Monday, June 29, 2015

Thomas Mountain Backpack

Since the planned trip to Yosemite didn't work out, I have been trying to find a shorter trip.  I was thinking of heading up to the southern Sierra's but suddenly Jyoti said that she would like to go with me.  I wanted to something shorter and closer to home since she is not as experienced a hiker.  We eventually chose Thomas Mountain near Idyllwild. On Friday we packed and planned the trip as a one nighter.  The weather looked to be warm but tolerable.
We drove up midday Saturday.  The drive was very pleasant through the foothills of Cahuilla, Aguanga and Anza.  We made a stop for lunch at the famous Paradise Valley Cafe.  The Gus Burger is highly recommended.  We then drove to the trailhead for the Ramona Trail just a few miles more north.  We donned our packs and headed up the mountain.  The trail was pretty steep, more so than I thought.  It was also quite hot (it turned out be in the 90's that day).  So it was slow going the first couple miles.  Then the clouds came out and the elevation cooled us a couple of degrees.  The pines were nicer hiking than the chaparral but bugs started to come as well.  Getting close to the top, we hit a trail junction that was not mentioned in the guidebook or on the map.  A bit of scouting and we headed in the right direction and quickly came across Tool Box Spring.  It surprisingly had good flow when the valve was opened.  Since we did not know the spring's status beforehand, I had lots of water and we didn't need to filter any.  Another 1/4 mile or so and we got to Tool Box Spring campground.  The camp had two other groups that had driven up.  We setup the tent and did a bit of strolling around the area.  The views to the south were great from the camp.  We chose not to try to hit the summit and made an early night of it to avoid the bugs.
The wind was roaring the tree tops but we only got slight breezes at ground level.  By morning, the breeze had completely stopped which allowed the bugs to come out full force.  We quickly packed and headed back down.  The hike down was very quick as was the drive home.
Overall, Thomas Mountain is a nice hike.  But the heat, bugs and steepness probably mean I won't be back in the near future.

Ramona Trailhead

Garner Valley

Tool Box Campground

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mt. Laguna Pioneering

T774 had its annual pioneering campout at Mt. Laguna this past weekend. The trailer had a makeover and now is capable of storing and transporting the staves in some new shelving.  There are also lots of bins for loose stuff.  Rand did a great job!
The scouts got started on the tower in the morning.  It took about 3 hours and it turned out great.  They are much better at lashings and most were quite tight and neat. In the afternoon, we took a short hike out to Big Laguna.  Afterwards, the scouts played around camp and the tower.
Getting ready to leave on Sunday, one of the vehicles had a dead battery.  It took a while to get the car started but we worked it out and everyone made it home safely.  Another scout season in the books!

Post-build donuts!

Testing the tower

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Books, Books, Books

Hard Truth by Nevada Barr - very creepy but one of Barr's best
Ancient Greek Civilization by Jeremy McInerney - decent but somewhat slow going; interesting to hear the links to our current culture
Ancient Rome by Duncan Hill - good intro to Roman civilization
Blood and Iron by Harry Turtledove - next chapter in the Southern Victory series covers the period right after the Great War
The Center Cannot Hold by Harry Turtledove - the march to war continues; I enjoyed the mounting tension
The Victorious Opposition by Harry Turtledove - this last volume of the set ends right before the next great war
The Creative Thinkers Toolkit by Gerard Puccio - listened to the first few lectures; good content but not what I was looking for
Thinking about Cybersecurity by Paul Rosenzweig -  a good intro to cyber security that is not too technical
Winter Study by Nevada Barr - another creepy Anna Pigeon mystery; I hope the next has a different villian

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Joshua Tree NP Backpack

Last time the troop was at Joshua Tree National Park, we car camped and did rock climbing.  This time, we were going to backpack the backcountry. We drove out on Saturday morning and stopped at the North Entrance trailhead.  We then dropped cars at XX, Geology Tour and XX trailheads.  The first two were water caches due to the lack of water in the park.  We then headed out.  The first 5 or so miles was a steady incline in lower desert terrain.  It was overcast so the heat wasn't bad.  The trail flattened out and the joshua trees started appearing.  We got to the first cache and loaded up on water.  Regulations state you have to camp at least one mile from roads.  So we trucked our water another mile along the trail to a great camp.  Everyone setup tents, cooked dinner and had a great evening.
In the morning, we hiked a few miles to the second cache.  All the scouts got an extra gallon to carry to our next camp.  We hiked about 4 miles with water up into the hills.  Our camp was located in some brush with a lot of mining debris.  Cans and other metal containers littered the area.  We even found the remains of a couple of old cabins.  The highlight was an open mine shaft.  The scouts had a good time throwing rocks down it.
In the morning, we hiked out the remaining few miles to the last car.  After some shuttling, we all headed back home.  Another wonderful trip.  We will have to be back to hike the rest of the trail.

At the trailhead

Water cache

Open mine

Bathroom break

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 04, 2015

Chino Air Show

My dad, Bengt, Roy and my dad's old friend and his wife headed out to Chino for the air show.  It was quite hot but the planes were great.  I very much enjoy the WWII warbirds.  The sound they make is unforgettable and the flying is much more elegant than the brute force of the modern jets.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mud Caves

Troop 774 made a return trip to the Anza-Borrego mud caves.  We headed out on Saturday morning and made good time to the turn off at Canebrake.  We headed in the few miles to Arroyo Tapiado and up into the canyon.  We picked a good spot for camp, parked and setup the tents.  It was pretty windy so some of the scouts had trouble getting their tents to stay down.  A couple went rolling like tumbleweeds even with gear in them.  We then headed into the main cave and took it all the way through which ends up on top of the large mud mesa. Everyone spread out and explored the small hills.  The weather was overcast and perfect for exploring the desert.
The night was just and windy and one of the tents needed to be relocated.  In the morning, we ate breakfast and headed out.  The day was sunny and already hot.  We had good weather timing on this trip.