Saturday, December 24, 2016
After checking in with the coordinator for the star party, I headed off on the longest hike I figured I could safely finish and still get back in time to set up for the party. So I picked Cape Final.
The trailhead was within a pine forest. It's a rather small parking area with vault toilets, but no running water. The bulk of the walk is also within this mixture of forest and and small meadows. Lots of wildflowers when I was there, in early June.
The whitish one is some sort of fleabane. Both the yellow and white ones looked like what I would see in Cedar Breaks, when I went there later in the summer.
There are a couple of points where the trail approaches that north or east facing drops, and use trails usually swing out to those points. Then, as you approach the end, there's actually a "Cape Final" sign, right near the edge.
There's a pretty expansive view, described as 270 degrees. There are some foreground buttes that cut off some of that view, however.
After enjoying the view, I returned the way I came. Definitely less than two hours roundtrip. The route is pretty flat, so the going is fast.
posted way back over here.
Planning to return to the Grand Canyon Star Party in 2017. That one starts over Father's Day weekend. Mark your calendars if you're planning to go!
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Possibly my first outdoor hike since going on chemo. I'm supposed to avoid staying on my feet too long, and avoid too much sun exposure, so I have mostly been just walking in malls and in Los Angeles County Arboretum and Huntington Library and Gardens, which have lots of trees for shade.
This hike is in a canyon. Plus, I went in the afternoon, so the sun wasn't very strong.
Shortly after staring out (after starting from the trailhead near Pleasant Ridge and Rubio Vista Roads), in Altadena), I noticed a new set of swtichbacks, carved into the slope on the other side of the canyon (first shot, above). So after discovering the falls to be mostly dry, I headed back down the canyon. At the Pavilion, I stayed on the canyon floor, and made my way, in search of a trail to access the new switchbacks. Obviously, it's only about 1/2 mile down before I found the trail, on my left.
Shortly after heading up that trail, I came across what looked like a large water retention area (third picture of this post).
I continued switchbacking and gaining altitude, as far as the trail had been developed. I thought I would eventually reach those other trails, that come up from behind the newer water storage tanks, closer to the mouth of the Canyon. Unfortunately, my developed trail petered out before reaching that. There were some orange strips, fluttering on the ends of tree branches and wooden stakes, indicating this was where the trail work had ended.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Oh, yes, the other change that may make catching up on the posting easier is that I finally got wi-fi. Up until last week, I was using AT&T regular dsl and a landline, but was getting annoyed by the nearly eight dollars a month that was costing (yeah, I know!). Now, I'm on AT&T's "Uverse" (fiber optic cable) and digital phone, which, for the next twelve months, is supposed to cost me $50/month. So, in addition to saving $26 or $27 a month, I also get "free" wi-fi with the provided modem/router. Annoyingly, they won't let you just buy your own modem/router, so I need to pay $10/month for that. But they're discounting me $10/month for the first year because of my "bundle."
After a year, there's a pretty good chance I'll finally feel comfortable completely leaving the landline business, and just port my number to a mobile phone that'll I'll almost never check, just to keep the number. We'll see.
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.