Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Joshua Tree Overnighter

 Another winter trip up to Joshua Tree NP, this time to Black Rock Canyon campground.  On the way out, we head south through the park which I had never been before.

Our campground

View from the Panorama Trail

Snow-capped San Jacinto and San Gorgonio

Monday, January 03, 2022

Content, Content, Content

One of the changes I have made since the start of COVID was to change my consumption of content.  Recently, we had Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  But I started watching those less and less as my interests became more focused on specific subjects.  I got into YouTube and found great creators in subjects that I enjoyed.  Since I have the means, I am able to support these folks directly (usually via Patreon).  Lately some have been posting to alternative platforms to avoid the YouTube nonsense.

Some of the stuff I have been watching:

New Years Weekend Activities

We started the new year off strong with a nice session at the The Gun Range (they have the best RSO's) and a great hike at Cuyamaca (Afoot and Afield #162).

Bridge over Stonewall Creek

Interesting victim of a fire

View to the north with a snow--covered San Gorgonio in the background

Friday, December 31, 2021

Christmas in Tucson

 For the first time since my parents moved to Tucson, we had the whole family there together. 

  • Had a great day at the Tucson Mountain Shooting Range.  We fired the M1 Garand and Carbines as well as some pistols and a newly built AR.
  • For my dad's birthday, we went to a magic show.  It was at a restaurant and was a very intimate affair.  The magician was great and the food was good as well.
  • Took the Rotunda tour at Kartchner Caverns.  The caverns were well worth the drive.
  • After the caverns, we headed over to Tombstone.   Tombstone is a fun little town.  We didn't have much time there but walked along Fremont St, had lunch at Big Nose Kate's and visited the museum at the old courthouse.
  • Bagged Wassen Peak and Golden Gate Mt.
  • Did a ton of work on the Bradley.  We pulled the engine to put in a new clutch and flywheel.  We also installed a new exhaust system.  Many trips to Chirco Performance.
  • Games, games games!

Shooting the AR

The approach to Wassen Peak

Wassen Peak marker

Kings Canyon trail

Tombstone main drag

Bradley GT2 running

Tucson sunset

Golden Gate Mountain summit


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

McCain Valley S24O

One of the areas of the county that I have always wanted to check out was the McCain Valley.  This is the mostly flat area between the Laguna Mountains and the InKoPah Mountains.  It is BLM land and offers OHV, hunting and camping.  After work, I headed out on the 8, through Boulevard and up McCain Valley Road.  I made a brief detour in an attempt to hike Tule Peak.  But the road was too rutted for my 2WD SUV.  Continuing north I got to Cottonwood Campground.  A few sites were occupied but I didn't see anyone.  Maybe they were out off-roading.  I grabbed a nice site, set up camp, add dinner and went to bed.

In the morning, I headed out for Sombrero Peak.  This trail had some cross country and navigation aspects to it since the trails/roads were not maintained.  After some bushwhacking and a steep climb I made it to the summit.  The peak has some awesome desert views.  After a quick snack, I head down, almost glissading on the sand.  The hike back was tough since I lost one of my water bottles in the bushes but I made it ok.

Site 10 at Cottonwood Campground


Looking west from Sombrero Peak

Lots of rocks

Monday, November 01, 2021

Summer Books

Two Canyon Hikes

Knocked off a couple of canyon hikes.

  • Navajo Canyon - started at the south end and hiked to Mound Ave and back.  Ok hike, similar to Tecolote Canyon just smaller.

Navajo Canyon map

  • Rancho Mission Canyon - started at Rancho Mission Canyon Park and hiked north then east to the Hemingway Drive trailhead.  Nice hike with great views of Mission Trails.

Rancho Mission Canyon map

Fortuna peaks


Sunday, October 17, 2021

Two Island Hawaii Vacation

After some unplanned cancellations, we finally got to Hawaii.  Instead of just going to Maui, we added on Kauai to join up with friends and family.

Day 1

The flight from San Diego to Maui was uneventful and the plane was less than half full.  Getting the rental car took a while since they Hertz office only had 2 employees.  This would prove to be a common theme during out time in Hawaii.  We then drove through central Maui to our first stop in Lahaina.  Downtown Lahaina is a nice compact town.  Since most people stay in the resorts up the coast, the town is fairly empty during the day.  We stayed in an AirBnB that was right in the middle of town.  It was very nice and convenient to walk around from.  We visited the Baldwin House and the Old Courthouse Museums.  For dinner, we hit Lanai Fish and then dessert at Fleetwood's; both are recommended.

