April 2014
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Fuzzy and not so Fuzzy

It was a little cool this morning and very cloudy. With as warm as it has been, it was nice to have a change. It would be a good hiking day so I headed to Box Springs Mountain Park. I made it up to the spot where I took pictures of the sunset a couple of days ago. Thee grey sky was nothing like the vibrant sky of the sunset.

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One thing I was noticing today was an abundance of black fuzzy caterpillars. They were climbing to the top of flowers or anything that they could find. I thought it would make them a target for birds. I did a little research and I believe they are the arachnis picta caterpillar for the Painted Tiger moth.

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I was moving at a record pace for my hike I wanted to beat my last time of almost two hours and thirty two minutes for the 6.64 mile hike. I then came to someone sunning themselves in the middle of the trail. I quietly and slowly moved around him while taking pictures. You can click on the picture if you want the snake to get bigger.

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I got the the other side and shot a little video. I then went to put my phone back in my pocket and my hiking poles struck each other making noise. The noise got the snakes hackles up. Then again, I do not think snakes have hackles much less armpits. Nonetheless, the snake was alarmed and took a defensive position. Some may say that it was an offensive position. However, I just think he wanted to be left alone.

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As for my hike, I was just under two minutes longer than the week before. That is 6.64 miles in 1 hour and almost 34 minutes. I guess next time I will have to pick up the pace to allow me a little time to take pictures of the Fuzzy and not so Fuzzy.

Weight of the Grandchild

It was another warm night. Elizabeth’s mom had a final to take on line so I offered to take Elizabeth for a walk. When she saw the backpack, she started saying “walk, walk, walk” excitedly. She may not understand that she is really not going for a walk. Grandpa is going for the walk.

We made our way towards Mt. Rubidoux. Tonight was going to be a shorter walk, so we went up the Buena Vista trail on the north east side. Then we went on the road up towards the top in time for the sunset.

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We went to area with the flag pole as the area with the cross because of the number of people that congregate there in the evenings. The breeze felt great. The sunset was even better.

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We then began the trek home. I was already well on my way down the up-road when I realized that i went the wrong way to make it a short trip. It ended up being a 5 mile trek with an actual walking time of 1.5 hours. One thing is for sure, the weight of a grandchild seems like more as the day goes no.

Evening Hike

As anticipated, it was in the 90′s today, 92 to be exact. I wanted to go hiking, but it is was hot outside. I decided to wait until about an hour before sunset knowing it would be a little dark on the way back down the trail.

One of the first things I noticed is that the plants were a little dryer. Additionally, I saw a lot more reptile life. One snake and countless lizards as the day was coming to an end. The spring was fairy dry, or should I say, just damp mud.

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As I hit almost two miles, I stopped to admire the sunset. It was nice as the air was cooling and there was a light breeze.

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As for the trip down, it got a little dark. I used my red headlamp and could see the trail fairly well. I also could see my shadow on the trail the moon is a 64% waxing gibbous. My greatest fear was happening upon a rattlesnake. It was about this time in the evening that I happened upon a rattlesnake. I did not see him, I just heard him and slowly backed away. I got within about 2 feet of a 4 foot snake. I am glad he alerted me with a rattle rather than a bite. On this trip it was only the cottontail bunnies that would zip over the trail or on the side of the trail making a little noise to catch my attention.

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As for the hike, it was 4.25 miles in one hour and 43 minutes. Soon I will need to increase the weight of my back to increase the workout and build greater strength.

Cool and Cloudy – Until Tuesday

Today was cool and cloudy. A perfect day for a hike in the Box Springs Mountains. It was in the high 70′s today. Now on Tuesday the forecast is for 93 degrees. Some people are getting tired of the cooler weather. however, I am not really into days in the 90′s in April.

Off through the clouds is Mt. San Gorgonio. There is snow above 8,000 feet and it tops out at 11,503 feet. I may need to start moving my Saturday morning hikes to a cooler climate soon.

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As for today’s hike, it was 6.64 miles in 2 hours and 32 minutes. I made good time. However, as for the mileage, the old guy who got to the parking lot before me did 13 miles running. For his last mile he was not moving much faster than me walking fast. Then again, he was moving a lot faster than I would have been after 12 miles. I am training for Philmont and a climb to the top of Mt. Phillips – 11,742 feet. He is training for Mount Kilimanjaro – 19,341 feet. Perhaps there is a reason that he is training a little harder.

Evening Ride

It was another nice evening so I went for a walk and Elizabeth got to ride. I thought about the typical 2.2 mile loop that I do. However, it was just to nice of an evening to not go further. We decided to drop down to the bike path and march on. Last time we did that we saw some fire trucks as there was a small fire in the river

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We soon made it to the other side of Mission Boulevard and walked past Carlson Dog Park. Elizabeth likes to watch the dogs as we pass by. We have been working on saying dog rather than wow-wow. Of course wow-wow is cuter, but she also calls horses wow-wows. From the west end of the dog park we eyed our objective.

