Photos from some of our adventures in 2019.  The Blog posts are just below the photos.

(Until July of 2016, if you clicked on the photos, they will take you to our trip photo logs on Picasa.  But then Google decided to make that impossible, even though they had provided us with both the website software and the compatible Picasa software so that we COULD do that.  Now the photos are on Google Photos, where we cannot make albums visible to the public.  We HATE Google photos.)


            Rainstorm in Death Valley                                                             Canyon de Chelly


        `                    Chaco Canyon                                                                    Carson Pass

            Blue Lake above Lake Sabrina                                                             Dinkey Lakes

More Artwork again

posted Apr 3, 2020, 7:28 AM by Paul Wagner

P's been painting during these times of self-isolation....

First a desert sunset

And then Lyons Lake at dusk

More Snow on the Way

posted Apr 2, 2020, 10:25 PM by Paul Wagner


National Weather Service Hanford CA
1236 PM PDT Thu Apr 2 2020

Central Sierra-North Kings River-Including the cities of Devils Postpile, Florence Lake,Lake Thomas Edison, Tuolumne Meadows, Fish Camp, and Shaver Lake
1236 PM PDT Thu Apr 2 2020


* WHAT...Heavy snow possible above 4500 feet. 1 to 2 feet of snow accumulations possible above 4500 feet. Local snow accumulations up to 3 feet are possible above 7000 feet. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph on exposed ridge tops.

* WHERE...Central Sierra and North Kings River Counties.

* WHEN...From 11 AM Sunday morning through Monday afternoon.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Travel could be difficult to near impossible for hikers and campers.


Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

More Closures in California

posted Mar 27, 2020, 4:23 PM by Paul Wagner

VALLEJO, Calif. — March 26, 2020. USDA Forest Service appreciates the public’s interest in outdoor recreation, particularly in light of current events. The Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service, in response to the recent statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, is joining the cause to aggressively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by closing developed recreation facilities on our National Forests statewide.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to designated recreational use areas designed to facilitate public use. Information on individual recreation sites and opportunities are available from local National Forests.

Closures of developed recreation facilities are being put in place until at least April 30th in an attempt to avoid groups of people and promote social distancing of staying more than six feet apart.

While designated recreation sites will be closed, the general Forest area including the extensive trail system will remain open and available to the public. Hiking and walking outdoors are widely considered beneficial to maintaining one’s health. It is the intent of USDA Forest Service to maintain trail access to the extent practicable.

Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We ask that you consider whether your personal participation in outdoor recreation at this time would pose an unnecessary risk to others as we all work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our National Forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

Stay Home

posted Mar 24, 2020, 6:43 AM by Paul Wagner

This was posted yesterday by the County Health Office for San Mateo County, near San Francisco:
"As I write this, I am both immensely grateful and exceedingly disappointed. We are in a grave crisis. I believe the virus is growing at an exponential rate in our county. Unless everyone does their part and follows the County’s Shelter-in-Place order and the Governor’s Safer at Home order, we will be facing an Italy-type catastrophe very soon. These orders are not recommendations, they are rules to be followed. My disappointment stems from the fact that many people just aren’t taking this seriously and going about their business as if nothing has changed. Our world has profoundly changed in an instant. It is now up to you all, the community, to decide what you want your future to be. If you decide you want to do your own thing and follow your own rules, you disrespect us all. You spit in our face, and you will contribute to the death toll that will follow. For those of you who say: “nobody tells me what to do,” now is a time to make an exception. You can go back to being ornery in the future."

And this:

"For families in different households, do not mix your households at this time. As hard as this is, do not gather in any way outside of immediate households. As for outdoor exercise, people certainly need to get out, but do this in your own immediate neighborhoods. Do not drive except to provide or obtain an essential service. Do not go into other neighborhoods for recreation. This increases the risk of virus spread. Always maintain social distance. Wash your hands frequently and follow all the other recommended actions."

Seems pretty clear.  Be safe, both for yourself, and for so many others. 

Amazing what you see...

posted Mar 22, 2020, 8:09 AM by Paul Wagner

How serious is this virus?  As we learned from our walk around town yesterday, even the local endangered wildlife is taking it seriously!

Hope you are doing the same in your town.


posted Mar 19, 2020, 5:20 PM by Paul Wagner

As our nearest National Park, we're always paying attention to developments here. 

Yosemite National Park Campgrounds Are Closed
Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSSDate: March 18, 2020

Yosemite National Park campgrounds currently open, Upper Pines and Camp 4, are now closed. These closures will remain in effect through March 31, 2020.

Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, Yosemite National Park’s entrances, comfort stations, hiking trails, and the outdoor spaces around the Yosemite Village will remain open.

Yosemite National Park is working on utilizing alternative methods to provide interpretive services and programming that adhere to the CDC guidelines. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the many digital tools already available to explore Yosemite National Park. Download the park’s free App and please continue to enjoy Yosemite National Park through the park’s webcams. There are many wonderful resources available to explore on the Yosemite National Park webpage to help you stay connected to your national park.

The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Yosemite National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.

Roads (call 209-372-0200 and press 1,1 for current information)
All trails except Mist & 4 Mile (nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/conditions.htm)
El Portal Gas, Wawona Gas, 24 Hour Tow Service
Facility Management Customer Service Center
Yosemite Valley Public Library
Yosemite Post Offices

Employees/Community ONLY
Degnan’s Deli, Village Store, Wawona Store, El Portal Market

All guest lodging & restaurants
All campgrounds
Valley Visitor Center (Rangers available behind VC)
Valley Theater, Yosemite Museum
Interpreter-led programs
Badger Pass ski lift & equipment rental
Badger Pass A Frame (self-registration wilderness permits available)
Ostrander Ski Hut, Glacier Point Ski Hut, Snow Creek Cabin

Good Advice

posted Mar 19, 2020, 8:24 AM by Paul Wagner

From the good folks at Leave No Trace.org.  Suggestions for the current situation--

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly altering our daily life. It is important to be aware of the most current information from the CDC on these changes, and that goes for changes to the way we spend time outside as well. To keep ourselves, our communities, and our outdoor spaces safe and healthy during this time, please consider these recommendations.

