Posts Tagged With: hiking



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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dsc08453-copyThe last two years, we’ve rented a place at Incline Village for Christmas, skiing and playing in the snow. This year we decided a summer family reunion would be a fun change. We arrived Friday night. Doug, who is an expert at barbecuing anything to perfection, fixed hamburgers after our long drive. My camera was packed and I didn’t get a picture. Everyone resorted to a game of pool. It was Doug and Ken, against Laurie and Kristanne.

dsc08452-copyKristanne had never played pool before, and Laurie, who grew up with a pool table, is a shark.

dsc08455-copyShe knows how to bounce those balls.

dsc08456-copyEveryone had a turn at the table, and after the games, everyone decided to be silly. A bit of wine and tequila probably helped.

dsc08459-copyNo one really cared who won or lost. Laughter is what counts.

dsc08460-copyThe next morning, most of us went for hike to the National Park.

dsc08463-copyI was ahead and turned to catch this sisterly hug. Don’t have a clue what inspired it.

dsc08464-copyWe had seen signs about a rope walk in the canopy and thought everyone would like that activity.  But, it was closed. Left to right is Cedric, Ken, Virginia, Austin, who seems fixated on a two finger salute. Then Laurie, Theo and Kristanne. Doug and Owen stayed back at the cabin.

dsc08467-copyWe stopped for a couple pictures, but the sun was at the high, bright time of day and we got a lot of squints and shut eye.

dsc08472-copyWe snacked and reminisced for lunch.

dsc08498-copyAt four o’clock Saturday afternoon, we skyped with my grandson Stewart in Japan where he teaches English as a second language.

dsc08500-copyWe asked him dozens of questions. Here he is explaining that his deodorant melted and he had to shave his armpits. The Japanese people seem fascinated by his facial hair. Komatsu, is a coastal town of about 100,000 people. It isn’t a tourist destination and they don’t see many foreigners. Students are very disciplined and continually kind of bow and say “hye” as a way to indicate they understand. He is learning to use that expression as well and practiced it for us. Technology is awesome and we loved the ability to spend a half hour with Stew.

dsc08511-copyIt was Ken and Laurie’s night to fix dinner, and they prepared a marvelous shrimp dish, with butter and lemon juice and pepper. The kitchen is small here. Everyone went to bed early

dsc08515-copyVirginia made scratch muffins for breakfast Sunday morning. She picked the wild berries on their property on the Eel River.

dsc08481-copyShe also got “into” olives this year and brought 3 different kinds of olives she made from trees growing around Santa Clara. Theo declared they were inedible and about the worst thing you could eat. I loved them and got to bring some home.

dsc08517-copyAt 9:00 a.m. Virginia treated  Kris and I to kayaking.  Ken took pictures of us before he and Laurie went for a ride to see the scenery around Silver Lake.

dsc08522-copyI’ve enjoyed kayaking before, but Virginia wisely chose a double for us since my shoulder is not completely healed. I had to rest from paddling periodically and she had to pull for both of us.

dsc08525-copyKristanne, always adventurous, had never kayaked. She took to it like a duck to water and said, “Hey, I get to mark it off my bucket list.” We rested on a distant beach, then sunned and dried out on a rock when we returned.

dsc08503-copyKristanne and Laurie enjoyed a game of Rumikub in the afternoon.

dsc08489-copyThe boys played pool or read a book.

dsc08529-copyEveryone played 13, the national game of Vietnam. It is limited to four so each of us dipped in and out of the game. It is one of those games where kids have just as much chance of winning as an adult and Theo proved it. Not visible, on the right is Doug, playing DJ and selecting our favorite tunes on the computer.

dsc08487-copyCedric took to the kitchen to bake pies for dinner.

dsc08504-copyThis cabin was as close to wreckage as you can find in a domicile, and the oven temperature was difficult to gauge.  He struggled to get them cooked well. But, as usual, they turned out delish.

dsc08534-copySo, most of Sunday was spent playing games, eating, gabbing…


dsc08539-copyVirginia showed off her skill with Theo’s juggling balls.

dsc08542-copyDuring the evening, Hearts was the game of choice.

dsc08508-copyThere was some high finance going on downstairs with a monopoly game with Austin, Theo, Doug and Owen.

dsc08543-copyKen opted to wade through the New York Times and a San Francisco Chronicle.

dsc08547-copySome of us walked to the beach and watched the fireworks.

dsc08548-copyIt was a lovely, busy, relaxing. three-day getaway with stuff to do for everyone’s taste. Can’t wait until next year.





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Lake Patagonia, Arizona – Day 2

Yesterday was our second and last day at Lake Patagonia…an Arizona State Park.

Here’s the official government link…

In the morning we took a nice two-hour walk along a birding/hiking trail.

Hare are some photos that I took…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view..

Here’s a Google Earth view of the park showing the full length of the 2.5 mile long lake and our site location…

We’ll be departing for the Empire Ranch later this morning. It’s kind of out in the toolies. May not be any Internet signal out there.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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The Superstition Mountains are a range of Mountains covering three counties in Arizona. The Lost Dutchman’s Mine is supposedly located near this major peak in the range accessible from Apache Junction. You can barely see some Hohokam cave dwellings in the far left node of  the mountain in the picture above. The whole range is now a designated wilderness area and the Lost Dutchman Mine is  supposedly located below this peak near Weavers Needle. The name of mystery, and the legend of the Lost Dutchman can be read on the Arizona State Parks site at the bottom of their page at this address:

And Wikipedia also has information about the Superstitions at this address:

Many hikers choose this area for recreation.  Avid hikers easily  name off ten or more trails they’ve hiked in to Superstition. Today’s goal is  a spire near the base of the main promontory at  2000 foot elevation.

