I dont usually like cities all that much. However , I loved Edinburgh and could have spent a lot longer there. The look of it is very gothic. Beautiful old buildings, little alleyways that lead to cool places, hills surrounding the city with hikes , friendly people. Great city. I only spent 3 days there but wish I could have spent a week. Here are some photos of Edinburgh.
Derrynane bay is on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland . We spent the morning trying to decide where to go for the day. So glad we picked Derrynane bay. It was a wonderful place to wander about all day . Complete with amazing beach , ancient abbey island, and a fairy forest . Beautiful day exploring this gorgeous area.
On the western edge of Darrynane Bay lies Abbey Island. To reach this island, one just has to walk across the beach, which is very recommendable as numerous ancient treasures can be found here. One of them being the ruins of a former monastry with a graveyard. In the other direction Derrynane House, a former mansion, surrounded by diverse gardens can be explored. Daniel O’Connell (often also referred to as the Liberator), a politician who fought for equal rights for the opressed Catholics in the 19th century, grew up in this house.
Derrynane is one of the most alluring locations in Ireland. The terrain varies from rugged shoreline to gently rolling mountains. The sheltered harbour of Derrynane was once the haunt of pirates and buccaneers from Daniel O’ Connell’s time. The area still offers great adventures with the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery and activities imaginable. From walking and hiking treks to horse riding on Derrynane Beach, archaeology sites galore to fairy trails, there is an abundance of thrills for everyone.
Awhile back I picked up a house sit in Scotland for a few weeks in May. Have always wanted to go to Ireland to so decided to go there first for about 2 weeks. I really ❤️ Love Ireland!! Amazingly beautiful, green country with very friendly people and the music is amazing. Being a music lover I was told to be sure to go to Doolin. Doolin is a small village in county Clare with only a few hundred people living there. It is also a gateway to the Aran islands. Doolin is the heart and soul of traditional Irish music. Although a very small village there are 4 pubs and all have music nightly most months of the year.
I stayed in a cute hostel in Doolin called Aille river hostel. Center of town on a beautiful river.
The cliffs of moher are a major attraction in the area and are majestic to say the least. You can take a bus to cliffs of Moher from Doolin and then hike back. About a 7 mile awesomely beautiful hike. Lots of birds can be seen as well as the elusive Puffin which I am sorry to say I did not get to see. Here are some photos of the cliffs and of Doolin.
I mentioned the Aran islands. There are 3 islands and many of the 1200 occupants can be heard speaking the old Gaelic language. I went to the smallest island one day and spent the day walking around. You can take a buggy ride or rent a bike as well. Very few cars on the island. I saw one hotel and a hostel. Here are some photos of the isle Inisher.
More of Ireland in my next post. After Doolin I met up with some friends in Kenmare . We went on some great hikes in Kenmare and in Dingle as well as driving the ring of Kerry and the Dingle way.
This week when I was driving from Utah to California I took my time and made a few stops. A good part of my drive was thru the state of Nevada .Nevada is full of small , interesting towns, “living ghost towns” and empty ghost towns, old mines, etc.
I made a couple stops in some old Nevada towns that are “living ghost town’s now “. Not to many residents and some old crumbling buildings . One was Pioche ,which although I was told they get a lot of people stop by in summer, it literally closes down in the winter. Here is a little bit of the intriguing history of Pioche.
In 1864, William Hamblin, a Latter Day Saint missionary, was led to silver deposits in the vicinity of Pioche by a Native American Paiute. In 1868, San Francisco financier Francois L.A. Pioche purchased claims and constructed a smelter in the area, forming the Meadow Valley Mining Company. The mining camp was called “Pioche’s City” and later became known as Pioche.
