Welcome!

Welcome and thanks for stopping by.
Click on a photo to enlarge it. My reference links will open in a new tab.

If you have any corrections, suggestions, comments please use the Comments at the end of the post.
I do respond to all comments. - Thanks!

February 16, 2018

Lake Miramar - Urban Hiking San Diego

In 1960 the dam creating Lake Miramar was completed adding the reservoir to the San Diego aqueduct system.  This is a drinking water reservoir and no human contact with the water is permitted.

Non-powered boats are available for rent at the concessionaire.
IMG_6815IMG_6814

Before the grand-girls were in school we’d meet here for lunch and feed the ducks.  There are quite a few picnic areas around the lake.
IMG_6813IMG_6818

The 5 mile paved loop around the lake is quite popular.  On any visit expect to see joggers, walkers and bikes.  There is a bike repair station near the beginning of the loop road.  There is also a dirt path along the shore, but does not extend completely around the lake.
IMG_6816IMG_6819

I normally start on the path then pick up the road when it first rejoins the road in about a mile.
IMG_6825IMG_6826
IMG_6829IMG_6830

There are lots of baby strollers.  It’s a good place for the kids too.  This marine, with his wife and twins passed me near the halfway point. There are signs every quarter mile.
IMG_6832IMG_6835

The Washington Palms are the only native California palm tress.
IMG_6836

The lake is indeed in an urban location.  There are homes, condos and office space on the south and west sides of the lake.
IMG_6837IMG_6844

Across the street is the Scripps Ranch Library and Evan’s Pond.  The pond is not large but does provide easy access for the kids who want to feed the ducks.  Or just be a bump on a stump and watch.
IMG_6848IMG_6850
IMG_6852IMG_6853

The library is on the west end of the pond and picnic spots can be found along the north shore.
IMG_6856IMG_6855

This is a very nice county library. 
IMG_6857IMG_6858

February 12, 2018

Carnaval - Borrego Springs and Torotes

Normally we play Euchre on the 2nd Saturday of the month.  But this month I’m a single as Fran is hosting her sister’s birthday party with the gal-pals … I’m not wanted.  And I found out Thursday a single is not needed at Euchre.

What to do … There’s the Holtville Carrot Festival; the Ocotillo Wells Star Party; and the Borrego Springs Carnaval at the Mall.  With the family dinner at Manderin House in La Jolla on Friday, I knew it would not be an early start on Saturday.  Which set Carnaval and the Star Party as the best options.

Our friends Doug and Marilyn were also available for the trip.  Arriving on a Saturday there were not a lot of sites left on Main Street, but M12 was just fine with a bit of privacy and a palapa too!
IMG_6765IMG_6766

I have to admit I did not expect much from the Carnaval activities, and I was not disappointed.  It was pretty hokey, but in a fun way.  The music of Abba filled the Mall – Abba at Carnaval?
IMG_6745IMG_6748

While waiting for the parade the 3 of us walked the mall.  A nice slab of sea shell fossils was available, which polished up nicely.
IMG_6747IMG_6743

After a few minutes the parade begins!
IMG_6750IMG_6751
IMG_6753IMG_6761
IMG_6755IMG_6757

Yup that was the parade; and the parade replay as they returned back through the mall.
Face painting is fun for the kids, no this was not karaoke but the promised live entertainment. 

IMG_6763IMG_6764

No pictures of the star party.  Ocotillo Wells has an 11” Celestron celestial telescope and a solar scope.  Logan is the new park astronomer (amateur), and a welcome addition.  He maned the solar scope all afternoon and then the big scope for the star party.  Few folks come to Ocotillo Wells for the star parties, hence few show up, kinda nice.  The that were there when we arrived left early and the three of us had an 11” telescope, computer, videos, big screen, Logan and his assistant as our private guides to the universe.

Logan showed us the typical highlights - Orion’s Nebula, Uranus, M41, Crab Nebula, Double Cluster, Andromeda, and more were all viewed and discussed.  And the both Chinese space station and the ISS made cameo appearances.

After seeing the beautiful polished fossils in the mall  and decided to visit Shell Reef in the morning.  These fossil beds are quite amazing, although the clam and oyster shells are small compared to those common today, they far outnumber them.
IMG_6767IMG_6769

The shells are everywhere cemented to rocks of all sizes.  To give perspective Marilyn is taking a rest stop in a sea of fossil shells.
IMG_6773IMG_6776
IMG_6778IMG_6777

I found what appears to be a pumpkin, at least part of one.  We’ll not be going to the Pumpkin Patch so the mystery will remain.
IMG_6771

Doug and Marilyn had to depart Sunday afternoon, which left me a bit of free time.  Not yet ready to leave I decided to visit the Elephant Trees.
IMG_6779IMG_6780

The trailhead is a mile off Split Mountain Road.  I’d think any high-clearance vehicle (or rental) could make it to within 50’ of the trail head and there is plenty of parking there.

IMG_6781IMG_6783

Like the approach the trail starts out wide and sandy and also turns to a rocky path.
IMG_6784IMG_6787

The trail has numbered posts, but there was not a trail guide. Going up the wash the ocotillo are starting to bloom and the barrel cactus is saturated.  This is likely from the rains they had last September.
IMG_6792IMG_6791

However outside the wash this young Elephant Tree is not doing so well, and another ocotillo has fallen victim to the draught.
IMG_6793IMG_6794

Trail marker 9 is where to spend some time, it’s a magnificent example of the Elephant Tree.  The Spanish call them Torote (tortured and twisted).  The Torote Bowl at the south end of the park also has a few excellent trees.
IMG_6796IMG_6797
IMG_6798IMG_6799

Water is stored in the base of the trunk, giving it the appearance of an elephant’s foot.
IMG_6800

On the return side of the loop I notice a barrel cactus and ocotillo that will not likely survive the summer.
IMG_6801IMG_6803

The last numbered stop appears to be a creosote bush that has not survived, although the mistletoe parasite continues to hang on.
IMG_6805IMG_6804

Ocotillo Wells is not for everybody, it's an off-road paradise on the weekend.  But Sunday evening through Friday morning it offers a nice place to view the stars.  Back-in-the-day the entire park was open for exploration on a powered vehicle – now only street-legal are allowed to access most of the park, and the ‘green sticker’ off-roaders are restricted.  And this is one of the areas where they can let loose.

But tonight I am the only one camping on Main Street, last night it was pretty full.  After the sunset the wind again came up.  Rufus was again rocking and rolling all night.  Shortly after sunrise the wind let up a bit.
IMG_6806IMG_6810

On the ride home I was treated to a nice rainbow, it was raining in the mountains near Julian.   And the rainbow was on my side of the hills ahead!   Pot of Gold here I come!
IMG_6812IMG_6811

By the time I reached San Felipe on S-2 it was a heavy mist, and it was raining by the time I reached Dudley’s.