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Last time we hiked this way, we went across the trail on the north side and did not go up to the top. It seemed a little more difficult going up. I took the trail up several days ago without a passenger and it was easier. Go figure.

Once we reached the top by the flag pole we took a couple of pictures.

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We then made our way off the east side on the 9th street trail and back downtown. As we walked in front of the Fox Theater, a youthful type said, “Hey, you got something on your back.” I replied, “I do?” I looked and stated, “Oh, this is going to cost me some money.” The group of young men looked at me with a slight blank stare. I then stated, “She is going to be a teenager some day” and walked off. As for now, she is just taking me for a ride . . .

As for the walk, it was 4.71 miles in one hour and 29 minutes with a whole 600 feet of elevation gain. That is 3.2 mph, which is good for carrying 20 plus pounds. On the other hand Elizabeth is lighter than a 40 pound pack. I hope by the time she is 40 pounds she is walking as fast as me and not on my back.

Evening Walk

It was rather hot here today. The one time I checked the temperature it was 89 degrees and it is only the middle of March. The weather reports show late snowfall in the east. Frankly I would take a little snowfall here, or at least int he mountains with rain in the valleys. We need the moisture.

When it cooled off enough I grabbed Elizabeth and put her in the baby backpack and we were off. Just as we rounded the turn in the road overlooking the Santa Ana River, which is usually only a five to 6 foot wide stream, we caught the sunset. It was nice to see the glowing orange sky along with the cool breeze coming out of the west.

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We like walking and looking for animals. Dogs are her favorite. She also like the birds. We have a place in the backyard that has water for the birds. They will land to get a drink and Elizabeth will try to sneak up on them. She will walk away and in a few minutes there will be another bird to sneak up on.

It is all part of learning and growing. As we walk I sing the ABC song and count. One of her favorites is when I count with the number that flash to tell you that you need to hurry as they count down at a crosswalk.

All the fun is just part of an evening walk.

Bat Guano and the Garden Queen

I make a trip to the nursery a couple times a month for plants and supplies in the spring. On occasion when I check out I ask for a “bat guano infested bag of soil amendment”. Most of the time they respond, you want “Bumper Crop” to which I reply yes.

Who would have thought I would be mixing bat guano in with the garden soil. Then again, I built a bat house almost 20 years ago and have never had a bat come and stay for a night. If I had a bat house full of bats, I would have a ready made supply of bat guano. I am sure Elizabeth would rather ride in a wheel barrow with a bag of bat guano infested bag of soil amendment as opposed to a wheel barrow of bat guano.

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Today the Garden Queen and I planted a basil and a red bell pepper plant. We also planted a row of beets and a row of carrots. We will wait a month on plant the other two rows.

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As for why I call her the Garden Queen, she is a lot cuter than a gnome. We also have a lot of fun playing in the dirt.

Box Springs and Lizard King

The rain last weekend has really greened things up on Box Springs mountain. The grass was a lot greener and was the poison oak. In many places, where water is available most of the year, the poison oak wanted to jump onto the trail.

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Once at the top of the trail the previous weeks rain could be seen as snow in the higher elevations. There was plenty of snow on the San Gorgonio mountains towards the east. Click on the picture to make it bigger.

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In the west is where Mt. Baldy or Mt. San Antonio resides. In downtown Riverside it is not visible. However, from where I was, I could just get a sliver of the snow covered Mt. Baldy. This on requires you to click on it to find the snow covered peak.

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On the way back down the Two Trees trail I caught a lizard sunning himself on his own little pride rock.

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Overall it was a good 7 mile hike.

Box Springs and the M

Today I went hiking in the Box Springs park area with the Venturing Crew. We started further away at a church building, hiked further up to the M on the mountain for Moreno Valley and then back. We took my traditional trails of Two Trees, Spring and Edison trails as well. Last weeks hike was about 7 miles in three hours. Today’s hike was about 10 miles in 5.25 hours. There was a lot of socializing along the way. At times there was more talking than walking. I did not have a problem with it, because I hike alone so much it was nice to have some other people along.

As for pictures, found a new plant with flowers. It was the only thing that I photographed. I was too busy talking.

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Spring looks like it is here

I went for a Saturday morning hike in the Box Springs Park today. Four weeks ago most of the trees had not leaves. This week, they are full of leaves.

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Our neighbors have a mulberry tree that is just about to loose its last leaves. It is also showing signs of new buds. The Orange tree is full of blossoms and the fragrance if citrus is in the air.

As for the trail, there were signs of new plant life and flowers. We have had a little rain this past week that had helped the parched lands. The Cassina Spring is flowing as well. As for the floweres, they added some nice color to the hike. It was 6.9 miles in three hours. Just a morning stroll with about 1800 feet in elevation gain.

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Where there is smoke there is . . . ?

Tonight I received a text from my daughter that said, “The dryer still smells fire but I am going to start it.” I was not as concerned that the dryer was smelling fire as the dryer smelling like fire.

