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Operation On-Target - Mt. San Gorgonio

Today was the July Operation On-TargetOperation On-Target where scouts climb or drive to peaks and see if they can send mirror flashes from peak to peak. that the scouts do every year. The peak I usually climb to is Mt. San Gorgonio.

It was a great day for a hike to the top of San Gorgonio from Fish Creek Saddle where we sent the night. A little light drizzle now and then kept the air cool. The clouds kept the sun off us as well.

Upon our arrival to the peak, we signed the register and took the obligatory picture of each other while standing on the peak. We then moved to the west where we could sit down and be comfortable while sending flashes to other peaks. Upon our arrival the wind picked up with some moderately heavy rain. It was then into all layers covered by rain gear. We were questioning if we were going to be able to use the sun to flash anyone.

Within 20 the rain went away so we ate lunch and waited for the small blue patches of open sky to the east to blow over us so that we could get some sun. We watched as the rain moved west raining on the groups at Keller Peak, Box Springs Mountain and Baden Powell. We got setup and started looking south.

While waiting we were able to receive flashes from Palomar which is 51 miles away from Mt. San Gorgonio. Unless you can pick out the pixel in the small version of the picture you will need to click on the picture to make it bigger.

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We finally got enough of a patch of blue sky to signal Palomar so we grabbed the mirror and sent some photons their direction.

There is a video of the flash from Mt. San Gorgonio that we sent to Palomar. It is difficult to see unless you view it in full screen.

As for the trip up to Fish Creek Saddle last night, there was a good selection of flowers along the path. Any report would not be complete without that.

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There was also more to see on the way up to the peak.

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Of course there is more to look at than the flora.

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We made our way back down the mountain to Fish Creek Saddle to pick up our backpacks in fairly good time. The trip back to the trailhead this afternoon was pleasant. The clouds were fluffy and the sun was bright. We arrived at the Fish Creek Trailhead about 5 and headed home. Just another 26 hour adventure.

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Box Springs Morning

Today I tried to get out of the house early and beat the heat. It was early, however, the sun was already up in the sky. At lease the air seemed relatively cool. Then again, the weather showed 80 percent humidity with a temperature in the upper 60′s. I know that would not last long as the forecast was to be in the high 80′s.

Today I was continuing my practice hikes. That included a 35 pound backpack that I really did not want, but it is part of getting ready. Once on the trail, about all I was was lizards out for their morning sun bath. This one just sat there while I took his picture.

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The hike went well. It was 6.7 miles long with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet. When the trail was steep, the going was slow. However, on the relatively level places I moved fairly quickly. 45 minutes was my slowest mile going up and 17 minutes was my quickest, and of course I was moving down a fairly level trail. It also was beginning to get fairly warm. Probably low 80′s as I got back to the trailhead.

As for the view, there was some haze in the air. Mt San Antonio is off in the distance. I think I will go back to the top of there this fall.

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Box Springs in the Heat

Soon I will be climbing Mt. San Gorgonio so I need to stay in shape. It has been hot and my desire to stay in where it is cool is greater than my desire to go out and hike up a mountain. This afternoon I forced myself out of the house. The outside temperature was over 90. It looked like 93 as I made my way out the door.

It was a tough first mile and a half before a little breeze kicked in. As I climbed up the Two Trees Trail, there were a couple of surprises. The first was some sunflowers that seemed to pop out of the dry foliage that one was thriving earlier in the year.

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As I climbed further to where the Spring Trail comes near what is know as Box Springs, there was a new plant with red blooms growing among the nettle.

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A also thought I would try my luck in getting a picture of a small flower that is about the size of the end of a finger. The camera always seems to focus on the ground below as the flower is small. Tonight I focused on my hand which was at the same distance from the lens as the flower. The flower is now in focus and I cropped my hand out of the picture.

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Of course I also got to see a small deer. I was a little surprised as it came bleating around the side of the hill.

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Soon enough the sun was going down and the heat was lowering so that I would consider it tolerable. I was glad that I got out tonight as I was able to see things that I would have missed if I was sitting at home in an air conditioned house.

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Independence Day – Range Style

A couple of days ago Eric called up and asked if we could go the the range on Independence Day. I told him I would think about it. Did I want to get up early to beat the heat and the crowd and go to the range or did I want to sleep in and relax. I called him last night and told him that we could go and he needed to be here at six in the morning as the temps for today were forecast to be well into the 90′s.

When we got there we only saw a couple of vehicles. That was a good sign. We determined that we were going to shoot handguns first. Eric has this affection or affliction with the Dan Wesson 1911. He is like a little kid stating, “I get to take this home with me” almost continuously. Just like a dad, I continuously state, “No” as if times have not changed for 21 plus years.

