February 2018
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Out for a hike today and took some pictures of flowers.


There was a balloon that went up and it came down. We went up the Whitewater Canyon to find it and came down without finding it.






I decided to take a couple of days off work to spend some time around the house. It was also a good opportunity to make cookies. Of course one of the first things is to make the cookie dough. That is an exciting procedure because you get to use a lot of different things.


Once the ingredients are in the mixing bowl you need to mix it up. It can be fun to watch things getting mixed up.


After a couple of days of putting things together, mixing things up, baking things and then decorating which was an adventure in itself, we had the finished cookies.


Overall, it was a lot of work an of course a lot of fun. Flour and sparkles everywhere. Definitely a couple of days to remember.

Oak Glen

Today Emily, Elizabeth and I took a trip to Oak Glen to go on a hike. Elizabeth has been wanting to go to the mountains. The have a nice trail at the Oak Glen Preserve. The main loop trail is 2 miles which would make for a fun activity. One of the first things we passed was a pond. There was a small floating dock that Elizabeth walked out on. She did not like the way it felt so she was quick to get off the floating dock. She did take time to sit and look at the water and the things going on at the ponds edge.


We continued out hike downhill knowing that we would need to go uphill at some time. Towards the lowest part of the trail Elizabeth told us she was tired. We stopped and had snacks. Of course she recovered from being tired in about 10 minutes and was ready to play. I go her to stand in front of a giant sequoia and pose for a picture. It took several picture to find the right one as she was wanting to play with the sticks that she had found.


We continued and soon enough we were going up hill. She wanted someone to carry her. We told her she was a big girl and she could make it. Of course the thought of the petting zoo helped her along. We made good time back to the main area. Elizabeth held the bunnies and looked at other animals. She fed the goats and sheep. She also was giving the animals a good inspection. She really had no explanation what she was looking at. She was just looking.

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Then it was time to go. She ran the other direction and let us know that she did not want to go. She was busy and could not go. How busy can a three year old get? Well, if you are pumping water you are busy. She pumped water for a good five minutes before she was saved from a lifetime of pumping water.


Pizza Time

On of my favorite things to do is make pizza with Elizabeth. She spreads out the sauce, puts on the cheese and pepperoni and watches me put the pie in the oven. Sometimes I think she likes making pizza so much is because she likes eating the cheese while she is attempting to put is on the pie.


Box Springs

As the temperature is cooling off it is nice to see and we still have some flowers due to the little moisture that we have had.


Rain or Shine

This morning there is a twenty percent chance of rain. It will be nice to get some rain if we actually get it. On the other hand, a few clouds in the sky created a spectacular sunrise.

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Box Springs Mountain

It was going to be in double digits in the afternoon so I started early on a Saturday morning hike. The recent rains have produced a little greening up of the hills as the grass begins to come back from a long and toasty summer.

I was surprised by what looked like a dry bush now being covered in green foliage and magenta flowers. It was also nice to get off the mountain before it really got hot.


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.