I had walked through the house and it had a faint smell like someone had toasted a tortilla on a burner of the gas stove to heat it up. I did not see anyone so I went to run an errand. On the way back I received the text. My thought was, “Holy Smokes” or something like that. Just what I needed tonight was a dryer lint fire.

The vent on the back of the house was fairly lint free. I took off the cover and turned on the dryer to air only. No need to fan a potential fire with hot air. There was not an indication of smoke or a burning smell. With the cover off on the outside of the house, I reached in and started pulling lint out. I ran some wire up the vent pipe and brought more lint out as the air was blowing chunks out as well. I attached wire to the end of a dry garden hose and ran it up the vent and pulled it out several times. More lint. I also began to have other things pop out of the vent.

I went inside and pulled lint out from inside the dryer. Back outside to run the garden hose with the wire on the end in and out of the vent pipe. Lots of lint that looked old, compacted and impregnated with small particulates and sand. And what surprised me was the amount of pencils. Some of those pencils have to be 10 plus years old as Scott used them in grade school. The short ones. He loved them so much he would take a perfectly good eight inch pencil and sharpen it down to almost nothing.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The vent is only about 6 feet long and this is most of the solid debris. There is a lot for lint to get stuck on. Especially the clock guts and the 3/4″ pvc pipe. I am just thankful there were not rodent carcasses in the mass of lint and debris.

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I have been told for several years that they dryer does not seem to dry. I have been religious about cleaning the part at the outside of the house to insure that the dryer was working properly. It has been at least 20 years from the time I put the metal dryer vent in. It is like many things on an old house. You either know it need some attention or it will tell you. Occasionally it screams help me. Typically that is a plumbing or electrical issue. Of course, smoke and fire scream as well. I guess that where there is smoke there is another honey-do . . .

Box Springs Hike

Today Emily and I went for a 3.5 mile hike. This was the first time we hiked in probably two years. It was fun to get out hiking with Emily. They day was a beautiful day. The sycamore trees are already starting to have hew green growth. One would think spring is here.

Problem is, we still have about 6 weeks were we could see temperatures drop below freezing. I guess the plants will survive if it freezes. That just indicates it is almost time to plant tomatoes. Regardless of what the near future may bring us, it will bring us more hiking. Additional, if the mountains do not get more snow, we will really be in a bad drought.

So back to the beautiful day and hiking. We hiked up Two Trees trail and they up the Spring Trail for a little until we hit 1.75 miles. It was then time to turn around and make our way back to the car.

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Seven Magazine Clip

After watching a video of one of our State Representatives, I only have one response – This is a seven magazine clip.

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Mecca Hills Painted Canyon / Ladder Canyon Hike

Early this morning Jacob and myself made our way out to the desert. It is officially Jacobs eighteenth birthday and we were going to be hiking in the Mecca Hills. The Mecca Hills were formed by the convergence of the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate along the San Andreas Fault. It sounded like an appropriate venue for someone leaving “childhood” and moving into being an “adult”. One could say, there is a lot of pressure on the move, a little like on a fault line. So back to the morning drive.

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Once we arrived we met up with Jacobs Venturing Crew. They were running behind so we did a little geocaching. That gave us the opportunity to see a few different areas. Soon enough we were hiking up Pained Canyon towards the split for Ladder Canyon.

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Once we found the large arrow made by placing small rocks in the sand, we knew it was time to go left. We made our way up Ladder Canyon. This canyon is a slot canyon that is not very wide. There are a few places that require ladders to get from one level to the next as you make you way up the canyon.

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In a few places the ladders were partially buried in the sand and did not reach high enough. In those situations it required a little climbing. Those below are waiting their turn to climb up to the next level.

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Once we reached the top we had great views of of the desert around us. We could see over the Mecca Hills to the Salton Sea in the distance.

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We then made our way north across the trail until we reached the spot where we dropped down into Painted Canyon. They area was extremely dry as was evidenced by the stressed plants. In Painted Canyon, there were several different colored rock formations as well as the obvious look of extreme geological stress.

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What did not look stressed was Jacob reading a book while the others took a break.

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It was a great hike. We followed up with a trip to In-N-Out Burger as we made our way back home. We realized that we missed several geocaches on the top that we will need to go back and get. This will be something we do soon before it gets hot.

Jacob passes Eagle Scout Board of Review

Tonight Jacob passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review. I failed to get a picture of him in his uniform and did not remember until I was taking him home. He did well on with the Board of Review. As for getting there, we met a park this past Saturday so that he could finish his display board. it was actually a lot nicer than sitting in some building.

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The display board turned out well. His project, sailboat racks for the Riverside Community Sailing Program, was done back in 2010 and he had a few merit badges to finish. He finished those up a couple of months ago and had all his paperwork done and sighed off. The last thing was the Board of Review. He made the final preparations in the last few weeks and got it all finished up and done before his 18th birthday. You can click on the project board to make it bigger and possibly look at the pictures.

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