Of course, he thought he should have the Ruger Blackhawk 41 Magnum as well. It shot well and was a pleasure to shoot. It is a nice firearm. I just need to go find something to hunt with it. As for the Desert Eagle, it is really a heavy Beast. It shot good as well. The recoil was less than shooting 44 Magnum in the Ruger Super Redhawk. Of course you would expect that as it weighs less.

Eric plowed through a lot of 22 as I shot the Smith and Wesson M&P .40 and .45. I really like the .45. It shoots well and I am comfortable with it. As this was the first time I had shot the .40, the trigger seemed a little gritty. I am sure it will either smooth out with a couple hundred rounds or it will get upgraded.

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Of course the day would have not been complete without Eric shooting his .30-30. We also sent a lot of rounds through the Smith and Wesson M&P 15. The highlight, if you will, was shooting a few rounds out of the Savage 116 Alaskan Brush Hunter in .338 Win Mag. It Independence day and we wanted something that would go Boom. As for why someone in Southern California need a big boom stick, I have some fishing in Alaska on my bucket list. If I am in a stream or river in grizzly country, it is appropriate to have a big boom stick handy. It is also appropriate to fire on off on Independence Day. Just do not fire one off in the City on Independence Day. Unless of course you leave the front door open and a grizzly bear happens by. Have a great Independence Day.

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Dry Lake

This weekend I had the opportunity to go on an overnight backpacking trip to Dry Lake with some youth. This was a first time backpacking trip for a couple of the youth. One of the challenges was three of the five young men weighing in at under 115 pounds. Dry Lake was dry and so was Lodgepole Springs. That created a slight logistics problem on how to efficiently get a lot of water to Dry Lake existed. We started with two to three liters of water for each of us.

We started out with a couple of liters of water per person. We moved at an acceptable pace making sure everyone was hydrated and packs and boots were adjusted and fitting right. Along the way there were wild flower blooms to see. Also the obligatory Leave No Trace lecture. In the past several years of teaching Leave No Trace, it seems that the young men are more aware and are better at following the Leave No Trace principals. Then again, it could be that one of my motto’s helps, “If you drop food on the trail you Leave No Trace by eating it off the trail.”

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The one flower the boys know and identified on the side of the trail is what they call pokemon. It seems that pokemon is easier to say and remember than pestemon. However, they also said that it was pestemon after the pokemon declaration.

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Once we got to the South Fork of the Santa Ana River, we filtered a lot of water, almost 4 gallons worth. We then began our trek towards Dry Lake with heavier packs. Everyone did well and before we knew it, we were close to our destination as the sun was still illuminating the mountains above us.

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Dinner was cooking and tents were going up. Soon enough the dishes were done and everyone was turning in for the evening. A good nights sleep was had by most everyone. For may self, I slept well until the lights were turned on and a gaggle of birds started to sing. I was convinced to get up and enjoy the morning.

We cooked breakfast, ate and cleaned up camp. A couple of the young men were thinking that we should run down the hill to A&W immediately. We stated, the permission slip said that we return you at five this afternoon, so we are going to hang out here until we need to go.

We hiked over to Lodgepole Springs to that it was dry. A couple of boys looked closely and the report was, damp sand and a lot of bugs. We put to use a small tripod and got a group photo.

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We headed to the other side of the spring and worked out way back to the south side of the lake doing a little map and compass work. We even drew a large clock face in the sand to demonstrate how to find north with a clock face and lining up a shadow with the hour hand. One of the boys pulled out his compass and said north is not the way 12 o’clock pointed on the clock face. We then had a discussion on true north and magnetic north. When asked what the magnetic declination was, one young man stated 12 degrees. He must have been listening on one of our previous hikes. Much to my pleasure, when accounting for the magnetic declination, 12 o,clock on the clock face was pretty darn close to true north.

In our travels we saw a deer in the middle of the lake bed. It appeared that it was looking for water. It is sad to think that there is wildlife around Dry Lake that is in need of water. Then again, on Saturday morning, a man walked up to us in the Dry Lake campground with his empty water container and asked were he could find water. Then we ran into hikers on the way down asking if there was water at Lodgepole Springs. As it looks, there will be a lot of wildlife and not so wildlife looking for water this summer.

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As for the trip down, we took a little extra time and got some pictures of the flowers.

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Overall it was a great trip. One of the young men that had never been backpacking before really enjoyed the trip. He wants to go on the next trip to Fish Creek Saddle overnight with a day hike to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio.

