Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Oh the tangled web of life

I have dropped off the blogging radar for over seven months.  Christmas time rolled around and I was not so gently reminded to "UPDATE YOUR BLOG!!!"  So here I am.

We are currently in Saint George UT, visiting family after attending the Westcoast Pyrotechnic Association..... 2016 Winter Blast at Lake Havasu, AZ. and I will will pick this story up momentarily in another post.

In July 2015, we spent the Fourth camping with the family and friends at Silver Lake.  George had the BBQ going so high we almost had a fire retardant drop on our BBQ/camp fire.  Good thing the Forest Service gal came by and told the plane to abort the drop.  It would have ruined our meal!!

I had knee surgery to repair both knees with tears in the meniscus, and I rehabilitated at Eagle Lake, camping.  So nice now I can walk/hike without too much pain.

In August we attended a Billy Idol concert in Reno, and had a busy social calendar, being retired is hard and busy work!  We went camping on the Almanor district (on the Lassen National Forest) at Highbridge, on the North Fork of the Feather River.  In was a tight squeeze but we had a fantastic time dry camping with friends.
In September we traveled to visit children.  We finally visited Nevada City and had so much fun eating and drinking our way through a super cool old gold town. Nevada City/ Grass Valley was what I wish Susanville could be... a nice destination with a good economy.  The Susanville Symphony held a great outdoor concert across the street from us on the Historic Courthouse lawn.  Souza, and Led Zeppelin, doesn't get any better than this!

We also came up with a Fantastic idea....... September 27, 2015 was a full eclipse of a super moon, lets go kayaking during the eclipse!  I checked the ambient light the night before, it was bright, we could see everything, kayaking would be fun lets do it.  So up to Eagle Lake we went, seven adventurous folks.  We launched our kayaks with glow sticks attached to them so we could find each other on the lake, it was so dark...... you couldn't see anything.  I didn't factor the "eclipse" part of the whole thing.  We could see the blood red moon and from horizon to horizon we could see the Milky Way. It might have been the coolest thing we have done! There are no lights at the South shore of Eagle Lake.  It was quiet and the lake was glass calm.  So glad we had this experience.

In October George had the most important birthday ever..... he turned 62 and we went and got his Golden Age Pass!  $10.00 camping forever!!  Best Birthday Ever.
We squeezed in one last camping trip at the end of October to Grover Hot Springs SP.  A nice campground in the Sierras,south of Lake Tahoe with a big public hot spring pool.  Soaking in hot water before/after a hike is my favorite way to camp.

So here is my abbreviated history of most of last year.  I still have to catch up on another BIG adventure and our current trip but it is a start.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Little Crater Lake

Little Crater Lake, Lassen Nat Forest

June 27th Susanville was hot, hot hot in the upper 90's.  There was a car show but the idea of walking around hot pavement with the sun beating down on us was a no go.  So we loaded up the kayaks and headed to Little Crater Lake.  It was a lovely 81 degrees with a light breeze.  There were a lot of people splashing around, fishing and camping.  The campground was over ½ full.  The lake is down around 12 feet by our guess, so pretty low.  It took us 15 min to paddle around the edge.  So we did it twice. 

Bird watching was great.  An Osprey was fishing, around 7+ Robins looking for worms in the mud and a rare sighting of a Lewis's Woodpecker (at least for me)

June 2015 Lake Project Update

I guess I am not disciplined enough to blog when sitting at home.  I think my home life is pretty hum drum, but when we adventure, that is another matter.  I also have to confess, a part time job found me.  It happened like this;  Alex, son #4, is working as a property manager at Susanville Real Estate and need some help while most of the realtors were out of the office for a couple of weeks.  He "volunteered " my services to "just answer phones and cover lunch".  So after a couple of weeks, I realized I liked being out in the working world and meeting new people and finding out what was going on.  So basically I am nosey and now I know stuff!.  I missed that being retired. George and I had fallen into the habit of not going anywhere or talking to anyone unless we were out adventuring.  So I work from noon to 4 or 5 most every day, but I can take off when we have plans.  Not too bad!  So Alex and I are lifting the burden of managing the rentals and allowing the agents to sell property.  No too different than my "old" job! 

