Friday, November 26, 2010
But it won't last, unfortunately.
Unfortunately it won't last, but.
Right now a warm frontal zone is moving in overhead. Or has moved in overhead. Or has crashed into the moon. Or dissolved overnight.
Sold out. Bought off. Exhausted. Gone home. No one knows. It's all silent up there. We're waiting.
We can't know.
From here. All I see.
Is leaves. A few leaves. That died. And wait.
But refuse surrender.
Temperatures are warming aloft. And. Temperatures are chilling aloft. Days continue.
The backpack. In the closet. Height in meters, feet in boots, food in bags, all done. For this year.
The snow could not last long. A few hours, a couple of days. The lifetime of a mayfly.
The snow is gone. It did not last. Clearly, the warming is happening.
But not here really, not now.
As a concept.
On blueprints. In preparation for review. Before being passed on to us. Next year.
Before too long.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Laminar Flow: A sort of non-turbulent motion of a fluid, whether it's a liquid or a gas.
Watch smoke rising from the tip of a cigarette. At first it rises straight up.
That's laminar flow - straight.
Higher up, it goes all nuts.
That's turbulent flow.
Some say that laminar flow is important to alcohol stoves because it transports vaporized fuel straight up from the fuel's surface to the bottom of the pot in a smooth and sophisticated sort of way, at which point it's finally OK to let it get all turbulent and burn.
The idea is that this puts the point of combustion right along the bottom surface of the cooking pot and is more efficient.
Some say that it's better to have turbulence start early in the process so that the fuel and air mix thoroughly long before they begin burning.
Some say it tastes like licorice, but hotter, and burns the tongue.
Some say where the hell is dinner and why are we talking about all this crap?
Some just stare at the sky vacantly and continue to drool in peace for long quiet moments.
From: Fire In Your Hand About ultralight backpacking stoves. (print)
PDF: Fire In Your Hand (The same, but now paper-free.)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here, it's quiet. Cold, a little sunny, white. Calm.
And there's evidence on the ground. Things that normally move at night, beyond our ken, have left their marks. We can't hear them, or see them, or catch their scent, normally.
Today is different.
Coyotes, cats, dogs, birds, mice, rabbits, raccoons, and humans have all passed back and forth, between dark and dawn, leaving traces. Which even I can follow in the crunchy frozen atmosphere.
Monday, November 22, 2010
"The key feature is a low center along the coast."
"The NWS is clearly worried about this scenario and have put out a heavy snow warning for the lowlands."
"I really wish we had the coastal radar now...it would provide a clear view of what we are dealing with..."
Quotes: Cliff Mass Weather Blog
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This is a miscellany, leftovers from a late-season trip.
At the end of September I visited Jumbo Peak on a one-night, two-day trip in between two unexpected monsoons. Following the first one in September there was a gap of three days of perfect weather. I hiked the last two. Then more rain.
That's been about it. No fall backpacking.
Winter came early has been pounding daily.
If you can call it that. Winter.
This is cool weather, wet, sometimes windy. What winter is here, but not everywhere. Grass is still green and half the trees that lose leaves haven't given up yet, in mid-November. So this isn't bad. If you think that ice and snow are bad. This is not ice and snow winter.
But you can contract mildew.
Keep that in mind if you ever visit the Pacific Northwest. And moss.
Don't stand too long in one place. Moss hardly moves but if it's faster than you, that's all that counts. After my first couple of years my car had moss. Growing out of it, down on the bottom behind the front wheel where the body was rusted through.
It can happen to you too, so move around a little.
The night (getting back to packing) was windy but not cold. Then it was day again.
Clear again, due to "offshore flow". I forgot to use that phrase earlier, when explaining things. That's what they call it here.
When wind is from the "interior" (eastern Washington) it is warm and dry and pushes marine air back out to sea. The clouds stay away, the rain does, the mist, the fog, the stealthy damp tendrils that reach for your ankles. Or if you're sleeping, your throat.
Which is a reason to use a hammock, but it wasn't needed this time.
It was breezy but not cold and not cloudy, and it was glorious. The sun in the sky and all, the blue, open sky. Wind, but clean wind. No bugs, just air all around, on the ridge top. And sun.
October sun is special. You can get an idea from a couple of the photos, where I managed to catch the light's low angle across the mountainsides. Makes me look as though I know this photography stuff. I was just glad to be there.
While Jumbo Peak, seen from the south, is a stumpy plug, and seen from the north is a sort of V at the confluence of two solidified volcanic ridges, Sunrise Peak is a ragged snag sitting on a narrow ridge. It looks like it was dropped by an absent-minded titan cleaning the lint from his pocket.
And though I visited Sunrise on the way out I completely blew it. No good photos.
The peak's tippy-top is easy to get to, if mountain hiking is easy for you. You trudge, and eventually pop out of the forest and then shuffle around on bare rock. Pretty cool. Not really easy but it's only hiking uphill.
Then you look up once more and see the stairs. And the railing. Which will take you to the very top, where you can stand in that ripping wind and wet yourself.
I couldn't do more than half of that. I'm not more than normally afraid of heights, but that was more than plenty. I got to the place where the rail goes up and takes a sharp left and then snakes itself up the last 30 feet or so (10 m), and no. That was it.
Had to stop there. Got a shot, standing, leaning into the wind, maintaining full contact against the metal railing, of my car parked a full death leap below, but forgot to grab one of the railing or the stairs carved into the rock.
But the bath was nice, earlier. I carried around seven liters of water up, then carried most of it halfway back before finding a decent spot (sunny, out of wind) to bathe on day two. That was when the motorcyclists went by. First two hikers, unexpectedly, and then a full legion of armored dirt bikers, chased by dust and smoke.
Upwind in a quiet pocket of crystalline sunshine, freshly fed and bathed, I enjoyed not meeting them on the trail. That was a nice piece of luck. Saw a grasshopper.
From that spot it was up to the top of Sunrise and then back down to the car and home.
Not any kind of great adventure or anything but it was choice. Choice. Small is beautiful. Small trip. Good trip.
There's nothing like October sun.
Some Mumbo About Jumbo
Evening Jumbo Mumbo
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
While walking home from a class I stopped to talk.
Henry takes leaves. And puts them away. Safely, against future need.
It seems. With his wheelbarrow.
Henry seems. A good man.
But I got these. First.
Sorry, Henry. I say sorry. To you. But.
First. To first things first. And.
These are now out of reach. Yours.
In my mind. Mine.
In the quiet dark.
Against future need.
Mine. And. You yours theirs ours. Too.
You have enough. For now, for your needs.
In your wheelbarrow.
Fair deal, Henry.