Thursday, January 31, 2013

When Comics were Great!

Man, they don't make 'em like this anymore. Back in the day when there were all kinds of comic books for all kinds of kids. Back in the day when people were still readers. Alas!

My copy of TUROK #8. I simply could not believe this cover when I was a kid. All I could do was stare at it. Looking at that cover stalled me from reading the book for quite a while.

My copy of TUROK #9.

I see this cover reproduced quite often. After this one, the style of art on the cover changed a bit. They were still painting, but they obviously switched to a different artist who wasn't quite as skilled as this guy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Favorite Place

Well, we've decided on a different destination from the Black Mountains. I won't say where it is, but I will say that it's one of my favorite North Carolina wild places. Here's a clue or three:

One of my favorite views in the state.

A great place to sit and relax.

Through an accident of finance, this place was saved.

Fresh Air for What Ails Ye

Wow. I have been really sick for more than a week. I've been going to work for a while every morning, but coming home to recuperate. My doctor (who has been caring for my health for more than two decades) gave me some powerful antibiotics and that knocked out the infection, for the most part. But I'm still recovering and I suspect it'll be a few days before I'm full speed.

I also plan to go to the mountains to go camping for a couple of days. I think the fresh air will be good for me and it can't hurt to get out of the house and out of Charlotte.

The Black Mountains. One area where I might go.

A piece of the Black Mountain Crest Trail, one of my favorite trails in North Carolina.

The summit of Cattail Peak, one of the very few mountains in the eastern USA to reach 6,600 feet above sea level.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My First Trip with a Digital Camera (2004)

One of the toys brought to us by the computer age is the digital camera. It's my very favorite technological toy. I use the hell out of my digital cameras on every trip and excursion I take. Gone are the limitations of film. On a typical hike of even a single day I will take many hundreds of photographs. You don't have to worry overmuch how each photo will turn out because you can just erase the bad ones and move on to the next attempt.

These four photos were taken on one of the first trips I ever took when I had a digital camera along. It was in West Virginia on a camping vacation to Holly River State Park in early June of 2004. One thing that stands out about that trip is that it rained almost constantly, the rivers and creeks and waterfalls were flowing fiercely, and it was far too cold to go swimming.

The bridge over the New River Gorge.

The aptly named Shupe's Chute, a waterfall in Holly river State Park.

A "haunted" house we stumbled upon on a drive along a mountaintop road near Holly River State Park.

Mill Creek Falls in Kumbrabow State Forest.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Spring Vacation 2013

Well, we've chosen our vacation spot for this Spring. We'll be heading back to Florida to explore some of the big springs that we enjoy visiting. We'll be spending time at two where we've been before, but also heading out to find two where we've never been. Also, we're hoping to do some kayaking in a couple of wilderness areas we've had our eyes on for some time.

All photos from 2011. It has been two years since we've hit the springs of central Florida.

Boardwalk trail through a Florida forest.

We enjoyed this campsite because it had complete hookups: Water, Electric, and Sewer. We didn't have to visit the dump station to clear out the gray and black water tanks.

I get a kick out of the forests in Florida.

On the Ichetucknee River (The Tuck).

Sunday, January 27, 2013


A theme that Jack Kirby kept going back to in his stories in FF dealt with Ben Grimm going rogue and facing off against his comrades. It seemed a natural tack for the series, since Grimm was so unbelievably powerful, pretty much dwarfing the abilities of his teammates.

But why would he use the theme so relatively often in this book? It first manifested itself in issue #30. Then again in a three-story arc in FANTASTIC FOUR #41-43. But Kirby didn't stop there. He used it again in issues #68-69. Here was Ben Grimm, easily the most intimidating member of the team becoming an opposing force again and again within the storyline. It could be seen as just a natural line to take--Frankenstein's monster, Jekyll and Hyde. But I tend to think there was something more sub-conscious going on with these stories.

Kirby was THE driving force at Marvel comics. He had created virtually everything that the company had used to rebuild its position and reputation. Without Kirby there would have been no Marvel Comics. There never would have been Fantastic Four; no Incredible Hulk; Iron Man would not have been created; the Avengers would never have appeared; Thor would have remained a god in mythology books; the X-Men would never have seen the light of print. And Ditko would never have been given the opportunity to create the Amazing Spider-Man and Dr. Strange.

