Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Great Desert Escape!

I've finally done it! I am completely done with training. This training began in mid March of this year and as of Monday, October 19th at approximately 11 a.m. is now over! From mid March until mid July, I was at the Federal Law Enforcment Training Center in Georgia. From early August until this past Monday, I was in Field Training in Yucca Valley, CA, Bishop, CA and Gerlach, NV.

My final phase of Field Training was back in Yucca Valley. Now, there's really nothing wrong with the desert. It's wild, rugged and beautiful in its own way. But, I am a cool and wet climate person at heart. While leaving the desert this past Monday, I couldn't help but cheer. I was going home!!! Later, when I saw the towering peaks of Mt. Lassen (10,462 feet) and then the completely snowy bulk of Mt. Shasta (14,179 feet), I knew I had left the desert behind.

I'm now happily back in McKinleyville, along the Pacific Ocean, with my wife. All this crazy training is behind me!

Working along the Pacific

Susanna really has a fantastic job. She spends her days walking and teaching under the largest trees in the world. This time of year, it is often a busy job dealing with school groups who come out to Redwood National Park for a 3-day adventure at the Education Center. The kids live in cabins and slowly grow to appreciate and even love the redwoods, the creeks, the prairies and all the creatures that call that home.

On the days that school groups don't come, it is part of Susanna's job to get to know the park as much as she can. This, of course, involves hiking all over the place! The photos above are from a recent outing along the edge of the continent...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Two weekends in the Trinity Alps

We spent each of the last two weekends backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, California's largest wilderness, located just to the Northeast of us. The first weekend, we backpacked up Canyon Creek to a couple of stunning, alpine lakes nestled beneath massive, jagged peaks. The land looks very similar to the Sierra Nevada with lots of smooth granite, rocky boulders and steep mountains.

The weather was so hot that we went swimming in one of the lakes and actually lounged in the water for awhile! The evening alpenglow was absolutely stunning. A half moon illuminated the rocky, alpine world in silver. After the moon set in the west, more stars than we could count filled the sky. We returned to civilization the following day, rejuvenated and content.

The next weekend, we backpacked up the Stuart Fork trail to a beautiful sub-alpine area called Morris Meadow. Two things were distinctly different about this trip. The first is that we had the place completely to ourselves (last weekend we shared the other with a handful of people). And second, the temperature was about 50 degrees cooler. We fell asleep to the sound of ice crystals hitting the rainfly, but we stayed cozy inside our sleeping bags. The next morning, we awoke to a dusting of snow on our tent, as well as on the high, jagged peaks surrounding our campsite. We backpacked out of the mountains, realizing that winter was just one step behind us.