The town rapidly became the largest mining town in southeastern Nevada in the early 1870’s. Population estimates showed 10,000 people by 1871. The town quickly gained fame for its “toughest town” reputation. Due mostly to confusion over the exact location of mining claims, mine owners finally resorted to hiring guards. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of about twenty a day during boom times to fight mining claim encroachments. Mine owners often paid the gunmen a salary of $20 per day––a more certain investment for owners than settling disputes in court where bribery often determined the final outcome. The sheriff’s office was reputed to be worth $40,000 a year in bribes alone.
Guns were the only law, and Pioche made Bodie, Tombstone, and other better known towns pale in comparison. It has been reported that seventy-five men were buried in the cemetery before anyone in Pioche had time to die a natural death. According to one reputable source, nearly 60 percent of the homicides reported in Nevada during 1871-72 took place in and around Pioche.
I happened into the Pioche Museum which a lady named Leslie started 25 years ago. It is filled with artifacts, gems, minerals, and all kinds of fun stuff from pioche and other towns in Lincoln county. Leslie was born and raised in Pioche. I like to imagine that her grandfather may have been one of those gun toting bad guys!
After wandering around Pioche for awhile I headed to Austin, Nv. which is on Highway 50 . Highway 50 is the loneliest highway in America. Not much on it. A small town , here and there. Make sure you fill up on gas when you can. And here is a little history on Austin , which is another “living ghost town” of Nevada .
I decided to stay overnight in Austin at the Cozy mountain hotel . I would recommend it for a cheap and clean place to lay your head. Not a lot of choices in Austin but there were a few other places. Room was small but very clean and the bed was super comfortable. I think they must have gotten some new beds since the 1800’s. I just recommend they put in a coffee maker. Microwave and fridge come with the room. I was happy with the great bed.
Not quite as happy when Looking for some dinner . Only one place to choose from. I guess there was another place but it was closed on Sunday. So, I ended up here. Unfortunately , the menu was very limited . One other couple came in and the next morning I ran into them at the other place for breakfast . We ended up sitting together and talking and laughing about our experience at the International. It wasn’t just the food, but the waitress was , well, it was like she was someplace else. As well as the place being quite messy. Just a strange experience. Breakfast was at another place in town and actually pretty good. The couple I sat with where from Minnesota and out west doing geo caching. Sounded fun. I may have to look into that.
On leaving Austin after breakfast I decided to stop off at the cemetery. Maybe its just me but I love walking thru cemetery’s in old town’s like Austin. You can learn some things by looking at the grave’s dating back into the 1800’s.
What did I learn. I have noticed this before in other old graveyards but today it really hit me that so many of the older graves where immigrants. I think the reason it hit me today was the fact of what is going on in this country with our current president who is trying to put a halt to immigration and saying things like ” they are all druggies, murderers, rapists, etc. ” “They are not people we want in our country “. A lot of us Americans do not think that way, thank goodness. And so in looking at these tombstones I noticed a commonality. Take a look at these tombstones. What do they have in common ??? They are all immigrants. These in fact are the people who came here and built these towns. They are the ones who built America . Native’s of Ireland, Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Italy. We are all descendants of immigrants so how can we turn our backs on them now.
Guitarfish is an intimate camping and music experience in a magical setting;
over a mile high, in the woods, on the South Fork of the Yuba River,
at the Cisco Grove Campground. This year was the 8th annual and I have gone every year except one.
Set in the stunning Sierras at Cisco Grove campground, the festival also provides an enchanting setting to enjoy the South Yuba river, hiking, world class mountain and road biking, towering trees, and starry skies. Emphasizing the importance of water, Guitarfish works in partnership with non-profits to educate on the issues of overfishing and water pollution, promoting water conservation and preservation of clean oceans and watersheds, with a portion of proceeds going towards such. Guitarfish aims to provide a direction for positive change to sustain and maintain healthy watersheds, rivers, streams, lakes and oceans and to preserve all living beings that depend on it. Coming together to honor this big blue ball we all call home feeds the magic.
The things I love about Guitarfish! It is small, its on the Yuba river, there are super friendly people, camping, yoga, drum classes, and great music for 3 full days !!