So of course the company's entire rehabilitation rested solely on the shoulders of Jack Kirby. And here Kirby was used and betrayed by his employers: his direct boss (an editor), and that editor's uncle, the publisher. Jack Kirby was being raped, his creations being used by men who didn't know how to write or illustrate; all they knew how to do was promote and steal.

Since I've always thought of Ben Grimm as a kind of comic book version of Jack Kirby's own personality, it's no wonder that he would write stories in which his alter-ego would become enraged over his position as a yoked slave. And thus the recurring theme of rebellion.

My copies of FANTASTIC FOUR #41 and #42.

The following are pieces of an interview for The Comics Journal. The interview was conducted by Gary Groth with Jack and Roz Kirby:

KIRBY: Stan Lee and I never collaborated on anything! I’ve never seen Stan Lee write anything. I used to write the stories just like I always did.

GROTH: On all the monster stories it says “Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.” What did he do to warrant his name being on them?

KIRBY: Nothing! OK?

GROTH: Did he dialogue them?
KIRBY: No, I dialogued them. If Stan Lee ever got a thing dialogued, he would get it from someone working in the office. I would write out the whole story on the back of every page. I would write the dialogue on the back or a description of what was going on. Then Stan Lee would hand them to some guy and he would write in the dialogue. In this way Stan Lee made more pay than he did as an editor. This is the way Stan Lee became the writer. Besides collecting the editor’s pay, he collected writer’s pay. I’m not saying Stan Lee had a bad business head on. I think he took advantage of whoever was working for him.


GROTH: Can you tell me give me your version of how The Fantastic Four came about? Did Stan go to you…?
KIRBY: No, Stan didn’t know what a mutation was. I was studying that kind of stuff all the time. I would spot it in the newspapers and science magazines. I still buy magazines that are fanciful. I don’t read as much science fiction as I did at that time. 1 was a student of science fiction and I began to make up my own story patterns, my own type of people. Stan Lee doesn’t think the way I do. Stan Lee doesn’t think of people when he thinks of [characters]. I think of [characters] as real people. If I drew a war story it would be two guys caught in the war. The Fantastic Four to me are people who were in a jam — suddenly you find yourself invisible, suddenly you find yourself flexible.

ROZ KIRBY: Gary wants to know how you created The Fantastic Four.

GROTH: Did you approach Marvel or —
KIRBY: It came about very simply. I came in [to the Marvel offices] and they were moving out the furniture, they were taking desks out — and I needed the work! I had a family and a house and all of a sudden Marvel is coming apart. Stan Lee is sitting on a chair crying. He didn’t know what to do, he’s sitting in a chair crying —he was just still out of his adolescence. I told him to stop crying. I says. “Go in to Martin and tell him to stop moving the furniture out, and I’ll see that the books make money.” And I came up with a raft of new books and all these books began to make money. Somehow they had faith in me. I knew 1 could do it, but I had to come up with fresh characters that nobody had seen before. I came up with The Fantastic Four. I came up with Thor. Whatever it took to sell a book I came up with. Stan Lee has never been editorial minded. It wasn’t possible for a man like Stan Lee to come up with new things — or old things for that matter. Stan Lee wasn’t a guy that read or that told stories. Stan Lee was a guy that knew where the papers were or who was coming to visit that day. Stan Lee is essentially an office worker, OK? I’m essentially something else: I’m a storyteller. My job is to sell my stories. When I saw this happening at Marvel I stopped the whole damned bunch. I stopped them from moving the furniture! Stan Lee was sitting on some kind of a stool, and he was crying.

GROTH: Now did the success of The Justice League of America over at National have anything to do with creating The Fantastic Four? Did that prompt you to create the F.F.?
KIRBY: No. It didn’t prompt me. I felt an urgency at the time. It was an instinct. Here you have an emergency situation — what do you do? The water is pouring in through a big hole in the wall — you don’t stop to put adhesive bandages around the wall to shore it up. You get a lot of stuff together and slam it against the wall and keep the water out. That’s what I did.

