Monday, July 14, 2014

San Gorgonio Wilderness Backpack

With the family gone, I decided to make up for some canceled trips and head up to San Gorgonio.  I decided on a one-nighter along the Vivian Creek trail and was able to secure a permit for Friday night camping at High Creek.  I got to the trailhead around 2:00p and was hiking at 2:30p.  After a bit of a crummy road walk and crossing Mill Creek, I hit one of the steepest trails I have ever hiked.  The next mile was tough going up to Vivian Creek camp.  After that, the trail leveled out somewhat for a 4 mile steady climb past Halfway Camp to High Trail Camp which I made in 2.5 hours.  At High Creek, I stopped for a snack and chatted with volunteer Ranger Dan who was very helpful.  Since I was ahead of schedule, I decided to head up to the summit to camp for the night.  About halfway up the hike to the ridge crest, I started getting nauseous.  I know I suffer from altitude sickness but hoped this would just be a mild case and hiked on.  After making the ridge and seeing the Choachella Valley below, I knew I couldn't continue; the nausea, headache and fatigue were too much.  After a short break, I headed back down to High Creek.  I wanted to tell Ranger Dan my change of plans since he signed off on my permit change.  I quickly set up camp, washed up and lied down to recover.  The night was restless and had a few sprinkles to make me get a bit nervous about cowboy camping.  In the morning, I decided not to tempt fate again and quickly descended down the mountain.  I got the trailhead in 1.5 hours, put on some fresh clothes and headed home with a quick stop at the Elkhorn General Store for a much needed cup of coffee.  Overall, the hike was great, weather was great, altitude sickness not so much.  I intend to go again but will not try to go above 10,000 feet on the first day.

Camp Osten 2014

My nephew Gabe was in town for the 2014 installment of Camp Osten.
  • Encinitas Junior Lifeguards
  • July 4th at Grandma's and altered fireworks
  • Hike San Juan loop trail in OC (loved the Candy Store!)

Friday, July 04, 2014


With some good book reading time due to recent long plane rides, I got through a good batch of books.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Inaugural Family Backpack

In order to get the family more involved in my current passion, backpacking, I arranged a short intro trip to Arroyo Seco in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  We drove up on Friday afternoon stopping at Diego's Taco Shop in Alpine for a quick dinner (good food, by the way).  We got to Green Valley around 6:30p, registered at the entry station and parked at the picnic area.  It was a quick but vigorous hike uphill for the 1.5 miles to camp.  The pump is broken at Arroyo Seco so we all carried extra water.  After getting to camp, we setup tents, tarps and bedrolls (for us cowboy campers).  We talked and laughed for a while as dusk settled in.  It is amazing how kids react in the wild!  The night started out very pleasant with millions of starts.  It ended up getting very windy however.  The morning started warn so we quickly packed up and headed back down to the car.  It was a short trip but a very good harbinger of things to come.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Mt. Laguna Camping

With only a week off, T774 had its last event of the season, a car camp in the Laguna Mountains.  We had a group camp and it was very nice, with tables and a fire ring.  In the morning, we did a fabulous 5.5 mile hike on the Big Laguna Trail.  This trip was our pioneering campout so after lunch we all built a tower from all the staves we had brought up.  It was bit shaky at first but some redone lashings made it solid enough for the scouts to climb it.  The day was pretty warm but tolerable.  Coming back Sunday, it was my first time hauling the trailer.  It was a bit low and bumped the ground a couple times; I will have to get a higher ball for next time.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Bengt's Bakery

Bengt has been fascinated by the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado.  Last night he was contemplating possible names for a hypothetical shop.  My favorites were "Bengt's Bakery" and "Gabe's Grass".

Monday, June 02, 2014

Jo's Birthday Activities

  • Dinner at Thai Society, our favorite restaurant.
  • Family exercised our new Balboa Park Explorer passes and saw exhibits at the Fleet Science Museum, Museum of Man and MOPA.  Had a great lunch at the SDMA cafe.
  • Hiked Rancho Penasquitos Canyon to the waterfall and back.  It was a bit warm but still a very nice hike.  No rattlesnakes this time and Sophie didn't fall into the creek.

  • Dog took naps

Afghanistan in the rear-view mirror (looking forward)

Interesting take on the legacy of the international mission in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

T774 Backpacking Trek

T774 headed on our spring backpack as a tune-up for our summer Sierra trek.  The original idea was to do San Jacinto but that fell through due to lack of permits.  We chose to return to the Mt. Laguna to Cuyamaca route we did last year.  Starting from Penny Pines trailhead, we heading east on the Noble Canyon trail.  With some shade, the trail was quite pleasant.  However, as we went a bit lower and left the pines, it got quite hot and sunny.  Indian Creek was damp but had no surface water near the trail.  The last uphill section into Cuyamaca Rancho State Park was tough as we were beat from the heat.  It was great getting into camp at Granite Springs as we were low on water and needed dinner!
The next morning, Raymond, the unofficial troop dog, had sore paws and wasn't up for walking much.  He made the first mile along the East Mesa Fire Road.  We then fashioned a stretcher from two pairs of trekking poles and our dining tarp.  The dog was luxurious carried the next 4 miles to Hwy 79.  After Ray was taking home and some shuttling to get the cars back from Penny Pines, we had a long break at the picnic area.  In late afternoon, we headed up the trail to Arroyo Seco camp.  The camp was dry so we carried some extra water; good thing it was only 1.5 miles.  After making camp among the meadow and having another tasty dinner, we had an early night.  Arroyo Seco was a bit buggy and I had a few bites; lots of ants as well.
Early the next morning, we broke camp and heading back to the Green Valley parking lot and home.  Can't wait for the next trip!