Greywater System Installation

With the help of my friend Francis and the great folks at the SF Public Utilities Commission greywater pilot program, I’ve installed a greywater system to take water exiting from my laundry machine for use in the backyard. It requires using an environmentally safe laundry detergent, but is otherwise really easy to use and saves lots of water (lower bills, good for the environment).

Here are some pictures of the installation process in my backyard:

All Wound Up: Review of Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl”

Cover of "The Windup Girl"I was so inspired by yesterday’s Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy (QSF&F) Book Club meeting that I published a review of “The Windup Girl”! I’d love to read your comments about the review.

Day Out of Time Gathering on Mount Rainier

Although postponed by a couple of days to accommodate attendance at the Romp Naked event in Seattle on July 22, the “Two Spirit Day Out of Time” gathering took place from July 23-26 on Mount Rainier. Sierra, who works as a ranger at the Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier, issued the call and dealt with logistics, and Franz prepared healthy organic food and Julie Andrews “Sound of Music” inspired art for the gathering. The pictures below come from the cameras of many of those who attended the gathering.

Kirby Peace Sign at White River Camping Site, Mount Rainier Mugwort at White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

Kirby (pic above) took a bit of a leap by driving up with Sierra and Franz for the gathering while still on crutches! I hitched a ride from Mugwort (above), who also shared a campsite where we both pitched our tents. Thanks to my dad for loaning me a tent so I didn’t have to cart one up on the plane from San Francisco.

Grandmother Rainier Towering Above the Pines

My first view of Mount Rainier after two years stunned me. Grandmother Rainier–as Fruitboy has dubbed her–radiates beauty.

Distant Peak Behind Magnificent Valley Near Mount Rainier Mugwort, Kirby, and Franz at Mount Rainier Lookout Snowy Peaks Near Mount Rainier

Mugwort, Kirby, Dazzle, Tusk, and I admired the landscape at the lookout point on the way up from the White River campground to the Sunrise Camp, which is the highest altitude point on a highway in the state of Washington, according to Ranger Sierra.

More Snowy Peaks Near Mount Rainier Tusk, Mugwort, Dazzle, Franz, and Kirby at Mount Rainier Outlook Dazzle, Mugwort, Franz, Kirby, and Tusk at Mount Rainier Outlook

The greenery provided an amazing contrast to the mountain, snow-covered even in mid-summer.

Grandmother Rainier Nestled Among the Pines Grandmother Rainier Nestled Among the Pines II Fruitboy and Kirby at Sunrise Camp Employee Residence on Mount Rainier

Much of the gathering took place at the Sunrise Camp employee living quarters, the home for Sierra and other rangers and interns during the season when Sunrise Camp is open to visitors.

Stardust With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Stardust and Fruitboy With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp Stardust, Fruitboy, and Don With Grandmother Rainier at Sunrise Camp

Sierra can see a great view of Mount Rainier, similar to this one above, from his bedroom window.

Lodge and Lot at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Visitor Center and Employee Residences at Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Mount Rainier With Glacier View

Sunrise Camp consists of a lodge with a snack bar for visitors and the Visitor Center and employee living quarters. You can’t beat the views from Sunrise.

The first evening Mugwort and I arrived a bit late. After setting up our tents at the White River campsite that Dazzle and Tusk saved for us, we drove up to the Sunrise Camp and found Kirby and Franz chatting near the entrance to the employee residence building with the great view of Mount Rainier. Franz said he’d pull some dinner together for us in a bit, so Mugwort and I hiked a bit up the trail toward Dege Peak and had a look over the other side of the ridge at a beautiful rock slide canyon with a sunset on a multilayered mountain horizon that took my breath away.

After dinner, we were exhausted and went back to the campsite for an early night. I was fighting off a nasty cold, but the next morning I decided to accompany the group on the planned hike to the Burroughs Peaks, thinking I would turn back after reaching the summit of Burroughs Peak I, while the group continued on to Burroughs II and III.

Mountain Stream on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks of Mount Rainier Indian Paintbrush Flowers on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks of Mount Rainier Glacier Lake on Mount Rainier

After hiking past a mountain stream and lots of beautiful flowers like the Indian Paintbrush above, we saw spectacular views of glacial lakes and snowy mountain peaks on the way up to the Burroughs Peaks.

Mount Rainier Peak From Lower Trail to Burroughs Nearing Treeline on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier Glacial Flow From Mount Rainier

At an overlook point, we got a good look at the glacier we would visit the following day. Plus, we saw some Bear Flowers.

Dazzle, Mugwort, Sierra, and Tusk on Burroughs Trail Outlook of Mount Rainier Magical Alabaster Ice Cavern at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Bear Flowers on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier

Part of the trail was on rock slides and Sierra led us fearlessly upward.

Rock Slide on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier Sierra With Grandmother Rainier on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks The Snowy Immensity of Grandmother Rainier

The summit of Burroughs Peak I is large and flat, kind of a moonscape.

