Monday, March 31, 2008

Difficult Creek hot springs

Dawn at the Goodwin/Greene hut:

One of the fun things about the 10th mountain huts is that they all have log books where people write about their adventures. Some go back many decades. The ones in the Goodwin/Greene hut went back to the 60's. There were many references in it to so-called Difficult Creek hot springs and many mentions of people fruitlessly trying to find them (ref my previous post). Even on the web you can find ample reference to them. This sort of mythology is great. No mention exists of the hot springs on the topomaps of this place, making the enticement even higher of finding them. Geologically, it is very well possible that there could be hot springs in that area as many hot springs exist all around there. However, they are not in the place that is mentioned in the dog-eared logbook page. The GPS coordinates given there are in another part of the state. I won't tell you whether there actually are any there though as I don't want to kill the myth and the woods below the hut of Difficult Creek drainage are a great ski.

Here is Doug reading about the hot springs and the mermaids that live in them and Teresa reading Erin's (who also highly recommends the springs) entry from years ago.

The view from the hut. As you can see lots of snow. While we were there the windows filled up even further.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Images from my recent multiday hut trip

A weekend ago, I did a four-day huttrip in the mountains just south of Aspen. We visited the Markley and Goodwin/Greene huts. We crossed many dangerous avalanche paths and saw more snow than I have ever seen in my life. We had a great time with salad-dressing whiskey and other fun things. The skiing was also outstanding due to the constant fresh snowfall. The navigation to the second hut was somewhat difficult as a lot of it was above treeline and in the hut's logbook, we found many stories from people that took the wrong drainage in white-out conditions and ended up having to spend the night out. Even though we were prepared for that possibility, I am glad that we found the hut (which could only be identified by a PV panel and some pipes sticking out of the very deep snow). I took many images of which I will post a few below. More can be found in the smugmug gallery and a more extensive series is in my flickr stream.

Dawn at the Markley hut:

View from the pass

Skiers on the pass:

Dawn at the Goodwin/Greene hut looking at Gold Hill:

The same in B and W is here

Another dawn pic:

Colin ripping it up:

Panoramic view including a nice recent slide:

You can read more about this trip and see pictures wuth me in it in a writeup by somebody else in the group.

One of the things that some of my readership might find interesting is that contrary to many huts in the Alps, you have to carry in your own food which makes for interesting skiing. This is an advantage (actually good food) and a disadvantage at the same time. It is tough to ski with that much weight on your back. If you're interested in huttrips in Colorado, check out the 10th Mountain division website. These huts fill up quick!

Aperture 2.1 - a plugin architecture

Apple released an update to Aperture 2, version 2.1. Rob Galbraith reviews it here. One of the most exciting on one hand and most disappointing on the other is the inclusion of a plugin architecture. This architecture allows third-party developers (which includes all of us if you register as a developer at Apple BTW) to create plugins that can be used right inside of Aperture. Many photoshop plugin developers, such as Nik and PictureCode have jumped on the bandwagon. The surprising thing to me about these plugins is that they are more like photoshop plugins than like RAW development tools. They do not sit in the RAW pipeline, but are called by rendering a tiff file and sending that off to the plugin. This means that all of your Aperture adjustments are "burned in" when you call the plugin. This is a pity as it breaks the RAW paradigm of the program and really is nothing more than a fancy way of using an external editor. This of course makes it extremely easy for a third-party developer to program for as they can simply reuse their already existing Photoshop plugin code, but does not push the envelope at all and severely limits the usefulness of the plugins in my opinion. I really hope that Apple is also developing a second plugin architecture that allows for non-destructive RAW plugin tools that work in the same way as the color balance sliders for example or the clone/heal tools (for dodging burning).

P.S. what is very interesting is that Apple apparently allows plugins to access the actual RAW data. This means that you could use alternate RAW interpreters directly in Aperture, potentially circumventing some of the issues Apple's RAW engine still has.