GROTH: Who came up with the name “Fantastic Four”?
KIRBY: I did. All right? I came up with all those names. I came up with Thor because I’ve always been a history buff. I know all about Thor and Balder and Mjolnir, the hammer. Nobody ever bothered with that stuff except me. I loved it in high school and I loved it in my pre-high school days. It was the thing that kept my mind off the general poverty in the area. When I went to school that’s what kept me in school — it wasn’t mathematics and it wasn’t geography; it was history.

GROTH: Stan says he conceptualized virtually everything in The Fantastic Four — that he came up with all the characters. And then he said that he wrote a detailed synopsis for Jack to follow.

ROZ KIRBY: I’ve never seen anything.

KIRBY: I’ve never seen it, and of course I would say that’s an outright lie.


GROTH: Did you sort of see it coming in the ’60s when Stan was putting his name all over the place? Did you see this kind of— ?
KIRBY: Well, you don’t have to see a thing like that coming. It was happening, and I didn’t know what to do about it. Stan Lee was the editor, and Stan had a lot of influence at Marvel, and there was nothing you could do about it. Who are you going to talk to about it, see?

GROTH: Was Stan your basic contact with Marvel? He was the one that you — ?
KIRBY: Yes. I’d come in, and I’d give Stan the work, and I’d go home, and I wrote the story at home. I drew the story at home. I even lettered in the words in the balloons in pencil.

ROZ KIRBY: Well, you’d put them in the margins.

KIRBY: Sometimes I put them in the margins. Sometimes I put ’em in the balloons, but I wrote the entire story. I balanced the story…

GROTH: How long were your discussions with Stan Lee when you were discussing the next Thor or the next Avengers or the next Fantastic Four? How long would you talk to Stan about it?
KIRBY: Not much. I didn’t particularly care to talk to Stan, and I just gave him possibly some idea of what the next story would be like, and then I went home. I told him very little, and I went home, and I conceived and put down the entire story on paper.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I am going to assume that Kirby just did not have his heart into the book at this point. He obviously knew some time before he started work on the book that he was going to be leaving Marvel behind to head over to DC where he would soon create an entire new universe: his Fourth World saga.

You would have thought that he'd have wanted to write and illustrate a Herculean book for the 100th issue of FF. In those days, how many men had created, written, and illustrated 100 straight issues of a single superhero title?

But he was chafing under the conditions at Marvel and had opted to leave. So I've always figured that the 100th issue of FANTASTIC FOUR was just a shade of what it would have been if he'd not been robbed of the credit that should have been his.

My very high grade personal copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #100. I usually don't buy copies that are close to mint condition for my collection, but sometimes I end up with them. This was just such a situation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Kirby's Amazing Ability

During a brief stretch from issue #44 through #53 of FANTASTIC FOUR, Jack Kirby created, wrote, and illustrated a series of stories that introduced the readers to an amazing array of new characters. And--despite the lies from the shill and his corporate masters--it was done completely by Jack Kirby with no "co-creator".

When I was a kid reading those comics, I was introduced to the following characters who are now solidly entrenched as major parts of the so-called "Marvel Universe", but which should, in fact, be termed the Kirby-Ditko Universe. Those characters are, in order of appearance:

The Inhumans, a new super-powered team featuring Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, Crystal, Gorgon, Triton, Lockjaw.


The Silver Surfer.

T'Challa, the Black Panther.

The Black Panther was the first major black character to come out of mainstream comic books. This was a particularly brilliant and effective creation by Jack Kirby. This man was no sidekick. He was a born leader, and a brilliant scientist. He helped to sponge away the awfulness of such racist archetypes as Will Eisner's Ebony White.

I wonder what Jack Kirby was thinking each day as he went to work creating and writing and illustrating all of the books he was producing for Marvel Comics. To me, it's obvious that he was thinking first and foremost of his legions of fans--the kids who every month rushed to the local newsstand or drugstore to pick up their copies of Fantastic Four or Thor or X-Men or The Avengers or any of the host of titles he had created and over which he was laboring.

Over this ten-month, ten-issue period, the explosion of themes and ideas was staggering. This was a tremendous outpouring of creativity from Jack Kirby, and has proven to have been a truly stellar boon of marketing and merchandising for Marvel Comics. Lee and Goodman must have drooled every time they set eyes upon the pages of original Kirby artwork arriving in Marvel's offices each month. What new treasures were being delivered for a pittance? What size the golden eggs laid by Marvel's resident goose?