This year I camped with a group of friends who also love music. We had a great little camp set up in the shade. This is us at the music.
If you get to hot you can just mosey on down to the beautiful Yuba river for a cool down .
And you may even see one of the musicians strumming a few tunes down there.
Sometimes there are impromptu parades led by some of the musicians !!!
Guitarfish is also very family oriented with things going on all day long for children. There is a children’s camp with painting, drumming, learning.
I have been to quite a few music festivals in my time and this is one of my favorites, for the pureness of the people , the camaraderie , the music. You feel like you have made a couple thousand new friends by the end of the weekend.
All in all it was a very special time with very special people that left me feeling happy and fulfilled !
I had been wanting to go to the Ruby mountains for a long time . It is about a 6 hour drive from Truckee, Ca. so have never quite made it till just a couple weeks ago. Finally went to camp for 3 nights and hike the second week in July.
The Ruby mountains kind of sit off by themselves in Nevada . The drive is long and boring from Reno, Nv to Ruby’s . It is pretty much desert with not many towns of interest in between and then all of a sudden when leaving out of Elko you begin to see them. They just pop up out of the desert and go as high as 11,380 feet.
My friend Melody and I camped for 3 nights at Thomas creek campground. One of the only campgrounds there. If you go on a weekend, reservations are highly recommended.
The first day was spent setting up camp and cooling off in this nice little swimming hole right in our campground. Beautiful sunsets each day !!
Second day we did about a 8 mile hike up to Liberty pass , passing Lammoille lake, and then looking down on Liberty lake from the pass. 2000 foot elevation gain so a pretty good work out.
Liberty pass at 11,200 ft.
The next day I went up a canyon right out of the campground just for seeing the magnificent wildflowers. My knee was hurting and Melody had a huge blister so we didn’t do a big hike. I went 2- 4 miles round. trip . Wildflowers were amazing !!! And cooling off in the swimming hole for the afternoon was nice . It was pretty hot and muggy when we where there. A super nice wildflower display was going on and it is hard to see from the photos how great they really are. But, here are some glimpses of it all.
There a couple other hikes to do here but this is all we had time for.
Beautiful spot to see . There are also Bighorn sheep in this area if you are lucky to spot them.
Rock creek canyon is one of my favorite places to camp for a couple nights along the Highway 395 corridor. A few beautiful hikes from the Mosquito flats trailhead. You can go into Little lakes valley. Most popular of the hikes. Or you can go up to Ruby lake and on to Mono pass. You can also climb up to Dorothy lake . I think there are a couple other hikes as well that I have not yet done. There are quite a few campgrounds on this 10 mile road. I prefer the Lower pines campground. It is close to Rock creek lake and close to the trailhead. There is also Rock creek lake resort that has some cabins for rent and a small shop and restaurant. Many people go there for the home made pie !
Rock Creek is located on the west side of Highway 395 at Rock Creek Road. This 20-mile valley is easy to find between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, California, at a turnoff from Highway 395 at the exit for Tom’s Place. Once you begin the ascent along the 10-mile paved road into gorgeous creekside terrain, the options for summer and winter outdoor recreation unfold before you. Rock Creek Canyon is famous for Little Lakes Basin, where a string of high-elevation lakes are linked by leisurely hiking trails surrounded by 13,000 foot peaks.
Park at the road’s end to see the best of Rock Creek on foot. Expect blazing colors in fall – some of the brightest anywhere in the Eastern Sierra – as well as wildflowers in spring and sparkling lakes in summer. Dogs are ok on a leash. Little Lakes Trail: Also known as Mosquito Flats trail, the Little Lakes Trail is a beautiful and popular hike at the top of upper Rock Creek Canyon, accessed by the main signed trail leading from the parking lot at the road’s end. With the potential to hike to Mono Pass, four miles and 2,000 feet up, many hikers simply stop to take in the views after reaching one of the lakes along the way: Mack Lake, Marsh Lake, Heart Lake, Box Lake, Long Lake, Gem Lake and Chickenfoot Lake. The trail offers dramatic views of surrounding Sierra peaks, excellent wildflowers in spring and early summer, and vibrant fall colors. Popular with fishermen and day hikers.
