Sunday, March 28, 2010

Solidarity Walk

Last Sunday Bernie participated in the Bataan Death March Memorial Walk at the White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here in California, Super Nephew S and I walked in solidarity with Bernie and Team Relentless. The NM walk was 26.2 miles in the high desert. Our walk here in CA was planned for as many miles as we could do along Don Pedro Reservoir in Tuolumne County. The NM walk started at 7 am. We started at 9:30 am. Super S and I were disappointed Super Nephew G, sidelined by a pesky fever, was not able to join us on the solidarity walk.

We started at the Ferretti Shrine, walked along old Highway 40 and into the Moccasin Point Boat Launch and Campground. It's a four mile loop. Some of the time we did the whole 4 mile loop, a few times we turned around at the 3 mile loop. Either way, we returned regularly to the car for water and snacks.

Dispatches via iPhone pics and texts kept burned up the airwaves between CA and NM. Here is a snap from Bernie of the sign welcoming marchers to White Sands.Back in CA we were walking in fields of wild flowers.

The gullies were still running with winter rain water.

The banks along the old road are mostly slate. This is one of my favorite formations.

Back in NM, Bernie sent a snap of CA poppies. They grow only about 6 inches tall in this harsh desert environment.

Our poppies on a steep hillside.

The redbud was in full bloom.

And the buck bush filled the air with it's fragrance.

Tiny buttercups bloomed in the rocky soil.

Mile 13 from New Mexico, the Team is half way!

Super S had called it a day at Mile 11 in CA. At Mile 15 the coolclearwater in Don Pedro was looking very inviting!

A text arrived from Bernie reporting Mile 24 completed. About that time I was at Mile 20 and getting both tired and lonesome. Time to call it a day!

Our best love and congratulations to Bernie and Team Relentless who completed their 26.2 miles in 11 hours!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hiking Table Mountain

The view out my picture window includes Table Mountain. There's no access from here on the east side, but just up Highway 49 and out Rawhide Road is Melones Reservoir and many, many acres of land administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. There are no visitor centers, or parking lots at this location, and just recently this new sign was installed. A local county road that passes through this area was closed about 7 years ago. Now we hike out to the trail that leads up to the top of Table Mountain.

The first part of the hike is through oaks, gray pines, and rolling grass land. That line in the center of the picture is Table Mountain in the distance.

Osprey chicks are hatching all over the county. This nest is in the top of a gray pine. (For any one who remembers, the big snag at Parrot's Ferry bridge fell in the monster winds last winter, very sad for all of us who traveled that road, not to mention the osprey families!)

Leaving the grass land we climb through scrub oak and then up the rocky side of the mountain.

There's an easy access trail through the lava to the top. The real climbing is done farther south in an area called the "grotto".

Up on top, tiny Gold Fields bloom for miles. Later in the season different colors will appear as the waves of flowers open. This year there is so much water in the vernal pools the season will last for many weeks.

Jimmy was off exploring the far edge, but doesn't get too close, he knows his limits on this mountain.

A couple Golden Rod were were blooming in the rocks just before the top.

Looking east to snow covered peaks in Yosemite. The snow pack is right at 100% of normal. Good news after several years of drought, but a long wait for hiking in the high country!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Showers

There was some type of fancy luncheon going on at Ironstone when we arrived. Channel 3 news was even there! With that on top of the drizzly weather we did a short walk around the ground before heading back to Murphys for a yummy lunch at Grounds.

The water wheel always catches my eye and gave me a few cool snaps. I love the woodwork.

No tourist panning for gold today. The real gold was the rain drops falling on the flume.

Daffodils are at their peak. If we get some clear weather next week, they will be spectacular.

And don't forget the tulips!

Most of my time for the next two weeks will be filled with California wildflowers. But I bet I can squeeze in another trip to see the daffodils at Ironstone again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why I Love Tuolumne County

Choices, choices, choices! Shall I go to the snow? or maybe hiking in the wildflowers? Or how about BOTH in one day?!? Last week that's just what I did......snow shoeing in the morning at Crabtree and hiking in the wildflowers in the afternoon at Knight's Ferry.

It's 45 minutes up Highway 108 (east) to the Crabtree cross-country trail-head. There is maybe 5-6 feet of snow that includes a foot or so of fresh powder. That's where I headed to try out my new snow shoes.

Very stylish, don't ya think? (By the way, it's fun to get into snow clothes knowing that they are not required for WORK!)

The cross country ski trails are marked out on the snow covered forest roads that I zip up in my car in the summer to the back country trail heads. There are several loops. One of the long ones is 5 miles up to the Aspen Meadow Pack Station. For sure I wasn't going that far, but it is reassuring to have the signs to follow when the snow is so deep.

Looking up the Crabtree road in pristine snow conditions. I couldn't believe we were the first to be out here since the last storm. It was totally beautiful.

Looking back on a broken trail.

We 'leap frogged' up the trial with a couple (and their dogs) from the Bay Area, taking turns breaking trail. Lesson learned, break trail downhill next time!

Frank, the pug, in his snow booties. That's a big smile on this face, both he and his buddie, Cricket, were loving their first snow shoeing adventure.

Shadows on the snow were very beautiful, but not show up so much.

And a 'snow cone'.

A couple hours out in snow that deep was about all I wanted to do and the idea of doing snow and wildflowers in the same day had me excited. After a stop at home to change from snow clothes to hiking clothes and short 15 minute drive (this time west), I was in fields of wildflowers!

California poppies are spectacular this season.

The bush lupines are just starting. And lots of popcorn on the hillside behind.

Could you find a better place to live than the Sierra foothills, or more specifically,
Tuolumne County?

Friday, March 5, 2010


My oldest and dearest friend lives 2+ hours away so many years ago we started meeting in the middle. Early on we met to trade kids. J loved to spend weekends with us on the ranch. Now, sometimes we shop in Merced. But our favorite is Mariposa. This time we had a picnic in the park and walked around town. Not sure how Mariposa got named for butterflies.

This was one of our few sunny days between all the rain this month. The sky was the deepest blue you ever saw! Mariposa's courthouse was built in 1854 and has been in continuous use since then.

The courtroom has the original seats, tables, chairs, and judge's bench. Check out the size of that wood stove! Can you imagine sitting next to it on a day when they are trying to heat the whole room?

The clock tower against that gorgeous sky.

Down the street from the courthouse is this great old victorian. Can't say why my snap is crooked!

Cool gingerbread around the 'round' porch!

The old county jail burned down in late 1800's, and this is what was saved of the original building. Those granite blocks are huge!

Just when I think I know everything about one of our local towns I learn something new. Right in the middle of town (although on a side street) is a short trail along the Mariposa Creek. It's planted with natives and is surely very beautiful later in the season.

Another thing I don't know is what tree produced these beautiful berries last fall.

Also wanted to mention that the Mariposa Museum is one of the most outstanding in the whole Mother Lode, if you are ever in the area, don't miss a visit.

There's a new coffee shop in town called "The Pony Expresso". It's very cute and I got a yummy smoothie for the ride back up Highway 49 to Jamestown.