Surly Peach

July 22, 2010

Rancheria Trail to Finger Rock and Duck Lake, John Muir Wilderness

Filed under: Uncategorized — surlypeach @ 2:56 am

Six miles past Wishon Reservoir there is a trail that climbs into the John Muir Wilderness.  It’s past the end of the paved road and then on some dirt and about as far east as you can drive in this area.  I visited Rancheria Trail a few years ago, and it was dusty and hot.  I didn’t get that far on that visit and had not planned on coming back.  Recently my roommate told me that the trail was gorgeous, so I thought I’d give it another shot.

Just a few weeks before (June 21) it was impassable due to snow.  The trail head is at 7500 and it was a good snow year.  But by my visit on July 9 there were only patches of sheltered snow.  After climbing the first 500 feet the trail opens up into a field of ferns.  This creates a very enchanting environment, the ferns were green, buckbrush was blooming, and creeks were babbling.  I took a hundred pictures here, and made a recording of bird song.  Listen/Download here:

After a mile or so, the trees close in and the ferns thin out, the trail approaches Little Rancheria Creek and the grade increases.  The hardwood forest is less spectacular than the fern forest, but the creek is pretty and there are some High Sierra wildflowers to add a little spice.

At 2+ miles is the “John Muir Wilderness” sign.  Presumably if I was backpacking, I would have needed a pass – this trail is patrolled.  My goal was to check out Finger Rock, which was near the next trail intersection and nothing more than a little circle on the map.  I took pictures from a distance and someday I’d like to hike to the base and circumnavigate it.  The view of the High Sierra is reported to be excellent from that vantage.

Ultimately, I decided to push a little further and make a destination out of Duck Lake, about 6 miles in.  This is a peaceful moraine basin lake, ringed with huge white granite boulders, sitting at about 9000 feet.   It has fish – but no ducks during my visit.  I suppose the mosquitoes could substitute for ducks here but they weren’t that numerous either.  This would be a good place to camp, with flat spots, a fire ring with make shift benches, and it’s off the main track.  It was also as far as I wanted to go in a day, so at this point I began my descent back to the trailhead.

This was only a day hike.  The fern forest was the highlight of my trip, and my appetite is whetted for deeper trips into the wilderness.  I’m going to have to set aside some time for a longer visit.

Additional pictures from my trip are located here:


April 4, 2010

Can you handle an iPad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — surlypeach @ 7:46 pm

With all the data flowing into and out of an iPad, you’d think the device would get pretty heavy.  Even the low end 16 gigabyte model holds 137438953472 bits.  All those bits are clearly going to get fairly hefty over the 9 hours of claimed battery life.

To address this crisis, SurlyPeach is introducing a simple solution.  The iPad handle.  (We considered calling it the iPaddle, but in testing this gave us a rash.)  This is a DIY kit, which includes an elegant brushed aluminum handle that matches the iPad shape and color.  Tapered screws and complete instructions are included. Custom handles and installation are available on request.

October 10, 2009

The Monterey Bay Aquarium

Filed under: Uncategorized — surlypeach @ 5:25 pm

I recently visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There is a new exhibit “The Secret Lives of Seahorses” which was worth the trip. Although it is a fairly small exhibit by Aquarium standards, it makes up for it with variety. Two species stood out, the Leafy Sea Dragon and the Weedy Sea Dragon. Both have such unexpected shapes. See for yourself:

Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragon

Weedy Sea Dragon

Weedy Sea Dragon

Like much of the wildlife in today’s world, seahorses are threatened.

Beyond the Seahorses, the Outer Bay exhibit is one of my favorites. The dark blue water fills the visual periphery as shiny fish flash by. This is the closest I will ever get to the habitat of a tuna or a shark. It’s calming and satisfying.

Outer Bay

Outer Bay

My last visit was 15 years ago, and there is one significant change from previous visits: Cameras are now everywhere. Folks were snapping with every kind of camera that you can imagine. The conditions are far from ideal: low light, moving subjects, acrylic distortion, and reflections. The Aquarium website encourages photography, but I wonder how many people are disappointed with their shots, especially from cell phones. Of course, I’m no different and got a few okay shots.

Fishy, Fishy, Fish.

Fishy, Fishy, Fish.

I wonder what it would be like to have the roles reversed. Give a crab a camera, change the world? I’m going to need to make a return visit to get my camera back.



August 8, 2009

TwentyFour Hours of String

Filed under: Darth Extension — surlypeach @ 9:00 pm

Based on a suggestion from AnotherHeader…


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