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the grandstand

The Grandstand talks about hiking in a way that is personal, humorous, and humble with the belief that spending time in the wilderness makes us better people. Hikes are more than just mileage and elevation gain—for many of us, they are a means of enduring, and possibly even enjoying, whatever life brings our way.

The Grandstand was named after a rock monolith at the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley.


Hiking in a Cloud

Hiking in a Cloud

In an Art History class I took at Vassar, my professor Susan Kuretsky said something along the lines of: snow doesn't so much cover or obscure as it reveals what is already there. She was looking at The Hunters in the Snow, a painting by Pieter Bruegel The Elder.


We took a 3-day trip through the Kaiser Wilderness, starting at Potter Pass, passing Lower Twin Lake, camping at Upper Twin Lake, and day hiking to George Lake, which was still half frozen. I took an unreasonable amount of photos on this trip and thought these images of the clouds and fog deserved their own post, so here they are.

The hike was cold. It was a rare occasion when I had to wear my fleece even while on the move, as the heat I generated from hiking wasn't enough to keep my hands and arms from going numb. There was still a great deal of snow at 9,000 feet.

These atmospheric images remind me of what my art history professor said about snow. The fog obscured our surroundings, but it selectively revealed things, too: an isolated tree, the top of a mountain in the distance, a reflection in a lake, a log floating on the surface of milky water, all set against a white background. The mood that day was quiet, subdued even, and we felt more of an urgency than usual to find a campsite with a good fire ring. We did, and we spent the rest of the day next to it. We also woke up the next morning to a shining sun.

Upper Twin Lake and George Lake, Kaiser Wilderness

Upper Twin Lake and George Lake, Kaiser Wilderness

Trekking Poles Aren’t Just For Old Dudes

Trekking Poles Aren’t Just For Old Dudes