Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Burnt Rancheria Campout

 For our May troop family campout we headed back up to Mount Laguna and the Burnt Rancheria campground.  I enjoy Burnt Rancheria as the sites are very large and there seems to be less generating-running RV's and beer-swilling yahoos.  We had a great hike along the Desert View trail, saw a few PCT'ers and had nice campfire.  Saturday night was super windy but otherwise the weather was great.

One sad note is that it seems Mt. Laguna Sports and Supply is closed.  Note sure for how long but I always liked that place.

Walking into town

Great day along the Sunrise Highway

Trusty Hyundai and Trailer

Tent does great in the wind

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Firearms of Freedom

Jyoti shooting the rifles that won World War II.

M1 Garand, Springfield M1903A3, Lee Enfield No 4

Monday, April 26, 2021

March FrogX Carbine Training

In March, I had the opportunity to attend a great carbine training course at a private range with some great former operators instructing.  Next class is in June.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Green Valley Campout

The troop headed back to Cuyamaca and Green Valley campground.  We haven't been to the campground for several years and it was good to get back.  In the meantime, the state has improved the handicapped sites and most of the sites are a bit overgrown with grass and bushes.  The falls were flowing nicely and I am sure they will be crowded as the weather heats up.  We also did the Airplane Monument trail and saw a fair amount of flowers.

Upper Green Valley Falls

Airplane Monument

My trusty tent

Lower Green Valley Falls



Sunday, March 21, 2021

Grand Canyon Down and Up Overnighter

One of my bucket list hikes has been to trek to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  We had a trip scheduled last year that was canceled due to events beyond my control.  So this year I grabbed a permit and was determined to make the trip.

Jyoti and I drove out Wednesday morning and arrived near the south entry gate in about 8 1/2 hours.  There was a long line to get in that was backed up to Tusayen.  After paying, we made a quick stop at the closed visitor center to get a first glimpse of the canyon then drove over to the Yavapai Lodge to check in.  We were surprised how many people were there especially many of the rim hotels were still closed for winter.

After waking up and eating some breakfast we drove over to the backcountry office.  The shuttles were not on normal schedules but they had hiker express buses that left in the mornings to the South Kaibab Trailhead.  Arriving at the trailhead, we squared away our gear and headed down the South Kaibab trail. We quickly ran into ice covering the trail.  Since it was pretty steep, all the hikers were having issues getting a grip.  One one stretch we glissaded down on our butts.  Luckily this lasted only about a half mile and we back on dirt and rocks.  We cruised easily downhill to our first stop at Cedar Ridge.  We cruised another segment down to Tipoff Point.  From there the trail got steeper as we headed into the inner gorge.  We were both getting a bit tired at this point and started slowing down.  We eventually got to the Black Bridge and crossed the Colorado River.

Once in Bright Angel Canyon, we scouted out the campground for a good spot.  We found one that was near the creek and had some shade.  It is surprisingly hot down at the bottom and if we didn't have a nice breeze it would have been unpleasant.  After setting up camp, we explored Phantom Ranch and the area.  The mule rides were still running and the ranch looked to be on limited service although the canteen only had window service for limited snacks.  After a nice dinner, we went down for an early night.

Next morning, we ate breakfast, broke camp and headed out for the long trip up Bright Angel Trail.  We crossed over Silver Bridge and then took the River Trail for a bit to get to the canyon that the trail followed up.  As we wound our way uphill, we had to dodge lots of runners doing the rim-to-rim thing.  The trail followed the creek steadily up but then got really steep at the Devils Corkscrew section.  The it was a nice hike along the creek again into Indian Gardens.  We stopped there to rest, eat and fill up on water.  The next mile or so was mostly in the sun and it was a bit warm.  Then the switchbacks started as we trudged into 3 mile rest stop. We were now getting worn out and making only 1.5 mph but that was plenty up the steep trail.  There were loads of people happily cruising downhill that were in for a shock when they turned around.  We took another break at 1.5 mile rest stop to add a layer as it was getting colder and also mentally prepare for the ice.  Luckily it was later in the day so most of the ice was turning to mud but there were a few dicey spots.  It is also much easier going uphill on ice.  We finally reached the top after 7 1/2 hours which is a good time.

We checked back into the Yavapai Lodge, took showered then searched for food.  There were tons of people and not many places were open.  We finally got takeout from El Tovar and some drinks at the Yavapai Tavern.  Sleep was welcome.

Once the sun came up, we saw an elk right outside our room.  I then took a quick walk out to the rim for one last look, then we drove home.

At the top of South Kaibab trail

Icy trail

Great views to the north rim

All smiles at Cedar Ridge

Tipoff Point

Down the inner gorge

Crossing Black Bridge

Our camp at Bright Angle Campground

Bright Angel Creek

Crossing Silver Bridge

Waterfall along the trail

A bit more to go

Almost there

Almost there

Ice going uphill


Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Joshua Tree - Indian Cove Campout

We finally got a campout together with the troop!  We headed up to Joshua Tree NP and the Indian Cove campground.  Jyoti came along as well for her first trip to JT. We got great weather, sunny during the day and cold at night.

Hiking Barker Dam and Wall Street Mill

Joshua Tree - one of many

Indian Cove campsite 99