Rock Slide on Lower Trail to Burroughs Peaks on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Peak from Burroughs Peak I Sierra on the Path from Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II

We got some great views of the Mount Rainier summit and saw patches of snow all around us.

Mount Rainier Peak View From Burroughs Peak View of Another Peak From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Don on Burroughs Peak I of Mount Rainier

Burroughs Peak I affords a good peek at Burroughs Peak II, and after some persuasion by Sierra, I decided to continue on to the second peak.

Sierra Prepping Photo Shoot on Burroughs Peak I of Mount Rainier Rock Slide on Approach to Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Don on Burroughs Peak I With Outlook to Burroughs Peak II and Mount Rainier Summit

We could see down into Berkeley Park, home of the amazing wildflowers, from the trail between Burroughs Peaks I and II.

Berkeley Park View From Burroughs Peak I on Mount Rainier Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Snow on Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

We crossed our first snow on the trail at that point too.

More Snow on Trail From Burroughs Peak I to Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Summit From Burroughs Peak II View of Another Peak From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

The views from Burroughs Peak II were also spectacular.

Sierra Piling Rocks on Burroughs Peak II With Mount Rainier Summit in Background View From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier View of Mount Rainier Glacier From Burroughs Peak II

The Hills Are Alive… with Fruitboy on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier.

The Hills Are Alive... With Fruitboy on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress on Burroughs Peak II With Mount Rainier Summit in Background

In the distance was a snowy lake that may be a reservoir.

Fruitboy in Dress and Tusk in Sarong on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Fruitboy in Dress Takes It All In on Burroughs Peak II of Mount Rainier Snowy Lake From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier

After Burroughs Peak II, I headed back down while the others continued onward to Burroughs Peak III.

Rock Slide on Descent From Burroughs Peak II on Mount Rainier Flat Landscape at Burroughs Peak II Summit on Mount Rainier View From Burroughs Peak I on Mount Rainier

I was quite exhausted on the way home, due to my cold, but still enjoyed pine groves and flowery meadows while hiking.

Pines Around Flowery Meadow on Trail Back to Sunrise Camp of Mount Rainier Flowery Meadow on Trail Near Sunrise Camp on Mount Rainier Kirby, Masked Tusk, Dazzle, Fruitboy, Hidden Franz, and Sierra at White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

We met again at the White River campsite the following morning for a hike to the ice cave at the base of the glacier we had seen the day before. Kirby held down the fort at the camp due to his broken leg.

Devils Club Plant on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Deer on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Mountain Stream on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier
On the glacier trail, we saw Devil’s Club plants, a deer, and some amazing mountain streams and lakes. The lakes were cloudy due to deposits from the glacier.

Roaring Stream on Glacier Trail of Mount Rainier Glacial Lake From Glacier Trail on Mount Rainier View of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

We saw a strange pyramidal peak in front of the Mount Rainier summit. Fruitboy, Sierra, Mugwort, Dazzle, and Tusk all joined me in checking out the glacier lake.
Pyramid Peak Below Mount Rainier Summit From Glacier Trail Ice Cave, Glacier, and Jagged Peak on Mount Rainier Fruitboy, Sierra, Mugwort, Dazzle, and Tusk on Glacier Lake Overlook of Mount Rainier

Besides the strange pyramidal peak, I saw what looked like an owl in stone from an outcrop looking over us on another side of the glacial canyon. On the canyon floor, Sierra noted the change in rock deposits perhaps due to the river, the glacier, or to lava flows.

Glacial Pyramidal Goodness on Mount Rainier Owl Outlook From Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Change in Rock Deposits in Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier

The floor of the glacial canyon included other mysteries, such as the white lichen and the lime deposits thrust up from the canyon floor.

White Lichen on Floor of Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Sierra, Dazzle, and Fruitboy on Glacial Valley Limey Outcrop With View of Pyramid Peak and Mount Rainier Summit View of Glacier on Mount Rainier

We got up close and personal to a glacial lake, some composite rock, and Fireweed flowers.

Green Glacial Pond in Glacier Valley of Mount Rainier Composite Rock in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier Fireweed in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier

As we walked, I looked back and saw a marvelous vista. We came across Monkey Flowers and strange slime in a creek.

Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier Monkey Flower in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier Slime in Creek of Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier

After fording a glacial creek, we approached the glacier. At first, I thought the finger of the glacier extending down between the river and the mountain was the mountain itself, but I eventually noticed the rocks tumbling off the melting ice.

Fruitboy, Dazzle, Tusk, and Mugwort Fording Glacial River on the Way to Glacier Ice Cave on Mount Rainier Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Finger of Glacier Extending Along Glacial River on Mount Rainier

Falling debris gave us the clue that we should not approach the glacier too closely.

Boulders Falling From Finger of Glacier Into River on Mount Rainier Edge of Main Part of Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Dirty Part of Glacier Under Jagged Peak on Mount Rainier

At last, we saw the ice cave!

