SUN CHASERS: NORTH-BOUND TO NEVADA

Yeesh, I feel a little behind on this whole blog thing.  It turns out that when I travel by myself and have ample food, water and gasoline I can be away from population centers for a long time...it's glorious.  Since I posted last I've traveled from Bishop in Southern California to Fernley, Nevada; however, even then I was posting back dated photos and telling you of travels long past (seemingly, time travels at an inconsistent rate when alone on the road, ), so let me get you up to speed. 

Where I left off with the last blog I was making my way down to Joshua Tree after a week spent in rainy Boulder Creek, CA.  I had just woken up near Giant Rock in Landers County California, but oddly I never posted any pictures of that area in the last blog so here's some so you actually know what Giant Rock looks like...*spoiler* it's a giant rock.

 Certain perspectives may leave you thinking, "is that really a giant rock?"

Certain perspectives may leave you thinking, "is that really a giant rock?"

 Others make you say, "damn...that's a giant rock"

Others make you say, "damn...that's a giant rock"

 A morning hike up the pile of rocks I parked beside resulted in this nice view.  I wore this smart-looking shemagh (thanks Carson!) to demonstrate how outdoorsy and rugged I am; however, I forgot to wear pants...but nobody knows that for certain, hehe.

A morning hike up the pile of rocks I parked beside resulted in this nice view.  I wore this smart-looking shemagh (thanks Carson!) to demonstrate how outdoorsy and rugged I am; however, I forgot to wear pants...but nobody knows that for certain, hehe.

 Laundry day?  This is how you dry out your boler after a week spent in the rain: drag every fabric based item out and hang it off your truck.

Laundry day?  This is how you dry out your boler after a week spent in the rain: drag every fabric based item out and hang it off your truck.

From Giant Rock I made my way into Joshua Tree once again, that'll be the third or possibly fourth time I've been there.  I've spoken to friends, particularly friends who climb, and they've gone on about how badly they'd love to go down to J-Tree to climb, meanwhile I'm thinking, "sheesh, I've been there three times without even thinking about climbing," it makes me wonder if I'm possibly missing out on something. This time around I wanted to actually camp in J-Tree, so I paid the park fee and forked out $30USD for camping, *yecht!* I hate paying for camping.  The lady at the entrance told me I'd have an easy time finding a campsite, HA!  That's a good one lady!  An hour later I had hunted through Hidden Valley, Ryan, Jumbo Rocks, Belle and finally found a place to set up the furthest from where I wanted to be in, White Tanks (I just named off all the campground in JT if you're confused).  My mission when entering the park was to find a cool campsite in Hidden Valley then photograph some climbers, instead I wound up in the campground for all the stragglers that leave finding a campsite too late...figures.  The next day I partially succeeded in my mission of finding climbers, but not without a 30 mile round trip on my bike.  I rode from White Tanks to Hidden Valley and met Flynn and Maleea hanging out by their cool converted sprinter van.  Flynn and I started our conversation talking about places to find climbers which digressed into talking about vans, bikes, climbing, traveling etc.  Turns out Flynn and Maleea agreed to being the climbers for my little photo shoot, as it was getting late we settled on doing a climbing shoot early the next morning. I rode my bike back to White Tanks and settled down for the night.  

 With my ride through J-Tree I think I've now done more road riding than actual mountain biking.  

With my ride through J-Tree I think I've now done more road riding than actual mountain biking.  

 The Power Couple:  These kids are super duper rad, they climb, mountain bike, hike and ski tour.  To boot, Flynn is a mountain guide and Maleea a geologist.  Much like many others they've embraced the mobile vanlife and converted their sprinter van to live out of while adventuring around the Western states.

The Power Couple:  These kids are super duper rad, they climb, mountain bike, hike and ski tour.  To boot, Flynn is a mountain guide and Maleea a geologist.  Much like many others they've embraced the mobile vanlife and converted their sprinter van to live out of while adventuring around the Western states.

The next day was rad.  I met up with my new friends in the morning and proceeded to follow them around J-Tree photographing their different routes.  Maleea and Flynn will be getting married in J-Tree in April and may have a pretty cool photographer there to capture their special moment...guess who.

 Assessing the ascent.

Assessing the ascent.

 It took a while for Flynn to start his climb but a very short time to realize he didn't like the climb too much...

