Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Cliff Lake

Cliff Lake

Dale Matson

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Hike Route

Although I visited Cliff Lake more than a decade ago, I never wrote about it. 

The trailhead to Cliff Lake can be reached by turning left by the boat ramp and driving along the lake to the end of the road. There is a private residence at the very end and the parking area is to the left of that. There is a sign for the beginning of the trail. 

This hike is essentially 11 miles round trip with an elevation gain overall of about 2,000 feet. The maximum elevation is near 9,500'. The trail is one of those that is initially downhill at the beginning and you know what that means for your tired legs on the return!

The trail initially parallels Courtright Reservoir and then heads N.W. to Cliff Lake. There is some signage so pay attention because this trail crosses other trails.

There is a section of the trail that passes through the Helms Fire burn area. It is still possible to follow the trail though it is somewhat washed through the burn scar. There is one water crossing fairly near the beginning if you have a means to purify or filter the water.

The initial junction at the end of the reservoir is with the Frazier trail which proceeds east. The next trail crossing is with the Nelson Lake Trail. There are three more trails that branch off near Cliff Lake. I used both a Garmin Map 65 and my Garmin Fenix watch. It took me 7 hours round trip and my Fenix had my inbound time only 15 minutes shorter than my outbound time. I used the track back feature on my Map 65 to “re-find” The correct trail climbing back out of the lake. Bring bug repellent.

I ran into an old friend from my SAR days who was with a group of CARDA folks on a training mission with their dogs. I think Cliff Lake is a beautiful lake and popular with backpackers as well as day hikers. Inbound you will be more likely to see many of the mountains including one of my favorites, Mount Goddard. It is worth your time to stop at the vista point before you drive down to the reservoir. On the way in or out.

I used my Sony A1 with the 16-35mm f4 lens and my 85mm 1.8

Courtright Reservoir

Dogtooth Peak

Friday, July 29, 2022

When Poor Sleep Means Poor Recovery? The Garmin Fenix 7X Solar

When Poor Sleep Means Poor Recovery? The Garmin Fenix 7X Solar

Dale Matson

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Garmin Fenix uses metrics that don’t just examine the length, depth and quality of sleep. When combined with a stress score that is recorded during the day and during sleep, it shows up as a “Body Battery” score that you begin with each day. Sleep is an important variable in overall health. When stress interferes with sleep, it can contribute to major health problems.

When I do a lengthy difficult hike in the mountains, my body battery could be as low as 5 (out of 100) at the end of the day. When I do a hike of that magnitude, it also means that I may have up to 72 hours of recovery or more. That does not mean that I don’t exercise the following day but complete rest would speed up recovery.

During sleep, there is some recovery so that I don’t start the following morning with a body battery of 5 even with a poor night’s sleep. However, If I look at my stress score during sleep based primarily on HRV (Heart Rate Variability), There are some nights that show high stress even during deep sleep. 

I realize that as an older person, I no longer get the quality of sleep that I did as a young person. Additionally, Drinking can also have an effect on the quality of sleep. I don’t drink however. I don’t have sleep apnea, finish eating more than three hours before bed time, and have a BMI of 22. I am retired and have no stressors that I am aware of. So why is my sleep so often stressed? Why do I awaken in the morning with brain fog and fatigue even when I have a recorded sleep time over 8 hours?

What I share with so many folks is PSTD. I have suffered many traumatic events throughout my life. I believe there is a hyper-vigilance that is now “on duty” 24/7. There is a wealth of research about this topic. For example,

I thought I would show a couple of charts from a couple of nights sleep that typify what I have been saying.

    While the final screen capture is fairly normal, my stress during sleep is more akin to the first two examples. While I think avoiding caffeine entirely would help and having an ordered/structured day would help, I think at St. Paul would say, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Day Hike To Mount Givens 2022

Day Hike To Mount Givens 2022

Dale Matson

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I have done this hike several times. The particulars are contained in a previous post.

My son Ben and I set out from Fresno at 6am, which got us to the trailhead at 8am. Our hike took about 4.5 hours round trip with about 2,000’ of gain and a distance of about 5.6 miles total. We began the hike as usual on the 33-mile Dusy Ershim OHV trail. This trail travels to Courtright reservoir and is only for the most rugged vehicles.

In more recent years I have discovered a cut-off trail which is more shaded and direct. Yesterday was hot, even above 10,000’.

Ben ran into a work colleague who was traveling the trail below us and was waiting for another Jeeper to get unstuck.

As you can see by the GPS overlay on the topo map, our final ascent off trail was too direct and made for steep travel. When we were inbound, we took a more forgiving route downhill.

I left my trekking poles leaning against a tree before scrambling up the last boulder field toward the radio antenna at the top. It is a 360-degree view that begins in Yosemite and runs south below Mt. Whitney. I used the “Peak Finder app on my iPhone and it labels some of the mountains fairly accurately. I have included some of the Peak Finder shots. The air was fairly clear.

The inbound trek was hot for me and I needed to rest a couple of times in the shade. There is no water on this hike, so bring at least 2-3 liters with you. No bugs.

This year I used my Sony A7C with the Sony 85mm 1.8 lens for photos and for video.