Rob Liptak, Ohio Lepidopterists.
Swallowtail on flower, Oregon State University, Rob Liptak, Ohio Lepidopterists.


Big Ohio Study Matches Global Butterfly & Insect Declines

Decades-Long Butterfly Study Shows Common Species on the Decline,
Oregon State University, July 9, 2019.


2% Annual Decrease
33% Loss Over 21 Year Study
"...butterfly abundance in Ohio declined yearly by 2%, resulting in an overall 33% drop for the 21 years of the program."

All Over World?
"The findings also are in line with those of butterfly monitoring programs in multiple European countries."

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NOAA Climate Assessment for the U.S. Climate in June 2019




US Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events, June 2019
US Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events, June 2019, NOAA.

Big Version. NOAA


State of US Climate & Weather
Extreme Rain, Rather than Heat, Marks 2019, So Far

Assessing the U.S. Climate in June 2019,
NOAA, NCEI, July 9, 2019.


An Average Temp June

Average June Temps
June average US temp of, "...68.7°F, 0.2°F above the 20th century average, ranking in the middle third of the 125-year record."

Wettest June on Record

June Precip Record
"...June precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 3.30 inches, 0.37 inch above average, and ranked in the upper third of the 125-year period of record.

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