October 2014
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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.

Living on Earth post 9/11

Several years have passed from 11th of September in the year of 2001. I remember turning on the radio on my way to work and hearing reports of what was going on. At work the internet provided more information. During lunch at home I was able to watch the television. The feelings of that day and images that I saw have left an impression on me that has not seemed to dim in the years hence.

Just recently I was in the Downtown Fire Station museum where they have some twisted steel from the Twin Towers. As I touched the steel there I could help but think about all those that perished that day. The thought also crossed my mind, are we any better off now than we were 13 years ago.

Life on earth is fragile. We live each day not knowing if it will be our last. If we have our choice, we will do everything right to survive another day. However, there are people or situation out in the world that can make things a little difficult to make it another day. For the most part, we are all successful to wake up another day and make our way out into the chaos or lack of chaos that may meet us any given day.

Heavenly Father has blessed me while I have been on earth. I have survived relatively well. Yes, I am getting older like everyone else on this planet. I would hope that I will continue on for many more years. I still have several things in my bucket list to do. I still have time to spend with my family. I still have the opportunity to watch my children and grandchild grow and learn. The excitement in the eyes of a two year old grandchild is amazing in and of itself.

Even if life is fragile, there is no reason to not have the excitement in our eyes each day. For we have been blessed to be on earth one more day. There are those that due to misfortune and the acts of others do not have that option. May we never forget September 11, 2001.

Hole in the Head

Today I had the pleasure of taking a trip to the dermatologist to remove a tumor from my nose. It took a couple of attempts to get all of the invading growth. The doctor let me know that they got all of of it. They asked me if I would like to see. I said, why not. What was one a small pimple like bump on the nose was nor a circular hole. I said it looked like 12.5 millimeters. The doctor measured, it was 11.25. Pretty good guess on my part. Then again, it looked slightly bigger than the diameter of a .45 cartridge to me.

Now that I am all sewed up and enjoying a little rest, I thought I would do something productive. Every year there is a fundraiser, Kilted for Cancer. Additionally, I also think about purchasing a kilt to go hiking in during this fundraiser.

Cancer is not a fun thing. It took my father in 2009. More specifically to this fundraiser is prostate cancer. One in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. So with that thought, it is time to Donate Here

There is also a special limited offer for a autographed edition of The Book of Barkley available. Click on the link for the details.

I will tell you that donating to this cause is easier and less painful than getting a hole in your head.

Sailing with Elizabeth

Tonight was our last summer sailing event. It is a signal the the summer will be over soon. I knew I would have to take advantage to the event and get on the water with Elizabeth. As we were getting ready to leave, she grabbed her life jacket and said, “wa wa” as an indication that we were going to the water.

We arrived and put on our life jackets and picked out a sailboat. We took it to the dock, placed it in the water and got ready to board the small vessel. Soon enough we were out on the water.


We sailed around for a while. she really enjoys it when the wind blows harder and we pick up speed. She also likes saying hello to the other boats.


Trying to keep control of the boat while taking my phone out of the protective ziplock bag and take a picture is always a challenge. Then trying to get a picture with a smile is sometimes a little more difficult. We were smiling back and forth and making faces as I clicked pictures. I always s seemed to be slow and miss the smile.


Knowing Elizabeth, she wanted to touch the sheet, the line used to adjust a sail against the force of the wind. Pretty soon she was in the back of the boat with me demanding that she take hold of the tiller. I let here put her hand on the tiller and she thought she was promoted from two year old to admiral by the smile she had on her face.

We will have to get back out on the lake soon. I also think swimming lessons are in order. Of course then she will want her own boat.

Elizabeth Turns Two

It is amazing how fast this year has passed. Elizabeth has turned two. We are a little late in celebrating her birthday as I was in the back-country in the state of New Mexico and Janet, my lovely wife was in northern California on the exact date. We decided to have a little party, cake, ice cream and presents.

