Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Native Burial Cave - Location Classified

Today I totally headed to the Pine Mountain area, but I won't tell you where in particular.  I like to retain an air of exclusivity in my trips.  The assumption is that readers will recognize my singular genius. In return, they vicariously experience an adventure they are unworthy to join.

I parked my truck at the Portrero John Trailhead.  Some people join up and clean trails together, or share history and legends around a campfire. I prefer the smug delusion that I penetrate into the wildest haunts with unmatched cunning. People tell me, "You're ridiculous." They just want to peek at my beta.

I sidled over to a secret rock outcropping, unencumbered by lesser minds. For me, blogging is like starring on a reality-TV treasure hunt.  The other contestants hate to admit that I carry the only map, but cheering and applause erupt as I grasp the holy grail.

If I listed the directions to this locale within LPNF, I expect many of my readers would contemplate a similar visit.  Sadly, for you, it just ain't happening. You'll take what you can get though.  Aren't these painted figures great?  Keep in mind, you'll never  see them in person.

As you can tell, this blog isn't like others.  I find it affirming to point out that I have privileged information. This carries over to the medical setting among my patients and coworkers. Also, these native sites are enriching for plain people to see and I'm uniquely gifted and poised to make that happen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mount Hood - Top That! (Bonus Death)

A well-known mountaineering guide was killed in an avalanche on Sunday.  CNN did the story. I guess he was a big deal or something. Folks are all torn up. Whatever.

You'll be interested to know that I had hired the fella to teach me crampon techniques on Mount Hood. We parted ways a few minutes before he met his demise.  I don't have much to say about him. But, as a windfall, my pics from the trip have gone viral. I reached the summit at 2:17 PM.

Was his loss a tragedy? Can't comment on that. Can't even remember his name. Unfortunately, they couldn't recover his body, and he still had my sunglasses in his backpack. What a shame. RIP:

The rescue attempt was a fiasco IMHO. I broke out fresh hand-warmers and watched the idiocy unfold.  But in the interest of good taste, check me out: tempting fate at the crevasse where he is entombed.

Good thing I went ahead and released this trove of snapshots for everyone. Funny how somebody dying puts my blog right back in the spotlight.  No skin off my lucky back though!

But about the guide dude; I can't say I would bother to offer a word in memorial, or let on that he did anything to touch others' lives.  My pictures speak for themselves about how great my trip was when I was there on Mt Hood.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Devil's Heart Peak - Done and Done

I awoke at the ghastly hour of 2am to make a push deep into Condor Country.  Sometimes I wonder why I commit myself to these arduous weekend trips, and then I remember that I enjoy blogging about all the epic drudgery I'm capable of enduring.  I could never sit at the bar, eating chicken wings and high-fiving buddies about a 49er's touchdown.  That would be so lame.  Traipsing alone for miles through dusty chaparral?  Now we're talking!

Looking at the Sespe Map,  I saw a big boundary line with clear markers stating "Condor Sanctuary, Entry Prohibited."  Did that make me hesitate?  No way. When I see "Keep Out" it adds fuel to the fire of my defiance. More naive people abide by the Forest Service boundaries.  They probably think to themselves, "It's nice that the condors have unfettered habitat to breed, hatch chicks, and find food."  That's just blind acceptance of authority though.  Even if the spirit of the law makes sense, I'm a maverick at heart.  I can't help but encroach on the places other people respect and leave off-limits.  I think it's altogether original to post something like this:

I'm also uniquely above the law because I'm the kind of hiker that others can't keep pace with, so this is a one-man-team most of the time.  I do a lot of blogging and seeking out reader's reactions and enjoying the comments.  However, I guess I just prefer "virtual" relationships centered around my solitary hiking outings.

But back to the condor rules; LPNF rangers sit in their offices fussing over tracking data and field reports and such, but I am the one actually doing any fieldwork.  I should know because my butt is out here every weekend and I have yet to see hide nor hair of those rangers.  Again, my thinking is that if the rule-makers are incompetent by my appraisal, the rules don't apply to me.

It was 4am and pitch black when I left my truck, the Commandant, at the 2-mile pre-Dough Flat gate.  I crawled and scraped through the route I had scouted on Google Earth the night before.

I had packed plenty of medical tape, gauze, antibiotic cream, quick-clot, tourniquets, venous/arterial catheters, syringes, dexa, ibuprofen, a few liters of IV dextrose and ringers solution, saline for irrigating wounds, and flexible tubing (all courtesy of the stockroom at my hospital phlebotomy job :)

Most people just don't have a clue how to be prepared for the level of bodily trauma I run into.  But this is just standard fare as medical kits are concerned when it comes to my brush-busting endeavors.  Fortunately I'm skilled in self-administering any of the treatments, and this trip was no exception.  I punctured my left lung on a charred manzanita and emergently placed a chest tube to prevent suffocation from pneumothorax.

All in a days work. I trudged the next few hundred vertical feet uphill with labored breathing to say the least.

The view at the top was really worth it though.  I signed the ancient summit register with blood that was dripping from the wound and skirted back to my truck in a mere 12 hours.  25.6 miles by my reckoning, not too shabby if you saw the bushwhacking required of me.  I'm just sayin'.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just to get everyone up to speed, I've climbed a heckuva lot of the peaks in Los Padres.  The list should really read which peaks I haven't climbed yet, but I'll list them for general historical accuracy.  That's what I plan to do a lot of - listing my hikes for the record, for posterity, for everyone to get acquainted with the legacy.  My favorite is when I sign the register and marvel at how few people have reached the very top.  It never ceases to amaze me.

White Mountain:                Climbed it
Reyes Peak:                        Climbed it
Madulce Peak:                      Owned it
Alamo Mountain:                Smoked it
Hines Peak:                        Scorched it (report coming soon)
Old Man Mountain:           Wiped my boots off with it
San Rafael Peak:                  Bagged it
Chief Peak:                           Blasted it
Monte Arido:                     Mounted it

The list goes on and on people - I'll add more later, don't worry.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Basically, I'm excited to start posting my trip reports from LPNF (Los Padres National Forest) on this blogspot.  I do some seriously rad hikes out there so you'll want to check back a lot and see all the awesomeness of it.