Dry Lake

Tonight I am at Dry Lake in the San Gorgonio Wilderness enjoying the great outdoors. I can tell you what Dry Lake does not look like. I went there at the end of May in 2011, and Dry Lake was full of water. From what I hear now, it is not more than a mud patch. Enjoy the picture and I will enjoy the outdoors and the lack of water in the lake or snow on the mountains.

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First Time Sailor

Tonight was Thursday Night sailing at Lake Evans for the volunteers and former students. I have not been sailing in several months, so I wanted to get out on the water. However, tonight I had a sailing partner and crew on shore.

Janet was on shore to take pictures as Elizabeth and I sailed out into the lake. Elizabeth really enjoined being on the water. She liked it when we went fast.

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Overall it was a great evening on the lake and there were lots of smiles.

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1,999 and 199

Today is a day to possibly celebrate. When I started up the Wii this morning to weigh in, the Wii Fitness program announced that it was my 1,999 day to start that program. I have watched that number climb for a few years now. It seems a little scary that it has been almost five an a half years of weighing in on the Wii.

I have been as high as almost 240 and as low as 199 in 2011 after a 12 day backpacking trip. It is a little amazing how my weight has fluctuated over five years. Always heavier in the winter months.

As for today, the magic number is 199. My goal is about 190 so that I will be in the normal range rather than overweight. It is also easier to hike and work around the yard when I am not packing an extra 20 or more pounds. So for today, it 199 pounds on the 1,999 day or Wii Fitness.

Riverside Mayor and City Council Regatta – 2014

Today was the Riverside Mayor and City Council Regatta. Everything went well and the best I could tell, fun was had by all. There is a good write up inThe Press Enterprise

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey takes a victory bath in Lake Evans with a little help from interim fire chief Mike Esparza, right, during the annual Regatta & Hot Dog BBQ at Fairmount Park on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Both men won their respective sailboat races. DAVID BAUMAN, DAVID BAUMAN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER - The Press Enterprise

Riverside Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey takes a victory bath in Lake Evans with a little help from interim fire chief Mike Esparza, right, during the annual Regatta & Hot Dog BBQ at Fairmount Park on Saturday, June 21, 2014. Both men won their respective sailboat races.
DAVID BAUMAN, DAVID BAUMAN STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER – The Press Enterprise

Out is In

This past Sunday, Jacob and I walked downtown and went to the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. We wandered around and viewed the exhibits. Upstairs they had a exhibit, John Muir & the Personal Experience with Nature.

Two things stood out there. A couple of quotes from John Muir and the illustrations of wildflowers. As for the wildflowers, I saw an illustration of one that I have been searching for a name. The name was faded and not totally readable. However, it was enough to give us a clue so that when we left the museum, we walked across the street to the library and looked further. The mystery was solved.

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Tonight I want on a hike up Two Trees Trial like I have so many other times. This time, I had a quote from John Muir on my mind. “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” I always enjoy going in to the outdoors. Sometimes I wish it would last longer. However, the time comes to go out of the outdoors and end up inside. Only to hope to out of the house in to nature and the outdoors.

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Father's Day - 2014

Another year has passed and another Fathers Day is already here. As I am sitting here eating leftover pizza this morning I contemplate Father’s Day. The pizza is from last night when Jacob and I went out to dinner. We had a good day yesterday going on a hike and then to dinner. Even after a short 10 mile hike we still walked downtown to get the pizza. The important part is spending time together.

As with any Fathers Day, my attention turns to my father. He passed away a few days after father’s day five years ago. Additionally, my thoughts are also turned to Grandpa Rogers, who turned 100 shortly before his death. He passed away a couple of years ago.

I also think of John, the wonderful man married to my mother. Shortly after my father passed away, April, my step sister sent a sympathy card. In that card she let me and my brothers know that she had no problem sharing John with us as our father had passed. Sometimes in life you need someone to talk to that has lived in the world several years longer than you have and has gained wisdom and direction that is helpful to our journey on earth. John is that type of man, one who has wisdom and experience that can help with questions and direction. I am thankful to have him around.

Times for me have also changed. Not only am I a father, but also a grandfather. I love an adore Elizabeth, the granddaughter. We have fun together going on walks or playing at the park. It is a joy to see the twinkle in her eye and smile on her face as she journeys through life. With her being almost two, I also get to see the tears of sadness for getting hurt or the tears of disagreement over what I say and what she wants to do. If only she knew, joy and sadness are all part of life and they will continue with us our entire journey while here on earth.

One of my favorite pictures of dad.

