A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Pumpelly Ridge Trail

April 2, 2022
Emilie Phillips

You’ll have to forgive me for a rough post today. Real work and vacation house work both got in the way of my post writing time this week.

Saturday I declared we were going for a reasonable (I thought) length hike. There was some complaining from the peanut gallery, and some proposals for different options. Once we got above tree line and started enjoying the views, no one complained. It was windy above tree line, and cold. By hiking at a good pace, we had no troubles staying warm.

The wind, though, made one of my favorite moments. We paused to watch three turkey vultures circling upward next to the ridge. Then both Tyson and I noted we were looking at the downwind side of the ridge. How were the vultures rising without flapping their wings at all? Either they much have found thermals that were stronger than the wind, or the wind was making a rotor on the back side. One of them climbed up to the height of the ridge and then soared right over our heads. It picked up the wind on the upwind side and switched to traversing along the ridge.

We seem to see mostly turkey vultures soaring along ridges. Are we just calling everything a turkey vulture, or is that really most of what is around here? Tyson said he identified the turkey vultures based on the upward V to their wings, the open fingers of feathers at the end of the wings, and the way they wobble when the soar. Raptors have a much smoother flight. Well, when we got home and checked, we found Tyson was exactly right.

We saw three C-130 cargo planes fly north when we were a half hour below the summit. And then they flew back over an hour later as we descended. I got photos of them, unlike the birds.

On the descent, we did take a slight detour to see if we could spot the Pumpelly Ridge “cave”. Tyson had wanted to do a loop to the cave and skip the summit. He got outvoted. We kept looking until we all agreed on a hint of copper green through the trees. Then Tyson got out the strava heat map. The heat map suggested we were right above the shelter. No one felt like doing the bushwhack. So we need to come back some other time and show it to Isaac.

We finished the day passing by a pond full of loud croaking. That pond was still half iced over. I guess those are the early bird frogs.

All Photos

GPS Tracks

We went a bit overboard with GPS tracking. Tyson has a new smart watch. Isaac got Tyson’s old watch as a hand me down. I brought our InReach mini. Tyson ran his usual app on the phone so we would be certain to get a good track. And Tyson ran the new Zoleo satellite tracker. That last one doesn’t export tracks.

OsmAnd track from Tyson’s phone:

Tyson’s new watch

Isaac’s hand me down watch. (True story: Tyson didn’t realize it had a GPS when he gave it to Isaac. I found it by poking around.)

Emilie’s InReach Mini satelite tracker