There were sixteen of us and we started at this spot which very gently leads up.

Here the trail splits into two. Our leader, Bob, knows the way because he has lead hikers into this wilderness for many years and has hiked 72 different trails.  Here the ground is smooth and easy.

When you turn around and take in the view, the landscape is rugged. Overcast and cool,  the Superstition Range off in the distance  is looking toward Phoenix.

After a steep section, everyone stops for a few minutes to catch their breath and rest for a minute or two and enjoy the views.

Our goal gets closer.  The signature cave dwellings are much easier to see in this close up.

At this shady spot our leader suggests that anyone who doesn’t feel capable of making it all the way up, to stay and rest here and join the group on the way back down. None want to stay and no one appears to me to be having any difficulty. It is a wise and cautionary practice in group hikes to encourage people not to push themselves beyond their abilities.

We pass the Miner’s Needle and then when we turn back for a look we can see the valley far below us in miniature.

As we approach the crest, we feel like we are walking into a cloud. The trail is extremely steep and people stop to rest on the final push.

At the top, we all set and enjoy a snack and a long awaited rest. It took two hours to hike up and one hour to hike back. Total distance, four miles.

On the way back, the views are magnificent but the trail is rough and it is important to watch your steps. Stopping frequently to gaze is part of the joy. Some hikers camp primitively off these trails for a night or two and enjoy the quiet and the stars.

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We all have to shop. I’m one of those who hates shopping, for anything. But, when I’m with my grandkids, I love shopping because I can spoil them rotten. They never ask, but I prompt them, wouldn’t you like some ice cream? Maybe we should rent a movie?  I let Owen be my GPS and guide me to their favorite market, The Nugget. If you must shop, and if the place is artistic, all the better in my opinion.

Very few grocery stores have statues along the roof line carrying bowls of fruit on their heads. Gorgeous. Costly.

Instead of ugly plastic bins for recycling, an artist was commissioned to provide a cover-up, highly attractive and valuable as a work of art. I loved it. I should have thought to take pictures inside the store as well. People were relaxing, drinking a coffee at an in-store Starbucks and enjoying a pastry. I could easily see myself moving in with my easy chair and a book and staying for  the day watching people  and snacking periodically. Oh, yea!  If you must shop, do it at The Nugget style. They had stuff I had never heard of.

We tarried outside to listen to the street musicians. Owen knows the ropes. “Do you have some change Grandma?”  He put the money in the hat.

Then, I got GPSed all the way home. “Straight ahead. Slow for next intersection. Signal now…” Such a deal. Owen learning to drive by sight.

After dinner, Theo continued teaching his mother how to play Yugio, a complicated game of cards that  she struggles to learn. This was  her third lesson and she is slowly getting it,  a game the boys play swiftly with their friends all the time. I was glad it was her and not me. I remember when I realized my kids were smarter than me. Payback time is at hand.

My trip involved an appointment with  orthopedic surgeon Meehan,  in Sacramento. Good news, no surgery needed, but about six months for my hip to heal so I can go back to hiking, walking and biking. Right now, I’m limping but slowly getting better. Life is good.



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Excerpts from Bill Dryson’s Walk In The Woods as he prepares for walking the Appalachian Trail after he discovers a good back pack costs $250, it isn’t water proof, sleeping bags require a stuff sack, straps to strap things to the back pack are extra, plus he needs a ground cloth and a raincover.

“I ended up with enough equipment to bring full employment to a vale of sherpas-a three seasons tent, self-inflating sleeping pad, nested pots and pans, collapsible eating utensils, plastic dish, cup and complicated pump-action water purifier, seam sealer, stuff sacks, patching kit, bungee cords, water bottles poncho, waterproof matches, compass/thermometer key ring, a little collapsible stove, gas bottle, hands free flashlight, long johns, undershirts, bandannas, snake bite kit, sewing kit, a small orange shovel for burying your poop, and a big knife for killing bears and hillbillies. The orange plastic spade seemed to shout:  “Greenhorn! Sissy! Make way for Mr. Buttercup!”

Thus committed, he repaired to a book store and bought hikers handbooks, books on wildlife and natural history, and a series of 11 paperbacks with fifty-nine maps covering the trail, for $233.45 for the set. Then, he spotted a book called Bear Attacks: Their causes and Avoidance. 

After he got home with his booty, he began to tremble and told himself this wouldn’t be so bad, but secretly, he thought otherwise.

Hmmm! Expensive, yes. But, carrying all that stuff while walking? Well, certainly I would have to have my new hip, and get myself into shape again, and do some practicing with a heavy pack. Hey, if Hilda can do it, and others like her, surely this isn’t an impossible goal  for me. Let’s see what happens as Dryson hits the trail. And, I have to contact Hilda. I know her email address is on my other machine. Gotta find Hilda.

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