Happy 70th To Me! (Day 1, Part 2)

September 2 (still)

[Leaving Pipestone, heading south on Highway 75 again . . . ]

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[Another Bucket List item . . . ]

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[And here are the real live bison . . . ]

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[And, of course, since youngsters are going off to college now, their parents have to say, “Bye, son.”  Oh, you heard that already?]

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[Not a bad view (guess the background city?), with a Halloween tree in the foreground.]

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[Nope, can’t quite make out the name on the water tower.]

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[Meanwhile, back on the hill . . . ]

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[We hiked up to the interpretive center only to find it closed.  I guess we may have misinterpreted something?]

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[A color changed tree . . . ]

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[With leaves that look like flowers.]

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[Either riding thermals (it was a hot, sunny day) or an aged hiker collapsed on a trail.]

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[The Super is off in pursuit of her Quarry . . . ]

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[The goal is attained . . . ]

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[We wanted to get up there – it would require a drive back to where the bison were and then a 2-mile trail hike.  We didn’t have the time, or the desire.]

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[There’s a topless man up there!]

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[Now looking for a place to have lunch . . . ]

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[Luverne revives a lot of childhood memories.  They always seemed to be in the state basketball tourney, so they got a lot of statewide TV coverage back in the day.  Of recent vintage, they have become a bit of a hockey power – the only one from this part of the state.]

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[And not a bad little baseball field.  The high school nickname is the Cardinals, a la Alex.]

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[Another mid-size city downtown that appears to be vibrant.]

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[So, where are we? If you stand here and throw a baseball to the south, it will end up in Iowa; if you throw it to the west, it will end up in South Dakota.  Now you know where we are.]

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[I did mention lunch, right?]

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[Whom amongst us doesn’t enjoy a chocolate malt?]

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[Yes, Mom, I finally made it!]

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[And the house Mom grew up in – she was born in Eau Claire, the family moved to Worthington when she was very young, and at some point in her mid-teens the family moved to Minneapolis where she graduated from Marshall High in 1941 (I think, I wasn’t there).]

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[There was a young man in the garage in the back.  I asked if he’d mind if I took some pictures of his house – I told him my mom grew up here, like 90 years ago.  He smiled and thought that was cool.]

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[Photo of the house by brother Cam in 2010 . . . ]

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[And back in the day . . . ]

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[And here’s Mom with her brother Dick (later to become my uncle Dick, though neither of us knew about that at the time).]

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[A final shot as we go in search of Worthington.]

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[OK, not likely where the Thompson (Mom’s maiden name) kids went to school . . . ]

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[But we long ago learned the cheer:  “Red and black, red and black; Rickety-rack, rickety-rack; Rickety-rye, rickety-rye; Worthington, Worthington, WORTHINGTON HIGH!”]

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[Probably self-explanatory?]

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[An unidentified water tower?]

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[I guess so.]

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[A lovely evening for a drive around the city’s Lake Okabena.]

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[Sunset Park, appropriately enough.]

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[I still don’t see anything on the water tower?]

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[Stock photo]

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[Lake Okabena. It’s only 776 acres (about 3/4’s the size of beautiful Lake Darling), but it hosts . . . the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival — which has drawn sailors, musicians and spectators to Worthington for the past decade. (www.dglobe.com)]

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[“The kids” ate here once (everybody’s been here except us?) and recommended we do as well.]

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[I thought it was an abandoned building, but for some reason the place is closed on Saturdays.]

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[Worthington’s population is 12,800 – about the same size as Alex.  But it had a Daily newspaper since 1872?  Until April of this year, that is, when it changed to a twice weekly Wednesday and Saturday publication.]

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[We still were looking for fine dining – this place looked good right downtown . . . ]

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[El Azteca, with a nice cold Corona . . . ]

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[The Super got a taco salad, I party dip Azteca.  Mmmmmmmmm!]

