December 2014
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Hiking Again

It seems like all I post about is hiking. Then again, it is what I do most Saturday mornings. Today’s hike was much faster as I did not have Elizabeth on my back. I averaged a mile in 22 minutes rather that the 27 minutes per mile this past Tuesday. I also took several pictures. Grasses are coming up and some plants that have lost their leaves are showing spring growth.


On the way back down I stopped to talk to a older gentleman that I have seen the past few times hiking. We talked about the trails that I take as he has not gone around the park as extensively as I have. He wears denim shorts and a cotton shirt which are not really something you would find at a sporting goods store for hiking or backpacking. I hike with hiking sticks and he has a single wooden staff. Today he asked me my age and I replied 53. He proceed to tell me he was 72. He also told me how far he made it last Saturday and his knees and ankles swelled up on him for two days. Then he responded, “Couch potatoes do not live as long.”


The reason I hike is to stay in shape and try to keep healthy. Whether I have Elizabeth on my back or not, being in the outdoors is always a good thing. Additionally, couch potatoes do not live as long.

Wakeup for Wildlife

Last night I went to bed at the usual time for the work week even though I had the day off. The plan was to take Elizabeth on a hike with me. When she got to the house this morning it was obvious that she was tired. She did not want to go to bed last night. As it was still cool, we laid her down and she slept for half hour more. She was then up and wanted to watch Mickey Mouse Club House. After the mouse, we hit the road to go to the trailhead.

We arrived and I put her in the backpack. We made it part way up the trail and I could tell she was nodding off. I could tell when she was out because she relaxes and it seems she gets a few pounds heavier. As we reached the top of the Two Trees trail, I looked out toward the picnic spot and there were two wild burrows there. Elizabeth was out cold. There were some girls there and I asked them to take our picture. If you are asleep, you miss the wildlife.


I explained that there were complaints that the baby burros seem to be disappearing. The two explanations were first, mountain lions and second people taking them because they thought there were cute. The three girls looked at each other as I had listened to their conversation several minutes ago. Obviously they thought the wild burros were cute. My response was, “Like where are you going to keep a wild burro in your apartment?” They looked at me as if I had spoiled there thought or cute wild burros with a little reality.

I continued my hike and after about an hour of sleeping, Elizabeth woke up. We talked a little and did ABC’s and 123’s. Once we got to one of the high points we stopped to get something to drink and give my back a rest. She wanted water and I got her water bottle out. Next she was digging for the Cliff bar. I am beginning to think one of her favorite things to do with grandpa is find a rock to sit on and eat a cliff bar.


We then began to continue our hike. We stopped for a picture looking over Riverside. The clouds sure spoiled the view that was available a couple of days ago. However, it is much cooler than a couple of days ago.


As we traveled down the trail we looked a few different flowers. I have learned that taking a picture of flowers on a cell phone guarantees one thing, the flowers will not be in focus and the ground below them will be. However, the camera will focus on my hand and then the flowers will be in focus.



As we passed the five mile mark and I knew that we had at least a mile and a half left, we saw the burrows. We hiked toward them adding a half mile or more to our travels. Getting to them was easy as it was downhill. Of course Elizabeth thought they were cute as well.


Well then we hiked back uphill to get to the trail to go back down to the truck. The hike was good. It was 7.25 miles. We missed out on seeing any lizards today. However, I bet the lizards also missed out on seeing any sun today as well. Of course that was part of our endothermic and exothermic discussion. Elizabeth has not quite got those words down yet much less their meaning. It was a fun hike and it is fun hearing her try to pronounce new words. I am just glad I did not hear, can we take the cute burro home.

Tracks in the Sand

This morning I hiked up in the Box Springs Mountain Park. I tried to get an early start as it was going to make it to 90 degrees in Riverside today. It was cool on the way up, but as the sun beat down on me it became warm.

As for the wildlife, I did see some deer track on the upper road. It is west of where I saw a deer a couple of months ago. At least there are deer in the park as the mountain lions prefer them over the two legged creatures that frequent the park.


As for the view in the westerly direction, there was not a lot of coastal fog making its way our direction so visibility was better. Mt. San Antonio is the tallest peak west of Riverside. As it is warm today, it definitely would be cooler up there.


