Thursday, October 26, 2023

A Fluffy Cloud Kind of Day

 It's been a quiet week, with no travel out to the desert. The weather has been wonderful. We went from a hot weekend, with highs in the 90's, to very comfortable mid-70s starting on Monday. Today the sky is blue with big, fluffy clouds. The sky was calling to me, and I couldn't resist going out!

Old rusty valve left behind on what used to be oil property.

Later on, I took my granddaughter to soccer practice. There are some trails behind the soccer field that are great for hiking, so I try to get in a little exercise during part of her practice. I was finishing up my hike a little after sunset when I noticed this gorgeous sky. I took these photos, then went back and watched the last half hour of her practice.

That's St. Jude Hospital (Fullerton, CA) up on the hill.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Along the Boy Scout Trail

 One end of Boy Scout Trail (Indian Cove trailhead) is at about 2800', while the other end of the trail (Keys West trailhead) is at about 4100' in elevation. From one end to the other is about 7.5 miles. Smart money says to start your hike at the high trailhead so most of your hiking will be flat or downhill. Problem is, if you hike all the way down to Indian Cove, your car is now 7.5 miles and 1300' away! I don't know about you, but my old joints no longer have the ability to hike 15 miles.
If I hike out the door from my desert house, I can intersect the Boy Scout Trail in about 2 miles. On this particular day, I invited Mitch and Roger to meet me at the house so we could hike UP the BST. I know, we're doing it the hard way, but our plan was to hike only about half the trail, which would put us in an area with nice views and pretty desert scenery, and no worries about having to circle back for someones car.
We did this hike back in February. I couldn't resist stopping on the drive out to the desert for this photo of a light dusting of snow on the ground. It didn't last long!
The hike up BST. Photo by Mitch. Roger (front) brought a friend. 
Mitch doing his best to clear a boulder off the trail (without success)!
Water pockets along the trail from recent rain.
As we get to higher elevation, things get scenic!

I don't recall what Roger was pointing out. 

Some wonderful views from this part of the Boy Scout Trail!
One of my favorite rock formations along this stretch of the trail.
As we were hiking back down the trail in the late afternoon sun, a young solo hiker blew by us like we were standing still (in reality, we pretty much were standing still!). The old folks just moved to the side of the trail to let her pass. I think were were all thinking the same thing: Oh, to be young again!
Thanks for stopping by!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Mymine Mine

 Mitch & I had chosen this day for a hike. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a scorching hot day with high winds. I didn't want to cancel, so I mentioned a short, easy hike that has been on my "to do" list for quite a while, and Mitch gave it the thumbs up. The hike involved a little up hill scrambling to a small mine site that I had read about over at my friend Elliot's blog here. Even in the heat, it should be doable, and like I said, it's a short hike. And if we get a good sunset, we will be well positoned to photograph it!
Turns out the little uphill scramble was more challenging than I thought, especially on a blazing hot day! (photo credit:
 Nice view of the main road as it leads deeper into Joshua Tree National Park. Likely because of the heat and the wind, the Park was nearly empty.
Reaching the top of the hill, this is the view NW. The sky looks like a white-out because the wind is blowing dust and sand into the air. Look closely and you can see some signs of mining activity. That's Mitch on the left.
An unusual sight: Mitch appears to be texting! Turns out this is one of the few locations in all of JTNP where you can get cell service. Also of note is Mitch's hair. No, he doesn't comb it in a forward sweep! This just gives you a sense of how hard the wind was blowing.
Lots of wood debris at the Mymine site. It's thought that this is the remains of a miner's cabin.
Interesting old ore cart tracks with the opening to Mymine mine in the background. Elliot mentions in his post that historically significant mining equipment, including an old are cart that was sitting on these tracks, was stolen back in the 70's or early 80's. That's really too bad. How cool would it be to see the original ore cart sitting on these tracks, just as the miners left it!? He also mentions that a 1967 survey reports the cabin at this site was in good shape, with tools and supplies stored inside. All that's left now is a pile of wood and rocks.
Opposite view of the tracks, leading away from the mine.
Entrance to Mymine, or what's left of it!
It looks like the mine entrance was through this trap door. I don't think I would want to try to squeeze down through that space even if it wasn't chained and locked! By the way, Mymine is really the name of this mine (I originally thought it was just something Elliot made up!). I found a BLM site that mentions the mine and said it was both a gold and silver mine. But it's not marked on a USGS topo map I consulted. Other than Elliot's blog post, I've never seen it mentioned anywhere.

There's a fair amount of "vintage trash" scattered around the mine site.
There's a second pit site near the main mine. Not sure if this was a shallow exploratory dig or a deeper mine that the Park Service filled in. They fenced it off, so at one time it was probably deeper. Many of the details of Mymine appear to be lost to history.

Remains of a ground-nesting bird?
Mymine turned out to be a very interesting site. Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

UFO Sighting??

 My granddaughter has soccer practice twice a week, and the location is right next to some hiking trails. I usually leave practice for a while to get in a little exercise. On this particular day, I took the trail to the west with a goal of seeing if it would take me down to the dam.
There's a small stream that runs through the property to the dam.
Although the main trail doesn't lead to the dam, it's possible to get there. It's impressive to see the dam from this view. Look at all the detritus pushing up against the dam. The little stream must become a flowing river after heavy rain! One of the main trails leads to the top of the dam. You can actually hike/bike across the entire length of the top of the dam, which provides some nice views!
Some sections of the trail are wide and fenced off. The only thing I don't like about this (and similar) trails is that you have to share them with bikers. The bikers (some, not all) take these turns at breakneck speeds, and as a hiker, you take the risk of getting hit by someone speeding out of control down the trail. I've had a couple of close calls but so far have managed not to get run over.
One of the trails takes you by some old pump jacks, a couple of which are still pumping! These used to be all over Orange County, but you don't see them much anymore. A relic of days gone by.
The sun is setting, so time to head back to soccer practice!
As I settle into my chair and start watching soccer practice, I hear a parent behind me ask "What's that??" About the same time, the girls on the field all come to a halt and are looking up in the sky. Kind of a surreal and comical moment, and I hear a couple of conjectures such as "UFO" and "alien". I caught a little snippet of the moment on this video (turn up the sound so you can hear the girls).
I try to capture it using my iPhone, but I'm a few moments too late. The "head" is already fading, but I recognize it immediately as a SpaceX launch. I've seen photos of previous launches, and they all look similar. The rockets are launched from Vandenberg AirForce Base and are visible all over Southern California. 
"Tail" of the SpaceX launch. What used to be a straight arching line is getting jagged as the wind currents blow it around. Soon it will totally disappear.
A better shot of a SpaceX launch. Photo credit: Associated Press
Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to look up.
You never know what you might see!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.