Winter

I've been refining my breadmaking technique.
I’ve been refining my breadmaking technique.

Winter has set in. We continue to get out and about for various outdoor activities, but it seems to be a time for slowing down and saving up energy for spring.

We had a great trip to Joshua Tree National Park, Indio, and Bishop over the Christmas and New Years. Joshua Tree, being higher-elevation desert, is typically cool and breezy at this time of year, so sunny routes were highly sought after for a less chilly climbing experience. Nights were clear and cold, with a bright, almost-full moon lighting the famous monzonite granite formations and namesake “trees.” Our new, wee propane heater served us well for camping in the Sprinter.

Summit of Ryan Mountain, looking toward the Hidden Valley area, Joshua Tree NP.
View from the summit of Ryan Mountain, looking toward the Hidden Valley area.
A lucky find for Mike -- ancient potsherds, one piece with a beautifully decorated rim. After admiring them, we left the pieces where we found them.  [It is illegal to remove artifacts like this from National Parks.]
Elsewhere in the park, a lucky find—ancient Indian potsherds, one piece with a beautifully decorated rim. After admiring, we left the pieces where we found them. [It is illegal to remove artifacts like this from National Parks.]
House ring near where Mike found the shards.
Near where Mike found the shards, these rocks form a ring at an old house site.
desert treasure
Chris and Bean with a desert treasure.

We then headed north to Bishop. Chris made a giant ham for New Year’s, and we shared champagne and stories before everyone toddled off to bed at 8:30. [Party animals.] So everyone felt great the next day when we went for a leisurely stroll in Owens Valley.

It was a chilly but sunny day.  Some of the ponds were partially frozen, and birds flitted among the tall reeds and rushes that lined the ponds. We saw a roadrunner. Bean fell in the canal. [Chris fished her out.] We also found an ironing board.

Todd, Mike and Chris, bundled up for a sunny New Year's walk.
Todd, Mike and Chris, bundled up for a sunny New Year’s walk.
Buckley Ponds, on the way to being skatable.
Buckley Ponds, on the way to being skatable.

bonus: eureka dunes in winter

Here are some unusual images of snow on the dunes, captured by Bishop photographer John Dittli. Definitely chillier than the wedding!

Eureka Dunes in winter. ©John Dittli
Eureka Dunes in winter. ©John Dittli
Eureka Dunes and the Last Chance Range, with unusual snow on the sand. ©John Dittli
Eureka Dunes and the Last Chance Range, with unusual snow on the sand. ©John Dittli

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