George and I have been tackling the "Lake Project" and over the last few weeks been marking them off. On May 31, 2015 we went to Eagle Lake south shore.
Eagle Lake at the Marina 

It's low and this shot is from the low water ramp.  Eagle Lake is still beautiful and we were all alone on the foot path that connects Merrill Campground to Eagle CG to the beach.

On June 14th, we went to Silver Lake.  We were worried about the mosquitos, but we were surprised at how quiet and bug free Silver Lake was.  We were almost completely alone.  There was only one camper in both of the campgrounds.  We did have one other group for day use.
Silver Lake

Silver Lake did not appear to be low.  There was not any runoff into the Susan River so it is below it's natural rim, but overall seemed normal level.  We had so much fun there we decided to go camping over 4th of July weekend at Silver Bowl Campground. Planning on using that weekend to hike out into the Caribou to see more of the lakes in that area . Can hardly wait until George turns 62 this October, camping just a lot cheeper!

On June 19th, George and friend Glenn Denny went hiking into Lassen Park from Juniper Lake into Horseshoe Lake.  Glenn wanted to go fishing.  Back in 1975 (?) Glenn was a back country Ranger in the Park.  So George was kept entertained with stories from Glenn.  Juniper Lake is really down.
Juniper Lake

So they hiked to Horseshoe Lake, it was difficult because that big wind event that hit this area in February, knocked a lot of trees down.  It was too windy at the end where the old cabin Glenn had lived in was, so they bushwhacked around the lake to the middle of the horseshoe and he tried, without success, to fish from there.

Horseshoe Lake

Not many bugs, but George was sorry he did not wear long pants on that hike.  Next time he will be ready for the bushwhacking.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Introducing Carmen

There are people who name everything.  Our third son Chris, names everything Dante.  His dog is named "Dante the dog", his computer is named "Dante the computer", his car is named "Dante the Chevy" and his first born will probably be named "Dante the kid".  In high school my best friend Robin named her Vespa scooter "Spumoni".  We name pets but that is about it.  Reading other blogs and following other Airstream owners and writers, A lot of people name their trailers.  George and I have been thinking about different names and we were without any inspiration; nothing! nada, nope, everything sounded stupid.  

On our way home, we again decided to follow our curiosity and visit Berlin/ Ichthyosaur State Park in Gabbs, Nevada.  Always wondered about this place.  It is about one and a half hours from state route 95 (two hours from Hawthorn, NV)  a remote State Park which sits about 7,500 ft.  There is a old mining ghost town named Berlin and further up the road is a covered site where seven Ichthyosaurs were discovered.  When I could get cell service, I called ahead to find out if the park was open, if we could get in (it is winter at 7,500 ft) and could we see the fossils.  The nice gentleman who answered assured us we could get in and the park was open.  He agreed to meet us the next morning and give us a tour of the site.

We found the campground which has 14 sites nestled in piƱon pines.  It is a nice campground but the RV pull thru sites are not very level.  It was Valentines Day and we used up the last of our firewood and had a big campfire, nice dinner and opened a good bottle of wine.  The sky was dark and you could see stars forever. What a fabulous place to star gaze.  I looked at our campsite and wondered. "where in the world has our little trailer been?"  Then it hit me, the 1980's computer geography game our kids played; "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego".  So our 1975 Tradewind Land Yacht is now named "Carmen".

In the morning the Ranger met us and gave us a tour of the dig site.  I didn't see the bones very well, but they have a diagrammed overlay that shows you where the fossils are and how they lay in situ.  These are some of the largest Ichthyosaurs in the world.  These were ocean swimming creatures, how they ended up at the top of a desolate mountain in the middle of Nevada at 7,500 feet is a puzzle.  