How much money has the corporate power we know as Marvel Comics made from just this brief flurry of activity from the mind of Jack Kirby? Can anyone calculate it?

My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #53.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Old Growth Forests.

When I can't get into the forests and mountains, or out to a river, I have to dwell there in memories. Here, then, are some images from a bushwhack Andy Kunkle and I made into the Pisgah National Forest in 2011 to locate a grove of old growth hardwoods. (There were once grand old hemlocks there, but those are all dead now from infestation of the Asian pest, Hemlock wooly adelgid.)

The diversity of the hardwood trees is phenomenal. However, all of the hemlocks are dead and only their standing corpses remain.

A typical large Tulip poplar in the forest.

This area was the first National Forest in the USA. It was the initial tract of land that became what we know now as the Pisgah National Forest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Short Critter Video

Feeling a bit under the weather today. Working on a novel project and generally feeling awful, but doing what Walter Mosley says to do, and write even when you're sick. In the meantime, wild animals I have met.

Man, is this bird focused, or what?

Monday, January 21, 2013


Most of the wildlife that I notice on my trips are birds. And of the strict birds of prey, the one that I see most often (vultures are not--truly--raptors) are Ospreys. These birds seem to live everywhere I go. Coastal regions. Piedmont. Mountains. Even dry habitats don't seem to keep them away (I reckon they can fly to far-off lakes and rivers before returning home).

When I was in Yellowstone in 2010 I saw a lot of them. I noticed a huge osprey nest on a pillar of rock in Tower Canyon not far above the falls. While I was watching, an osprey parent arrived with a large fish for the nestlings. The young were very large and were, I assume, close to being ready to hit the skies. They were so large that I found it hard, once the fish had been dropped off, to figure out who was the parent and who were the babies.

Like every osprey nest I've seen, this one was enormous. What was different about this one was that it was constructed at the tip of a huge spire of rock projecting about 100 feet into the air.

Slightly altered second photo. This one had the nest area in shadow, so I altered lighting and contrast to show at least some detail. If you look closely, you can see the two young osprey tugging at the large fish between them.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lousy Movie

I went to see the new horror film MAMA last night.

It was an awful movie.

The problems of the film were many and the movie was infected through and through with poor concepts, bad execution, and lousy writing.

First and foremost it borrowed too heavily from earlier and much more effectively produced films. The influence of both THE GRUDGE and the execrable remake THE WOMAN IN BLACK are painfully evident as the film unfolds. In addition, aside from the focus of the movie: two abandoned children--the movie doesn't have any really sympathetic characters.

What it does have is a marginally neat monster, which borrows far too heavily from the Japanese import, THE GRUDGE. There's not a whole lot of difference between the vengeful ghost from that movie and the oh-so-similar ghost in this one. As you watch the movie, that sameness and lack of originality dog your thoughts constantly. Whenever there's a creepy scene or a patented cinematic surprise moment, your only thought is: Oh. I saw that used in THE GRUDGE.

Yeah, yeah. Just like THE GRUDGE.

The screenplay was also extremely weak. It opens with a dramatic setup leading to a contrived plot development that descends into the-writer-pulled-the-line-out-of-his-ass story. Nothing makes any real sense. Characters say and do things that are against type, against logic, against reason. Time and again the story depends completely on wild coincidence, especially concerning the revelations of an otherwise completely throwaway character encountered in two scenes and never heard from again--her reason for being is obviously to insert a piece into a very poorly rendered puzzle.

All in all, I consider the movie to have been a complete waste of my time. There are some cool computer-generated graphics with the monster, but other than that, it's a film I could have done without having seen.

Oh, well. You never know.

This is the short (introduced by the movie's executive producer, Guillermo del Toro) that got the attention of the studios and allowed the film to go forward. It's an excellent little piece and could have spawned a decent film. Alas.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Corporations hate the Endangered Species Act. They hate it because when an endangered species lives in an area that they want to exploit (environmentally rape), they are stymied by the law from pursuing the route of likely wealth. This they hate and this they do not tolerate.

