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Bonita Ranch Weekend Motorhome Outing

September 28th, 2017

          At least five doggy companions together with nearly two dozen GOPS members (including 7 mobile bedrooms) met for a weekend of camping at Bonita Ranch in San Bernardino county. The local GOPS club (Great Outdoors Palm Springs chapter) sponsored the three day-two night outing that occurred September 22-24. GOPS members, along with their RV motor homes or tents, regularly participate in these planned outings offering opportunities to visit different areas to hike, explore, and learn while enjoying time in an outdoor environment.

          Bonita Ranch is located along Lytle Creek west of Interstate 15’s Cajon Pass in the San Bernardino National Forest. The Bonita Ranch campground is a short, but somewhat energetic hike, from the spectacular Bonita Falls waterfall.  The campground is open year round and includes hook-up sites for motor homes and tent camping facilities (water/electricity/showers).

          Our Friday afternoon arrival schedule included setting up camp, a Tea Time meet and greet, and evening campfire activities. We were located in the vicinity of other groups, including a Christian Fellowship gathering, whose singing appeared to play a significant role in their daytime activities. All camping groups respected each other and mostly observed the 10 pm to 8 am quiet time. 

          Saturday’s schedule started with morning coffee and pastries, followed by a round trip hike up a dry creek bed to Bonita Falls. The view of the Falls was quite lovely but with one rather noteworthy exception. The entire trail along the creek bed and the climb up under the trees was plastered with graffiti of all colors, designs and shapes. It seemed like almost every large rock had been defaced with graffiti. When we reached the Falls that area too had been trashed with graffiti. It was a somewhat saddening experience that leaves you wondering why do some care so little for nature’s beautiful offerings? The hiking route and Falls may be viewed at http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/california-bonita-falls.html

          Saturday afternoon a smaller group caravanned to the Mormon Rocks Interpretive Trail in the Cucamonga Wilderness, 1 mile west of Interstate 15. The trail is a short loop that offers scenic views of the unique sandstone rocks in which it is located. The trail area and rocks may be viewed at http://digital-desert.com/mormon-rocks/.

          Continuing our Saturday afternoon caravan we drove the Angeles Crest Hwy (State Route 2) up to 7,000+ ft elevation Table Mountain to view the area planned for October GOPS camping activities. Resuming our caravan loop we took the Lone Pine Canyon Road (a 10% downhill grade) back to State Route 138 and return to the Lytle Creek area.

          Saturday evening’s events started with members grilling their entrees over a large Barbecue Pit and sharing potluck side dishes. Afterwards, another evening of campfire activities occurred.

          Sunday morning was set aside for individual member activities. Again coffee and pastries were waiting for early risers. Campground reservations were set to expire with a noon check-out time so most devoted their morning time to breaking camp and returning home. My little doggy, Tessa, accompanied me on the trip and appeared to enjoy the weekend immensely. She received lots of attention and did her best to meet and greet everyone. She didn’t notice the rather large black Tarantula that passed through our camp. I did manage a photo of it but made no attempt at contact before Mr or Ms Tarantula continued on its way.

          Scott Connelly, the outing leader, planned the event, designed the schedule, and led both the hikes and caravan trips. It was a well-organized activity and our GOPS chapter is fortunate in having him as our Vice President of Outings. For more about GOPS visit https://greatoutdoorspalmsprings.wildapricot.org/.

Bond & Contessa Le Rouge (aka Tessa)

Bond Shands
September 26, 2017
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Painted Rock Canyon Hike

February 26th, 2017

          Yesterday I joined my neighbors, Anna and Tom, for a Docent-led hike in Whitewater Preserve’s beautiful Painted Rock Canyon. I’d previously hiked the same route in January with Great Outdoors Palm Springs members. That hike occurred following earlier heavy rains and high water in the canyon’s stream prevented us from hiking the canyon’s full length.

          We met others near the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station at 9:00 am. There were 17 members in our group including Bob, the Docent hike leader, and Kyle, a Ranger who acted as hiker “sweep” in the rear. All were warmly dressed and carried appropriate hiking gear. Skies were clear, a slight breeze felt with temperatures moderately cool and comfortably “just right” for hiking.

            Painted Rock Canyon Views

          Painted Rock Canyon is a rather narrow one that’s less than two miles in length. The hike to the canyon’s alluvial fan entrance is a mile, or so, from the Ranger Station. The path becomes rocky and gradually steeper as the canyon walls begin to narrow along the route. Two of the canyon’s noteworthy features are some “painted” rocks along the way and a waterfall at the canyon’s higher end. Along the way, Mother Nature’s rainbow-stripe rocks that we saw proved worthy of their “painted rock” designation.

