October 2015
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San Gorgonio with Emily

I go to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio every year. This year Emily decided to join me. She had never been backpacking in her life. The last time I went camping with her as I remember was when see was about 6 years old. That is about 20 years ago.

We got everything packed over the course of a couple of days and were ready to head out on Friday afternoon. We only had one stop on our way to the trailhead, Subway. I have this thing for carrying a subway sandwich up about three thousand feet over the course of more five miles. More on that later and yes we did make it to the trailhead about three and there was a nice gentleman getting off the trail hat took our picture.


We hiked up the side of the Mill Creek drainage about three quarters of a mile until we got to the place the trail crossed the drainage. It had rained hard in the area in the previous week and a half and they had a flash flood go through the area. You could see evidence of the flood. however, there was no water to be seen.


Next we hiked up the part of the trail with the greatest elevation gain in the shortest amount of time. The side of the mountain was extremely steep and the switchbacks were steep as well. I am guessing it was about a thousand feet of elevation gain in about three quarters of a mile. After that the trail flattens out a bit and it is green. There is even water.


From that point we had a a gentler upward climb on the trail. Then we had some more switchbacks and a little more climbing. The day was wearing long on us and the sun was getting low in the sky. We wanted to make it to our camping place before sun down. However, it was not looking like we would. The light was getting that golden orange color.


We continued on up the trail. We were getting to a spot were we were going to be east of the setting sun and not be able to see it go down. However much we hurried, the sun just moved lower in the sky.


There was a little light as we made it to where we were going to camp at High Creek. Then again as I think, as we began to eat, there was only moonlight. The sandwich was good. Then it was time to set up the tent and get everything in the bear container. Emily was getting cold so the priority was getting the tent set up and getting her in her sleeping bag where she could war up. I was in my shorts and a windbreaker and was slightly chilled. She was in her coat and still chilled.

Later that night I pooped my head out of the tent to look at the sky. The moon has moved on and the sky was brilliant with stars. The milky way was definitely milky with stars.

The next morning seemed to come early. I got up and went to High Creek to get water. I got three liters for each of us. We then packed for the trip up to the peak. I discovered that we had left some food in Emily’s pack. A snack bar and a protein bar both had some small teeth marks on them. We laughed that it was good that it was not a bear. Soon enough we started our climb from High Creek up to the ridge which we followed northerly towards a trail junction with the Dollar Lake trail.

Emily told me to go ahead. I told her that at the first trail junction, go right and then at the second, go left. When I made it to the trail junction, it was more like go left or straight rather than right. I drew a big arrow on the trail for her and I continued to hike on.


As I got pas the second trail sign I watched for her. I saw her headed toward my direction. She looked a little lower that she should have been. I did not think the trail was that low. I yelled for her and waived my arms. It did not look like she saw me. Come to find out she got to the trail sign and headed right with the trail she should have followed was going straight and the trail she did not see was off to the left, so far left it looks like it is going backwards. She was lower than the trail headed east towards the taller peaks that she could see. Of course there is not much vegetation so as she got out into a clear area, she saw the second sign uphill and to the north of her.

She found the trail and I could see her again. She ran into some other hikers that were ahead of us and was glad to see them. I then yelled from where I wad, “my baby girl” and she turned and looked. This time she saw me. As we discussed, if I expect her to see me I need to wear something other than grey and white wile on top of a grey mountain.


We got to the tip of the mountain, 11,503 and soon enough it was time to head back down. It was a nice trip down. It was getting warmer and we could not wait to get back into the trees.


We made it back to the Vivian Creek camping area were it was greener. It was a nice relief due to the fact as we got lower in elevation we could feel the heat as it was a hot day in the valley below.


Of course there was the obligatory stop for a picture in front of a very large incense cedar that survived a fire many years before. I tried to find out when the fire went through that area and it seems that it may be more than a hundred years ago.


We made it back to the car about six in the evening. The area was busy with people enjoying the cooler mountain air. We were glad to be back to civilization. It was a great trip.

