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

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Veterans Day Weekend Activities

Jo and I made the most of the long weekend.

We had pistol day at the range.


Small pistol lineup

Then had a nice hot hike at Tecolote Canyon.


Tecolote Canyon trail map

Made the drive up to Raahauges for sporting clays.


Those clays are tricky!

I won a glider flight at last year's SDIC auction and we finally got that chance to go.  It was a warm day driving out to Skysailing at Warner Springs and we thought it would be too hot.  After we signed up and waited a bit for the pilot, Bill.  We both squeezed into the small rear seat, Bill sat in the front and they hooked up the tow.  We quickly left the ground as the tow plane dragged us higher.  After a few minutes, the rope broke.  But Bill was able to find a thermal at the base of the Palomars that lifted us another few thousand feet.  We then flew near Hot Springs Mt.  It was around this time that I got sick.  After a bit more flying, we headed quickly in for a landing.  It was great time and worth the airsickness.

Getting the glider ready

Tight fit in the back seat

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Atlanta Long Weekend

Our family finally got a chance to visit the in-laws in Atlanta!  Jyoti and Bengt went a week early and had a get together up in Greenville.  Jaya and I came later and missed the fun.

  • Visited our properties in Cedartown and Rockmart
  • Hiked at Sweetwater Creek State Park
  • Jaya learned some cookie with Aji
  • Sampled some of the local chicken (Bojangles, Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A)
  • Van Gogh Immersion exhibit

Breakfast at SAN

Hanging at Van Gogh's pad

Sweetwater Creek with lots of water

Ruins of Manchester mill

Cooking lessons


Philmont 2021 802-7Q

Outbound trip

  • stopped at Holbrook, camped at a AirBnB backyard tent site next to a KOA
  • very little rain


Holbrook camping

Day 1

  • waiting for everyone to fly and drive in so we could begin training
  • met ranger Ben
  • no flags or mess hall; food was given out in crates to eat at camp, better than normal food but I miss the community of the hall

Day 2

  • changed early bus to late bus due to disorganization
  • almost immediately after leaving camp, it started raining hard, then lightning
  • did lightning position for over an hour
  • walked through Zastrow and then hit a overflowing Rayado; couldn't find the sketchy bridge at first
  • got to camp around 7
  • on and off light rain while at camp
  • did bear bag training
  • did food training at 9pm
  • rained a bit overnight

Loading the bus to Zastrow trailhead

Getting ready to hike

Hiking in the rain

 Day 3

  • wet but no rain in the morning
  • hiked to Abreu for the tour, cantina and animals; they had a young burro
  • hiked up hill to Carson Meadows; started raining hard half mile from camp
  • waited on porch until rain stopped
  • campsite was nice but bear bag area was completely flooded
  • tent was on slope so didn't sleep well

Abreu homestead

Baby burro

Babies sleep a lot even when chickens bother them

Flooded bear hang

Carson Meadows cabin


  • one scout decided he couldn't keep hiking; he was having a rough time and I agreed with his decision; however, we had to wait for the staff to get a ride for him back to base camp
  • hike to Fish Camp was longer and more up and down than I remembered
  • got to camp too late for fishing
  • had great weather

Rayado River canyon

Dining fly at Fish Camp

Fish Camp cabin

 Day 5

  • woke up to lots of dew that soaked our tents
  • took a tour of the lodge which was really cool
  • hiked up the river but some of the foot bridges were washed out due the recent rain; we had to cross at the roads
  • first stop was Philips Junction to get our load of food and chocolate milk
  • continued on to Beaubien and go there in time for conservation project
  • cons was clear brush and making burn piles; I pulled my hamstring dragging wood up and down the hills but it was fun anyway
  • Chuckwagon dinner and campfire were great

Crossing the creek

Beaubien cabin

Making burn piles


  • had nice sunny weather heading down the meadow
  • decided not to hit Trail Peak
  • went over Fowler Pass and down into Crater Lake
  • did spar pole climbing which was awesome; I was the only one not to make it to the top
  • last night on trail

Hiking down the meadow

Crater Lake cabin

Spar pole climbing

Day 7

  • cruised down the trail into Lovers Leap trailhead ahead of schedule
  • air was hazy due to smoke from western wildfires
  • decided to hike the extra 2 miles to basecamp rather than wait for the bus
  • fun campfire but it had terrible audio

On the trail

Flowers and Tooth of Time

 Day 8

  • long drive back home