Dirty Part of Glacier With View of Mount Rainier Summit Dazzle and Tusk Traversing Rocky Glacial Valley on Mount Rainier Approaching the Ice Cave at the Base of a Glacier on Mount Rainier

We got up fairly close and I was tempted to crawl inside, but both Sierra and Fruitboy insisted that would be a very bad idea.

Arrival at the Alabaster Ice Cave at the Base of a Glacier on Mount Rainier Glacier and Tumbling Debris on Mount Rainier Stardust Drawn Irresistably to Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

So we watched from what we thought was a safe distance.

Stardust in Front of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Stardust and Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Glacier Falling Into River in Mount Rainier Valley

I decided to call the cave the alabaster ice cave due to the beautiful texture of its ceiling and walls.

Fruitboy in Glacial Valley of Mount Rainier More of the Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Closeup of Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

A glacial river streamed out from the cave.

Ice Shearing From Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier River Running From Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Larger View of River Running From Alabaster Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Watching the cave became a bit of a spectator sport.

Sierra, Dazzle, Tusk, and Mugwort Watch the Alabaster Ice Cave at the Base of the Glacier on Mount Rainier Another View of the Owl Outcrop on the Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier Glacial Finger Against Mountain Slope on Mount Rainier

Then, the ice cave started to collapse!
Glacial Canyon on Mount Rainier Alabaster Ice Cave Starts to Collapse at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Ice Boulders Flowing in Glacial River Under Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Large ice boulders started falling downstream and Sierra went down to retrieve some of the smaller ones for us to examine up close.
Big Ice Boulder Flowing in Glacial River Under Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Sierra Retrieving River Ice From Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Ice Sierra Retrieved From River Below Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

One piece of ice had a mysterious thing trapped inside, which must have been there for many years.
Glacial Ice With Mystery Object Embedded Inside From Collapsed Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Another View of Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier

Then, the ice cave collapsed some more! This time baseball-sized chunks exploded out from where the ice crashed into the river and nearly hit us, so we retreated back further from the ice cave.
Yet Further Collapse of Ice Cave at Base of Glacier on Mount Rainier Red Succulent on Floor of Glacial Canyon of Mount Rainier Mugwort and Sierra by Creek on Glacier Trail on the Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier

We remained entranced by the glacier melting for a long time, then did a ritual for healing of the earth so that the glacier would continue to exist. On the way back to the campsite, we saw a red succulent and stopped by a flowing stream to rest.
Dazzle and Tusk by Creek on Glacier Trail on the Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier Fungus on Glacier Trail on Way Back to White River Campsite on Mount Rainier Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier

I saw a strange fungus on the trail and Fruitboy taught me how to identify different types of pine trees on our way back to camp. The next day was the day to head home, so I took a few pictures of Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp before saying goodbye.
Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier II Ranger Sierra at Sunrise Camp Visitor Center on Mount Rainier III Day Out of Time Gathering Mascot

Judy, our gathering mascot, gave us all good luck to spread whereever we go on our way down from the mountains. Thanks to Sierra and everyone else who made this gathering possible. :-)

Camping in Covelo: Part 1

From Eric and Mitcho’s land, Covelo, Mendocino County, CA:

How amazing to be back out in the country camping on the land. During the Queer Freedom Day festivities, Eric (aka Cattail) invited me to come to a Fourth of July camping weekend at his and Mitcho’s land in Covelo. Coincidentally, Yoyo (aka Joe), who I met at Antler’s Comfort & Joy Afterglow party, is the current caretaker and Eric and Mitcho’s place. So, I got a ride up with Andrew, his boyfriend Nori, and Anthony. We talked radical politics for part of the ride, considering my proposal for limiting income from all sources to $7 million a year.

We ate at a Chinese buffet restaurant on the way up, after getting a jump start for the van from a neighbor on Bernal, near my house.

Covelo Camping Spot View From Covelo Camping Spot Crone Madrone Near Covelo Camping Spot

We arrived fairly late at night, but I really wanted to set up my tent so I could feel fully landed and grounded in this beautiful place. So, I asked Eric, who was kind of helpful, and Yoyo, who brought me to a fabulous camping spot in a madrone grove not far from the main cabin. The path to the location feels like it is magically warded somehow because I have to concentrate very hard to remember the path even though it’s within shouting distance of the cabin.

Covelo Cabin Circle Before Meal Outside Covelo Cabin Stove Altar Near Covelo Cabin

Jack T., former housemate, is also at the Covelo gathering and it is great to have an informal environment where we can reconnect.

So far today, I’ve done my yoga — been keeping up a good practice, although my lower back seems tight — and helped with installing a solar water pump down by a creek, which was fairly hard work, but I got to jump under little waterfalls in the creek afterwards. Apparently, there is a bigger river to play in nearby which I hope to check out a bit later today. These are all tributaries of the Eel River, which Mitcho tells me is one of the last few clean rivers around here.

Buck and his friend Prickly made magnificent Hawaiian macademia nut, mango, blueberry pancakes for breakfast, which I ate along with a mimosa from Eric. I skipped the bacon and eggs.