Birthday Wishes

It is that time in my life where I get to be taken out to dinner for my birthday. We do not want to burden the children with the cost of dinner so we do everything we can to make sure we get the check. We talked to the restaurant and made sure that the check was going to us. We ordered a whole desert for just over forty bucks via the takeout menu that normally goes for about eight bucks a slice. We thought we were prepared.

We finished dinner and out came desert with a candle in it. The children were surprised that we were having desert because I almost never get desert in a restaurant.


It was good and I was not the only one to enjoy desert. It was also difficult to get her picture. Something about the chocolate in the desert.


The check came and it was given to us a planned. However, Eric grabbed the the waiter and gave him his card. This was his first time to purchase birthday dinner for dad. In the past, Emily has usually finagled a way to get the check. I had looked at the check and knew the surprise that he had coming. Yes, birthday dinner for dad was more than $200.00 with the tip. The shocked look on Eric’s face was priceless. A note to my children, Thank You for dinner. I had fun.

Wood Badge

How do you explain Wood Badge in a blog post? There is an explanation here. So now that is out of the way, how do you explain what it is like to be on staff at Wood Badge? A few words may help. They are fun, fun and fun. Then there are the staff development meetings as well as becoming familiar with a several hundred page syllabus. Then there is learning presentations that you give and learning the material. There are long days when on course, early breakfast meeting and meetings at the end of the day. Even with the lack of sleep and the anxiousness over having to give a presentation or being where you need to be when you are supposed to be there, it is fun.

My mornings started looking out a window to Tahquitz Peak. I have climbed the Devils Slide trail and made a left turn to go to Mt. San Jacinto. However, I have never made the right turn to go to Tahquitz Peak. After looking out the window for several days, Tahquitz Peak is on my short list because it is more fun.


When you go through Wood Badge you are assigned to a patrol and your patrol has a critter. My critter is the owl. My job for Wood Badge was to be a Troop Guide. As Troop Guide, I was given the responsibility of one patrol and their critter is the buffalo. Meet the buffalo patrol of W4-45-15-2.


Being on staff at Wood Badge was great fun. I know all the buffalo’s had fun as well. In fact they said, “Let the chips fall where they may.”

Kick Ball with the Big Kids

It was nice of the bigger kids to let the younger ones play kickball with them. However, it became apparent that some of the littler kids were not clear on the concept. For instance, Elizabeth kicked the ball and knew she was supposed to run. She was not clear on where she was going or why. How do you tell a child, run, run and run and expect them to be clear on the concept of running to first base. Being older, you just take for granted the people know what they are supposed to do. It should be obvious.

For a three year old that has probably never watched a baseball game and has watched several soccer games, kicking the ball was not the problem. it was getting to first base. however, in due time she was on third base and ready to head to home plate. She made it home and looked like she understood the concept of touching home plate with her feet. Only time will tell.


Sunrise in August

I have seen several nice sunsets and sunrises in the past few weeks. However, I have not been in the right place to get a photo. This morning, I thought I would take a picture of the sky with all its clouds and the sun trying to punch its way through a hole in the clouds. Enjoy.


Beating the Heat on Box Springs Mountain

I do not know about beating the heat because it was rather warm. Of course we started early and were at the Two Trees trailhead before seven. The other advantage is we start hiking up the trail on the west side of the mountain which is shaded early in the morning.

As it has been so hot and dry I was surprised to find a patch of green among the brown grass. Of course we did get a little rain that helped green things up. However, overall things are dry and brown.


When I stepped closer to get a picture of the flowers I noticed one of the flowers had a spider on it. You can always click a picture to make it bigger.


We continued hiking up the trail. Of course, todays hike also served the purpose of getting Stanley, Emily’s dog out of the yard and on a walk.


It was a nice hike and we headed down the trail as it wad getting hot. Crazy thing was as we were going down people were headed up. So was the temperature.