Elizabeth loved the cake. She liked opening the presents. However, the best part was the balloons. We had put up balloons above the table with a banner and balloons in a few other places in the house. After the cake, ice cream and presents, she wanted to have all the balloons. We took the balloons down and Elizabeth threw them in the air and chased them around the house. She made sure each one of us had one to wiggle around.


It was great fun. I cannot wait to do it again soon.

Philmont – Day 12 – Base Camp

Rumor was that there was a 9:00 bus at Rayado. We were scheduled for the 11:00 bus and we thought why not take a chance and get on an early bus back to base camp. With that in mind, the young men decided to wake up early. We were on our way out of camp at about 6:00 in the morning. We checked out at the staff cabin and took a picture with the sky painted with the signs of a beautiful morning.


The trail for today was the road that led to Rayado from Zastrow. We were all happy to be on the road early in the morning as the trip was over five miles.

Trail to Rayado

With the sun in our faces and Fowler Mesa and Trail Peak behind us enjoyed the cool morning air.

Trail from Zastrow

We asked for directions the night before as we had heard that the usual spot to cross the Rayado River was deeper than normal. That could mean a lot of wet feet. As we came to the place where the road crosses the Rayado River, we kept going east on a road that was less traveled. Soon the road turned into a skinny trail through the brush. I might add that this trail is on the staff maps, but not on the map we had. Yes, another unmarked trail.

Another unmarked trail at Philmont

However, with a little perseverance through the brush, we made it to a river crossing. You come out of a barely noticeable break in the brush along the river and there it is.

Crossing the Rayado River

We made it to Rayado before eight when it opened. We checked in and waited for the Kit Carson Museum to open. In addition, we had some young men that wanted to do a little blacksmithing.

Kit Carson Blacksmith

At about 9:00 there was a bus and it had room for us. We hustled and got on the bus back to Base Camp.

Before we get to Base Camp, we are going to do a little flora and fauna. There is the Mirabilis multiflora or Desert Four O’Clock in pink flower followed by the sunflowers. They are two different groups of sunflowers, one picture taken while facing west and the next facing east. You will note that when you take a picture of sunflowers in the morning they are generally facing away from you. We also have a foal looking for breakfast.

Mirabilis multiflora



Foal with mom

We arrived at camp, took showers, returned the gear that we needed to, attended to paperwork and of course took time to relax. There was also lunch were we did not have to eat trail food. We also had time to do some laundry.

Base Camp - Philmont

Then came our trip to Cimarron for ice cream.

Cimarron Art Gallery

We had dinner, all you could eat and then we went to Sunday services. The meeting was very good. After church we caught the sunset over Trail Peak in the distance. At least all of us could say that we have been over the top of Trail Peak.

Sunset over Trail Peak

We had our closing campfire. What a warm welcome to be outside on a nice evening. The Crew Leaders all were called up front to get a plaque.

The evening went fast and we were all eager to get to bed so that we could get an early start on our journey the next morning.

There were many miracles over the course of the 10 nights in the backcountry. We all did well and we had no injuries. A couple of blisters, a broken shoestring, broken pack, a lost water bottle, cold weather and weather that some said was too hot. We all persevered and made it. It was not easy at times. The travel uphill was slow. The weight of the packs at times seemed burdensome. There was even the morning where I asked myself, why am I here, as I was cold, damp and tired of the rain. You just get up, get packed and put one foot in front of the other so that you will get closer to the Welcome Back sign. And you count you many blessings along the way because you know Heavenly Father is looking out for you.

Philmont – Day 11 – Zastrow

We woke up to a beautiful morning in Carson Meadows. We had decided that we would wait until today to do our breakfast that required cooking. As breakfast cooked, the young men got camp torn down and everything ready to go.

The adults stayed behind and the young men took their backpacks up to the staff cabin to do the program for Carson Meadow which is search and rescue. We finished up the dishes and took our time packing up. It was peaceful as we were the only two people for several hundred yards around. We made our way up to the staff cabin and sat on the porch waiting for the young men to finish their program. Soon enough they were done and we took a picture in front of the staff cabin with the Tooth of Time in the distance behind us.

