My maps

Ok guy(s), honesty time. I’m a map dork. I dig ‘em. It’s a good time to be alive – all the info you can ever imagine, all there for the taking, much of it in snazzy maps. For absolutely no reason, here’s an inventory of some of my favorite maps.

First off, Tom Harrison maps are cool. They’re about 10 bucks and tell you the good stuff – trails, campsites, mileages, fire roads. A couple of the ones I have are for the southerly bits of the sierra –

South Sierra Wilderness Trail Map – This is the area directly south of the Golden Trout Wilderness. Includes key sections like Kennedy Meadows and Monache Meadow. When your up on the Kern plateau these are good things – there’s not too many ways in from this side. The beautiful and rugged Sherman Pass Road gets you up there.

Golden Trout Wilderness Trail Map. Also a great map. Bordered by the 395 and Owens Valley on the far east. South Fork of the Kern as you move west, with John Muir Wilderness at the north. The beautiful Kern River runs down the middle. Then as you move more towards the west, the Great Western Divide. With Camp Nelson on the far west, where there be some fine mountain biking I’m told. I’d like to get my butt up there to Camp Nelson one of these days. The “wilderness” designation takes over farther east, meaning “no wheels,” so bring your walking shoes for that area.

One of my favorite maps isn’t a Tom Harrison, but it’s by the excellent folks at Extremeline (go buy their books like Mountain Biking in Mammoth & The Eastern Sierra. Just do it. The Eastern Sierras will open up to you in new ways, for those of you into such things). The map’s called “The Kern River Sierra Outdoor Recreation Topo Map” and I can stare at it for disturbingly long lengths of time. It’s got that whole area up there, w/ all the mountain biking trails. Basically as far south as the Piute Mountains (home of the extremely rare Piute Cypress I might add, a conifer occurring nowhere else on our great big green globe called earth) and Havilah (once the county seat of Kern you might not know, before that bustling cosmopolitan metropolis we’ve come to know and love as Bakersfield took over the honor; Havilah was named after wishful thinking miners dreaming of Havilah’s gold in the Old Testament hah fat chance). Extending as far north as Yellowjacket Mountain, which is basically just north of Kernville. If you’ve been to Kernville you know Yellowjacket Mtn- it’s the massive granite slab off in the distance up river looking down on the Kern. The map has Isabella Lake (now puddle) in the middle. Greenhorn Mountains to the west w/ their lovely Just Outstanding mountain bike trail, and the delightful Cannel Trail mtn bike trail rims the east side on the plateau. Great map.

And of course the amazingly awesome Sequoia National Forest including Giant Sequoia National Monument map put out by the kind folks at the US Forest Service Department of Agriculture. This map is nearly taller than I am. They have this map on display in a giant glass case outside the ranger station in Kernville, and I tracked it down at the local James Store and picked up a copy with a deep and abiding glee. I won’t even try to describe it. It’s just awesome. I’ve got a dozen or so of the 7.5 minute quadrangle topo maps of the area up there, and this beast combines all those and zooms out a few thousand feet and just gives you the good and big bits. It’s a delightful way to spend an afternoon, and I gaze at it longingly planning many great trips I will never do. (Btw “gaze it it longingly” is the creepiest phrase I can drum up.)

There you go folks. Don’t say I never told you nuthin. Now go outside and play, and maybe take a map w/ you.

New Track – Chance At A Miracle


New track today, this one’s called Chance At A Miracle.

For those of you that have at least one toe, the bass madness in the middle really should get it tapping.

New Track – “Dont Mind If I Do”

New track today, this sunny little number is called Dont Mind If I Do and it works best w/ a can of pabst and some tattoos.

Consider the Buckeye

Now that I”ve got this blog readership down to waffling between “zero” and “my mom”, (not really – not even my mom reads this) the creepy true affections of the wrinkly, power-mad denizens of the Launch Day boardroom can finally come out: trees.

I’ll wax poetic one day on trees, but for now, let me just take a brief moment to guide your chubby, unobservant little eyeballs to what you may not know is California’s only native buckeye (pronounced “buckeye”) tree. If you were to actually be outside, which you’re not, nor will be anytime soon, but were you actually to put your phone down long enough to go for a delightful little stroll through our own lovely local mountains (another of our creepy affections, dont get us started), you’d probably see a few of these things. But we’re not to the interesting bit yet. Two interesting things about this tree – one – it’s completely leafless and dead looking right now not because it’s dead, but because it’s an awesome adaptation to drop its foliage to minimize evaporation (pronounced “evaporation”) during hot weather. got that? it’s like if you went outside and it was hot and you took all your clothes off (which i guess i also recommend. see? zero readership people despite the good ideas.) the buckeye drops its leaves and just leaves these hanging little pear-shaped fruit, or pods. Which is the second interesting thing about these trees. the lovely pear-shaped fruit, or pods. Um, they’re poisonous.

Um, they’re poisonous.

Vomit, diarrhea, sometimes paralysis. Which sounds like fun, but you’d better stick to your MDMA or ecstasy or aspirin or whatever it is you amuse yourself with at the fancy electronic dance music parties, and stay away from the yummy looking nature pear fruit.

The California Buckeye, folks. Duck outside to catch it in all its naked glory this time of year.