Posts Tagged With: Hike



From Highway 49, Glory Hole Recreation District at New Mellones, a free hike was advertised for New Years Day, rain or shine. You can see people warmly dressed as we strangers met at the entrance station and introduced ourselves.


Dogs are allowed on the trails. We met two bikers and we saw evidence of horses using the trails. Walkers are asked to give way to horses, but we didn’t meet any.


Ranger Josh, guided the group and pointed out the growth patterns of this type of forest and explained in some detail the various flora and fauna.img_0455-copy

At the beginning of the Angels Creek Trail, the forest has a mixture of digger pines, black oak, live oak and thick underbrush.  Ranger Josh admitted the underbrush is a fire hazard with chemise and buck brush.


I was impressed by the girth of this giant manzanita specimen and the lichens and bright, green moss growing on it. Ranger Josh noted that the east side of the hills get most of the water. He told us that manzanita burns very hot and can burn up your stove, actually melt it if you use enough of it.


Angels Creek is low, in tune with the current drought situation. The trail is a 2.5 mile hike.


I looked at just about every mushroom, hoping to find a “buckskin”. (Not it’s scientific name.) The old Italians knew their mushrooms and would pick up large delicious mushrooms under manzanita habitat. I didn’t find a one. Deer feed on these, as do various insects.


I didn’t get many pictures of the hikers. Strung out in a line, it is hard to capture everyone. The trail is narrow in most places. Looking back and forth I believe we had about 30 people on the hike. The Calaveras side of the Recreation Area has seven trails of different lengths and are rated easy, moderate, challenging and so on. This trail is moderate.


When guided, Ranger Josh makes many stops and he even played a couple games with us. He formed us into a walking caterpillar, eyes closed, to just walk and tune your ears, nose and senses to the trail. If you are a lone hiker, you get the sense of quiet that being in a natural forest gives you.


The sun didn’t come out during our 3 hour hike. This tree, etched against the overcast made a nice contrast, with the west side of the hill in the distance showing meadows; more barren than the brushy east hillside.


At the end of the trail was a pretty view of the lake with an island showing that isn’t visible when the water level is normal. Drought conditions persist here in California though the recent rains are encouraging. The Calaveras side has seven trails and the  Tuolumne County, Tuttletown Recreation area also has seven trails.  Senior Citizens, with their pass can enter the hiking trails free at anytime of year. For most, there is a day use charge.

This was my first excursion with a new social singles group  and I got to meet the seven people at the end of the hike. Cindy is the key organizer and can be reached at this phone number if you are interested in joining. I didn’t ask permission to print her phone number, (no addresses are given), but her number was published in the newspaper ad for this hike, so here goes. 209-559-8517. The only qualification, you must be 50 or older. We picked up two new members at this event.


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It was a good decision to move to Friendship Cove. The sea is a smooth mirror.  (Usla’s photo of the sunken baths.) Legend has it that Mark Anthony built the baths and gave Cleopatra the entire Turquoise Coast as a wedding gift. There is a sense of delight to think about swimming in the same spot as Cleopatra. I’m not quite ready to face the cold waters and unsure of my upper body strength since the accident, so I remain cautious. This day, April 26th, is a scheduled hike, up a mountain, down the other side, up another mountain and down the other side, steep, rocky about 4 hours long. I’m unsure.  I climbed the Superstitious Mountains out of Apache Junction in 2012, before the accident, straight up, two hours for spectacular views. Usla offers an alternative, to head in the opposite direction and take a shorter 50 minute hike and meet them coming down.


The long hike photos are Usla’s. The hikers are motored to the shore in batches.


Mike, Norman, Owen, Barbara, Joan and Judith pause on the hike for a photo. The hike is described as pine-shaded, with the smell of wild herbs and the music of goat bells.


The goal is to meet with a shepherd family. The wife has prepared them some shepherds bread and they will talk about their remote lifestyle. Here they meet the family. The shepherd allows his goats to eat in the wild. They return at night to be milked and get water. They eke an existence from the dairy products, living off the land, and wooden spoons that he makes and sells. Their house is very small.

