Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hetch Hetchy Hike

The California rain broke for a day at the end of November, so Dave Harden and I went to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.  We were the only humans in this part of the park as we hiked around Hetch Hetchy reservoir to Rancheria Falls.

Rancheria Falls

Dave, the Sierra Nevada legend, looking strong on the 13-mile roundtrip hike

El Capitan look-alike

Wapama Falls

The Sierra Newt.  These dudes are like salamanders, except they have an aquatic phase.
The smallest newt either of us had ever seen

Rancheria Falls

 Dave at Rancheria Falls with Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the background

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


In November, our family met up for a long weekend in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.  
Mom, Joe, Luc, Cassy, Alex, Britton.  It was awesome having almost everyone together...we missed Chance!

The town of Lauterbrunnen, in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, can be summed up in 8 photos (in no particular order):

1. Lauterbrunnen is an awesome valley surrounded by huge walls

2. The Swiss stack their firewood even neater than the Italians

3. Cable cars make for super easy access to the high mountains

4. Magnificent waterfalls are the norm

5. Cowbells (and cows) are everywhere; traditionally, the bigger the bell, the richer the farmer

6. The Swiss invented milk chocolate (side note: you can buy mayo in a tube)

7. BASE jumping access doesn't get much better than this

8. There probably isn't a better afternoon via ferrata than this one:

That's the 8-photo summary.  

Let's take another look at that via ferrata.  
When I first saw this suspension bridge, I knew I had to cross it.  I approached the first time without gear and as soon as I put a foot on the bridge, the other end (200 feet away) swayed like crazy.  I backed off and Alex and I returned later in the day with rented gear.

The ferrata also had a "bridge" that consisted of a single wire for our feet.

Many Italian via ferratas are old supply routes for WWI soldiers that have been maintained by the Italian Alpine Club.  This ferrata, though, was built purely for tourists.  They purposely built a scary-as-hell route with easy lift access that could be done in a couple of hours.

The autumn leaves were spectacular.

The family in front of Staubbach Falls

Joe got his first taste of Switzerland when we crossed this pass just after leaving northern Italy.

Two perspectives of Staubbauch Falls from our apartment

Britton, Alex, Mom, and Cassy take the scenic ride to the summit of Schilthorn

The Eiger (3970 m), Mönch (4107 m), and Jungfrau (4158 m).  If I'm still in Europe next summer, I hope to climb an easy route on the Eiger.

The town of Mürren, only accessible by cable car

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Festival - Venzone

This was our third trip to the annual Festa della Zucca (Pumpkin Festival) in the walled city of Venzone, Italy.

 Pumpkin muffins, doughnuts, liquor, pizza, ice cream, gnocchi, soup...pumpkin everything.

 Me and my pumpkins

 The crew: Kris, Brian, Tiffany, Jamie, Meghan, and Cassy

 "Can you hear me now?" The prototype SquashPhone5

After dark, we gathered around the fire for a show.