Field Quarter in the Sierras 1984 – Part 1 Big Sur, Big Creek and Cone Peak

I backpacked for college credit Spring Quarter of 1984, when I chose a Field Quarter in the Sierras during my Freshman year in college at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC extension and the Sierra Institute).  It was a great program!

UCSC logo

After a particularly gray winter in Santa Cruz, I needed to get out of town.  So I signed up for a Field Quarter in the Sierras.  “BACKPACKING FOR COLLEGE CREDIT” for three Upper Division Course Credits: Natural History of the Sierras, Natural History Wilderness Studies, and an Environmental Studies advanced course.  The curriculum included backpacking trips of varying length in amazing natural locations: Monterey, Big Sur, Yosemite Valley, Hetch-Hetchy Resevoir, the Tiltill Valley above Yosemite, the Southfork of the Tuolumne River in the Sierra National Forest, El Dorado-Toiyabe National Forest, Desolation Wilderness in Plumas National Forest and Lake Tahoe.

Sierra-Institute-Emblem--225x300

We all met as strangers in Monterey and drove to a local campground for an overnight stay, where we were introduced to our instructors and each other and given the orientation for the next thirteen weeks (ten weeks of course work, a week of travel time plus a timeout for spring break).  There were thirteen students and two instructors on the first night as we made camp together for the first time.

UCSC Field Quarter in the Sierras - Monterey, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

UCSC Field Quarter in the Sierras – Big Sur, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

PLEASE NOTE: These events took place in Spring of 1984, so trying to recall all the details is a little difficult now.

THE FIRST TRIP – BIG SUR, UCSC BIG CREEK RESERVE AND CONE PEAK

Big Creek Bridge and Cove - Big Sur, California

Big Creek Bridge and Cove – Big Sur, California

At dawn the next morning we had breakfast and broke camp, packed up and drove to the UCSC Reserve in Big Sur.  Protected by the Santa Lucia Mountains and rocky cliffs, the Big Sur coast includes the largest and most pristine coastal wildlands in central and southern California. In the center of this area, the University of California Natural Reserve System and the University of California at Santa Cruz operate the Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve.  Big Creek Reserve Homepage: http://bigcreek.ucnrs.org

Big Creek Reserve Trailmap - Big Sur, California

Big Creek Reserve Trailmap – Big Sur, California

We strapped on our backpacks and hiked 9 miles to the base camp near Cone Peak.  Cone Peak in Big Sur is the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous 48 states, ascending nearly a mile (5155 feet) above sea level, only three miles from the ocean.  The hike begins at almost sea level and takes you up through the climate zones, lush forest, oak scrub and into high chaparral.

Copy and paste the following links into a new window for some great images:

VR Panorama of Big Creek: http://bigcreek.ucnrs.org/panoramas/bigcreek.html

Photo Gallery: http://nrs.ucop.edu/reserves/big_creek/gallery/index.html

Our first trek was an uphill killer! When we finally reached the base camp we set up our tents and prepared the evening meal.  (Nevermind the part about Jen trying to set the camp and forest on fire with her propane stove and the rest of us helping to put it out before it spread…)

Boronda Base Camp - Big Sur, California

Boronda Base Camp – Big Sur, California

We camped there for a week.  The program included daily class in the wilderness, field studies, day hikes and “homework” assignments.  There was also time allotted for camping duties, cooking, and personal (free) time.  And every evening we gathered around the fire, talked about the day and got to know each other a little bit more.

Trail snack and lunch recipes for wilderness hiking: Flour tortillas, add cheddar cheese and salsa.  Flour tortillas, add peanut butter and honey.  Bread may be substituted for tortillas (but tortillas travel better in a foodsack).  Easy to prepare, no cooking required.

Cone Peak

Cone Peak (Altitude 5,155 feet) – Big Sur, California

One day we hiked to the top of Cone Peak from our base camp and were buzzed by F-14 jet fighters from Moffett Feld and then we watched from high above as Blue Whales swam by during their Spring migration!

View from Cone Peak

View from Cone Peak – Big Sur, California

View from Cone Peak

View from Cone Peak – Big Sur, California

Going downhill is a lot easier than going uphill with a backpack!  The hike out was pretty easy, again passing through the different climate zones, and returning to our cars for the drive to our next destination.

COMING SOON: Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, Hetch-Hetchy and Tiltill Valley, Southfork of the Tuolumne River, Sierra National Forest, El-Dorado-Toiyabe National Forest, Desolation Wilderness, Plumas National Forest, and Lake Tahoe.

NOTE: I have to admit that this is by no means a complete blog at this point.  I started this story unprepared and the details are coming back slowly.  Except for the people, these are not my pictures.  I’m inspired to find my journal, workbook and photos from this time and may revise this blog for next week.  Thanks for reading!  Your feedback is welcome.

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31-MAR-13: Easter Sunday!

Easter Sunday!
HAPPY EASTER!

Backyard Roses:

White Roses. (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

Backyard Roses. (copyright 2012 JoshWillTravel)

 

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Pic of the Day 30-MAR-13: Venice Beach, CA

“The Boardwalk is a virtual sidewalk circus, a walk ‘n’ rolling skin show.”  

Venice Beach - Los Angeles, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Venice Beach – Los Angeles, California (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Venice is a beachfront neighborhood on the Westside of Los Angeles.  Known for its canals, beaches and Ocean Front Boardwalk.  During the summer season and on weekends, there is street entertainment at every intersection along Ocean Front Walk, a two-and-a-half-mile pedestrian-only promenade. Street performers include instrumental musicians, singers, jugglers, acrobats, mimes, comics, magicians, prophets, fortune tellers, and other assorted entertainers.