Elizabeth Turns Three

Another year has passed in the life of young Elizabeth. It has been a fun year. As for her birthday, it started out with ice cream cake.


From there we needed to work of the cake and ice cream with a little game of put the carrot on the face of Olaf. It was a lot of fun. You would not have believed the competition between the older children.


Then it was outside for more fun. Who would have thought bubbles would be so much fun.


It was a great day. Elizabeth had fun with her Frozen themed party.

Highway 60 Tenacity

I drive under Highway 60 most mornings on my way to work. What has surprised me is the tenacity of this cactus growing on top of a concrete pillar. I know cactus like the desert and do not need much water. However, I think this guy has taken it to the extreme.


Of course a closeup is helpful


Mt. San Jacinto

It was time for the July Operation On-Target and due to a large fire that closed the trailhead that I normally use, I chose a different mountain. I also had the opportunity to take my nephew Corry along.

We started little later than I wanted so did not stop for lunch. We did stop at Subway for sandwiches for dinner. We arrived at the Palm Springs tramway, purchased our tickets and waited to head up the mountain.

Once we arrived at the upper tram station we headed down into the Long Valley and off to the rangers station to check in. That was something new as I am used to getting a permit and showing up at the trailhead. I guess with the tram they want people to check in and out to make sure no one gets lost and left out in the forest to fend for themselves.

After checking in we headed to the area where we were to camp for the evening. While hiking up the trail I asked Corry if he was hungry. He said that he was and that he thought we were stopping for lunch. I explained that we left after lunch and had I known that he did not have lunch I would have got something for him. Out came some nutrition bar and I let him know that he needed to eat so that we could move on. He needed the energy.

As we were hiking along several young people (early 20’s) passed us. The last person had a pinata attached to the back of their backpack. I was thinking, great, a youthful party in the wilderness with a pinata to smash as a highlight. Having not camped in Round Valley or Tamarack Valley for nearly 40 years, I could not remember how close the campsites were to each other. I was happy I brought earplugs.

We arrived at Round Valley to sign in on the grease board where we were going to camp for the night. I was happy to see the younger crowd in Round Valley as we were in Tamarack Valley. We stayed at the closed up Ranger Station in ROund Valley to eat our dinner.


After we ate we headed to our campground. It was one of the furthest ones out. The ranger recommended two and the first one he recommended was taken so we took the second one he recommended. We arrived and set up camp among a grove of large trees.


If you look closely you can see out tents being dwarfed by the large trees.


There were a few wildflowers around camp so I took a picture using my phone.


As evening was falling we played a few games of LCR which is short for Left, Center or right. It is a fun game when you have a few people to play with. For our purposes we added a player, Mr. Pinecone. We took turns rolling for Mr. Pinecone. The obvious challenge to us was that in this game of chance, Mr. Pinecone held his own and in fact won the most games out of the three of us.


As night fell the sky was getting cloudy. When we awoke in the morning, there were several clouds in the sky. Operation On-Target requires sun to signal other mountain peaks so I was a little concerned. I thought, clouds or not, we will go to the top.

On the way up the trail, there were a few more wildflowers to take pictures of.



We kept hiking towards Mt. San Jacinto. I could see the clouds slide over Jean Peak and drop as they moved in an easterly direction. The wind was also blowing in an easterly direction. I was thinking that is almost at tall as Mt. San Jacinto and there will be nothing to see up there.

We made our way to Wellmans Divide and looked out to a mass of clouds. Wellmans Divide is aobut 9,700 feet up. There was a lot of moisture in the air. I decided that we needed to take out our rain gear. As we donned the rain gear it began to lightly sprinkle. Corry was taking a video of the clouds as they moved towards us and past us.


Then we heard thunder. A little more thunder. Then there was a flash and we counted, one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand and then the bang. Five seconds is for one mile so three is three fifths of a mile of about a half mile. I suggested that we try to get to the top of Mt. San Jacinto another day.