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In the meantime, the rest of us are headed up the back way with Mehenten. A typically  steep and rocky trail like others we’ve seen in Turkey.

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We take a break in the shade of this copse of trees with a stone structure. Mehenten doesn’t know what it’s function is.

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We find a shepherd’s rest stop seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Just a few boards with a tarp over the top attached to a tree. A rudimentary shelter for a nap, and a quick cup of coffee or a drink of water.

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We join the main group at a Greco-Roman site called Lydea.

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Below the temple is another shepherd’s place in the valley. He lives in much the same way as the others. The rest stop may belong to him.

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On both hikes, beautiful views of the Turquoise Coast, lovely coves, and blue, blue waters.


On our return, Usla takes a group photo.

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After a change of clothing, I pop up on deck and hear a great splash. Owen jumping off the railing. (Usla’s photo.)DSC05568 (Copy)

I know he is a good swimmer, but I probably would have nixed the idea. Too late, Gramma.

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Since he already jumped, I made him do it again for the camera, not realizing that Usla had gotten him jumping.

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As they say, all’s well that ends well. Who could argue with that big happy smile anyway.

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After lunch, just about everyone braved the cold water and it is cold according to Gina, Joel and Maria. Maria can swim to land and back to the boat without stopping. She is a very strong swimmer. Gina is gung-ho. She says, “yes, its a bit cold.” Brrr! I stuck my hand in and it came back rigid.

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The Captain decided to barbeque chicken for dinner. After dinner, some played cards,  caught up with their journals and some watched a movie about the battle of Galliopli. A horrific loss of life through the stupidity of Allied leaders who failed to plan or assess the cost and horror of attempting to cross Turkey and capture a harbor for Russia. They needlessly sent 100,000 men to their death and gained nothing.

I had more pictures but the signal is loading so slowly, I gave up.




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We woke up to a cute little bird sitting on our mirror, looking very fat and happy. After packing things in for travel mode, we moved a short distance to Golden Sun RV Resort. We looked in at the rec center, 8 pool tables, swimming pool and spa, a large exercise room, a huge library, a card room, ceramics room and many planned activities including  live music dances on Saturday nights. They have planned hikes, excursions, golf nearby and volunteers pick seasonal fruit for local food banks. They serve dinners and breakfasts every weekend.

Trade books,  stored in the Bronco, came out of hiding. Found two Anita Shreves and picked three new authors to try since the price is a simple trade.

Apache Junction’s post office is the biggest I’ve ever seen. I waited in line for twenty minutes to pick up one piece of mail. I got the scoop later in the evening from Nancy and Tom who shared a table with us at the Moose for their Friday night fish & Chips.

“I used to be a snowbird, said Tom. Now I live here.  Any business we have, we take care of  in the summer otherwise you wait in lines all over  town. The snowbird invasion.”  He chuckled. Locals love it and hate it. Great for business but, inconvenience comes with it.

Tom recommended several places to eat. He seems to know them all.

Today, I’ll contact  friends and relatives I hope to see.


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Yesterday was a travel day, from Apache Junction to Kingman, Arizona. We stopped at a pull over and saw Joshua Trees and stepped in to take a picture. 

Off a short distance was a rock outcropping. We decided to hike to it and see what was on the other side.

Then we spotted a bunch of barrel cactus.

This one is pink tinged . They are quite beautiful in their own environment. Soon, one led to another.

And another..

There were some black smaller barrels and several other types of cactus.

A path beckoned us forward.

We climbed some rocks and carefully watched for snakes.

I found a beautiful patch of lichen.

And a chance spot for a hike.  Living on the road allows you to stop and smell the flowers, or in this case, enjoy a desert vista.

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From Mary’s desk:
The Great Smoky Mountains is an old place of rounded, worn peaks. The slow moving glaciers that flattened and scraped the areas of North America above this range, forced wildlife, plants and seeds south where they settled and adapted into this temperate climate. I recognized  trees, bushes, and wild flowers from my native Michigan, considered a cold climate, next to magnolias, tulip trees, spice bush, (below) and orchids typical of southern climes.