Carson Meadows

The trip to Abreu was less than two miles and it did not take long to get there. We had a quick porch talk and then made our way to the cantina where cold root beer was available. It was a good time to eat lunch as well. There is nothing like actually sitting at a table and eating when you have been sitting on the ground, a rock or stump for over a week. The root bear was great. I think everyone had three glasses full.

Abreu Root Beer

With less than two more miles to go we arrived at Zastrow. We had our porch talk and the young men chose a campsite. As it was nice and warm, one of the first order of business was laundry and showers. It had been several days for the young men so they each took a turn in the shower. There was also the added benefit of heated water. Soon enough, with the sun out, there was a sock tree forming from people doing their laundry.

We then went back to the staff cabin to do the program. The youth chose a Geocaching activity and had a GPS and made their way from point to point. As adults, we chose the orienteering course. Both activities were times. If you had a quick time for the activity, you got pudding. As adults we made our way to the starting point and the timer started. Like young men, we started running. We made it to the first point and stamped our paper. While that was happening I determined the direction of next point and started running. When I spotted it, I let the other adult continue towards it and I stared to the next one. Sometimes the other adult would find the points first and sometimes I would. However, once spotted I would be studying the map and start running while yelling the distance and direction to the next point. We ran past the youth a couple of times. Or should I say, ran past, walked to catch our breath and then continued running. I did not take any pictures while doing this activity, but I did take a picture the next day of what we were looking for.


As it turned out we did the course in 18 minutes, well enough for pudding. As we were still breathing heavy from running we decided to wait on the pudding. My thought was to wait until the young men came back so that we could eat pudding in front of them, which we did. We checked the map later and discovered that we had been running around at almost 7,000 feet above sea level. It must be due to spending the last 9 days at an average elevation of 8,912 feet and the 60 miles of backpacking or hiking to get from place to place.

We soon enough gathered for dinner. We were having chili-mac served in a tortilla in our bowl. We had been waiting a couple of days to have the chili-mac and tortillas.

One of the other activities at Zastrow is Dutch oven cobbler. The youth had their choice of several cake types and fillings. By popular vote the chocolate cake and cherry filling was chosen.

The sun was gone for the evening and we wanted to make an early start to get to Rayado for our bus back to base camp, so everyone quickly went to bed for the last night on the trail. What were the miracles for the day? No one got sick from drinking too much root beer. We traveled safely and made good time. How about, all the young men took a shower. More sun during the day, which is always appreciated.

As for the flora and fauna we have several on this segment. We have the white daisy, pink geranium, an undefined orange bloom as well as the saprophytic pinesap




Then for the fauna, I captured a couple of undetermined insects in a picture after one of the young men pointed them out. Where is a bird when you need one. They just better stay our of my tent as well.


Philmont – Day 10 – Carson Meadows

We woke up early and broke camp quickly as we had a long day ahead of us. We had to make it over Trail Peak and on to Carson Meadows, about 11 miles away.

Beaubien Camp

Once on the trail we made good time. We did not need to take a lot of water and we only had a couple of day’s food left at this point.

Trail to Trail Peak

We passed through one of the meadow areas that we rode through the day before. There were some clouds in the sky. However, there seemed to be a good deal of sunshine available as well. We were about to cross Bonito Creek for the first time for the day. We would be crossing it a couple of times during the day.

Crossing Bonito Creek near Beaubien

We must be in better shape as we were traveling rather quickly. On the other hand, no one wants to be on a peak in a thunderstorm. Due to all the rain that we have experienced, the crew wanted to be of Trail Peak before 11:00 AM. That is not hard to do when you get there before 9:00. On trail peak is the wreckage of a B24D Liberator. There is a plaque on a tree as a memorial for the ill fated flight.


Toward the top of the peak is a wing of the airplane.

B24 wing on Trail Peak

Another picture looking out from the wing gives a different perspective. Trail Peak is 10,246 feet and several of the peaks in the distance are 10,000 feet in elevation and above. Some of the ones in the far distance are closer to 12,000 feet in elevation.


Of course there is the obligatory group picture from the peak itself.