Día de los Muertos

For some reason we find ourselves attending Día de los Muertos the past few years. For a description of the holiday go here. Perhaps it is because it is in walking distance from home. As Jacob, Elizabeth and I walked through the crowds, we stopped to see the dancers. Elizabeth really enjoyed watching them. Her next favorite thing was standing on the reflectors along the double yellow line and jumping off of them. As we walked down the middle of the street, we did not move very fast. But we got to see several things. We headed home once we made it to the far end. We did not need to stay for the next several hours jumping off of reflectors.


Number 4 on the Street

The time finally came for Jacob to get his driving permit. He has been 18 for several months and has been busy with school. He also wanted to make sure he had the rules down cold. We drove to the DMV and waited in line. He got a number and waited for it to be called.


The paperwork started and the application fee was paid. The picture was taken and the test competed with a passing score. We left the building and found a church parking lot to begin behind the wheel drivers education. Jacob drove a large figure eight using his signals and stopping at imaginary intersections. He did a great job and got the start and stop and start again with a left or right hand turn down to an acceptable level of competence to get on the street. From the church he drove to our house without any problems.

Minnie Mouse and Mom

This evening we had a Halloween get together known as a Trunk or Treat at the church. It was a fun evening. It appeared that Elizabeth had a great time.


There was also a chili cook-off that was going to be judged. Never entering anything in the event, I started with a basic recipe two weeks early and made a small batch of chili, batch one. Did a little research and tried batch two. With each one of these batches I had several people give me some feedback. Batch one was a little too much of a tomato taste and two sweet. Batch two was less sweet, but did not have enough fire. Batch three was a little closer to the mark. It had roasted chilies along with a few other things. It was a little thick and had a strange color.
As for batch four, it was my final batch and I tripled the recipe. I took into consideration a few more tweaks, a couple of them on the fly that I will need to record so that this chili recipe can be duplicated.


As for the chili, to my surprise it won first place.

Hiking and Shopping

I went for a morning hike with Elizabeth. It was her first time to Box Springs Mountain Park. Then again, it was my first time carrying her up the Two Trees trail on my back. We stopped at the picnic tables and had something to eat and drink. We then continued up the Spring Trail where she felt like she was leaning out to look at where we were going.


We continued up the SPring Trail where I took her picture. Rather than smile, she wanted to play peek-a-boo which made photography a little difficult.


Once we got back to the road I asked if she wanted to go further or go home. She said home so that is where we headed. As we were on the trail it was now warm enough that the lizards were out sunning themselves on rocks. We say big lizards and even more little lizards.

We continued on to home and were there for least for an hour then it was off to Costco. She fell a sleep on the way there, slept the entire time there and on the way home. Nothing like checking out at the check out.


Of course, once she woke up she was full of energy. Overall, we had a great day.

Fall Weather

It seems that things are getting cooler. It may still climb into the 90’s during the peak of the day. However, the evenings and mornings are much cooler. That makes for wonderful evening hiking weather.

This evening I left the house in the direction of Mt. Rubidoux. I dropped down by the river on the west side so I would have the greatest elevation gain going up the dirt trail. From there I caught the 9th Street trail before the Peace Tower towards the north side of the mountain I could see that the sun was setting soon.


I passed the cross and found a place close to the top of Mt. Rubidoux to see the sun disappear into the horizon in the west.


It was great to get out into the cool evening and go for a hike. It was a pleasant hike of about five miles.

Box Springs and the Wild Side

I was out for a morning hike today, I went up the Two Trees trail in fairly good time. I then headed towards the Spring Trail trail and soon enough I stopped in my tracks. I was not sure what to do. I did not see sharp teeth or claws. Just a pair of rather large mammals. I had thought of seeing video of some hunter getting stomped by an angry deer. Was I going to be safe?

As it turned out a pair of wild donkeys came up to me as I slowed to a standstill. Perhaps they were looking for a handout. You know, something for nothing. They did cause me to go home and do a little research. I have known that the wild donkeys have been in the hills east of Riverside for years. They probably got here in the 1950’s when someone brought 22 burros from Death Valley to the rocky hills east of Riverside. Pretty much the middle of nowhere in the 50’s.


More on the donkeys at DonkeyLand Rescue. Also, in Redlands there is a place called Wild Donkey Brewing Co. I guess you can either rescue donkeys or go to the Wild Donkey Brewing Co. Either way, it is a little wilder than my typical Saturday.

