Sunday, September 17, 2017

Family Vacations (April to June 1989): Southern California

(APRIL 28 TO 29, 1989)

I took Sam to the Fathers and Sons outing to Lake Silverwood up in the San Bernardino National Forest. The hike from our camp to the lake (about 1 ½ miles) was beautiful, with a meandering spring, wild ducks, ferns, beautiful and varied trees. We became good friends with the Allens, particularly Cale and Lander. At night the ward youth caught lots of frogs. We caught one and we really heard them chirping.

(MAY 6, 1989)

I took Sam and Joel Sheffer out to the Desert Tortoise Refuge near California City (above Edwards Air Force Base). It got hot real early and the boys could only stand about 1 ½ hours walking out on the refuge (about 30 square miles of fenced land). We didn’t see any turtles (we did see several holes where they had burrowed). I understand it has been a dry year, but we saw lots of lizards, including zebra tailed lizards, whiptails and desert iguanas.

We then went to Red Rock Canyon State Park and did some climbing in the weird rock formations, in short bursts, as it was so hot. At the Ranger Station, Sam and Joel held a freeze dried Mojave green rattlesnake.

Later, we stopped at Mormon Rocks in Cajon Pass after coming down from a detour through Wrightwood. We caught a couple of lizards to add to the lizard we caught at Lake Silverwood, and had a nice aquarium with dirt and lizards, kept alive by crickets purchased from the local pet store.
(MAY 20, 1989)

Sam and I went off by ourselves to Joshua Tree. We entered in at the west entrance. First we stopped near a rock where climbers were climbing using ropes and pitons. Then we went across the street to another group of rocks and hiked around them and sometimes on them. Sam had a hard time negotiating the rocks. We saw a rabbit and some lizards. Sam was wearing shorts which was not a good idea because the sharp leaves of bushes and twigs would scrape his legs.

We hiked to Barker Dam, built to hold water for cattle around the turn of the century, now an oasis for wildlife, including bighorn sheep. People are not permitted after certain hours, to make the water available to the animals. The dam covers six acres and holds 20 acre feet of water. It has goldfish in it. We liked the manzanita trees with rubbery looking red skins that look like they were formed out of a plastic mold.

We went to Keys View where we could see Palm Springs (although much obscured by smog) and could have seen the Salton Sea but for the smog. We then went out the 29 Palms exit and stopped at the visitors center.

(MAY 29, 1989)

Just one week after Sam and I went, the whole family went to Joshua Tree. We left home at 7:15 a.m. and were in Joshua Tree by 8:20 a.m. (the west entrance out of Joshua Tree). Shortly into the monument we saw a large animal in the road. As we passed a large turkey vulture flew off the road, it was eating carrion (a dead rabbit). We stopped a short ways down the road and the vulture circled and landed back down on the road. They are large black birds with white tipped wings and red heads.

Shortly after, we saw a car stopped on the road and a coyote near it. We pulled up and the coyote was in the brush near the road. I’ve never seen a wild coyote. At risk of scaring it, we threw out part of a half eaten jam sandwich. The coyote jumped out of the brush, snatched it from the side of the road and jumped back. We threw out more bits of sandwich and then part of an Entemanns raspberry coffee cake to get better looks at the coyote. We got four or five good snapshots. Several times it circled our car and when we started to go, it ran along side the car following us. It was rather small, we guess a year old. We decided to name it “Joshua” for obvious reasons.

We drove to Hidden Valley which used to be a cattle rustler hideout. It has a one mile circular trail that goes through boulders and desert terrain. There are information signs with information about various plants such as yucca and California juniper. The rock formations are varied and would be fun to climb over and explore. Near a bridge we found some small rock caves. We ate lunch in one, it was nice and cool, and had wonderful smoked chicken and potato salad. Andrew kept wanting to explore and would invariably topple over on the uneven ground. Rachael and Sam tried to catch a number of lizards and found them too elusive.

We went to Barker Dam and hiked over to the actual cement dam. It is one of the few sources of water in the whole monument. It has numerous goldfish which I assume help keep the moss and algae down.

Judy’s thigh is sore and she had some difficulty and discomfort getting around. Andrew was very pleasant and enjoyed the hikes. Sam got a little cranky wanting water on our Hidden Valley hike (we need to remember to take a canteen for him on desert hikes).

(JUNE 1989)

In early June, 1989, we decided to drive the loop on the backside of the San Gabriel Mountains. We drove up through Wrightwood, walked a small nature trail at the ranger station there and then drove Hwy 2 around through to Pasadena. Los Angeles was in clouds and drizzle, while we were in beautiful sunshine. As we looked down, all we could see was a white cloud bank, all over the Los Angeles Basin. We stopped at another ranger station and walked another nature trail.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Joshua the Coyote. Hard to believe that was the first one we'd seen in the wild!