Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Didn’t really find many desert wildflowers blooming until I took a shortcut down the mountainside.

Note, you can right click the panorama images to see larger versions in another tab, depending on your browser. Or just double click to see it and
use the back arrow on your browser.

Also I will be putting up a couple of videos from this hike soon which will be on
a separate page in a day or so- the video #1 will show the steep walk down.

I went on a 3 1/2 mile hike up and down a ridgeline out by the windmills
again on Monday 4/2/2012, a couple of days ago. The plan was to walk the dirt road along the base of the mountain, and trying out the panorama feature on
my Fujifilm S2950 digicam in the process. Above, the opening photograph to
this blog, is one of those shots.

As you can tell by that shot, my plans went out the window along with the contents of the chamber pot Winking smile, and I ended up going up the ridge, this time by
cutting overland and making my way to the switchback road, saving some hiking distance but gaining a lot of aerobic exercise as I huffed and puffed my way up that never ending hill rise.

Along this route, I did notice a few scattered small flowers, very tiny, the size of a penny. At this point, I was concentrating on making it up the steep hillside to the dirt road, and not sliding back or worst cartwheeling back down- so I wasn’t
looking very hard for flowers along the way, just making sure that I didn’t step
on a sidewinder, ouch!

Finally reaching the road, and its gentler incline, I found time to try a few panoramas looking up the hillside, but first, here is one looking back the way that I came.
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And a couple looking the other way,up.
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The bottom photo shows the rock outcroppings right alongside the dirt road with the summit of Mt. San Jacinto
peaking out at the right edge.

Once I made it to the little plateau where the overlook is that looks back toward
the freeway, I took another long range photo of the Morongomobile way off in
the distance, parked in its usual spot alongside the frontage road off I-10, with
a note in the windshield dash that I was hiking over by the windmill area, no need to call out the rescue crew.

That last was a reference to the recent hike here that was interrupted by the phone call from one of my roommates saying that the police were at the door,
wondering if I was a victim of foul play! So from now on, I leave a note with my name and number so they can call my cell.

Continuing after my short rest break, I headed up the very steep but thankfully short jeep trail going up to the next plateau, trying out the panoramic camera feature in the process.
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Yes, it is pretty steep- so steep, that a dirtbike rider, turned around at the bottom, and rode back down that switchback road to the windmills, rather than continue up.

Once I hoofed it all the way to the top, I discovered some kind of helicopter climbing and landing practice going on down in the valley off in the distance- here are some photos of the activities.
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I continued on hiking along the trail, narrow and steep at times, taking
other photographs along the way. Here are a few of those, the keeper
will be my new opening photo soon.
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Look very carefully for what looks like a transmission line tower or a radio tower with a dirt square with little
dots in it, that is the helicopter location.

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Once I got up to around 1850 feet or so, per my Garmin eTrex GPS, I
decided that it was time to turn around, I had drank over half of my water supply! Although it wasn’t that hot, in the low 70’s but with bright sunshine,
the rule of thumb with desert hiking, is turn around when you drink up half of your water. By this time I had traveled 2.39 miles and did not want to repeat the same route, so I decided to go straight downhill. Not very smart possibly
but by placing your feet sideways going down and using your hiking staff to test the soil for firmness, it can be done- just go very slowly and carefully,

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This is what I am talking about below, now it is starting to get interesting, watch out below!
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Look at all the little flowers in the photo above.
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Above, looking back the way that I came. That is the road in the distance.
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Above and below, some of the desert wildflowers blooming in a sandy wash, probably never seen before or since
by another human being, as they are definitely off the beaten path!
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Well I made it back to the main desert wash on the same elevation level as the windmill farm. Here are a couple of panoramas that I took of that area.
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The last 1/4 mile to the Morongomobile was in slow motion, like molasses.
This old desert rat barely made it back to the car. If I hadn’t taken the shortcut
down the mountainside, I might have had to drag myself to the car.

But it was fun! Looking at these photos make it alive again for me.

Wish you guys had come along with me, we could have bucked each other up-
who knows, maybe you would have convinced me to keep going up another 100 feet or so- this is what I am talking about, this little patch of desert, home to
interesting plants and critters, including a mountain lion, lizards galore, wildflowers beginning to bloom, campsites and dirt roads for hiking or mountain biking all around, and no one really knows about it, except my readers- those intrepid few of you.


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