Thursday, March 23, 2023

Bridge to Nowhere

 Still raining in S CA, and I think I read somewhere that the drought is officially over*. That little asterisk means "at least for now." I fully expect the drought to rear it's ugly head again in the not too distant future.
This little pop-up pond is probably much fuller today, but it's too muddy to hike there.

Fullerton Hills in the foreground, Catalina Island in the background.
Knotts Berry Farm in the foreground; big tanker ship on the horizon.
Lovely view of the sandstone cliffs.
The concrete road behind the chain link fence is a bridge crossing over the highway. I've been curious about it because I thought it might have some photographic potential, and also because it's labeled "Bridge to Nowhere" on Google Maps. With a name like that, how could you not be curious? Not sure how you place a public label using GM, but someone managed to do it. The bridge is fenced off from both directions, and the path on the other side of the highway doesn't lead to anything, so I guess "Bridge to Nowhere" is as good a name as any!
It's a beautiful bridge that I'm sure cost a lot of taxpayer dollars, but unfortunately the money was wasted and the bridge was never used. 
The city is serious about keeping people off this bridge, using chain link fence and ribbon wire as deterrents. Even with that, someone has managed to cut through the fence to provide access (nope, I didn't crawl through).

Padded bench for enjoying the sunset.
Even though spring is here, I'm happy with clouds and rain and hope it continues. A multi-year drought makes you appreciate this kind of weather!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Somewhere in the Pinto Basin

 A Facebook friend (J.A.R.) was kind enough to share a general location where he had come across some Native American pottery sherds. As I write this post, I'm wondering if I ever went back and thanked him for the tip? It was a good one, and we had a wonderful hike. Join me as we go see what we can find.
It was one of those beautiful, cloudy desert days. The smell of wet creosote was in the air. Nice and cool for hiking, but you need to keep an eye out for thunder storms and flash floods. It had already been a memorable drive out, with gorgeous skies and rainbows (see last week's post).
Looking in the other direction from the photo above, you could see some blue sky. The ocotillo were happy.
So were the smoke trees!
Here's a strange looking ocotillo. Usually their branches are more straight up and down. And this one looks almost purple in color!
Ocotillo only leaf out immediately after a rain. The rest of the time, they look like bare sticks coming out of the ground. The casual observer would understandably assume the plant is dead, but give them a little rain and magic happens! In the Pinto Basin of Joshua Tree National Park, these guys go for months and sometimes years without any rain.
After a long hike, we finally reached the base of the mountain. This spot looks like it might have been used as a shelter (I'm standing inside, shooting out). 
As I search for pottery, I feel as if I'm being watched!
 I find no pottery, but my first thought upon seeing this boulder is that this might be a pictograph. The marks look like they might have been made using dye. Here's what it looks like using dStretch (color enhancer).
It looks fascinating, but I suspect it's made naturally somehow (not a pictograph). It has direct sun exposure, and a pictograph would be totally faded. But it sure makes me curious as to how it could have been made.
It's not long after reaching the rocks that we start to see pottery.
More pottery and a rock chip that indicates tool making.

Fooled me... this is not pottery.

In the same general area I find two bedrock mortars that would have been used for grinding. This is turning out to be a very significant site!
My friend Roger finds a petroglyph panel. Very cool!
More petroglyphs near by.
This large petroglyph panel is so faded that we almost miss it!
More faded glyphs that we very nearly miss.

We find a few flowers and some colorful lichen while out exploring. And also some rain!

Roger and Mitch came prepared for the weather!
This turned out to be a very memorable hike, and what I consider to be a significant cultural site, with lots of pottery, petroglyphs, stone flakes, and a grinding site. Please please please if you come across a cultural site leave everything exactly as you found it. Take nothing, and leave only footprints.
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Early Morning Drive to the Desert

 It was a recent Sunday morning and I was on the road early to meet with friends for a desert hike. It's a 2 hour commute for me, so hiking days always start with an early morning alarm, followed by making coffee, loading up the car, and being on the road by 5 or 5:30am. Today was unusual: I was actually ahead of schedule (that rarely happens)!! Lucky for me, because the skies were so pretty I simply had to stop along the way for photos.

The windmills out near Palm Springs had an early morning eerie look to them, and the pre-sunrise sky was gorgous!
I had barely gotten back on the road when I noticed an amazing sky off to the east. There was a large rainbow actually cresting the setting moon, along with glowing clouds. It was quite a sight! Unfortunately, the next offramp was about 3 miles away. By the time I pulled off the highway and got my camera out of the trunk, the rainbow was nearly gone๐Ÿ˜ž. You can still make out the left and right corners of the rainbow, but the center has disappeared. Take my word for it that it was amazing to see a rainbow arching over the moon, and it's one of those "photos that got away" that I will regret not being able to capture. 

First light on the wind turbines.
I continued to see bits and pieces of the rainbow in my rearview mirror, so I made one final photo stop.
View from my driveway... a piece of rainbow can still be seen!
Time to get organized and meet friends for our hike. I'll be sharing those photos with you soon. Fingers crossed for a pretty sky and maybe even a rainbow!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

A Soggy Situation

 We've been getting rain. LOTS of rain. And hail, wind, and even snow in places that rarely get snow. My granddaughter said she got hit in the head by a piece of hail yesterday walking home from school! We so need the rain, so as long as you aren't affected by flooding or mudslides, it's all good.
It had recently stopped raining, but another storm was moving in, so if I was going to get out for a little hike and a few photos, I better get a move on!
First I headed over to my local park because I could see the wild mustard was starting to bloom. But the trails were closed due to all the recent rain, and some of the fields were flooded.

No, this water does not belong here!
I know mustard is an invasive weed, but it sure looks nice when it flowers on a hillside!
Next I went across the street to a trail that would give me a view of downtown LA. I was carrying my 100-400mm telephoto lens with 2x extender (heavy), camera body with wide angle lens (heavy), and tripod (really heavy) in my backpack. I was curious to see if this setup would give me superior photos of the downtown area (about 20 miles away as the crow flies). Unfortunately, the sky was hazy so not an ideal day for taking photos of LA, but they still turned out better than previous attempts without the 2x extender.

Hollywood sign, with the Griffith Park Observatory below and to the left. I'm not sure about the large building below and slightly right. Church of Scientology, or perhaps the old LAC USC County Hospital?? Pretty darn good for 20 miles away on a hazy day!
The sandstone cliffs in Utah the Fullerton Hills.

I love those fluffy clouds!
I'm so glad I got out for this hike. Not long after I got home, it started raining, and didn't stop until the next day. I woke up pretty sore and stiff this morning. Probably had something to do with lugging all that camera gear up and down hills for 3.6 miles ๐Ÿ˜….
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you are warm and safe, wherever you may be, and watch out for falling hail!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.