Brother Joe and I spent the holiday backpacked up at 20 Lakes Basin. Of course that is one of the few spectacular and easily accessed Sierra Nevada wilderness destinations that has no trail quota. Thus a good choice anytime one is making holiday plans at short notice. The trick given the open alpine mostly treeless landscape is to find a place to tent that has some level of privacy. Anywhere around the loop trail was of course crawling with day hikers. Well this weekend at least on Sunday and Monday since windiness Saturday kept many away. And predictably as usual there were many tents about Greenstone, Cascade, and Helen Lakes with people walking about those areas at all times of the weekend. But with some topo work one can easily find reasonable levels of aloneness by seeking places a topo shows will be out of site that require climbing up at least 100 feet above trails.
We picked up our permit at the Mono Visitor Center at 8am where there were just a half dozen groups waiting. One part of their sermon missing was explaining the no camping situation for the Hall Natural Area that extends from SR120 along the crest down to the Saddlebag Road all the way to Wasco Lake. Thus we saw several tents illegally sited on the turfy south shore of Greenstone and two beside the southwest end Wasco. Those later two were also only about 50 feet from the lake edge. Wandering about the less traveled areas, we also came about illegal firepits I tore apart.
On the drive in late Friday after work, Hurricane Marie provided some unually red clouds at sunset that I pulled off SR132 to quickly framed with blue oaks on my A6000 with SEL55210 f6.3 5000x3000 pixels.
Both coming and going from the South Bay despite miles of constipation on popular routes, we had little traffic because I used SR84 through Sunol Canyon, Foothill Blvd, Stanley Ave, Tesla Rd, Corral Hollow Rd, I580, SR132, to reach SR120 at Smith Station.
Found the landscape drier than I've ever seen though the monsoon periods certainly have helped. Also posted some fall vegetation shots over in our High Sierra Photography forum. Sunday dusk framed a nice image from 20 Lakes basin south with pink skies over the Dana Plateau.
Managed to put together this below pond reflection huge stitch using Photoshop CS6. Although have processed a couple dozen large stitches from work this summer, on some had considerable difficulty preventing unacceptable results. Its Photomerge tool is largely automated without control points. The usual artifact is filling space at the boundary of stitched frames with duplicated elements of a landscape. Thus instead of warping a graphic the program simply fills space with duplicated sections. For example one small rocky peaklet on a skyline becomes two. Oh the transitions looks smooth and most viewers would not readily notice but such grates against my personal interest in producing images with reasonable fidelity especially graphically. So just bought the more sophisticated Autopano Giga software that uses control points.
If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
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