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Age is something that doesn’t matter, unless you are a cheese.  ~ Billie Burke

Up Next:  Birthday, day 2

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Happy 70th To Me! (Day 1, Part 1)

September 2

It was a BIG one.  What to do?  I thought about a party, but I would have cried through the whole day ruining the festivities.  So, how ’bout . . . a ROAD TRIP?  Beginning Saturday morning?

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[But where would we go?  We thought about seeing Bonnie Raitt in Moorhead . . . but by the time we checked the closest seats were in East Grand Forks.  We weren’t A-listers like “the kids” who got back stage passes!  Woo-woo!  Besides I’ve never been much of a big venue kinda guy – I like to see the whites of their eyes and smell the wine on their breath.]

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[Bonnie, at 67, is at least of my generation.  🙂  ]

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[We thought about the Cities, but the State Fair had sucked all the air out of anything else happening down there.  And the Fair falls within the “big venue” category for me.  So . . . Ortonville?]

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[We had long talked about a road trip to the far southwestern part of the state – the only part we had not yet visited.  Which is really strange since Mom grew up in Worthington and I had never been there!  We’d be visiting places of first impression.  By the time we returned home on Monday afternoon, my birthday, Labor Day, we had traversed 560 miles.]

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[Ortonville is as far west as you can get in the southern half of the state without being in South Dakota.  It’s at the base of the little bump out into South Dakota, by Big Stone Lake, the source of the Minnesota River.  From here a straight shot south on Highway 75 almost to the Iowa border.  Bellingham, Minnesota?  Just down the road a bit.  Population 168.]

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[A big city in these environs – and hometown of Charlie Roth (you can look him up) . . . ]

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[Another capital I can check off the Bucket List . . . ]

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[A rather new participant among old guys at the Y in the morning used to own this DQ.]

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[I tried to catch a hint of each town along the way.  At times, as the Super was taking a turn on two-wheels with her super charged turbo diesel VW Beetle convertible, I’d miss a shot.  Canby was once home to a couple of Alexandria educators, as I recall . . . ]

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[Small town America on the edge of the prairie seemed to be doing OK . . . ]

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[Close to the edge of the world . . . ]

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[When we approached Lake Benton we began to notice for the first time some . . . TOPOGRAPHY!]

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[Hole in the Mountain Prairie is a preserved remnant of the tallgrass prairie in southwestern Minnesota.  It is owned and administered by The Nature Conservancy, and is located on Buffalo Ridge near the town of Lake Benton in Lincoln County.  It spans a valley of about a half-mile in width, with a total area of 1,364 acres.  The preserve is home to about 60 species of grasses and emergent vegetation, and about 200 species of wildflowers. Trees are a minor feature, with only about 10 species present.  (Wikipedia)]

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[And here is Lake Benton in Lake Benton.]

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[The first stopping off point for the grand adventure . . . ]

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[Pipestone National Monument is located in southwestern Minneasota, just north of the city of Pipestone.  The catlinite, or “pipestone”, has been traditionally used to make ceremonial pipes, vitally important to traditional Plains Indian religious practices. The quarries are sacred to most of the tribes of North America, and were neutral territory where all Nations could quarry stone for ceremonial pipes. The Sioux tribes may have taken control of the quarries around 1700, but the Minnesota pipestone has been found inside North American burial mounds dating from long before that, and ancient Indian trails leading to the area suggest pipestone may have been quarried there for many centuries.  The National Monument was established by an act of Congress on August 25, 1937, and the establishing legislation restored quarrying rights to the Indians.  Today only people of Native American ancestry are allowed to quarry the pipestone.  As an historic area under the National Park Service it was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the heading “Cannomok’e—Pipestone National Monument”.  The Red Pipestone Quarries within the monument comprise a Minnesota State Historic Site.  (Wikipedia)]

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[We were chastened to remember our friends from the East stopped here on their last trip to Minnesota, thus visiting here before we ever did.]

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[This was a 20-minute movie – highly recommended for a history of the place.]

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[Well, all of the above was a tour of the facility.  Now, let’s go hike a trail . . . ]

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[This way, old man!]

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[My guess, prayer ribbons?]

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[Lead on, McDuff!!]

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[Oh boy, rock outcroppings!]

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[Look up there!]

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[And here she/he is . . . can you see the face profile?]

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[And now the face at an angle.]

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[I wonder what’s around the corner?]

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[A waterfalls!]

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[Since you asked . . . ]

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[The Super did a video here.]

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[More figures?]

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[Yup!]

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[The sumac is turning.]

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[Hey, if plants can get along????]

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[We left the national monument and got a whiff of the town of Pipestone, population 4,317 (I didn’t think it was that big).]

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[The Calumet Inn is apparently well-known to everybody but me.]

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[A busy first day.  We’ll cut it off here and finish the day in the next posting.]

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Oh, to be seventy again.  ~  Georges Clemenceau (on seeing a pretty girl on his eightieth birthday)

Up Next:  Birthday, day 1, part 2

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School . . . Already?

August 29

[Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017 Cardinal volleyball team!  Let the fall sports season begin!]

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[But volleyball was the second visit to the high school on this day.  The Super and I began the morning with many other interested personages watching this movie.  And afterwards we all met over coffee and muffins to discuss it all.  The current education model has been in existence for 120 years – you know, an hour of history, change rooms, an hour of biology, change rooms . . . all mostly presented through teacher lectures.  The movie proposes student-led learning with teacher oversight and guidance, project oriented, basically the way modern companies operate in our technological world.  I think most people there were in agreement with the movie’s proposal.]

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[And to think all this occurred on Class of ’65 alum, Greg “Little Mayo” Johnson’s, 70th birthday!]

[And here are your fall sports schedules.]

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[And here, again, is your 2017 Cardinal volleyball team.]

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[First game of the season and we’re taking on Marshall, a perennial volleyball power.]

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[Again, we have no 7-footers, not to mention 6-footers . . . but then, neither did Marshall?]

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[And here are the dreaded Tigers.]

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[Watching practice kill shots . . . ]

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[I didn’t remember many players from last year . . . ]

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[We have a new assistant coach, he’s lobbing the lobs . . . ]

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[No jump ball, no face-off, let’s play volleyball!!]

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[Final advice from the coach, “Always remember, hit the ball OVER the net” . . . ]

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[So, the front line to begin the game:  McKenzie Duwenhoegger (11), 5’11”, junior; Erika Roderick (7), 5’8″, sophomore; and Tori Jeseritz (2), 5’10”, senior.  The back line is: Mya Lesnar (10), 5’9″, sophomore; being replaced by Alana Rodas (1), 5’2″, senior (apparently that substitution before the game actually starts establishes a substitution pattern, or something); Mia McGrane (5), 5’7″, sophomore; and, I believe absent a visible number, Kendra Hardy (13), 5’10”, junior.  Why yes, we are a rather young team.]

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[And leading us off, Kendra rises to the occasion . . . ]

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[Mya and Erika go up for a block . . . ]

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[Where’d the ball go?]

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[Kendra serves, with McKenzie as her sidekick . . . ]

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[The linebacking corps . . . ]

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[And front line of the defense . . . ]

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[Mya again, I thought she had a stellar game at the net . . . ]

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[Whooompff . . . ]

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[So, is the Boulder Tap House open after the game?]

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[We’ll be ready for a malt!!]

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[Set position . . . ]

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[Moving to the block . . . ]

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[This time Erika goes up for the block.  For you Class of ’65ers looking in, can you spot Ruth Helie Anderson in the background?  (Oh, and Brad was sitting next to me, giving me updates on the political crisis of the moment.)]

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[First game, and we have . . . extra innings?]

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[Drat!!!!]

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[McKenzie serving – all around good game, front row, back row, offense, defense . . . ]

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[Kendra with her lefty power serve . . . ]

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[Really out of sorts this game, after the close loss in Game 1.  Never got any rhythm going.]

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[Game 3, time to pick it up again . . . ]

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[Looks like Tori and Erika on the block . . . ]

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[Now, stay on that side!!]

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[How we doin’?]

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[We’re making a run, keep it up . . . ]

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[Uhoh, overtime again!]

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[1, 2, 3 JUMP!]

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[Did I mention that the strength of McKenzie and Mya is their . . . strength?  They’re likely the two best shot putters in our section.]

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[And here they were blocking together . . . ]

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[McKenzie goes for a kill . . . ]

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[I see it!]

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[Block and . . . ]

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[Block]

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[Go out!!]

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[Deflection . . . ]

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[The tension is palpable . . . ]

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[Ohhhhhhhhhh!]

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[Get it!]

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[Oh nooooo!]

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[Heckuva game!  Sometimes shooting a scoreboard at the shutterspeed set for game action doesn’t work very well . . . the final score was 30 – 28.  We had multiple game points but just couldn’t quite make it over the top.  I think the team can take some positive vibes from the match.]

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Some students drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.  ~  E. C. McKenzie

Up Next:  Workin’ on it.

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3 Days in Long Pants in August

General introduction:  August is generally a hot, dry month in these environs.  It’s the one month out of the entire year that Minnesota’s carefully groomed lawns may brown up a bit. This August, however, will go down as the first month in probably a decade to be cooler and wetter than normal.

August 25

[The first of 3 straight days at the winery.  There was lots of other stuff going on in Vacationland USA, as there always is at this time of year, but we were too weathered out and/or tired out to partake of such.  If life hands you a lemon, take a nap . . . ]

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[Nice to be back with an old friend . . . ]

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[The forecast was for chilly and rainy – and it was.  Nevertheless, we had a small but elite group for Anthony . . . ]

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[We were joined by the Bergers, before they take off for their month-long sojourn through the great American West.]

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[OK, this isn’t Anthony.  But he played this (from his iPad?) during his last break – and we agreed that we love Bonnie Raitt and we love this song.]

 

August 26

[Yes, folks were in jackets for the Salty Dogs the next day.  Forecast was for a 90 percent chance for rain.  When we arrived, we couldn’t believe they were outside.  Here the Super captures her “Missing U at” photo . . . ]

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[Superior concentration by the boys . . . ]

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[It was a Saturday, so the regular crowd shuffled in . . . plus there was a wedding and a couple other wedding planning parties, so the place was hopping.]

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[Did we mention it was windy, chilly, and sticky?  Greg had two bows for his fiddle, but the hair loses tension in the humidity and you can only tighten them so much.  He wore out both bows, but luckily Lesley showed and had another with her.  It’s handy-dandy if your spouse is also a violinist.]

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[One of the wedding planning parties consisted of the 2012 (OK, a guess) All-American cheerleading team (OK, also a guess) . . . ]

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[Needless to say, it created an extra layer of fun . . . ]

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[And a photo by another member of said party.]

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Thanks, Nicole!!

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[Word on the street had it this video went viral in Renville.  And as you know, you can always trust “the street” as a source because that’s where we all learned about the birds and the bees.]

 

August 27

[Yup, another raw day for the Cheese Bots.  They began setting up inside, but it was suggested there aren’t that many outdoor performance days in Minnesota so they should give it a shot.  Like the previous day, somehow a rain delay never occurred?]

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[Barbara and Bob Foss, the keepers of the Alexandria music calendar!]

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[Found out Barbara’s birthday is two days before mine.  Oh, and Shelly Karnis was there and we share our birthday.  And the next night Shelly was also at the Andria to watch her daugher Sara perform in Stormy Weather.]

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[I hope the guys don’t mind.  They made two attempts at this fast-paced Brubeck classic, but due to circumstances beyond their control were unable to finish.  Jim, “Fromage du Jour,” needed baling wire, super glue, and/or duct tape to keep his music from blowing away.  He was ultimately tossed for a 2-yard loss on the 50-yard line, but everyone appreciated the effort to get as far as they did!]

