We’re back from a marvelous weekend in Death Valley where yesterday Susan and I and our friend Rachel hiked from the 8,133-foot Mahogany Flats campgound to the top of the 11,049-foot summit of Telescope Peak and back. About five miles in Susan and Rachel decided the 10,000-foot mark was a good place to stop and wait and rest while I went onward to the summit. And I got there, as shown, after making my way up and around 13 switchbacks, past countless glorious and ancient bristlecone pines and over one last steep and slushy snowbank to arrive about 2:30 p.m. I lingered about a half hour before making my way back down to my love and my friend and together we trudged the remaining five miles back down the range to the campground.

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Today, I welcomed my 42nd consecutive year of existence with an achingly gorgeous and beautiful weathered morning at the campground. But this time instead of going up, I boarded my mountain bike after we packed up our campsite, and with Susan and Rachel tailing me soared some 17 miles downhill from 8,133 feet at the campground to 1,386 feet on the floor of the Panamint Valley, where it was a lot hotter than from where we’d come.

Without reservation it was my most unique and memorable birthday ever. And of course, I have tons of pix and much more I could say about the hike and the ride and the weekend, but at this point in time I am home and entirely spent and this will have to suffice.