Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lake Hodges walk

On Sunday, Fred and I spent two hours on the North Shore Lake Hodges trail. 
It is an interesting walk due to the plethora (yes, I know what a plethora is) of peculiar bird sounds. 
It creates a peaceful ambiance, but watch out for the mountain bikers (not so peaceful). 

Lake Hodges is a man-made reservoir that contains 33,500 acre-feet of water; plenty of room for over 200 different species of birds, and us.

The avifauna here is spectacular, even if you are not an avid bird watcher.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Torrey Pines Hike

I love hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve. It is 2,000 acres of undeveloped land right on San Diego's beautiful coastline.  It is covered with Torrey pines, an endangered species that only exists in the wild in San Diego county, and on one of the Channel Islands. 
My friend Amy joined me for a hike at the reserve this weekend. 

We took Broken Hill trail to the beach. I had never been on the trail before, and was surprised by the history I learned from this kiosk along the way. 
In 1940 the U.S. Army leased 710 acres of this land to build a training camp to defend the west coast against a Japanese attack during WWII.  5 years later the camp was dismantled and returned back to nature.

The rock layers are a highlight of Torrey Pines. The sandstone rocks have eroded to create natural artwork. The oldest layer is 48,000,000 years old. 

These caves are created as rainwater dissolves the sandstone as it runs through it, and then redeposits the compounds below. 

The best layer of all is the one found at the beach, it is full of shells!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Hike Day at Daley Ranch

Last year Megan and I decided that we needed to hike once a week after school; not just to chat but to enjoy the great outdoors.  
We have proved dedicated to our hiking mission.  
When it is daylight savings we do a more local mountain called Discovery, but until then we enjoy our hikes at Daley Ranch in Escondido.

Daley Ranch is 3,058 acres of pure beauty and solitude. For centuries it was frequented by Native Americans. In the late 1800's, Robert Daley claimed 3,200 acres of this land, and started a ranch. After his passing his family moved, but they still utilized the huge ranch. In 1996, Escondido made a wise decision to purchase the land as a habitat preserve.  15 years later it is the meeting spot for the Thursday Hike Day crew!
In order from left to right Thursday hikers are Kimmie, Lisa, Angelika, Megan, and myself. 

There are over 300 different species of animals on the nature preserve. We have seen many of these species; birds, snakes, lizards, rabbits, toads, red velvet ants, and more...

Red Velvet ants are fairly common on our hikes. I did a little research and found out that these ants are actually wasps! Female wasps don't have wings and have this fuzzy appearance. 

It was a hot day so we stuck to a flat trail. Boulder Loop (our usual trail) is much more challenging. 

Alligator lizard. 

Stay hydrated ladies! 

I love California chaparral. It is a different kind of beautiful.

Angelika and Meg were about 10 feet ahead of us when I saw them literally walk right over this Southern Pacific rattlesnake.  
The juveniles have an orange, single segment tail (and therefore do not make a sound). 
I always look forward to Thursday Hike Day. There is never a dull moment. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fisherman's Camp and San Mateo Trail

Fred took Patrick and I on a new hike, to Fisherman's Camp trail in the Cleveland National Forest. We did about 4 miles total, continuing on from Fisherman's Camp to San Mateo trail. 

This is the very beginning of the hike.  
I love oak trees. They are majestic. 

It was a beautiful day, it has been unusually cool lately (in the 70s), and it couldn't have been better for a hike in California chaparral. 

There were no rattlers or taranchulas, but plenty of lizards.  (I was hoping for at least one taranchula.)

Awe, Freddy, you are such a cute big brother...showing Patrick how to read maps. 
Next step, figuring out how to avoid the poison oak! 

After our hike, Marla and the girls came over for lunch.  
The girls took to Patrick immediately (as we all did). 
Patrick, we are going to miss you!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

March Field Air Museum

Fred's brother Patrick came all the way from Wisconsin (yes, he brought us cheese) to visit us for 4 nights.   Patrick is going to join the Air Force in a couple months so Fred thought it would be a great opportunity to take him to the March Field Air museum, which Fred talks about visiting every time we drive past it on 215. 
What is it with boys and war anyway?! 
 I swear, Fred knows just about every plane.

The entrance to March's Air Museum is 10$/ person.  It was totally worth the price.  There is a short video on March's involvement in war and humanitarian aid since its founding in 1918, and there are countless display cases with information/relics covering everything from Vietnam to POWs to Mexico's involvement in WWII to woman pilots throughout history.  
Not to mention there are over 70 different planes, of all varieties.  
The Blackbird behind the boys is the world's fastest and highest flying aircraft. Its max. speed is Mach 3.3 (3.3 times the speed of sound).

Here comes a plane for landing. Although the base is a reserve it is very active, which definitely adds to the museum experience.

After the museum we headed over to Threshold rock climbing gym in Riverside.  This gym is better than Solid Rock gym in San Marcos that we used to have a membership to. It is more technical. After getting an hour intro. lesson, and learning how to tie crucial knots and do safety checks, we were on our own to practice. 

It was great to spend the day with Patrick. He is really sweet. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Elle's 7th birthday (part 2)

The birthday flag is up... it must be SOMEONES birthday! My mom made this flag when we were little, and it was always so exciting to have it hanging on our birthday. (It is the cake flag above Marla's head.)  
We dug it out of the attic for the girls to hang on their birthdays, and I hope to take it over when I have kids.  
Elle is one lucky little girl. She didn't have a birthday, she had a birthweek.  Not only did Elle go to the Wild Animal Park, she went to Disney on Ice, had a party in her classroom, and had a party at home. 

This was their first pinata, but I think they got the hang of it.

Great work Marla, they look so pretty!
Thanks for dinner and dessert Marla and Dan!  

It is hard to get a picture with the birthday girl, Uncle Freddy quickly swooped in for a shot. 

Happy Birthday Elle!!!
I cannot believe you are SEVEN. You are growing up just too fast.