This time when I went to Rock creek canyon there was still quite a bit of snow about 3 miles in on the trail. I did not make the hike all the way to beautiful gem lake because I was not really into hiking thru this snow. There is someone ahead of me on the trail with ski’s on. This was early June . Of course we did get some snow in May so it was taking awhile to melt out.
Here are some photos of gem Lake another time when there was no snow. Gem lake is a beautiful turquoise and green color.
Mono lake doesn’t look like much when you drive by although it is very pretty , especially at certain times of the day as the colors can change on the lake. It is in a high desert setting just behind the Sierra mountains. In fact Highway 120 connects from mono lake and goes up and over the sierras to Yosemite.
From Wikipedia: Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in an endorheic basin. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 6,378.
I think to get the full beauty of it you need to stop off and take a walk at either south Tufa state park or Mono lake park to see the tufas. Sunrise or sunset are incredible times to make that stop. The town of Lee Vining is there if you want to stay the night in a hotel. Or several campgrounds up highway 120 which connects at mono lake.
Tufa state park is like walking on the moon. Very amazing formations.
Another interesting spot on the lake is the Black fissures. A little hard to find but well worth checking out. Ask at the visitor center how to get there.
Photographers line up nightly to get that perfect sunset photo at the Tufas.
In between house sitting I recently went on a 7 day camping and hiking trip in the Eastern sierras. I have visited this area many times and one of my favorite campgrounds is Aspen . It is located on highway 120 a few miles up from Lee Vining as you go towards Yosemite. Aspen is quiet and peaceful although it has a creek running through with some cascading waterfalls at the top of the campground. The waterfalls can be quite loud!! I actually dreamed of cars crashing one night from the sound of the falls. Here are a couple photos of the campground and the falls.
Fairly nice campground although it does only have pit toilets. It is $12 per night and $6 with the Senior pass.
Normally , in the past I have had my dog Jasper with me but he passed a couple years ago so this time I went into Yosemite a couple of times to hike . No dogs allowed on trails there. I entered from Tuolumne Meadows entrance and nothing was open yet as far as the lodge or campground so it was a nice tine to do some hiking there with no crowds.
My first day was a doozer of a hike as in 10 to 12 miles round trip. Not a lot of elevation gain but a lot of distance. The trail was from Tuolumne meadows to Glen Aulin and beyond .
Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp is an established campground—one of six High Sierra Camps—located in Glen Aulin next to the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park in California, in the Sierra Nevada.
I went just short of the actual camp but far enough to see the series of cascading waterfalls that are just above the camp. Amazing hike. Very beautiful the whole way, Relatively flat and easy. Some uphill but elevation gains of only about 800 ft. for this hike. You have to hike in about 4.5 miles or so to get to where the waterfalls start.
Here are photos along the trail and then leading up to the falls. Right after the bridge , keep going to reach the falls . Just Beautiful !!! And the views are amazing as well. This first group of photos is along the first couple miles of trail as you meander along the Tuolumne river. So peaceful and pretty.
You come to a bridge about 4 miles or more in. Don’t stop here because it is downhill another 1/2 mile or more to the series of waterfalls that are not to be missed !!
The Waterfalls !!! I would rate this hike a 10 for the beauty of the whole trail and the magnificent waterfalls.
The next day I did another hike in Yosemite to Elizabeth lake. This was a 5 mile round trip hike with a 1000 ft. elevation gain . The trail head is located in the Tuolumne meadows campground at the back of B loop. Elizabeth lake is a small lake located below Unicorn peak and the scenery around it was very beautiful.
My next post will be about Lundy Canyon and More waterfalls !!