Monday, October 16, 2017

Lost Arrow And Other Fun In Yosemite Today

I have so many pictures of so many things, but I want to give you a preview here.

Here's how we first saw the Lost Arrow, though we didn't know what it was called at the time.  A man was looking through a humungus telephoto lens up at this jutting rock high above us.  Here's the start of the legend of the Lost Arrow from the Yosemite library website.

"Tee-hee-neh, a beautiful Indian maid, was betrothed to Kos-soo-kah, a young brave, who was fearless and bold with his spear and bow. At dawn on the day before their marriage, Kos-soo-kah made ready with other strong braves to go forth into the mountains to hunt bear, deer, rabbit and grouse for the wedding feast. Before leaving, he slipped away from the other hunters to meet Tee-hee-neh, his bride, who was waiting nearby.As they parted Kos-soo-kah said, “We go to hunt now, but at the end of the day, I will shoot an arrow from the cliff between Cho-look, the high fall, and Le-hamite, the Canyon of the Arrow-wood, and by the number of feathers you will know what kill has been made.”  [There's an editor's note that says this legend may be fictitious.  I guess that refers to the fact of it being a legend, not the story itself.]
The rest is here, along with other Yosemite legends.

Our second view of the Lost Arrow was from the Lower Yosemite Falls view point where you get a better sense of where it is.  Here's some more history of it from a climbing website, SummitPost.
"There aren't many climbs in Yosemite that lead to a true summit. But of those that do, the Lost Arrow Spire has to be one of the most famous and exciting of all. The Lost Arrow Tip was first climbed in 1946 by a party that used some rope tricks to rig up a tyrolean traverse, a popular way to end the climb today. The first actual climb to the top was accomplished by Yosemite pioneer John Salathe and Anton Nelson in 1946. They climbed the Lost Arrow via the Lost Arrow Chimney ( V, 5.10a ), the first grade V big wall done in the U. S. Today the Lost Arrow Tip and tyrolean traverse return are one of the classic climbs of Yosemite!"

It's at 6912 feet.  And all that is leading to the fact that the man with the big telephoto lens pointed out that there were ropes from the Lost Arrow to the rock to the right and someone was crossing it.  I didn't have my telephoto with me, but in this shot below, you can see the rope and the black silhouette of the climber to the right of the Arrow.  The black spot on the left seems to be, well, a spot.  

click image to enlarge and focus a little bit
This led us to wander further down the valley to see if we could see the "dozens" (we were told) climbers on El Capitan.  That's for another post.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Smoky Yosemite

I first went to Yosemite around 1950 or 51 as a very little boy, but it had a profound influence on me.  The last time I was here was about 1972 or 73, Thanksgiving, with snow.  It's when I learned an important lesson.  You can't pour hot water into a glass mug when it's 10˚F.

Since we were driving to San Francisco for a family gathering of sorts, I decided it was time to go to Yosemite again.  Even if there were fires in Northern California.

So here are some shots.  I'd write more, but I'd rather not spend so much time on my computer.

These were our first two views into Yosemite Valley.  
Lots of smoke.  And the remnants of an earlier fire.

Click image to enlarge and focus

Despite the smoke, it's still very humbling to be on the valley floor.  You can't check in for the tents till 4pm  (though they said we could check back between 2 and 3), so we caught the shuttle bus to the trail head for Vernal Falls.  It's only 1.2 miles to the falls (the trail goes on to Nevada Falls), but it's a 1000 foot vertical gain.  The trail starts easy enough.

And eventually we made it to the falls, which were worth the hike.  Even though this is a relative trickle from when the falls are full, the height is awe inspiring.  Toward the end I wasn't sure how my knees were going to react.  It's clear that this sort of work out gets harder as one gets older.

This is a view from the bridge below the falls,  The falls are in the V between the grey rocks and hazy sky.

Here are the steps just before you reach the falls.  I was thinking about my knees as I went up and wondering how the trip back down would go.  It wasn't as bad as I feared, and I was reassured when I saw much younger folks going down almost as cautiously as I did.

There were some signs of fall here and there as we hiked back down - much quicker than we went up.