The Last of The Mohicans was filmed in the Great Smoky Mountains. Grandfather rock formations, giant waterfalls, rippling streams, miles of hovering smoky vistas, the stunning scenery from that movie hung in my dreams for many years. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was NOT that place, however.  It was filmed in these mountains far south of where we are parked. Rent the movie if you can’t go. We are going to watch it again.

You can have one foot in North Carolina and the the other in Tennessee at the New Found Gap Dedication Center at the summit.
A surprise for me was that the Appalachian Trail goes right through the park. I have a friend who is walking the trail in segments, a little bit each year, and she is in her 80’s.  What a legacy we have in this park. Jim and I walked the trail into each state for a short distance and happened upon John Reingold from Georgia hiking up from Fontana Dam, about halfway through the park.

Young and strong, he carries his pack with everything to eat, sleep, and drink. It took him four days to get this far. On this morning, he had already walked for over 4 hours.

The trail is rough and tumble, steep and narrow in places, trees fall on the trail. Its closed in two spots during the winter. We were pleased to find it alive with wildflowers as we wandered deeper and deeper into the canyon.

This park happened because people with foresight were alarmed at the fast disappearing landscape as commercial loggers stripped millions of miles clean of everything in sight. Congress authorized the park in 1926 and established it in 1934 after donations,  private groups, and the States of Tennessee and North Carolina raised enough funds to buy the lands needed to make it possible.

The wonder of science… In 1983 the Great Smoky National Park was recognized as a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve because of its amazing diversity. The park visitors center museum  at the Sugarland entrance has stunning portraits of insects, butterflies, and flowers. The diverse animal life, birds and plants are showcased as “live” specimens in dioramas.

To see all 45 pictures you can see my album at the link below:

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The trail we hiked was quite rough in places and steep in others. High desert, inhospitable to all but those who called it home, the Chiricahua Apache. They adopted the horse from incursions of Spaniards and made their last stand here against the American Calvary for life as they had known it.
The Apache allowed the Butterfield Stage to trek across their lands. They didn’t see them as a threat. It was a tense trip because the Butterfield drivers knew the Apache could be unpredictable. This pass was a direct link to the only southern route into California by way of the Yuma crossing which moved men and goods across the mighty Colorado river. Above is a trace of the stage road leading down into the valley and beyond.

This pass was chosen because it had the only dependable, year around source of water, Apache Springs. The Apache way of life was to ride into the valley and bag deer. The women kept the children, collected berries, prickly pear and other edibles to complete their way of life. When settlers began intruding, the Apache raided them. Everyone coveted the water.

The U.S. established Fort Bowie to protect the pass and its settlers from the Apache. They sent in soldiers and an uneasy co-existence was maintained for many years between the U.S. and the Apache by way of talks with their leader, Cochise. The U.S. established an Indian Agent to assist with peace-keeping promises. Skirmishes with indians and settlers were common with fear and mistrust ruling reason on both sides.
A shared cemetery.

Then the Bascom affair led to eleven years of all out war when the Apache were accused of kidnapping Mickey Free. Bascom was sent in to rectify things and during a meeting with Cochise he committed the unforgiveable sin of grabbing Chochise and imprisoning him during a peace talk. The new Apache leader was the renegade, Geronimo.
The U.S. sent in more and more troops. Expanded Fort Bowie and brought in Cannon to fight the Indians. They eventually succeeded in getting the Apache to surrender. They moved Cochise and Geronimo with their people to reservations.
It struck me how accurately some of the western movies I’ve seen over the years portrayed these events. Its also ironic that just 120 miles north, at Tuscon, are the studios that produced most of those movies on Arizona land.
The remains of the expanded, second Fort Bowie above. The hike takes you to both forts. The visitor center nearby has wonderful books on the Apache and a small, but good museum.

In this museum sits the tent shaped stove above. A soldier invented it and canvas covered tents, claiming he got the idea from examining indian tents. He signed a contract with the U.S Government to supply the tents for a royalty on each one sold. It is estimated he would have made 250,000 in royalties had they paid him. It was his misfortune to side with the Confederates.
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