Venice Beach is the headquarters of the Lifeguard Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.  Located at 2300 Ocean Front Walk, it is the nation’s largest ocean lifeguard organization with over 200 full-time and 700 part-time or seasonal lifeguards.  The Los Angeles County Lifeguards safeguard 31 miles of beach and 70 miles of coastline, from San Pedro to Malibu, and also provide services to Catalina Island.  In addition to providing for beach safety, Los Angeles County Lifeguards have specialized training for Baywatch rescue boat operations, underwater rescue and recovery, swiftwater rescue, cliff rescue, marine mammal rescue and marine firefighting.

City of Los Angeles Dept of Recreation and Parks: http://www.laparks.org/venice/venice.htm

Los Angeles County Dept of Beaches and Harbors: http://beaches.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dbh/home/detail/?current=true&urile=wcm:path:/dbh+content/dbh+site/home/home+detail/venice+1

A fun local blog about Venice: http://www.yovenice.com/

MAR-13: National Mall – Washington D.C.

Springtime in D.C. – Have you been to our nation’s capitol?

The Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool from Washington Monument:

National Mall - Washington D.C. (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

National Mall – Washington D.C. (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

The Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool were designed by Henry Bacon, and following the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922, the Pool construction was finished in 1923.  Located at the base of the Lincoln Memorial’s steps, the Reflecting Pool area has been the site of many historic events.  It is approximately 2,029 feet long (over a third of a mile) and 167 feet wide. It has a depth of approximately 18 inches on the sides and 30 inches in the center. It holds approximately 6,750,000 U.S. gallons of water.  Depending on the viewer’s vantage point, it dramatically reflects the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall’s trees, and/or the expansive sky.

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28-MAR-13: Big Sur 1975

Turn on the “Way-Back” machine!  This picture is from a trip I took with my father to Big Sur in 1975.  We drove Highway 1, stayed in a log cabin, hiked the coast, and visited Esalen (http://www.esalen.org) and Nepenthe (http://www.nepenthebigsur.com).

Big Sur 1975 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Big Sur, California 1975 (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The name “Big Sur” is derived from the original Spanish-language “el sur grande”, meaning “the big south”, or from “el país grande del sur”, “the big country of the south”, referring to its location south of the Monterey Peninsula. The terrain offers stunning views, making Big Sur a popular tourist destination. Cone Peak in Big Sur is the highest coastal mountain in the contiguous 48 states, ascending nearly a mile 5,155 feet above sea level, only three miles from the ocean.

In 1984, I backpacked the UC Santa Cruz reserve in Big Sur during my Field Quarter in the Sierras – UCSC extension/Sierra Institute program (watch for my next blog).  We day-hiked to the top of Cone Peak from our base camp and were buzzed by F-14 jet fighters from Moffett Feld and then we watched from high above as Blue Whales swam by during their Spring migration! 

UPDATE: Read the Big Sur, Big Creek, Cone Peak blog here:  

http://wp.me/p3dhVM-cK

Pic of the Day 27-MAR-13: Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup

POP ART!  Fifty years later, what do you think?

Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup - Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans – Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, New York City (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, New York  http://www.metmuseum.org/

Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, sometimes referred to as 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans, is a work of art produced in 1962 by Andy Warhol. It consists of thirty-two canvases, each measuring 20 inches in height × 16 inches in width and each consisting of a painting of a Campbell’s Soup can—one of each of the canned soup varieties the company offered at the time.  The individual paintings were produced by a printmaking method—the semi-mechanized screen printing process helped to usher in pop art as a major art movement in the USA.

Pic of the Day 26-MAR-13: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island taken from the top of the WTC – NYC 1994:

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - New York, New York (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – NYC, New York (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886, designated as a National Monument in 1924 and restored for her centennial on July 4, 1986.

STATUE OF LIBERTY IS CLOSED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY! As of March 2013: Liberty island is currently closed, but will reopen July 4, 2013.

 

From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island was America’s largest and most active immigration station for 12 million immigrants who passed through “America’s Golden Door”.  The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990. A 1998 a U.S. Supreme Court decision found most of the island to be part of New Jersey.

ELLIS ISLAND IS CLOSED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY!  As of March 2013: Ellis Island Immigration Museum will be closed until further notice. A projected reopening date has not yet been established.

25-MAR-13: Kilauea meets the sea.

Kilauea meets the sea.  Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii

Bring a bottle of wine and watch the lava flow into the ocean at sunset!

 Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park - Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Kīlauea is a shield volcano and the most active of the five volcanoes that form the islands of Hawaii.  Located along the southern shore of the island, at 300,000 to 600,000 years old, it is the current eruptive center of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain.

The current Kīlauea eruption began on January 3, 1983, along the eastern rift zone. The vent produced vigorous lava fountains that quickly built up, sending lava flows down the volcano’s slope. In 1986, activity shifted down the rift to a new vent, named Kūpaʻianahā, where it took on a more effusive character. Kūpaʻianahā built up a low, broad volcanic shield, and lava tubes fed flows extending 7 miles to the sea.

In 1992, the eruption moved back to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but continued in the same manner, covering nearly all of the 1983–86 lava flows and large areas of coastline. As of January 2011, the eruption has produced 1 cubic mile of lava, covered 48 square miles of land, added 509 acres of land, destroyed 213 structures, and resurfaced 9 miles of highway with lava as thick as 115 ft.

 

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Pic of the Day 24-Mar-13: New York City

NYC –  View from the top of the World Trade Center

New York City - View from the top of the World Trade Center (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

NYC – View from the top of the World Trade Center (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

East River, FDR Drive (South Street), Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn.