Saturday, December 3, 2016
This was a few months after I joined the Los Angeles County Arboretum (through a Groupon offer). The one year membership includes reciprocal admission to various other arboretum and botanical gardens, including Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens.
a free visit there once last year during Museum Free for All day. The next one is coming up in January, so take look over there and make some plans. And, if you go, go early, because the crowds last year were pretty crazy.
The park is in Claremont, which is a bit of a drive for me. Probably would not otherwise make a visit, were it not free. So, in that respect, their choosing not to block reciprocal privileges is probably a good idea: they gained a visitor they would otherwise not have gotten.
Some birds used the bayonet-like leaves as a place of refuge.
It's been long enough ago that I don't remember a lot else about this visit. I do recall that I planned to return to this park during the spring bloom, but that did not occur. I've probably also missed the "fall" color, again.
On the other hand, I recently renewed my Arboretum member-ship, so I can still come back here any time I want. So, perhaps, this spring.
I also plan to visit the South Coast Botanic Garden sometime, soon. They also have reciprocal admission privileges with the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and I have never been to that park, either.
On the other hand, I should also visit he Whittier Narrows Recreation Area more often.
Legg Lake and the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, it's also looking pretty interesting!)
(By the way, the trees here are Torrey Pine. Kind of nice that they have a number of locally-oriented plants here. The first shot on this post, for example, is of Channel Island Bush Poppy. I got introduced to them during our visit to Santa Cruz Island, earlier in the year).
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Well, I've seen Venus plenty of times through a telescope, and I've looked through the 60" telescope a few times, as well. But I hadn't seen Venus in daylight through the 60", and definitely not for free.
No problem driving up. Parked, and passed by the 150' solar telescope on the way to the 60" dome. Shot a few photos with the sun "eclipsed" behind the tower, just to get the halo effect. Later, I got a shot of the moon, adjacent to the solar telescope's dome. But, in the meantime, I just continued on my way to the 60" telescope.
Incidentally, Venus is extremely bright as seen from earth. That's a function of the highly reflective clouds that surround the planet. What that brightness means is that, often, at night, the planet is so bright that it's hard to see even see that phase. That's why daytime viewing held so much promise. The planet is easily bright enough to see during the daytime, while the brighter sky makes it easier to discern the planet's rim, and to make out its phase.
Left, however, takes you up to Mt. Lowe. That was my goal for the day.
Returned the way I came, then returned to Mt. Wilson for another try at Venus. It was higher in the sky, now, which meant looking through less atmosphere, which could potentially lead to better views. in practice, unfortunately, the view remained terrible Oh, well. It was still something that got me out of the house for some hiking and astronomy, and that's hard to beat!
Maybe 3-4 miles for the day. Sure helped with achieving my fitbit goal!
Monday, November 7, 2016
I'm mostly recovered, and now doing a lot of mall and park walking, but I have not tried anything seriously strenuous, or even anything taking me more than a mile or so from pavement. I may be trying slightly longer hikes, but I also know my recovery is not complete, and I may soon be taking some medications that will further sap my endurance.
In the meantime, this was the last hike I took before my surgery. I read the trail write-up in Modern Hiker, and, quite frankly, I was surprised. This trail was closed the winter after the 2009 Station Fire, which was right about when I was starting my first 100 hike years, so I never managed to see the falls before winter mud flows lead to a closure order for Millard Canyon falls.
The falls themselves are also visible from the Sunset Ridge Trail, which heads out of the canyon and takes you right near the top of the falls. The best view of the falls on that trail is from some distance away, however.
Knowing ahead of time that this hike was going to be so short, I intended to then add the Sunset Ridge Trail. I intended to go all the way to Echo Mountain, but did not feel the strength or motivation to go the distance. I didn't even feel the motivation to head up from the canyon bottom. Instead, when I drove in, I noticed many parking spaces were right at the saddle, which would save me about 1.5 miles roundtrip, and a pretty significant climb.
I'll probably be heading back there if we get some significant rain this year.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The given distance from the "Rainbow Falls Trailhead" to "Rainbow Falls" is given as 1.3 miles. I'd sure the distance from the trailhead to the "Resort" is over 1/5 of a mile each way, so it's about three miles, roundtrip.
Sadly, this is becoming a recurring theme across much of the West.
Also not surprising was the size of the crowd at the waterfall viewpoint.
But, what was just a little surprising was the number of selfie-obsessed hikers. Yes, that's becoming less surprising as time goes by. It used to be, you'd hike for the view, the experience, and, yes, to document what your experience.
Again, on that trail, I ended up having to back up on go well away from the chain and trail on several occasions, not because I was blocking the way initially, but because so many people had crowded on the other side of me that now the people coming up had no where to safely get away from the narrow point of the trail.
I suppose that's to be expected by some people, who clearly walk the way they drive. Doesn't mean all, or even most, hikers and drivers are idiots. But when you get enough at one spot, yeah, I can get grumpy.
Point being, I suppose, is that this is a better walk for a less crowded day. But it is definitely scenic, and I can not fault anyone who's on a limited schedule to want to take these walks while they're in the area. It's just a warning, if you don't like crowds, that you might want to schedule your hike here, accordingly.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Depending on how early you get there, and/or if you're willing to pay a rather steep parking fee, you can either park right near the shuttle boarding area or park a mile or more down the hill. I don't recall if they had shuttle buses to take you from the ticket/boarding area down to the more remote lots on the Mammoth side of things.
From the bottom, it's a short, steep 1/8 mile or so to the top of the Postpile. Polished by glaciers, it looks a bit like tile. A small but oldish pine tree grows from out of it's surface. I photographed that same pine tree the last time I was here, about 20 years ago.
Once rejoined with the trail, it again seemed longer than it should to get to the trail split.
We rode to Stop 10, where my wife could sit and relax, and I could use the restroom, then drop back down towards the trail to Rainbow Falls. But that's the subject of my next blog. ;D
Also passed their POW/Veterans Memorial, which are some flags and rocky plaques, near Von's.
Of course, by the time I got back to the motel room, it was getting dark. Still, I enjoyed the glow of those clouds I saw on the way back.
Friday, September 23, 2016
You cross over the tunnel and enjoy expansive views to your southeast and southwest.
Personally, I prefer to stay on the Charlie Turner Trail all the way up to that split. It's a nice, easy climb, and I enjoy the longer, less strenuous climb.
Once at the split, I'm not sure which way is faster. For me, the deciding factor is usually based on which side is shaded, and whether I'm hot or cold.
Return the way you came. About eight miles, roundtrip.