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{ Monthly Archives } October 2009

in the shadow of the valley of death

When I return to the men’s camp site dinner is ready and people are scattered around eating and talking. The conversation drifts over a variety of topics, as it always does in large groups. One man is expounding volubly on the difficulties of negotiating life in prison. He is discussing the conflict that exists between […]

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city on the plain

The following morning I set off towards the end of the valley where sand dunes shimmer in the distance. I round a corner and find myself confronted with a veritable tent city near the base of the dunes, an American flag flying in the centre of a ring of tents. A lone figure is seated […]

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the road to death valley

When I leave Bishop the wind is still icy and it blows me smartly along the highway to Big Pine where I stop to stock up on water, filling my two four litre bags to the brim. I ask the guy at the service station for information about the road. The man, it transpires, is […]

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staying warm in a cold and windy place

With the clouds hanging heavily on the mountain tops and a fierce, frigid, wind blowing from the north I ride back to the highway. Once I reach the highway a north wind is a tail wind – for the most part – and the ride to Bishop, where I hope to have somewhere to stay […]

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another quest in search of a hot bath

In Yosemite Valley I heard rumours of hot springs around Mammoth Lake and so I quizz Doris and John for further information. The critical clue I already have at my disposal is a green church marking the turn off on the highway. John, however is able to furnish much more specific directions and a reasonable […]

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mono lake

Doris, John and I set off in the morning in their car for a day trip that will encompass the area around June Lake, Mono Lake and Brodie. We start by driving past the series of lakes on the scenic route into June Lake which I skipped the previous evening in the very uncharacteristic, for […]

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the other side

On the other side of the pass I am presented with a landscape that I could have never imagined. I drop effortlessly 3000 feet down into the valley on the west of the Sierras feeling like I am suddenly on another planet. People had talked to me of the high desert and I realise now […]

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tioga pass

The crowds and the idea that the Tioga Road might irrevocably close for the season before I get over it make it impossible for me to relax and so I flee Yosemite Valley without exploring it thoroughly. I haul myself back up the hill to the turn off to the pass. The climb out of […]

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the valley

Yosemite Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been but I spend my whole time there wishing I could visit it again after the Apocalypse.* The hoards of people (of which I must remind myself I am one) just ruin it for me. I feel deeply stressed the whole time I […]

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on the road again

It occurs to me, as I ride out of the Bay Area, that I am always leaving – and that it suits me. Which is not to say that it doesn’t also pain me somewhat, at times even considerably; but the melancholy that leaving produces in me is so familiar that I wear it like […]

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