And now some pictures and words from previous years Fathers Day posts with new pictures and commentary as the years go on:

In 2000 Scott was visiting his Great-grandfather Rogers and had a Christmas morning surprise, snow. He thought it would be fun to shovel a little snow.

In 2004 Scott was celebrating his November birthday with his Grandpa Shumway who was also born in November.

In 2004 Eric and Jacob get hugs from Grandpa Brown.

In 2005 Scott and I backpacked into John’s Meadow.

In 2006 Jacob and I went on a fishing trip to the headwaters of the Santa Ana River.

In 2008 Eric, Jacob and I took a little ride on horses in Southern Utah.

In 2009 Jacob and I were out Geocaching and I tried to get a picture of us. After a few tries I got Jacob to smile.

In 2010 Emily and I spent some time shooting air guns.

In 2010 Eric, Jacob and I visited Great-grandpa Rogers.

In 2011 Emily, Jacob and I took a hike up the San Bernardino trail in the San Bernardino Mountains.

2011 had lots of activities. Jacob and I hiked the tree tallest peaks in southern California and went to Philmont Scout Ranch for a 10 day trek in the Rocky Mountains in northern New Mexico. Have lots of pictures, and few of the two of us. Here is one on top of the Tooth of Time at Philmont.

A couple of years ago I stated that I needed to get better at getting myself in pictures with my children. There have not been enough of those. As I looked this morning I did not have many to choose from. I did find a picture of Jacob and I from January of last year at Death Valley. We had a great three day trip there with the scouts.

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As for the granddaughter, the most recent of us is a selfie we took while riding a spring loaded grasshopper at the park. I guess that is what you do as a grandpa, ride spring loaded bouncy grasshoppers with the grand-kids.

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We will have to see what next fathers day brings. Until then, Happy Father’s Day.

Forsee Creek Trail

Today we hiked up the Forsee Creek Trail to Jackstraw Springs. There were several wildflowers blooming along the way. We tried to take pictures. However, the plant seems to always be in focus and the wildflower standing above the plant is out of focus. There always seems to be some type of challenge in life. Perhaps I need to save for a better camera for wildflowers.

As for the hike it was a great day for a hike. We saw some new flowers that I had not seen before. One is the Corallorhiza maculata or spotted coralroot. This is one of those plants that does not have chlorophyll so it lives by parasitizing the mycelium of fungi. The flowers have just barely started blooming.

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FUrther up the trail we found some larger lupine. They look like Lupinus latifolius. There are several to choose from so I did my best to find a match.

This is a picture taken by Jacob. It was intriguing to me as the oak tree in the center looks somewhat challenged in its ability to grow straight as compared to the large straight trunk of the pine tree to the right. Then again, oak trees usually branch out a bit and this one has about one way it can grow to get the light that it needs.

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Then again, if you have plenty of sun and nothing around you to keep you out of enough sun, you can just grow and flower like crazy. That is how the Phlox diffusa or more commonly know as spreading phlox seemed to approach life.

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Then there are people. They like a little sun as well. On our way back down the trail, we stopped for a short break. Jacob found a nice rock to sit on and enjoy the view.

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The hike was a great hike and I think everyone enjoyed it. In a couple of weeks we are headed back into the San Gorgonio Wilderness for an overnight backpacking trip. I am sure we will find more flowers, trees and rocks then.

Walter Graduates

Tonight Walter graduated from Riverside City College. It was a great occasion for the family. Walter’s mother, sisters and family friends were at the graduation.

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The ceremony was good and soon it was over. Someone, (looks like Walter) caught a picture of Walter, Emily and Elizabeth.

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Sunday Glow

There is nothing like a small young lady admiring the beauty in nature. It could be a flower that attracts her attention and draws her interest.

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Then again, it may be the adventure of climbing a mountain and sitting on giant granite boulders.

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Or it may be just the opportunity to watch the sun set for a day and look at the evening moon in the sky.

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Whatever it is, it is just another wonderful day on planet earth to learn, to grow of of course to have fun.

A Day at the Park

This afternoon Elizabeth and i set out to go to the park. We has a specific plan, go to the park and walk to the top of Mt. Rubidoux. As it turned out, we did not feel up to doing the extra walking. There were swings to swing on.

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There were slides to be slid down.

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There was even a fire truck to get your picture taken with. There is also this Camera Charlie person, place or thing. As it was, Elizabeth was not to happy with the diesel motor of the fire truck purring behind her. She would not stand next to Camera Charlie on her own.

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All be told, it seems Camera Charlie must have been in the helicopter as it flew by.

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Yes, somewhere down there on the ground is Elizabeth and myself.