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Watch Caps 2014

Show me the yarn! Isn't this a knitting blog?!

(I hear you.)

So far my knitting this year has been either top secret (aka gifts) or watch caps. Like last year, I had a goal of 12 hats (one per month). I recently finished my last watch cap for the year.

Watch Caps 2014

Unlike previous times I've knit watch caps, I didn't take pictures of them immediately after finishing, so I don't know the exact order they were knit in. I know the first one this year is in the red varigated yarn since I finished it before I hurt my hand and enjoyed playing with it while it was in progress. The last one for the year is the blue with purple, grey, and black.

Watch Caps 2014

Despite trying out colorwork last year, I reverted to my old standby: stripes. As a rule, I try to make relatively unique hats that I would be willing to wear (the sailors need to be able to recognize their hats). I would wear pretty much any of these hats, but the brown striped one turned out a little too hipster for my personal taste.

Watch Caps 2014

Like I mentioned last year, my aunts who taught me to knit work closely with the New England Seafarer's Mission based in Boston. Each year the mission collects hand knit hats, toiletries, and handmade drawstring bags which they assemble into ditty bags to give to the seafarers at Christmas time. My aunts and I knit hats, and my mother sews bags.

If you're looking for ideas on striping, etc here are some previous years' watch caps: 2014, 2013, 2011-12, 2008

Alamere Falls

In 2008 I spent 6 months abroad studying in Lausanne, Switzerland. Clair, one of my friends from my time in Switzerland, was in town last weekend. This was his second time in the Bay Area, and, like the last time he was here, we went on a hike. Last year we went to Berry Falls in Big Basin and this year we continued the waterfall theme, but added in some ocean and beach.

Like our previous trip, we picked up our lunch along the way. (This time at Shervin's favorite deli in San Bruno.) After an intense parking experience at the crowded parking lot, we started off along the trail and passed a pair of lakes before arriving at the junction with the Alamere Falls trail. Although the sign indicated that the trail was not actively maintained, we saw signs of recent pruning and later decided that the unmaintained status was all about the descent to the beach rather than the trail to that point.

Overlooking the falls

Instead of eating lunch at the trailhead when we arrived, we decided to eat somewhere along the trail. Unfortunately, we didn't find any lunch spots until we were near the beach. Around 3:30 p.m., we lunched midway down the descending trail to the beach in the plateau just above the falls. At this height we were flanked by waterfalls. The quintessential Alamere Falls is right along the beach, but there are quaint upper falls that is slightly higher than our lunch spot.

After our late lunch we made our way down to sea level where we could properly enjoy the falls. The second descent into the falls is easily the sketchiest part of the trip. On the way down we took it as slowly as we could, but on the return trip the wind blew sand into our eyes greatly increasing the difficulty of the scramble. That said; Alamere Falls is definitely worth doing the scramble!

Shervin, Clair's friend, found what we first thought might be bits of plastic bottles if it weren't for the sheer quantity and constancy of them. After some examination we decided they might be jellyfish; however, as we didn't see any tentacles, we weren't sure if they truly were or even if they were still alive. Unwilling to risk a sting but still curious, we gently pushed one into the surf, but there was no change. A quick internet search at home revealed that what we saw were velella velella, which are closely related to jellyfish. Recent currents have brought swarms of them to the California coastline.

The saturation attempt

After admiring the massive quantities of velella velella along the coastline and walking a decent length of the beach, we started our return trip. We again passed the lakes and walked along the coastline. Once we got into the forest of Eucalyptus trees near the parking lot, Bryan and Shervin found a small, black and yellow snake when it crossed the trail.

Stats:

Distance: 9.06 mi
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2140 ft
GPS Elevation Profile

Thoughts:

Lovely hike! There's some ocean, some lakes, and, of course, some water falls. What's not to like? Well, other than needing to wear long pants to avoid poison oak exposure, nothing that we could find.

This was our first time to the southern part of Point Reyes, and it was just as beautiful as Tomales Point in the north.

As one can imagine, we are looking forward to Clair's next visit and the hike we'll do!

Food:

Lunch:
+ Deluxe Takeout Sandwiches

Snacks:
+ Trail Mix

Pawnee Pass

During a recent trip to visit family in Colorado we climbed up to Pawnee Pass in the Rockies. Pawnee Pass is part of the Continental Divide. For Bryan, Amy, and Zach this was their first visit to the Continental Divide while my dad and I visited it for the second time. The first was about 20 years ago with my brother. My dad and I were especially happy that this second trip didn't end with an emergency room visit! In the final flat section along Long Lake, I got excited to be done when I was younger and ran ahead, tripped, and fell down. (I got a cut on my forehead, which required a few stitches.)

This time around, we arrived at the trailhead bright and early (8:06 am); however, we missed the opportunity to park at the trailhead parking lot by a mere 15 minutes. Bryan and my dad dropped Amy, Zach, and me off with the packs while they left in search of parking further away.

Pawnee Pass
View from our parking spot

Once the car party returned we stopped for a quick trailhead photo and then got on our way. After passing Long Lake we began the climb to Lake Isabelle. On the way to Lake Isabelle, Amy and Zach had their first summer snow encounter as we passed it on the trail and climbed over it. They posed with their first snowfield; however, the novelty eventually wore off as there were at least five of them on the hike to the pass (about ten snowfield encounters round-trip).

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

About 2 miles in we arrived at Lake Isabelle. Shortly after, the trail began the pattern it followed for the rest of the trip: periods of rapid climbing followed by periods of relative flatness.

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

After we climbed above the tree line, we decided to stop for a quick snack of mixed nuts and catch our breath. Below the tree line we crossed some streams; however above it we mostly encountered snow.

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

Once we entered the large alpine meadow near the top the end was in sight! In the long meadow we met people who had already reached the pass, were taking a break, and eating lunch. At the end of the meadow we began climbing through the rocks and eventually across a long (~200 ft) snowfield.

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

After the snowfield and a light scramble we entered another alpine meadow, which made up the pass.

Pawnee Pass

Once we made it to the pass we ate lunch and enjoyed the views. Bryan, who recently caught the peak-bagging bug, decided the nearby Pawnee Peak needed to be climbed and headed off with Zach to do that. Meanwhile the rest of us, Amy, Dad, and I, ate a leisurely lunch and enjoyed the view.

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

After Bryan and Zach returned, we left the pass and headed for lower altitudes with less wind! We retraced our steps crossing the long snowfield, the alpine meadows, and more snowfields than we remembered on the trip up. On of the lower ones caught Amy and I by surprise: I fell into a rock, and Amy ended up post-holing in the same spot.

Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass
Pawnee Pass

We saw many varieties of flowers on this hike. We didn't get photos of all of them, but Bryan sure tried to catch the prettiest ones. The flora above tree line was much smaller than those at lower altitudes; however, we did find some varieties at both.

Flora near Pawnee Pass
Alpine Flora
Flora in Indian Peaks Wilderness
Flora Below the Tree Line

Stats:

Distance: 11 mi
Elevation Gain/Loss: 3351 ft
Trailhead Elevation: 10509 ft
Pass Elevation: 12550 ft
Pawnee Peak Elevation: 12947 ft
GPS Elevation Profile

Thoughts:

Long Lake Trailhead is one you want to get to early! We arrived at 8:05 am and were told the last parking spot was taken just 15 minutes earlier. The ranger suggested arriving by 7:30 am for trailhead parking.

The hike isn't the longest we've ever done; however, the last 2 miles of this one just dragged on and on.

Food:

Lunch:
+ Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
+ Grapes
+ Celery

Snacks:
+ Mixed Nuts
+ Peppermint Patties

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