Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Butterfly Pavilion is an annual thing at the Natural History Museum. Tickets are required. If you're not a member, you need to buy a package that includes both entry to the museum and entry to the pavilion. If you're a member, you just need to reserve timed-tickets to guarantee entry. I think if you're an higher-level member, you can also enter at anytime.
The Pavilion is relatively small, but there's enough fluttering color to keep someone like me occupied for easily over 30 minutes just shooting pictures.
Obviously, kids love the butterflies. Adults, too.
Entry to the Pavilion can be scheduled to start at between 11am and 4:30pm (the last entry). I'm not sure if they chase you out at the end of the 30 minutes or not (except for the 4:30pm half-hour, of course) I suspect not. I assume it's timed entry and not timed enjoyment.
The Butterfly Pavilion remains until September 1. I assume as the end approaches, the number of butterflies still flying around shrinks. The Monarchs seem already to have passed on or been released or otherwise left the Pavilion.
flew into town back in September 2012. The California African American Museum is also nearby, as is the University of Southern California. Definitely lots of places you can occupy yourself around or in Exposition Park.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
A number of years ago, I wandered up to the parking area near the top of Mt. Pinos and saw the most amazing sight: A field, covered in iris. That was in mid-July, four years ago. So I got to thinking that maybe it might be time for irises, again. So, the next change I got, I returned to Mt. Pinos.
here, in this older post of a hike to Mt. Pinos and Mt. Abel.
Feeling in much worse shape than when last I hiked this area, I was pretty sure I was only going to go to the Mt. Pinos viewpoint, and not continue on to Mt. Abel.
It's just about a 99 mile drive from my San Gabriel Valley home to the Nordic Ski Hut parking area on Mt. Pinos. Long drive, which usually means you want to have some time for a hike, or for after-hike activities. For me, that usually meant setting up a telescope and observing from the closest seriously dark-sky location to my home.
The final thing that (usually) makes this a great location for night sky observing is the portapotties. No, that's not quite civilization, but it sure makes life easier when the toilets are just across the parking lot. Then you don't have to worry much about being figuratively in the middle of nowhere.
There are pit toilets not too far from the parking lot, but the point of having them in the parking lot is that this is where the telescopes are going to set up. Having to walk in the dark even a few hundred feet off the parking lot and to the camp area is a hassle, and one that seems crazy to me, given what a popular dark sky location Mt. Pinos is for the entire southern California astronomy community.
It wasn't the dense field of blooms I saw four years ago, but there were a goodly number of individual blooms, all nicely formed and colorful.
In addition to the iris, western wallflower were common under various trees, both here and further along, when I got on the regular trail.
This "trail" is actually a dirt road. Apparently, it was paved not all that long ago, and you could just drive on over to the viewpoint that is at the end of this trail. Now, generally, the gate is locked, and it's a hiking trail.
At the end of this trail is an overview. If you're interested, the trail continues from the lookout towards the north, dropping into a valley, then continuing on to Mt. Abel.
The other outhouse still has three of its walls, but not the door. When I was there, a black cloth covered the top half of the door opening, which means it sorta covers the wrong half. But that's the way gravity works, right?
On the way back, I took a detour to the solar panel / antenna array that's on top of the actual summit of Mount Pinos.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I came across this hike by accident. I was looking at my San Bernardino National Forest recreation map, looking for a hike I had done before. Came across the red line of a trail that I had NOT done before, instead. I googled the name of the peak, and came across several hits, which I read, and found promising.
Here's the Summit Post entry.
And here's Nobody Hikes in LA's entry. In terms of directions to the trailhead, this one is more accurate. I didn't reset my odometer, but 2.3 miles from the Mill Creek ranger station to the turn for this trailhead is definitely a more correct distance than the "about 1.5 miles" on Summit Post.
As noted above, the trailhead is off of CA-38, about 2.3 miles past the Mill Creek ranger station. It's on the left, and it's the only road-looking left turn you'll come to once you're within the canyon.
BTW, you may note my trailhead picture no longer includes a red car. I traded in my Saturn L200 for a Toyota Prius. Not sure if I've mentioned that, yet. I'm not sure if this car will prove as well-traveled as my old car. Only time will tell.