Our guide said they believe these particular Ichthyosaurs died about 250 million years ago, as they swam around the mega continent Pangea.  I can't even wrap my head around the time or the forces leading up to their discovery.  Nevada State Parks have been a wonderful discovery.  They are dog friendly, well maintained and very interesting.  Follow along and see where we end up on our next adventure!  Looking for a Carmen sticker, if anyone has one!

Valley of Fire, SP

When planning our trip to Death Valley, we decided to visit Valley of Fire State Park out side of Las Vegas.  This is a Nevada state park and it looked interesting.  Camping is on a first come basis, so we could not make reservations before we headed down.  We avoided downtown Las Vegas by taking the SR215 North Los Vegas bypass and made our trip so much easier.  About 35 miles east we took the turn off and headed out into nondescript desert.  We climbed a hill and at the top, looked out over the most amazing landscape; red rock jumbled in rock chaos.    

The park is really nice and the campgrounds have been some of the best we have visited.  We opted for full hook-up due to the problem with our 40 year old refrigerator, it wasn't staying cold on gas and needed shore power. We had nice hot showers every day after getting hot and sweaty hiking all day.  The camp sites had a nice shade structure and great fire pits.  Our first stop was the Visitor Center for a hiking map.  We found one and spent an hour learning about the geology, flora and fauna of the Valley of Fire and the history of the many ancient people who lived there.  From the Visitors Center we went up the spur road to where most of the trails are located.  The first hike was to the "Fire Wave" and I never found the exact place where you can photograph the wave.

There are several relatively easy hikes in this area.  Nothing was over 2+ miles and most were a combination of sand and some scrambling over rocks.  We could bring the dogs on a leash and always had water.  It was warm in mid- February and would be downright hot in the summer. I don't think you can take a "bad" shot in VoF, every scene is breathtaking.
Petroglyph Canyon

Desert Big Horned Sheep

"White Dome" hike had the "narrows," a slot canyon you can touch with your arms extended and the ruins of an old movie set.  "Mouse's Tank" is also called petroglyph canyon and the number and complexity of the petroglyphs is fantastic.
George and Lani in the Narrows

Phil hiking down "White Dome" trail
This park has some of the most photogenic places I have ever been.  These photos have NOT been photoshopped!  The colors through the day were amazing.  The reds, oranges, yellows were crazy.  I took hundreds of pictures and  have only cropped them.  The contrast between light and shadow was difficult but also created some fantastic shots.  Some of my favorite shots I took this trip.  I hope you enjoy them!
Fire Canyon

Atlatl Loop

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Local Lake Project

Well I started!  We went out highway 44 today to visit McCoy Res, Hog Flat Res and Feather Lake.  When we were off adventuring, an extremely high wind event happened here locally and did some major damage to the trees along highway 44.  It is not a good time to be a tree.  Lodgepole, cedar, pine all came tumbling down.  I wondered; if the ground had been frozen, would the damage have been less?

Blown down and cracked

When I came up with this concept, it was really all about getting out and seeing the area I have lived in but not explored.  I figured out a 50 mile radius from Susanville on a map, drew a circle and listed all bodies of water in the circle.  I missed some, but it is a work in progress.  I didn't think this would turn into a documentation of our exceptional drought.

We headed out Highway 44 to County road 21 and then towards Antelope Lookout.  The road has been cleared of the down trees and is amazingly dry.  We found Feather Lake and it wasn't muddy as we walked to the lake shore.

No kayaking this lake.  There were some geese out in the middle.

Here is McCoy Flat Res, very low.  There is a shimmer of water way, way out there.

Here is Hog Flat Res.  Glad we came while there is still water, kinda.

I will post photos of the lakes on a page in this blog and post the location and date.  Should be interesting and easy if anybody following just want to see the photos.  I will also edit my original post and put a mark in front of the lakes I have visited if anybody want to follow my progress.   If anybody wants to go on an adventure with me, let me know and we can get a group together.  Thanks!