 

August 28 (Bonus coverage)

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[The Super leads the way to the theater . . . ]

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[See that marquee?  It’s old and getting structurally unsound.  They would like to replace it was a new digital marquee.   So if you have a couple bucks kind of wasting away in an off-shore tax haven, why don’t you pass them along?]

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[This was Paulette’s third such period piece, and she and the cast produced another tour de force . . . ]

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[They’re not only fun and entertaining, but you get a little history lesson as well . . . ]

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[For example, many locals probably didn’t know that Deb Trumm worked at the Hotel Alexandria in 1936, or that the Andria Theater opened in 1933 with a Star Wars prequel?]

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[Many thanks again to you all!]

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Friends come and go like waves of the ocean . . . but the true ones stick, like an octopus on your face.  ~  Domesticated Momster

Up Next:  Whatever . . .

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California 1988 (Part 2)

Sequoias

Cloaked in the snows of California’s Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet. Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he’s standing forward on one of the great limbs.  (Michael Nichols/National Geographic)

Those numbers represent this giant sequoia. Oh, also: The tree is more than three millennia old, and contains about “54,000 cubic feet of wood and bark,” according to National Geographic magazine.  A few years ago, photographer Michael Nichols photographed a 300-foot giant in California’s Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The magazine’s December issue has a follow-up: a huge tear-out of the “President,” a snowy monolith in the Sierra Nevadas.  “It’s not quite the largest tree on Earth,” the magazine article reads. “It’s the second largest.” 

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[I did not take the photo above, but I did take the one below.  We are continuing on with Part 2 (not Day 2, for I know not how long this trip was), still visiting the Sequoias.]

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[They just leave you awestruck . . . ]

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[Obviously 5-star lodging once again.  I have no recollection of this place . . . other than this photo.]

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[A body of water with which I am not familiar?]

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The obvious intro to the next several photos . . .

[And, thusly, the wildflowers . . . ]

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[Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Mineral King are all adjacent to each other and as we traverse from one location to another, I don’t remember specific places . . . ]

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[Other than they were great places to visit.]

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[Kings Canyon National Park is in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno.  The park was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres (721.720 sq mi; 186,925 ha; 1,869.25 km2).  It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Granr Grove of giant sequoias.  The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered jointly as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  (Wikipedia)]

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[Here’s Dan passing The Senate, back in the days when the senate actually got things done.]

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[Oy, not to mention The House!]

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[Here Dan gives that familiar one-finger salute to his photographer.]

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[And it appears this was lodging.  How did he arrange all this in the days before the internet?]

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[Mineral King is a subalpine glacial valley located in the southern part of Sequoia National Park.  The valley lies at the headwaters of the East Fork of the Kawaeah River, which rises at the eastern part of the valley and flows northwest.  Accessed by a long and narrow winding road, the valley is mostly popular with backpackers and hikers.  In 1978, the valley became part of Sequoia National Park.  The name ‘Mineral King’ also refers to the historic mining camps and towns in and near the valley, including Silver City and Cabin Cove. The settlements as a whole are referred to as the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.  (Wikipedia)]

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[Oh, we’re hiking here.]

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[As noted this is noted as a haven for hikers and backpackers.  I believe this is the trail we took, and it pretty much lasted all day:  Crystal Lake, the trail to Crystal Lake (4.9 miles one-way) branches off of the Monarch Lakes Trail at Chihuahua Bowl, passing the remnants of the old Chihuahua Mine near the south rim. It then climbs steeply, providing panoramic views of the southern part of the Mineral King Valley, including White Chief Peak and Farewell Gap. The trail, and the small dam on Crystal Lake were built by the Mt. Whitney Power Company between 1903 and 1905. The Southern California Edison Co. still operates the facility. There is no maintained trail beyond Crystal Lake.  (www.nps.gov)]

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[That’s where we’re headed . . . ]

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[I want to take you higher . . . ]

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[You can find the strangest things at altitude!]

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[An alpine lake]

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[I certainly do remember this part of the CLIMB!]

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[Still going up . . . and in the days before GPS!]