As we hiked back down the trail we got some mild rain. Lightning and thunder were very prevalent. You could hear a lot of thunder. A couple of times we saw the flash and only got to one one thousand before we heard the thunder.

As we made our way back to camp we saw a few people headed to the peak. As we made it back to Round Valley, we saw several people unprepared for the rain. We saw a broken pinata being carried out by a young group of people, not all of them in rain gear. It looks like their party was dampened.

We made it back to camp and packed up. We looked at the map and the trail right by where we camped looked like it lead back down to the Rangers Station. We took the trail. The rangers asked us who we had seen as we came back and we told them we came down a trial out of Tamarack Campground. We learned that the trail was the Sid Davis trail and it is not on the maps. Why, it is a little steep and not well defined. Of course I had no problem taking that path as I had taken it before in the snow with Jacob. A little water on the trail is whole lot easier than the snow.

I understand the concern of the ranger by looking at all the people getting off the tram and heading into the wilderness. Even as we were headed up to the tram station, people were purchasing cheap ponchos and raincoats at the gift shop to go explore the wilderness.

On our way down, the tram employee told us that the rain had let up and that there was a huge storm expected in a couple of hours. We that information, we know we made the best choice to get off the mountain. One could ask, how bad was the storm that was coming in? It was the same one that washed out the 10 freeway in the desert and caused flooding in other areas. Do not mess with mother nature when she is full of moisture.

The adventure was fun. It can be counted as a great trip, a learning experience and time in the outdoors.

Independence Day Thoughts

As I sat and listened to “Amazing Grace” by Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker I could not help think of the founding fathers and their belief in God. Their understanding of the importance of freedom as a God given principal. As the founding fathers were guided by the spirit and their wisdom, we have a nation that has grown and a land of people that have had freedom. As we pass through challenging times, it would seem that our nation needs to turn their eyes towards God rather than secularism and those things contrary to faith, hope and charity. Enjoy this rendition of Amazing Grace. Perhaps it will touch you as well.

One can only hope that people realize they are celebrating Independence Day and should be walking away from a government dependence lifestyle.

Regatta 2015

For the past six years the Riverside Community Sailing Program has hosted the Mayor and City Council Regatta for the City of Riverside. Today was year Seven. All went well. I only have two pictures of the event. I am tired and happy that it is over. It is time to rest and soon enough it will be time to prepare for year eight.


Sailing with Emily

It was a warm day and I wanted to get out of the house. I looked and Emily and we thought about a walk. It was a little warm for that. How about sailing was the next thought. So it was off to the lake for a evening of sailing. The breeze was cool and it was a lot of fun.



Every year I let a volunteer sunflower come up in the backyard. It grow about 8 feet tall and is covered with sunflowers. This year I let two come up. One grew up tall and the other one laid over in the parking area. The one that was close to the ground gave Elizabeth and I a chance to pick some sunflowers. We put them in a vase and then decided it was a good place for a picture.


A Hot 102

Today was hot. As I was headed home two neighboring communities were at 104 degrees. Riverside only hit 102. I still did a little work in the garden tonight as the sun was setting. As for today, the chocolate ice cream after dinner was the highlight. As for tomorrow, the forecast is for 90 degrees and a 40 percent chance of showers. I think I would rather have the 102 than rain and 90. Either way there is ice cream left for tomorrow.

Hazy Hike - Operation On Target Workshop

Today I took a little time to hike up to high point on Box Springs Mountains to flash a mirror at some Varsity Scouts that were at the Operation On Target workshop. Each one of the youth got to make their own signal mirror.


The Scouts successfully signaled me on the mountain. I did not have a camera to record their flashes. However, I saw a lot of flashes.


They had a camera and recorded my flash.


As I was on Box Springs Mountain, I took time to look at Mt San Gorgonio off in the distance. I need to bet out and exercise more so I am prepared to get up to that peak on the third Saturday in July. The mountain barely shows through the haze.