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Long Weekend in Big Bear

Shuwen, Toni and I took advantage of the fact that July 4th, 2011 fell on a Monday and spent the long weekend at Big Bear Lake. We drove up there on Saturday, July 2nd, in the afternoon, and coming from the blazing hot lower elevations of Southern California, it was quite pleasant at the higher elevations but all in all, it was a somewhat strange and interesting experience. :)

The hotel room had a hot tub indoors, pretty much next to the bed! If you’d use it, you could probably get the humidity in the room close to 95%. The guests in the room above or below or left or right of us actually used theirs in the evening, and the constant hum of the pump was a bit annoying. Sunday morning then, we woke up to more constant hum, but that one was coming from the lake, where it seemed like hundreds of jet skies and motorboats were out early.

After breakfast, we went for a hike to Gray’s Peak, a summit in a strange and sparsely vegetated forest that partially also had some severe burn scars from fires that must’ve had burned there not to long ago. Some of those photos ended up to be the modest beginning of my small “Dead Trees” portfolio.

When the trail swung around a corner the hum finally subsided and it was nice and quiet. I made one of my favorite photos there: the granite rock reminded me of an ancient Egyptian or Mayan mask, or rather, the left half of it. The dark spot is the eye. Or it could also be the left side of a lion’s face. Maybe you see something entirely different in it…

I also noticed some pretty flowers that were growing along the trail — later, I was able to identify them by painfully browsing through all observations of wildflowers in the area on CalFlora:

Despite the elevation it was getting pretty warm that day and we spent the afternoon after our hike relaxing and cooling off.

In the evening we went for another little hike, to see the “Champion Lodgepole Pine”, an ancient tree that is estimated to be around 450 years old. I hauled the tripod out there and we went quite late on purpose, in order to get the nice and even tones of twilight for the photo. Not exactly a killer image, but it’s a trophy I guess! :P

The next day, July 4th, we packed our things early and checked out of the hotel. On the way home, we wanted to do another hike but it got very hot and we felt like it was too much for our little Toni, who is a bit too fat from our well-meant feeding, so we cut the hike short and returned home early.

On the trail though, I saw a quite unusual appearance in the sky: a circumhorizon(tal) arc! It was fascinating to watch its shapes twist and change within the clouds. I dedicated a separate blog post to it, check it out: Circumhorizon Arc.

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Next: Circumhorizontal Arc

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