Day 2

We woke in quiet Lahaina and got some coffee at Bad Ass Coffee.  We then headed north up the coast.  Winding around the island, our target was Olivine Pools. These are kind of small versions of Queen's Bath on Kauai but much smaller.  Today, the sea was very rough so we didn't go to the outermost pools.  Heading back the way we came, we stopped at a overlook point and then at the parking for Nakalele blowhole.  The hike down was nice and the blowhole sometimes spouted and sometimes not.  It was fun.  When we got back to the lot, we picked up some snacks from a local vendor, Mama Lei's Homemade Goodness.  I like getting food from the roadside stands in Hawaii.  It is usually very tasty and you are helping out a state still reeling from government mismanagement.  We then stopped at another overlook to see the snorkel cruises at Honolua cove.  Next up, we stopped at Fleming Park.  From the parking lot, we hiked the public path through the Ritz Carlton resort to the Dragon's Teeth. Cool hike among the unusual formations.  There was also a labyrinth to calm the spirit.  Back in the car, we drove to Oluwalu for lunch and pie at Leona's.  Back in Lahaina, we couldn't get in anywhere for dinner, so had drinks at Lahaina Fish and had an early night.

Day 3

We checked out of our cottage and headed out along the fabled road to Hana.  Jyoti bought a Gypsy audio tour for the trip so we had someone to guide us the entire trip.  I highly recommend getting this.  The road was as advertised, long and windy.  But the guide told us about the best places to spot and some great side trips that we probably wouldn't have noticed.

We spent the night at the wonderful Hana Kai hotel and got dinner at the local food trucks.

Day 4

It rained and howled most of the night in Hana.  But being from SoCal, it is nice to have that once in a while.  Today we continued along the Hana Road into the Kipahulu section of the Haleakala National Park.  Getting to the parking lot, we quickly put on rain gear since it started to pour again.  We did the short loop along the pools.  However, due to the rains, they were overflowing like Niagara Falls.  We then started up the Pipiwai Trail.  The mud wasn't too bad but it rained on and off along the way up.  The stream was really flowing and the views from the bridges was amazing.  We hiked through the bamboo forest and finally made it to the falls.  This is one of my favorite hikes and should not be missed. After getting some local intel, we decided to gamble and take the road through the back side of Haleakala.  It was a bit rough in spots but even the unpaved sections were perfectly fine in our rental compact sedan.  That side of the island is a very odd mix of ranching and what looks to be abandoned plantations.  Since we were heading to Kula, it made sense for us to go that way.  We made a quick stop at Maui Wine to get some bottle of local wine but then quickly were stopped by police.  They had blocked the road to investigate a fatal accident that must have happened just minutes before us.

After waiting for a couple hours without news of the closure, we decided to go off road.  It ended being a fairly easy trail and we then drove around the island to back to our hotel at Kula Lodge.

Day 5

After a great night's sleep, we made some coffee and tea then headed up the mountain. Our plan was to park at Halemau'u trailhead then hitch a ride up to the Sliding Sands trailhead.  We were then going to hike down into the crater then back up to the car.  However, the weather was really bad going up.  Visibility at Halemau'u was less than 100 yards and it was cold, windy and rainy.  We ended up going in few miles from the top.  As we hiked down, the clouds lifted and we could see the entire crate.  It was an awesome view.  We decided to head up back while the clouds came and went.

We ate at the lodge and had an easy night in Kula.

Day 6

Our first stop on our last day on Maui was at the Lavender Fields.  It was nice walk through the gardens and having tea with great views.  We then drove by Surfing Goat Farm.  Unfortunately it was closed but the goats we could see looked very happy.  We spent the rest of the day before our flight exploring the southern resort area.  We stopped at a few beaches along the way but the wind made it somewhat unpleasant.

Day 7 - 11

For the second half of our trip, we headed to Kauai where my parents, brother, his wife and the Martin's were already there.

We didn't do as many activities as in past trips but still got in Sleeping Giant, walks on the beach and some other stuff.

We were able to get in dinners at Beach House, Gaylord's, and Oasis.

Lahaina Harbor

Olivine Pools

Moonrise over Lanai

Hana Bay

Hiking in the rain

Waimoku Falls

Haleakala Crater

Pono Kai beach

Dinner at Oasis

Monday, September 27, 2021

Mount Laguna Overnighter

 Originally planned as a scout event, I did a overnight up at Burnt Rancheria in the Lagunas.  Traffic getting there was the worst I have seen in a long time so I got there in the dark.  I set up camp right before it started drizzling; nothing too bad but enough to get in the tent after a quick dinner.  I woke up to hit the trail right after making some coffee.  My plan was to head up the PCT and hit Monument Peak, then see how I felt and plan the return to camp.

The hike to Monument Peak was great.  Although smoke and haze ruined the views to the desert; you could barely see Whale Peak.  After Monument, I headed over the Hays Peak.  My knee was feeling pretty good so I decided to take a circular route back via the lagunas.  The "trail" down from Hays was steep and overgrown but thankfully short.  From there I headed across Sunset Highway into the closed Horse Heaven camp.  I stopped for a bathroom break in the southeast part of Laguna campground and headed out into the meadows.  At one of the junctions, I decided to head back since I didn't want to push my knee too hard.  I headed up the trail to Red Roost and then back into Burnt Rancheria.  It was about 11 miles overall with great weather.

Smoke and haze over the desert

Hays Peak from Monument Peak

Along the trail