Stay Home or Stay Local

While it can be disappointing, the best thing to do might be to stay home, especially if you are sick. Even if you are not symptomatic, saying home is still a good idea. Park rangers, volunteers, and locals in the often small and rural gateway communities near our favorite outdoor spaces need to be kept safe and healthy too. That’s not to say you need to be stuck indoors though unless it is mandated. Now is the time to enjoy your local trails, open spaces, and parks. Rather than travel to big name outdoor areas, see what is available in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Expect Closures

As businesses limit services or direct their staff to work remotely, closures should be expected. This can mean not only visitor centers, service stations, and restaurants, but also parks and outdoor areas. The result could be a lack of water, restrooms, campgrounds, or other facilities, or even entire areas closed to the public. Do your best to research before you leave home, but also be prepared for things to change quickly. Take necessary precautions like bringing extra food and water, learning how to go to the bathroom outdoors, and being ready to pack all your trash out with you.

Pack Out Your Trash

With limited staff and services likely in many parks and protected areas, trash and recycling receptacles may not be emptied as often as normal. This can result in trash overflowing from receptacles which becomes litter and can harm wildlife. Instead, pack all your trash and recyclables out with you all the way home and utilize your own receptacles.

Avoid Times and Places of High Use

Social distancing definitely applies outdoors. To avoid creating large crowds and groups at popular trails or outdoor areas, spread out to less popular spots, and avoid times of highest use if possible. If an outdoor area is more crowded than anticipated, don’t hesitate to adjust plans. Remember these Tips For Handling Crowds in Outdoor Spaces.

Don’t Forget the Leave No Trace 7 Principles

Just because times are tough, doesn’t mean the Leave No Trace 7 Principles go out the window. Our outdoor spaces will likely be receiving less attention from staff and volunteers for the time being. This means our shared spaces need us to act as stewards more than ever.  Remember, it is still just as important to prepare for spring weather conditions, stick to trails, dispose of our waste properly, minimize fire impacts, leave what we find, keep a safe distance from wildlife, and…

Be Considerate of Other Visitors 

We are all in this together. Be considerate of other outdoor visitors by washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer when hand washing facilities are not available, sneezing and coughing into a tissue or your elbow, and keeping group sizes small. Also be kind to park staff during these challenging times. Help them do their job by doing your part to take care of each other and the land.

We’ll make it through, and will get back to enjoying our backyards to the backcountry together soon.


Solid facts about the virus situation

posted Mar 18, 2020, 8:26 AM by Paul Wagner

From a highly qualified expert in the field, this article covers the current situation and compares it to previous pandemics.  And it explains the science behind the self-quarantine strategy: 

And for those of you who might be considering a "self-quarantine" in a national park, please note that many parks are suspending services--both to protect their staff and their concessionaires from contagious visitors, and also to maintain health care options for locals. And some communities like Moab have outlawed all camping to protect the inhabitants and hopefully keep their local hospitals available for those locals who need them.

So now is a lousy time to go camping.  But it's a good time to open a book, check out You Tube, or wander through the trip reports and blogs of your favorite websites.  You might even find some ideas for your next backpacking trip, once we manage to put all of this behind us.

And in the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  Be nice to others---but also be nice to yourself.  If you can, go for a walk to stretch your legs and remember what it feels like to breathe the air outside, and feel the sun (or icy wind) on your face. It's good for you.  And you deserve it.  

And weather is not the only concern!

posted Mar 17, 2020, 8:12 AM by Paul Wagner

On Aramark's Yosemite Website:

UPDATED: March 16, 2020 @ 6:05 PM (PST)
As a result of guidance provided by the National Park Service and public health officials, all lodging, tours and dining facilities in Yosemite National Park are temporarily closing as of tomorrow March 17, 2020. The temporary closure is prompted as a precaution due to coronavirus concerns. The closure is anticipated to last through March 31, 2020.

The health and safety of Yosemite National Park visitors and park employees is the park’s top priority. We are working closely with public health officials and the park will continue to review operations and reopen facilities when appropriate.

Winter storm:

posted Mar 15, 2020, 11:53 AM by Paul Wagner

National Weather Service Hanford CA
536 AM PDT Fri Mar 13 2020

Central Sierra-North Kings River-Sequoia Kings-
Including the cities of Devils Postpile, Florence Lake,
Lake Thomas Edison, Tuolumne Meadows, Fish Camp, Wawona,
Shaver Lake, Camp Nelson, Giant Forest, Lodgepole, Grant Grove,
and Johnsondale
536 AM PDT Fri Mar 13 2020


* WHAT...Heavy snow possible from late Saturday afternoon through
late Monday night. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 feet are
possible between 4,000 and 7,000 feet. Localized accumulations
as high as 3 feet above 8,000 feet. Winds could gust as high as
40-45 mph along exposed ridgetops and near the crest.

* WHERE...Sierra Nevada, mainly Yosemite to Sequoia National

* WHEN...From late Saturday afternoon through late Monday night.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening


Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.

And now this:

Highway 140 will close today (March 15) at 12:30 pm west of Yosemite, from Cedar Lodge to Yosemite Bug, due to forecast of heavy rain and debris flows. Check https://roads.dot.ca.gov/ for updates. Tire chains are required on all other roads leaving Yosemite.

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