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[He did allow us rest stops along the way . . . ]

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[Distance: 5 miles (8 km) one way;  Elevation: 7,800 – 10,800 ft.;  Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 4-7 hours round trip (not including stops for rest or picture taking).  Stunning alpine scenery, glacial cirques, and seasonal wildflowers await hikers of the Crystal Lake Trail inMineral King Valley. The trail to Crystal Lakes begins at the end of Mineral King Road at the Timber Gap/Sawtooth Trailhead. The 4.9-mile route follows the Monarch Lake Trail as it climbs through the Monarch Creek drainage with views of Timber Gap and Sawtooth Peak.  (www.sierranevadageotourism.org)]

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[The last one and a half miles of trail is steep and rugged. Making up for the difficult terrain are steadily improving panoramic views of the southern part of the Mineral King Valley–including White Chief Peak and Farewell Gap. The trail reaches 10,000 feet then descends slightly and levels for a short distance before beginning the final ascent to Crystal Lakes. At the top of the switchbacks, the dam comes into view. Between 1903 and 1905, the Mt. Whitney Power Company built the trail and small dam. The Southern California Edison Co. still operates the facility. There is no maintained trail beyond Crystal Lake, but sure-footed hikers can climb cross-country to the Monarch Lakes and return via the Monarch Lake Trail to make a loop. Be aware of lingering snow and loose scree!  (www. sierranevadageotourism.org)]

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[Coming back down . . . ]

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[A marmot, real threats to vehices in the parking lot as they eat soft parts of our car!]

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[And now we’re moving on again . . . ]

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[To a large body of water called an ocean . . . ]

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[Heading back up the coast . . . ]

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[Along Big Sur . . . ]

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[Let’s go to the beach . . .  which one, I’m not sure?]

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[Back to the Bay Area . . . ]

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Stanford

[And, as it says above, Stanford . . . ]

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California is an unbelievable state.  One day I might be in a spiritual place like Joshua Tree, then before I know it, I’m eating groovy sushi in a mini-mall.  I’m a Cali girl through and through.  ~  Drew Barrymore

Up Next:  Remains to be seen (stating the obvious)

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California 1988 (Part 1)

This is another in our series of continuing retrospective adventures “Travels With Dan.”  To California, the Golden State . . . and golden it is.  This trip was 29 years ago and though I have traveled much since then, there really is no comparable place in terms of variety of geography, geology, and biology.  This trip was really outstanding, but I’m glad I did it when I was a fine strapping young buck of 40 – we did some pretty serious hiking.  This trip included San Francisco, Muir Woods, Redwoods, Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, Sequoias/Kings Canyon, and Mineral King.  And that still left for subsequent trips such as to the desert, Death Valley, Salton Sea, Joshue Tree, south coast beaches and coast highway, the wine country . . .  the state just has everything including, of course, too many people and too much traffic. 

This video has been watched almost 150,000,000 times on YouTube:

San Francisco

[These kids are in their 30’s now . . . ]

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[Ahhhh, chocolate!  And be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.]

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[And here’s my tour guide, wearing yellow so he doesn’t get lost in the crowd.]

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[Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. The tower, in the city’s Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco; at her death in 1929 Coit left one-third of her estate to the city for civic beautification. The tower was proposed in 1931 as an appropriate use of Coit’s gift. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008.  (Wikipedia)]

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[We honored the Golden Gate Bridge in a previous post; here’s the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland.]

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[And here’s a hazed out Golden Gate.]

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[The statue of Christopher Columbus (not Gaspar de Portolà, the first European to discovered San Francisco Bay on November 4, 1769?) at Coit Tower overlooking Alcatraz Island.]

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[And the still famous Transamerica Pyramid.]

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 Muir Woods

[One of those places that upon first entrance you will never forget.  A glorious assault on the visual and nasal senses!]

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[If you’ve ever tried, you know it’s impossible to take photos in a forest – it’s like you can’t see the trees for the forest (or is it the forest for the trees?).]

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[Can you smell the Redwoods?]