Something I noticed early on in my awakening as an environmentalist was the hatred that hunters and off-road vehicle users have for endangered predators. They uniformly loathe all of the top predators in North America. Grizzly bears, Timber wolves, Mountain lions, Canadian lynx, Wolverines, and such are at the top of their hate lists. This is because such "sportsmen" are key tools in the corporate bag of dirty tricks that they can disgorge from time to time in their fight against wilderness bills and endangered species acts. For to preserve a top predator is to preserved the wilderness aspect of the land. And in preserving wilderness, the corporate hogs cannot feed at the trough they would like to make of our wild and rural lands.

A big bull bison I encountered in 2010 in Yellowstone National Park.

Take this case:

Wood Bison to Return to Alaska.

"Canadian officials have rebuilt their wild wood bison population to about 9,000, half of which are free from bovine diseases, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

But reintroduction in Alaska has stalled over complaints that the animals' Endangered Species Act protections would limit oil and gas drilling, mining and other development, Vincent-Lang said. The new agreement addresses those concerns, he said."

The interests of the billionaires is in conflict here with the preservation of the land and of the species which depend upon that land. They don't care about restoring the Woods bison to part of its former range. They don't give a damn about the Woods bison, except as it relates to their inability to rape the land by drilling and mining and timbering it to death.

Enough of this shit. Corporate interests need to be tamed and brought to heel. The needs of us all outweigh the greed of the few who profit the most from the exploitation of our wilderness. We need fresh air and clean water and pure soil. Although you may not see the profit in it, we need our endangered companions who share this planet. We truly do live in a web of life, and as each strand is plucked out, the whole is made weaker. I cannot make it any plainer than that, and I cannot think of any more applicable way to explain it.

All of us need a world in which the range of the Woods bison is restored. We do not need a healthy energy corporation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

FANTASTIC FOUR #90 through #93.

I landed the copies I needed to research and comment on the Jack Kirby four-issue story arc that was told from issue #90 of FANTASTIC FOUR to issue #93 of the title. This was the comic book story that Kirby was uniquely placed to tell using his creation, Ben Grimm.

More, later, after I've read it again and let it soak in.

Waterfall Search

One past time that I enjoy is searching for undocumented waterfalls. Here in the South, there are many more of them than you could imagine. Most of them are not only located far from roads, but also far from established trails. One has to be willing to bushwhack through rugged terrain to find them.

I posted a year ago about a search through the wilds of upstate South Carolina for such a series of waterfalls. But I condensed the search here into a brief film:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Photos

Some shots from rambling around West Virginia and Virginia.

Catawba rhododendron opening up on Big Walker Mountain.
I wasn't supposed to be up there. I disobeyed the signs.
View from Walker Mountain.
We were headed home and I didn't want to go.

The Seven Sisters Trail on Big Walker Mountain was once part of the Appalachian Trail. This section was abandoned as a piece of the AT when it was rerouted due to the fact that there was a lack of reliable water sources along this ridge. I liked the music my footsteps made on the flaking stone of the trail.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Altitude Sickness

Back in 2010 when I went to go hiking in Yellowstone, I was aware of altitude sickness and wanted to make sure that I didn't have any problems with it. To that end, I made sure to spend several days and nights strolling around in and sleeping at elevations at, or above, 8,000 feet above sea level. This I did before tackling any of the 10K-foot peaks on my hiking list.

During that trip, I never did suffer anything like altitude sickness. Or any kind of problem hiking rugged western peaks. So I figured I was among the lucky who arnen't particularly bothered by high altitude.

Boy, was I wrong!

Apparently my breaking point for suffering symptoms of altitude sickness is about 11,500 feet. Because whenever I'd get to, or break that level in Colorado I'd get sick.

The first time the illness manifested in me was on the hike to see Chasm Lake on the shoulders of Long's Peak, the highest summit in Rocky Mountain National Park. I began to fee queasy not long after we broke the treeline (11,000 feet or so), and began to get really sick the higher we went. My hiking companions soon had to leave me behind because I just couldn't keep up with them. Occasionally one would lag back to take photos and I'd crawl ahead, but they would catch up in due time.

At one point, when I was taking photos of a particularly spectacular view, Andy Kunkle caught up to me and I was quite literally babbling like a complete idiot. He was worried and suggested that I turn around. But I was just at the shelf of rock below Chasm Lake and by Jove I was going to climb on up and see that fucking pond!

