Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Willis Palms Oasis hike blog #420

Certain things have kept us from hiking much in the previous week, doctors appointments, wind and rain, but today it is too beautiful to stay indoors.
This morning we drove to the Choachella Valley Preserve to check out some palms we had seen in the distance from Thousand Palms Canyon Rd.

We chose the Willis Loop Trail which is about 4.5 miles in length and within rock throwing distance to the San Andres Fault.

Up the sand and rock wash we go...

Lucky for us there were occasional markers to keep us on course.

The loop took us up a gradual elevation change of approximately 700 feet, deep into this canyon.

Parts of the trail were blocked by an impenetrable line of rocks...apparently they really didn't want you to go down this walkway.

It's amazing to me that with the force of the wash at times, this Smoke Tree could not only get started, but grow to this size.

Carla is standing on some ancient Pliocenes fill, most likely squeezed up by the Mission Fault. The yellow dirt must be very toxic, because not a blade of grass or and other vegetation was visible.

We finally came upon the Willis Palms.
A devastating fire in 2010 burned most of the palm skirts that house many animals, including bats. The birds, mammals and vermin are working their way back.

Some of the younger palms only lost a small amount of palm skirts.

This panoramic photo tries to give a view of the hundreds of palms.

Just like in any forest fire, nature skips over some of the vegetation to use as a nursery for new growth.

At the end of our hike we were afforded a good view of the Willis Palms and San Gorgonio in the background.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A hike up to the microwave towers above Desert Hot Springs. Blog 419

This was an aggressive hike for a Sunday morning, but it feels good to push physical boundaries at my age. 

The tower is directly below the red dot. 

First thing was to check the altitude at the park because that red dot looks like 2000 feet higher in elevation, to me.

 We ignored all the "no trespassing" signs. I know from my hike last year they allowed hiking...just stay away from the microwave tower. 
Sorry about the quality of some of the photos...there must of been a smear of suntan lotion on the phone.

Carla is quite the trooper, she just puts her head down and climbs up the very steep road, one foot at a time.

Just a few more feet to go...yeah!

 Made it! We definitely wanted to stay low and away from the microwave antenna. 

What I thought might be a 2000 foot rise in elevation turned out to be only a bit more than 1100 feet difference from the bottom to the top. It sure felt like a lot more though.

These three antenna are the nasty ones we were warned about. They emit a very strong microwave, much like a microwave oven, in a straight line across the valley. 

This 100 yard section of the dirt road is the only piece paved, because it is the steepest part of the road.

Carla escapes by the skin of her chinny, chin, chin!
We had such a great hike and the weather was perfect.

I so glad we had a beautiful Sunday because when I woke up yesterday this is what greeted me. I never even got my Fitbit step minimum in on Monday.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Joshua Tree town and Joshua Tree National Park Blog 418

Carla and I got up early Wednesday morning for an outing to Joshua Tree and  meet up with one of her girlfriends who had just bought a house there. We decided to visit my fathers former old cabin, 5 miles outside of town, and then head for the National Park.
Our neighbor Karen took care of our doggies so as to leave the day open.

Our first stop was the old family homestead...actually, the land was homesteaded if you built a minimum 600 sq ft cabin. Dad and my grandmother homesteaded 5 acres and erected this cabin in the mid '50's. Dad sold it in the early 2000's for a princely sum of 23K. As kids we would go out for the weekend exploring the desert looking for snakes and tortoises. 

In town when I was a kid, we'd dig up tortoises from their burrows and race them at the town turtle races once a year. Looking back, not the greatest of ideas.

Before meeting Jennifer we wanted to do a short mile hike up "Coyote Hole Canyon" to see some petroglyphs.

This was one of many signs...most said no trespassing or stay out but some other hikers advised us to ignore the signs, which we did of course.

We did come across some great examples of early Indian graffiti.

This was the very end of Coyote Hole Box Canyon. It truly was a box canyon because I had to scale some very steep walls just to get on top of this 20' rock in order to take a photo.

Water can't even get through this rock, they were so tightly packed in. We were told when it rains there would be a 20 foot waterfall and while on top, I could see where the flow would of been.

Not a canyon you would want to be in, if it was raining.

Carla walking out of the canyon on the way to the car and lunch with her friend.

