Sunday, August 18, 2019

About those pesky typos

Head's up, since I've been somewhat itinerant, writing bloggy-bits on my iPad has some serious limitations—especially when it comes to editing. I can only see a few lines of what I write at a time and I literally can't access the the bottom halves of my blogposts. But I can read the typos on the finished page  just fine! Please excuse my typos. I literally can't get to them in order to fix them unless I'm on my laptop. In other words, I can’t fix the typos. So, stand down.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Climbing Mt. San Jacinto (photos)


Swimming in the headwaters of San Andreas Creek, on the upper slopes of Mt. San Jacinto, where the San Jacinto and San Andreas faults meet. We wallowed in a pool sheltered by house-sized boulders that created a cave. The water was icy cold, while the ambient air outside about 119°. The gap of sky between the massive boulders created a visual tension that made bathing worrisome.

I once climbed Mt. San Jacinto in the late 1980s. It took us all day to climb the 2nd highest peak in SoCal on what is now called the Cactus to Clouds Trail that begins on the desert floor in Palm Springs, and rises up through granite scree to the summit at 10,834 feet. That's one mother-tough 10,700 ft. climb through five climate zones. The only climb more arduous than Mt. San Jacinto was Mt. Whitney, and that hike took us three days. (Not counting Machu Picchu, that was the mother of all climbs.)

Thought I was gonna die by the time John Oliver Simon and I reached the lodgepole pine timberline. I hardly even remember being on the summit. I remember seeing some sort of bog orchids and corn lilies, but not the summit. John was a stickler for things like that, so I know we reached the summit. I probably tried to die right there. Or take a nap on the geodetic marker.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway sure saves a lot of time. But that wasn't an option. We descended down the mountain in near darkness and camped on San Andreas Creek, beneath the native CA fan palms (Washingtonia filfera palms) whose fronds clacked and gurgled like creek waters. And we slept and slept and slept in the oasis. I have no photos to commemorate the event. Only a memory triggered by another memory.

But on this day captured in the photo, the 4th of July, 2007, we merely hiked up the San Andreas Creek until we could go no further. I was hiking in flipflops, and I blasted my knee...but the water was so cold, I never even knew it was injured until we came back down the canyon. Then it swelled up to the size of a basketball. But my wrist, which I had strained from an excessive pruning bout, was fine (note the wrist brace.)


Eons of snowmelt carved a deep gorge in Andreas Canyon. The canyon wall looks like the trunk of the native California Washingtonia fifera fan palm. I felt like a child caught between giant elephant legs. Native California palms are like redwoods, they need to keep their feet cool. Both have an extraordinarily small range and specific micro-climate needs. They favor the fissures caused by the San Andreas fault.
To the Cahuilla Indians, the peak was known as I a kitch (or Aya Kaich), meaning "smooth cliffs." It was the home of Dakush, the meteor and legendary founder of the Cahuilla. Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, "The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!" —Wiki

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

VERB AND NOUN


While scanning old negatives
I accidentally reversed one, 
& then when I posted them, 
I was startled by a mirror image
heart made of granite and snow. 
So that's why his smile looked all wrong 
in the photo, because it was reversed.
A stranger was grimacing at me.
Maybe if I had seen the flip side, then,
I might have saved myself some grief.
I literally scaled mountain peaks—
even the heights of Machu Picchu with that man—
it was a short, fierce relationship, 
lasting only a few years, 
but it came with a lifetime sentence. 
Sometimes the sentence is all there is: 
all verb & noun. The temporalness of snow 
and the endurance of granite.

8/13/19 & 9/11/19

Granite heart (photos)



An accident while scanning negatives last night, I reversed one, and when I loaded them onto FB, I was surprised to see the images made a heart of granite and snow. I also realized the reason why John's smile looked all wrong, because it was reversed! It was as if a stranger was grimacing at me.Maybe if I had seen the mirror image, then, I might have saved myself some grief. I literally scaled mountain peaks—even the heights of Machu Picchu—with this man. It was a short, fierce relationship, it lasted only a few years, but came with a lifetime sentence. But sometimes the sentence is all there is: verb and noun. The temporalness of snow and the endurance of granite. We had decided to forego following the trail (we don't need no stinkin' trails) and traversed a narrow bridge from one summit to the next, a "Thank God" ledge no wider than our feet, we inched along the crest of a sheer wall, I was terrified. Even Edwin Drummond had never taken me out on a ledge like this. I nearly fell off that mountain because I forgot to hug the wall with my hips. John reached over and shoved my ass back to the wall. I hugged that wall with my hips for all I was worth. I damned near made love to that blasted rock face and lived to tell the tale. I'm not too sure what happened to my pants. I seem to be wearing only longjohns. Awkward family photo mpment. Desolation Wilderness, near Echo Summit, 1986. Pyramid Peak stands at 9,984′, but soon it will be 10,000'. The Sierra Nevadas are young mountains still growing.

RIP John Oliver Simon. Gone little over a year. I still miss him. (John was Ansel Adams's cousin—scaling mountains was in the bloodline).