Craig Wisner

Archive for July, 2013

Valley of Fire, Nevada. 7/18 -7/20/2013

A 110 degree cleanse in the desert with my wife, treated to thunderstorms and high winds on the final day and night.

All photos by my wife.

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Kearsarge Lakes. 7/11 thru 7/13/2013

Two nights and three days with my son in the High Sierra, a simple trip with relatively easy climbing (as Sierra passes go).  I enjoyed this trip immensely due to the mellow pace, settling into a comfortable “slow time”.  I let my son lead, dictate breaks, set the pace up climbs, choose our campsites, and set the general itinerary.  Having surrendered to the fact that it would be a leisurely pace from the beginning, I was free to enjoy the surroundings and my son’s company without any stress.

I’ve seen too many parents try and set the pace, kids struggling and straggling behind.  To what end?  My greatest concern has always been trying to make trips as fun as possible for my children, that I may kindle a spark of love for the outdoors.  I have to teach them that a degree of work is always going to be necessary to access beautiful places in the mountains, however, there is no need for me to push the mileage any faster than what they will enjoy.  Challenging enough that they earn a sense of accomplishment, yet comfortable enough to not turn them off to the experience.  Trying to push too hard, too fast and stressing over time is likely a sign that the mileage goals were inappropriate from the beginning.

The importance of not forcing things too hard on kids was reinforced heavily for me on this trip, evident in how much fun he was having because he was in charge of things.  My son ended up commenting that Kearsarge Pass (11,700 ft.) was much easier than he thought it would be so I think my general itinerary was spot-on.  He certainly did better than many of the sweat-soaked adults laboring under enormous loads…

Kearsarge Pass trail from Onion Valley, storm clouds threatening from the beginning.  It was pouring in Lone Pine when I picked up permits, leaving me wondering what was in store for the next three days...

Kearsarge Pass trail from Onion Valley, storm clouds threatening from the beginning. It was pouring in Lone Pine when I picked up permits, leaving me wondering what was in store for the next three days…

We got dumped on pretty good during the beginning of the climb.  The rain was actually a good thing, cooling us during the majority of the climbing and keeping the bugs down.  Frogg Toggs ponchos are my favorite for the kids; no worry about sizing and outgrowing raingear, combined with dual function as a packcover.  Ponchos are also useful for covering gear at night in camp during the rain.

We were rained on in the beginning of the day, but it was actually a good thing, cooling us during the majority of the climbing and keeping the bugs down. Frogg Toggs ponchos are my favorite for the kids; no worry about sizing and outgrowing raingear, combined with dual function as a packcover. Ponchos are also useful for covering gear at night in camp during the rain.

Cross country to descend to Heart Lake and then down to Flower Lake for the first night.

Cross country to descend to Heart Lake and then down to Flower Lake for the first night.

Flower Lake.

Flower Lake.

Kimchi Ramen, courtesy Trader Joe's Dried Kimchi.  A new favorite.

Kimchi Ramen, courtesy Trader Joe’s Dried Kimchi. A new favorite.

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Climbing the pass, day two.

Climbing the pass, day two.

Kearsarge Pass.  11,709'.

Kearsarge Pass. 11,709′.

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I brought an ultralight spinning rod for this trip, fishing exclusively with a fly on a bubble. My son is still better at casting a spinning rod. A few more trips to the casting club and he’ll be ready for fly fishing. He caught more fish during the evening hatch than he likely has in his entire life, sparking a much deeper interest in fishing. He never paid much attention before, but is now suddenly asking about tying flies and practicing casting…

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Morning glass.

Morning glass.

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A final rest on the way out on day 3.

A final rest on the way out on day 3.

A stop for cold drinks and chips on the way home.  The bittersweet return to Civilization...in all it's glory.

A stop for cold drinks and chips on the way home. The bittersweet return to Civilization…in all it’s glory.


Upper Kern Basin. 6/28 thru 7/3/2013

I would like nothing more than to write a flowing page of prose about this trip, perhaps a philosophical essay about man’s relationship to nature, or at least a few paragraphs about the value of friendship and walking in the woods together.  But as I sit and recall my week in the Upper Kern with Adan and Tom, words fail to materialize or simply fall flat.  I’m sure the vistas and conversations and clouds and the sound of rain on my tent will work their way into other writings in the future; for now I will remain content with the images, smells, and feelings etched in my mind.  This was one of the first trips I’ve done in which mileage was thrown out the window entirely, our days dominated solely by what we wanted to see and do in the moment.  No real itinerary, no set goals, only ideas and three friends walking in the mountains.  The trip involved five nights and six days, entering and exiting over Shepherd Pass, exploring the Upper Kern Basin and cross country routes through Milestone Basin, Thunder Basin, the approach to Lake South America, and much of the upper Tyndall Creek drainage.

Entering via Shepherd Pass at 90 plus degrees.

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