After our walk to the petroglyphs and a quick look at Jennifer's new house we headed for a much needed lunch at the Joshua Tree Saloon. Jennifer had a grilled cheese, I had the Northwestern 1/2 pound burger with pepper jack , Anahiem chili and chili Verdi sauce.  Yumm yum!
Carla got a BLT and we shared, although I regretted it later...mine was so much more interesting. 

After lunch we did a drive-by through the national park. We weren't alone...it was very busy. I must say it's nice to have the "over 62 year old pass" that allows us free entrance to any national park, monument's, or federal museums. Also if we camp...50% off posted camp fees.

Our neighbor Karen, who was watching the dogs for us, asked us to take a picture of a Joshua Tree...she had never seen one.
I found this healthy beauty near the road as a good example to show Karen.

If I cared to camp in the park, I get 50% off the regular rate...how much off did this guy get?

There were plenty of rocks and large mounds to climb, and the climbers to do it. We saw numerous walls of rock with people using ropes and crampons scampering up the cliffs.

Hey, even at 68 I can climb too, as long as I am not dependent on a rope or someone at the other end for protection.
It was a long day and beautiful scenery on such a wonderful day, weather wise.
Thanks all for now...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy anniversary sweetie. Blog # 417

Another anniversary that you are missing, but I'm here to keep your memory alive. 

It all started more than 40 years ago in 1975 and culminate with our wedding on January 1st 1978. Why the first day of the year? I'm not sure who's idea that was, it might of been yours in order to make it easier for me to remember. 

Every anniversary was a special day for you, and me too.

Your choice of drink the last ten years, on our anniversary, was always champagne, framboise or grenadine, with some raspberries on the bottom. I made this one just for you, my love.

Along the way we accumulate a son, a wonderful son.

We also acquired three beautiful grandkids who will pass along yours, and my...legacy. What more could a person ask for. 

We had it all dear for so many years. I never imagined that it would end...I'm sure you thought so too. I have loved you everyday we were together and I'll continue to love you...everyday of my life. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Donna's Christmas letter...2016 blog #416

Well sweetie... its time for another Christmas letter to you. I promised I would keep you up to date on your birthday and your favorite holiday, Christmas.
If your friends are correct, you can see this and you're watching over me all the time...me, I just think your positive energy is floating thru the universe effecting all the people who were close to you. It certainly must have had an effect on our son, he has been working so hard and takes such good care of his family.
Yes, Jason seems to have settle down very nicely and is a super father. He, along with Lisa, are raising two wonderful grandkids for you. 

Except for the old geezer, you have a great looking family.

Riley continues to get awards, upon awards for his outstanding school work and has a wonderful, if slightly (lawyer like) argumentative personality. 

This photo pretty much puts it in a nut shell, KMoon is unabashedly so interesting to be around. I was lucky enough to be with the kids for a month in November and it was one of the greatest times of my life.
 KMoon is a sparkling star to go with her beautiful personality.

Ashley is also very smart and ahead in school, the smart gene must of come from the female grannies. Here she is with her first real pet...milktoast. 


I had help in November taking care of the kids, Carla was so helpful in guiding me, while helping me care for both children...I would of been lost without her.

In September I told you about Carla, well we are still together and enjoying life. Sometimes I think you nudged me toward her somehow and while she is no replacement for you, she has such an awesome personality, a positive outlook and much more trusting than myself. I'm not sure how I keep getting so lucky as to have had such wonderful people around me since the age of 23...you'd think with my view of life, I'd be surrounded by a slue of pessimists.

When I found the house of our dreams outside of Colville, WA., after approximately three years on the road, you made me promise that if we bought the house, we would still RV part of the year.

I kept that promise to you and am still going to keep traveling, whenever possible throughout the year.

 I still have fond memories of bringing you home from Seattle in the motorhome, just weeks before you passed...you loved that trip as much as any we have had.

Another promise you made me swear to, besides traveling, keeping the trust for the kids and not ending up like my dad (alone), was to lose weight. Jeez you made me promise a lot, girl! Well I did lose my excess weight but I also picked up a bad habit that you made me quit years earlier...cigars. Well, you never made me swear not too so don't be pissed off if you are looking down here. haha

Merry 2016 Christmas sweetie, not a day goes by that I don't think of you or thank my lucky stars you were in my life, as long as you were.