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Berkeley

[Uffda, not a single counter-culture person in sight?]

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Yosemite

[Yosemite Valley, another assault on all senses.  We sure timed our visit right – the place is now so incrediby popular, I believe you may have to make reservations just for a visit and cars are no longer allowed in the park.  Why, yes, that is Half Dome in the distance.]

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[What a front door . . . ]

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[A long drop into the valley.]

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[Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. It is a well-known rock formation in the park, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft (1,444 m) above the valley floor.  (Wikipedia)]

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[Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in the park, dropping a total of 2,425 feet (739 m) from the top of the upper fall to the base of the lower fall.  (Wikipedia)]

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[El Capitan (Spanish for The Captain, The Chief) is a vertical rock formation, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers.  (Wikipedia)]

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[Climbers (can you see them?) . . . sheer madness!!]

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[The valley . . . ]

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[Merced River . . . ]

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[The Merced with an out-of-focus(?) El Capitan . . . ]

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[Kinda shouts Yosemite, eh?]

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[I suspect this may be Bridalveil Falls.]

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[Twin Peaks?]

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[Yosemite Falls]

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[And an out-of-focus camper.  Yes, we stayed in this cabin . . . now I think you need to make reservations about a hundred years in advance to get one.]

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[So close to the falls . . . ]

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[Walking around the valley floor . . . ]

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[Let’s get wet!!]

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[On a beautiful day, just beautiful . . . ]

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[Here we go!  Panorama Trail 8.5 miles/13.7 km one-way to Valley floor (via Mist Trail); 6 hours for 3,200 ft/975 m descent.  Begin at the Panorama Trailhead, Glacier Point.  As its name implies, this trail offers some incredible panoramic views of Yosemite Valley. The trail crosses Illilouette Fall after 2 miles (3.2 km) and continues partially uphill along the Panorama Cliff. At the top of Nevada Fall, the trail joins the Mist and John Muir Trails to Happy Isles. (www.nps.gov)]

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[I don’t remember for sure if it was the Panorama Trail, though it looks like it.  We obviously didn’t take it all the way to the top of Half Dome (12 – 14 hours round trip), but it was a long hike with, as you can see, big elevation.  We were pretty elevated when I took this shot of Yosemite Falls.]

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[Other folks on the trail ahead of us . . . ]

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[Cool tree]

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[Cool tree, different angle . . . ]

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[Is this a rugged trail hiker . . . or Mr. Whipple?]

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[Bald tree]

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[Oy, that’s a long way down . . . how’d I get up here?]

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[We’re coming around Half Dome’s left flank . . . ]

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[Farther along, we seem to be a mile off the valley floor (yea, that’s where we started from)!]

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[Water break, or does he have some sort of secret energy drink there?]

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[Ever closer . . . ]

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[Now we’re above the falls . . . without a pilot’s license!!]

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[Sneaking around to the back side.]

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[I may need oxygen.]

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[There does come a time when you wonder, “How are we going to get back down?”]

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[If I had known this is where we were going, I’d likely have queried, “Are you nuts?”]

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[Can a helicopter pick us up from here?]

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[No, we’re not back down in the valley yet, this is just your basic high alpine mountain top.]

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[We’re still we up here . . . ]

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[To the point we’re in Half Dome’s backyard.]

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[Maybe Illilouette Falls from above . . . ]

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[At long last, starting back down . . . ]

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[I can’t believe I took this picture without extreme vertigo setting in?]

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[Finally, a trail with a retaining wall so I won’t fall over the edge . . . ]

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[Nope, not going up there . . . ]

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[Grizzled wilderness hikers now . . . ]

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[Likely Vernal Falls . . . ]

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[I’d like to buy a safer trail?]

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[Watch your step!]

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[In the mist of the falls.]