I guess it was nice to be on a peak and be able to see without an over abundance of cloud cover so I took several pictures. It is beautiful country when you can see it.


On our way down a scoutmaster going up with his crew had to warn us all to tighten up our boots. Apparently the day before two people rolled their ankles pretty good. If the young men do not know by now, as we have stopped to tighten up the laces before going downhill to prevent blisters I do not know what more can be done.

We then made our way to a place to sit down and finish breakfast. From there we headed towards the Bonito Creek. In our haste, we missed a right turn. Or should I say the map show the right turn and no trail going straight. There is actually a trail going straight. No problem, when we got to the road, we just turned right which would lead us back to the trail where we would turn left onto the trail. Well we took a left on a trail and thought we were on track. Except the map does not show the trail we took a left on as the trail we should have taken the left on is about 100 yards further. We followed the trail and lo and behold the crew kept going. The trail was there to see, just not a trail that had a lot of use.

The question then is where are we? The young men looked around. We were on a trail that did not show on the map. There was a trail in front of us that did not show on the map. One of the young men spotted a trail sign off in the distance on the other side of Bonito Creek. With a little help from a GPS devise we located exactly where we were. We determined that we would follow the trail, which was not on the map, heading south west towards the sign across the creek.

Once we arrived, in the vicinity of the sign, we determined that now we were actually on the trail that we were supposed to be. Nothing like a little “shwhacking” (bush whacking) on perfectly good trails that do not show up on the map. That being said, Philmont seems to always improve their trails and take trails off the map that are too steep when they have built a replacement or want to reroute traffic through a less sensitive area.

After the nice relaxing walk along Bonito Creek in the meadow like setting, we got in the canyon. This is when the trail really dropped in elevation. There is one part that drops 300 feet or more in a quarter mile stretch. The trail is also known as the Stairmaster. Yes, the picture is from the trail looking down the “stairs” with Bonito Creek in the background.

Stairmaster - Lower Bonito Trail

Soon enough we made it to Carson Meadow camp. We arrived on the porch to get a view of the Tooth of Time in the background some 6 miles away between Fowler Mesa and Urraca Mesa.

Tooth of Time from Carson Meadows

Soon enough we were walked to our campsite. We were at the bottom of a meadow. As the meadow was used for ultimate Frisbee and other activities, it was acceptable to move into the meadow a bit to set up tents. Then again, there was not much place else to go to get out of the bearmuda triangle. We needed to sleep at least 50 feet from where we cooked, our dining fly and the sump. I was just glad to be on dry ground.

Of course, there was some thunder a couple of miles away. The sky was blue where we were. However, to the north, you could see thunderheads. Out of habit, the dining fly became the place to be.

The evening was beautiful and it was warm. In fact, believe it or not, one of the young men complained that it was too hot. I thought back to our talk a few days before that there is an opposition in all things. We must know pain to enjoy joy. How about bone chilling cold to enjoy warmth? Yes, it was warm. However, it was nice to be warm. It was also nice to get some laundry done and put it out to dry. I also took a sponge bath to remove the dirt and cool off. I was happy to do that and it was nice and warm so I dried off quickly. Warm is good.

Camping in Carson Meadows

The adults made their way to the staff cabin for scoutmaster coffee as it is called. Tonight was a little different. There was some store purchased cookies that I ate. Then there were the chocolate cookies with chocolate chips fresh out of the oven. Warm cookies while sitting in a swing on a porch on a warm evening is much better than drizzling rain and cold weather. What a great day. Miracles – We made the trip to Carson Meadows quickly and without getting way off track. In fact, the swacking saved us a mile or so. The young men are playing ultimate Frisbee and having fun. Perhaps the fact that we made it safely to our destination without any injury is a miracle.

As for the flora we have a few more new ones today, Shrubby Cinquefoil which has a nice yellow flower and Creeping Holygrape, which also has a nice yellow flower before the fruit forms. Then there are the yellow flowers next to Bonito Creek.

Shrubby Cinquefoil

Creeping Hollygrape