And this is why altitude sickness is so freaking dangerous. Your judgment is impaired and you end up doing stupid shit that gets you injured or killed. I could very well have gotten hurt pushing on beyond what were my limits, but I did it anyway. Fortunately, I didn't get any sicker or hurt, but I continued to suffer from altitude sickness for most of the remainder of the trip, finally acclimating to the high elevations at the very end of my vacation.

Standing below this vast peak, like the prow of a ghost ship cutting through the clouds, I was very sick, but not too sick to be struck by the awesome beauty of the place. It was here one of my hiking pals found me babbling like an oxygen-starved diver.

And the big fool says, "Push on."

What I refused to turn back before seeing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


What's not in any kind of debate is that in the late 1950s and into 1960, the comic book arm of Martin Goodman's outfit was constantly under threat of being shut completely down. It was marginally profitable, at best, despite having a competent editor and a stable of reliable and highly talented artist/writers.

Among the many problems was that the line was distributed by their chief competitor, National Periodicals. As such, they were bound by contract to produce only a limited number of titles per month. Goodman was apparently not happy with the bottom line and his threat to shut down the comics division to concentrate on other parts of the company were a near-constant probability.

Jack Kirby had come on board at the nascent Marvel when he butted heads with an editor at DC. The plain simple fact of the matter was that the comic book marketplace, which had been shrinking since EC had vanished from the scene and the industry had been saddled with the onerous Comics Code Authority, was entering very dark days, indeed. But Kirby had been telling Lee and Goodman that he could turn the company around if only they would cut him loose to perform magic.

The revisionist superhero was out of the bag at DC, and sales were soaring on their reintroduction and revitalization of the superhero lines. The Flash, The Justice League, Challengers of the Unknown, and others were going great guns for DC. All Marvel had to do, argued Kirby, was follow suit. Superheroes were hot again, and there was no one better placed in the industry to create new superheroes than Jack Kirby.

Superheroes were in his blood. Yeah, he could do anything, but that was his passion. Kirby could write and illustrate romance, western, crime, adventure, science, animal, biography comics. And more! But superheroes were his forte' and it was only that they'd been out of favor for so long that he had dabbled in them only occasionally over the years since the Golden Age of comics.

"Put me in, Coach," Kirby kept saying.

Finally, Goodman and Lee listened, and let Kirby create and write and illustrate THE FANTASTIC FOUR.

It was a hit. A huge hit. Sales dwarfed those of the monster and science fiction titles that the company had been relying on for the bottom line. They let Kirby create more stuff. The Incredible Hulk. The Avengers. Thor. Ant Man. Iron Man. Daredevil. All of this, and more, flowed out of him and the sales were soon off the charts for the little company owned and operated by Martin Goodman.

Kirby had been right. "Just put me in, Coach."

The quarterback had scored not just a touchdown, but had won the Super Bowl.

My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #33. By this time Kirby was really breaking out with stunning ideas and new ways of storytelling! This cover blew my mind as a kid. I'd never seen collages in comics and the art here dropped me like a well placed punch. By this time, Goodman and Lee were allowing Kirby to stray from the formula that had so far made them successful. Why argue with the numbers? Give the guy his lead and let him run! Kirby did it all, and he did it with no one's help. He didn't need anyone's help. He created it all, establishing the Marvel Universe that would lead to many billions of dollars in revenue that has supported so many. Kirby was King!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hike to Blue Lakes

Join me via photos on a hike to Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness in Colorado. You want color? We got color. I've never seen such color!

It is what it is.

National Forest signs are often really cool.

My favorites are Wilderness Area signs.

I'm sorry. The Colorado scenery stops me in my tracks. And this is run of the mill for the state!

A nice grove of Engelmann spruce on the shores of Lower Blue Lake.

And, it's obvious why they call them the Blue Lakes.

I stand in awe.

Looking down on the Lower Blue Lake.

You can see the flow of material down to the lake from the glacial cirque above. This is still, technically speaking, a glacier. Called a "rock glacier" there remains a substrate of ice beneath the rocky surface. You can even see a patch of exposed ice in the center of the rocky material just above the upper shore of the lake.

Middle Blue Lake

Ye author on the saddle between the Middle and Upper Blue Lake.

Glacial headwall at the Upper Blue Lake.


Another stop on an overlook to peer down at the jewel below.

And...on the way back to camp we stopped to view this colorful peak (not on the hike).