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[This quite likely is on the Mist Trail with Nevada Falls . . . ]

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[Back amongst humanity . . . ]

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[Time to go to the eastern side of the park . . . ]

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Mono Lake

[Where we picked up Mono Lake: a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.  This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp and blackflies (that also feed on the shrimp).  When the city of Los Angeles diverted water from the lake, it lowered the lake level, which imperiled the migratory birds. The Mono Lake Committee formed in response and won a legal battle that forced Los Angeles to partially replenish the lake level.  (Wikipedia)  The water battles were going on when we were there – the lake level was really low.]

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[On the road again . . . ]

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[We are now hiking through . . . ]

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[Tuolumne Meadows is a gentle, dome-studded sub-alpine meadowy section of the Tuloumne River, in the eastern section of Yosemite National Park.   Its approximate elevation is 8,619 feet (2,627 m). The term Tuolumne Meadows is also often used to describe large portion of Yosemite high country around the meadows, especially in context of rock climbing. (Wikipedia)]

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[This was quite lovely and peaceful at almost 9,000 feet into the sky . . . ]

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[Who knows how many miles we’ve covered today?]

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[I was never a bandana wearer?  Can you be dressed like a total yuppie and still be following in the trail of Grizzly Adams (OK, John Muir)?]

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[And Dan marches on . . . ]

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[One of those places on the planet where every step is a photo op.]

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Fresno

[Done with the day’s hiking, looking for a meal and lodging.  I first met the Supervisor in the fall of 1987, so this was likely less than a year later.  Her name at the time was Ruth Hill.  And it was going into Fresno where we were stopped in a generic drunk driver road block.  It was dark, the trooper shined a light in my eyes and asked how much I’d had to drink.  I said none.  He persisted (I think my eyes were contact lens bloodshot after being out in the sun all day).  I was tired and grumpy, told him in a strong tone of voice we’d been hiking all day and now we were looking for a place to get drinks!  So, there!]

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Sequoias

[Kings Canyon National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, east of Fresno. The park was established in 1940 and covers 461,901 acres (721.720 sq mi; 186,925 ha; 1,869.25 km2).  It incorporated General Grant National Park, established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias.  The park is north of and contiguous with Sequoia National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service jointly as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976. (Wikipedia)]

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[This is in the Grant Grove loop.  The “Michigan Tree” fell in 1931 because there was a spring under it.]

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[The common use of the name sequoia generally refers to Sequoiadendron giganteum, which occurs naturally only in groves on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Giant sequoias are the world’s largest single trees and largest living thing by volume. They grow to an average height of 50–85 m (164–279 ft) and 6–8 m (20–26 ft) in diameter. Record trees have been measured to be 94.8 m (311 ft) in height.  The widest known at chest height is 8.2 m (27 ft).  Between 2014 and 2016, specimens of coast redwood were found to have larger trunk diameters than all known giant sequoias.  The oldest known giant sequoia based on ring county is 3,500 years old.  Giant Sequoias are among the oldest living things on Earth.  (Wikipedia)]

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[“Awesome” just can’t quite properly express it!]

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I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.  ~  Dan Quayle

Up Next:  Part 2

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Camp Brosius (Day 7)

August 4

[Camp’s last day, we went to town . . . ]

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[What menfolk do while womenfolk shop. Another wash out day at camp (even had to turn the heat on) – went to town with the understanding it would be to have lunch.]

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[Yes, shopping took a while.  And now don’t even remember lunch – oh yeah, a place where several of us had walleye.]

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[Back to camp for the last night together – all the kid’s groups are introduced . . . ]

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[Here’s Katie’s (2nd from left) group . . . ]

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[There’s a theme every year for the last night – this year it was Hawaiian, which was tempered a bit with the last two days of rainy weather . . . ]

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[But, hey . . . ]

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[Let’s PAR-TAY!!!  The Super, far right background, gave it a shot.]

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[Heavy hors d’oeuvres and sundaes!!]

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[Good-bye, Elkhart Lake!]

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[Action on the “inner harbor.”]

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[And songs around the campfire . . . ]

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[So, until next year!!]

If you’re not in New York, you’re camping out.  ~  Thomas Dewey

Up Next:  Everything’s on the table again . . .

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