Yet, there was also quite a bit of clouds. Indeed, on my return leg, after noon, it looked like thunderclouds were building pretty strongly above the mountains to the north.
In the previous shot, however, I caught a cloud drifting behind San Bernardino Peak. I thought it made it look a little volcanic.
After about 1.25 mile, I came to another, open gate. I'm told that this gate is normally locked, unless there are firespotters up on the peak. A sign here pointed the way to the lookout, again.
The lookout is not too far off the ground, although the steps are narrow and steep, so, if you do walk up the actual lookout, be extremely careful, and use your hands.
On the drive back, I stopped in Mentone. There's a produce market / fruitstand thing in town that I often stop at. I bought some avocado, strawberries, and oranges. The avocado wasn't ripe, so I haven't eaten that. But the strawberry and oranges were both crazy-sweet.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
California Citrus State Historic Park is in Riverside, off the 91 (Riverside) Freeway. Exit at Van Buren and follow the signs. I've got very few pictures from this hike, because my camera battery died shortly after my arrival. This was one of several incidents that has me thinking about getting a spare battery to carry.
And that's what you get with the guided tour: A chance to eat some citrus. Well, that's just a bonus. Your volunteer docent will take you for a nice walk among a LARGE variety of citrus, where you'll learn about a variety of trees, and some history of the area and of the citrus industry in southern California. As you walk among the trees, the docent will cut fruit off the tree and let you sample. You'll also usually get a few extra fruit to take home.
But don't try cutting your own--the trees, like the structures and historical artifacts in any state park, are protected. I hear it's a $1000 fine for picking on your own, so don't do it!
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve). Twice, this year.
There is no additional charge for the tour, however (though there's some talk of that changing, in the future).
The walk around the citrus grove is over generally smooth, but uneven (sloped) ground, so wear shoes and walk carefully. It's not a long walk, but it can get hot out there. Dress accordingly.
There's an actual hike that would take you out of the developed park area, but it's still pretty short. I didn't have time for that because of when I arrived. So I just walked the mostly-developed walking path around the gazebo, up to a viewpoint, and around the groves, before joining the tour that walked amongst the citrus groves. Not what I expected, but in a good way. Of course, I'm a big fan of anything "free," including fresh fruit.
The last picture in this post is my fruit drawer, after I got home. As I said, with a dead battery, I couldn't take many pictures of the park. So here's one of my refrigerator!
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Obviously, I've hiked to Echo Mountain and "The White City" many, many times over the years (most recently a few months ago). Usually, the White City is the goal; today, the Lowe Observatory pillar was the goal.
The pillar has plenty of grips (although climbing up there undoubtedly speeds erosion), but it would require a level of strength, dexterity, and fearlessness that I do not possess. So I satisfied myself with more pictures of the object, from afar.
All of this burned in a series of fires, then The Great Depression drove the final nail in the coffin. Today, only concrete foundations, walls, stairs, and pillars remain of the first time America tried to "get back to nature."
The clouds were pretty nifty last night, and the sunset would have been great. However, I was too hungry to stick around, and, as if to completely eliminate the temptation, my camera battery died. So no spectacular sunset pictures with this post!
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Of course, this one, I've done many times, too. But not as frequently as Henninger Flats.
And it seems like only yesterday I even learned it existed. :(
I also like it because of some memorable pictures I got on a hike here last year.
Not too many flowers for me to photograph on this trip. The yucca were the most impressive bloom, as they have been at several local hikes over the past few weeks. There were also plenty of buckwheat, which I did not photograph. Quite a lot of Indian pink, as well, but those did not photograph well.
Other than the pinheaded buttheads on the top of Mt. Lee, the hike was fine. Despite some uncertainty as to if I really did have time to make to Burbank Peak and back, I eventually went ahead. Stayed on the actual peak for about twelve seconds, of course, because I had some distance to make it back.
As I made my way around Mt. Hollywood, I decided to return via the east end of the loop. No particular reason why. Just hadn't gone this way in a while.
About 7-8 miles roundtrip. As I said, a nice post-work hike