It took a while for Flynn to start his climb but a very short time to realize he didn't like the climb too much...

 Oh hey there Mister.

Oh hey there Mister.

 Maleea, the super belayer posing in that J-Tree sunlight.

Maleea, the super belayer posing in that J-Tree sunlight.

 I forget the name of the route, but I decided we'd nickname it Heinous Anus due to the fact that the climb resembles a butt crack and was very difficult (so I've been told).

I forget the name of the route, but I decided we'd nickname it Heinous Anus due to the fact that the climb resembles a butt crack and was very difficult (so I've been told).

 Maleea making short work of 'Heinous Anus'...

Maleea making short work of 'Heinous Anus'...

 First time doing a segmented shot like this.  It turned out pretty well.

First time doing a segmented shot like this.  It turned out pretty well.

 Flynn climbs 'Sail Away'

Flynn climbs 'Sail Away'

 I often wish that I was actually shooting in black and white film back in the 60's when climbers were first discovering many of the now popular routes in J-Tree...this shot kind of eludes that narrative.

I often wish that I was actually shooting in black and white film back in the 60's when climbers were first discovering many of the now popular routes in J-Tree...this shot kind of eludes that narrative.

 A top-down of Flynn belaying Maleea.

A top-down of Flynn belaying Maleea.

 Spider-Girl at it again.

Spider-Girl at it again.

 Our intrepid couple surveys their latest kill (climb).

Our intrepid couple surveys their latest kill (climb).

 No fear while hanging off a 200ft+ cliff.

No fear while hanging off a 200ft+ cliff.

 Mahalo dude! There's a bouldering segment to this photo shoot, but I'll leave you with Flynn rappelling to the ground.

Mahalo dude! There's a bouldering segment to this photo shoot, but I'll leave you with Flynn rappelling to the ground.

That night I returned to Giant Rock and the next day made my way to Mojave to meet up with my buddy Andy to accompany him to Trona Pinnacles.  Andy, Jeff and a bunch of other Tacoma World members were meeting up to do an extended Death Valley 4x4 Trip and I was lucky enough to hang out with them at Trona Pinnacles their first night and meet some guys I had been following for years previous on TW and IG.  

 @jandymendo or Andy driving towards Trona Pinnacles.

@jandymendo or Andy driving towards Trona Pinnacles.

 Storm Troopers

Storm Troopers

 Hunting campsites by night.

Hunting campsites by night.

 A good night was had.

A good night was had.

The guys departed mid morning and left me to crawl my way out of Trona Pinnacles one photograph at a time (I took a lot more than you'll see here, the rest I'm hanging onto for a little project of mine).  I slowly made my way North along 395 to Bishop where I met a bit of a snag in my plan.  When I arrived at Bishop there were signs for chain/ snow-tire enforcement for the pass leading to Mammoth/ Bridgeport.  Despite the fact that this Canadian knows how to drive in snow and laughs in the face of heavy snowfall, CalTrans turns people around if they don't have chains or snow tires, which I have neither, soooo change of plans.  Intel had told me that the hot springs I was aiming to get to near Bridgeport (Buckeye Hot Springs) were likely to be snowed in, my plans had been to go up there and check it out before moving to some other springs just South of Bridgeport on the 395; with the possibility of those springs being inaccessible it didn't make sense for me to go further North on the 395.  This is what I love about traveling without a schedule, I simply decided to change my route and head to Fish Lake Hot Springs in Nevada instead.  Excellent choice if I do say so myself.

 The group grew in size over the night as rigs from all over California descended on Trona Pinnacles for the start of the Death Valley Trip.

The group grew in size over the night as rigs from all over California descended on Trona Pinnacles for the start of the Death Valley Trip.

 After the group left I was left to my own devices.  Camera in hand, bumpy road ahead.

After the group left I was left to my own devices.  Camera in hand, bumpy road ahead.

 I went to Mars once, turns out Mars is located in Southern California and they call it Trona Pinnacles.

I went to Mars once, turns out Mars is located in Southern California and they call it Trona Pinnacles.

From now on, whenever I point my compass towards Nevada I'm going to get very excited.  I'll leave you with the last pictures before I crossed the state line into Nevada, there's another blog coming for my new favorite state.

 Somewhere along 395 in California.

Somewhere along 395 in California.

 Moo?

Moo?

 Found some snow again...sigh.

Found some snow again...sigh.