Morning Hike

Fall seemed to be in the air as it was not blazing hot by eight. The sycamore trees have changed color. I am not sure if it is because of fall or that is has been so hot and dry. My hike in Box Springs Mountain Park was nice. There was a lot to do around the house so I forgo a longer hike in the mountains. I did take a picture of Mt. San Gorgonio off in the far distance at just after 10 this morning. At 10 last week I was on top of Mt San Gorgonio. Perhaps next week I will get to one to the other peaks over 10,000 feet on that mountain.


Mt. San Gorgonio

Today we woke up early at Fish Creek Saddle so that we could get up to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio before ten. The sun was just starting to appear in the east.


We headed towards Mine Shaft Saddle were we met a volunteer that offered to take our picture. Then he offered to look out our permit. That usually does not happen until Saturday afternoon. Our group consisted of three adults and the eight year old boy of one of the adults.


As we continued I had to take another few pictures of Dragons Head. It is still on my bucket list of peaks to climb.


The trip to the top was a little brisk due to the wind. At the peak it was fairly windy. In the video I accidentally began to zoom in as I gripped my phone tightly to keep it from flying out of my hands due to the wind.

Mt. San Gorgonio Peak - 20 September 2014 from gdpalmer on Vimeo.

We went to the top for Operation on Target where we signal to and from peaks. We were able to see signals from Mt. Wilson, Mt Baden Powell and Box Springs Mountain. The important thing is that the eight year old had a good time. Now the trip back to Fish Creek Saddle and then back to the Fish Creek Trailhead was long. Especially for the young one. On the way home that evening, he still said that he had a good time.

Constitution Day

Perhaps there are those that do not realize that September 17 is Constitution Day. This day recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17 which is the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia. The day has been around awhile. As I get older, it seems less people understand the Constitution much less celebrate the day it was signed.


Running from the Heat

Today Elizabeth and I went on a road trip to Idyllwild to help get some GPS coordinates for a scouting event. We had fun walking around the forest talking about big oak trees and baby oak trees or big cedar trees and baby cedar trees.

Elizabeth was a good sport. Once she got in the tire the only thing she could think about was swinging around. Little did she know, we needed to move on to get more points for the event.


She had her first encounter that I know of with a cedar log bridge. She was not too sure about it. Walking on logs with a curve above the ground was perfect opportunity to hold grandpas hand. She wanted to be put on three and four foot high rocks. No problem. However, a log bridge was not her cup of tea.


She enjoyed setting in the big oak tree. She did have fun throwing the little sticks that she found on the huge limb of the tree. This tree experience was a lot better than the last time I put her in a tree. This time she looked like she was having fun.


Our trip to the mountain was a lot cooler this morning than what it was going to be like down in the valley. However, about 5 this evening, when it was still over 100 degrees, we went out for some pizza. One of my favorite things is to run through the water feature downtown. So after pizza, we walked about 50 feet and I walked through the streams of water. You know, the ones that come up here or there and change all the time. Last time Elizabeth would just run around the area not getting wet. However, tonight it was hat and she went for it. We both got caught in a bad place and got a little wet.


Then again, there is nothing better than some water on a hot summer evening. Overall, it was another great day.

Smokey Sunset

Tonight there was a lot of smoke in the sky because of the wildfire in Silverado Canyon. On my way home from the grocery store the sky was a bright orange. By the time I got the milk, cheddar cheese and bread put away, the sun had made its way down. I still got a picture of a somewhat orange sky. Hope all goes well in Silverado Canyon for homeowners as well as our fire fighters.

Smokey Sunset

An Evening Hike

Today Elizabeth came by the office to do a little coloring. It was a joy to see her smiling face. Soon enough we went grocery shopping. Of course she fell asleep on the way to the grocery store and I had to carry her around. But that is what you do when you sit in a car without much to do.


From there we took the groceries home and went to get my hair cut. She was good for that. It is pretty tough to sit in a chair and watch grandpa get his hair cut. That has to be considered unexciting.

Back home we went to get ready for a walk. Of course that means Elizabeth gets carried in a backpack. We walked towards Mt. Rubidoux and then up the Buena Vista dirt trail. The dirt trails are much more pleasant that the throngs of people on the road. Once at the top we took a break and watched the sun set and a few small airplanes make their way into Flabob airport.


As the sky was getting darker we made our way back down to the road. Elizabeth walked and ran for about a half mile before I convinced her that she could go back in the backpack. Of couse that was not before getting a picture of her with the city lights in the background.


It was a fun evening. It was also good to get a little exercise in. I walked a couple of miles a couple of days ago with Elizabeth on my back. Today it was a walk of over five miles with Elizabeth on my back most of the way.