I think this is the Merced River, below the falls.  We're almost back to the road and the shuttle at this point.  We were able to check in and find our spartan tent - all food has to be out of the cars and in the food locker outside the tent.  Had a short nap and then came to post before dinner.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Jelly Fish And The Smoky Gate Bridge

We spent time with grandkids at the California Academy of Sciences. Many of the displays are amazing, but none so much as the fish - lots of fish. But yesterday the jelly fish were my favorite.

Later we met with an old friend and ended up eating ice cream at Ghirardelli Square and then walking out on the old curing pier where we got views of the famous San Francisco landmark Smoky Gate Bridge.

Talking about old friends, at one point I asked my four year old granddaughter if she knew who G was and how I knew her. "No." So I told her the story of how we met 53 years ago when we were both University of California (G from UC Berkeley and me from UC Los Angeles) studying at the UC program in Germany and that we had been good friends ever since.

 We take so much for granted.  My granddaughter had no idea who G was or how I knew her.    She just accepted the fact that we are visiting this (to her) stranger without asking who she was and why we were visiting her.  So I told her it's always ok to ask her parents about the people they are meeting and how they know them and why they are visiting.

Friday, October 13, 2017

SB91, Anchorage Assembly, Public Anger Over Crime

I went to the Assembly public hearing Saturday October 8, 2017 to allow the public to give their opinions on Senate Bill 91 which was intended to curb the rise in prison population by cutting back many of the penalties for low level crime and by increasing rehabilitation for those convicted.  
Dick Traini
This is a state law and hearings were set in Juneau, but Anchorage Assembly chair Dick Traini felt most people wouldn’t testify in Juneau and had a special session in Anchorage which was videotaped     
The pictures are most of the people who testified when I was there.  I just wanted people to get a sense of the number of folks and a sense of what they looked like.  But I must say that a number of folks surprised me and reminded me not to judge people by appearances.    Everyone was civil, most were pretty rational and they focused on the facts of their experience with crime and the police response.

I missed the first 20 minutes or so, but what I heard was a lot of . . . anger was there, but mostly it was frustration.

Frustration that the reduced penalties of SB91 for many crimes under $1000 had been put in place, but not the rehabilitation.  So criminals know that nothing can happen to them, that police won’t bother for low level crimes.  Two different people told stories of people regularly taking power tools from big box stores and just walking out and employees are told not to do anything.  They have to just watch them get in their cars and go.  The speakers said this went to barter for drugs and/or other items.  One big box store employee said it happens daily and losses have been in the $800,000 per year range.

Lots of people complained about home break-ins and stolen cars where police didn’t come for hours.  Where they are told on the phone, “There’s nothing we can do.”

There was concern that sex workers wouldn’t report crimes because they, not the criminals would be arrested.

There was also testimony  from people who had served time or the children had and the importance of good rehabilitation to their lives.

Amy Demboski got credit from some for recognizing these problems early on.  And she said she wasn’t for abolishing SB 91, but for fixing it.

One man said there were three things that needed to be done:
1.  Rebuild Neighborhood watch
2.  Put God back into schools
3.  Bring back the death penalty

Most people were rational, had facts, and recognized this was a complex problem .  A few just wanted the repeal of SB 91, but most wanted it fixed - most notably that people convicted of crimes get rehabilitation, job training, and hope and help to find employment when they got out, so they aren't forced back to crime and drugs or alcohol.

There were maybe 100-150 people who were in the chambers during the 4 hour session.  Not that many, but they were all very passionate.  The Assembly listened carefully, sometimes asked questions.

During a break, I asked if there were any police in the room to hear the anger toward the police for not showing up for hours and for saying, “Our hands are tied, there’s nothing we can do” about people who committed crimes.  Later, Assembly Member Chris Constant said there had been a representative of the police department there for a while.

This past Tuesday, the Assembly passed a resolution that didn't call for a repeal of SB91, but did call for fixing it.  From KTUU:
"All members but Amy Demboski voted for changes only, specifically an increase in funding for alcohol and drug treatment, probation, police, corrections officers, and prosecutors.
“I’m afraid if we say repeal this it will not be revisited. I think these were very courageous legislators who did this and I don’t know that we have that now. After seeing this beat up no one is going to touch it again.
We’ll be back to a system that has simply failed and wasn’t working,” said Assembly Member John Weddleton.
The resolution also recommends restoring probation limits for some misdemeanor offenses, time that was cut down to less than a year under SB91. When it came to recommending a full repeal all members but Demboski felt it was better to fix what exists today."