                         Rainbow Rocks

                         Rainbow Rocks

          Water flowed in the stream running down the canyon and the path crossed it more than a dozen times. However, the water level was not high enough to impede our progress and we reached trail’s end and the waterfall area by midday. After spending time taking photos we moved a short distance away and stopped for a snack break.

          Retracing our steps down canyon we often paused for photos of the canyon walls, rocks and views towards the canyon exit. A brief pause was made to view a large rock sculpture next to the path. Others had built it and a close inspection revealed several interesting features. We left it untouched and continued our route until we arrived back at the Whitewater Preserve headquarters and parking lot around 2:30 pm.

     Rock Sculpture & Canyon Stream

          It was a very nice hike. All in our group proved to be good hikers and none failed to navigate the sometimes rocky path, stream crossings or other obstacles encountered along the way. We appear to have been the last canyon group starting that morning for, though we encountered a half-dozen groups during our hike up the canyon, we saw none during our return. The Painted Rock Canyon route proved to be an enjoyable hike. It’s a nice midday outing, provides a welcome relief from asphalt and concrete, and certainly qualifies as credit-worthy cardiovascular exercise.

Bond Shands
February 26, 2017
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Quail Wash Hike to Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road

February 8th, 2017

          Yesterday Scott Connolly led seventeen GOPS (Great Outdoors Palm Springs) members on a midday 6 mile hike through Mojave Desert Land Trust property adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. The route began at the Quail Wash trail head above Yucca Valley and continued to Yucca Valley’s Joshua Tree Southern Rail Road (JTSRR) Museum destination. The trail, normally filled with sand, was a bit more firm due to the recent rains and that served to make walking easier. Portions of it eventually climbed several hundred feet over ridges and then continued down a dry stream bed. Climbing around several dry waterfalls proved an invigorating challenge but did not deter any from continuing. Clouds above helped protect from the sun’s rays but significant winds were encountered throughout the hike. 

          We arrived at the Museum shortly after pausing for a midday snack. It was not open the day of our visit and no model trains were seen using the tracks. There were no signs or other indications barring visitors so we spent time wandering around the outdoor rail road tracks and grounds.

          The JTSRR Museum is a rail road hobbyist organization created to “establish, maintain, and improve an interpretive historical display of full size and scale exhibits of railroad equipment and associated industrial artifacts”. It’s a membership organization consisting of “demonstration railroads operated on the property … for educational, recreational and interpretive purposes”. JRSRR members and others operate their trains on the museum trackage which includes fully operational 15″ gauge, 7 1/2″ gauge, and G-scale trackage which exists amid the rocks, sagebrush, trees, and cactus in an outdoor desert setting”. The museum also “features several full-sized railroad cars, as well as a railroad station building which houses our Francis Moseley live steam model collection”.

          There’s considerable information about the organization on their website, including days of operation, and in an online description from the Desert Road Trippin’ blog posted in 2015. The links to both follow:

JTSRR Website http://www.jtsrr.org/home.html
JTSRR Museum Description http://www.jtsrr.org/home.html

          More information about the Mojave Desert Land Trust and Quail Wash may be found on their website at the following:

The Mojave Desert Land Trust http://www.heartbeatreport.com/the-mojave-desert-land-trust/#.WJtefH-XyFA

          After spending time on the museum grounds we began our return to the Quail Wash trail head. It started out uphill on a dirt road to the top of a ridge where we exited onto a rock and sagebrush scramble down towards the desert floor. Our cross-country route ended on a named street dirt road that eventually led us to the trail head and our parked vehicles.

          All in our group agreed it was a good hike on a pleasant day with an interesting route. It started at our Palm Springs 9:30 am meeting location followed by car-pooling through Morongo and Yucca Valleys to the Quail Wash trail head. The hike ended around 2 pm and  by 3 pm we had returned to Palm Springs and a visit to a local Yogurt Palace.

 
 
Bond Shands
February 8, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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North Lykken Trail

February 4th, 2017

          Hiked a portion of the North Lykken Trail on Friday (02/03/2017) with a dozen members of the Great Outdoors Palm Springs (GOPS) chapter. Our leader, David Stewart, is an experienced hiker and regularly scheduled GOPS leader who was watchfully attentive to the pace limitations of all.

          The North Lykken Trail route started from its Ramon Road trailhead where we began a trek up the mountain. After several miles of up and down hiking we reached our turnaround destination at the Picnic Table plateau intersection with a trail coming up from the Palm Springs Museum. Pausing a short time for snacks and photos we then retraced our route back to the trailhead.

          The hike started shortly after 8am, took just under three hours and included approximately 800 ft of elevation. The continuous view looking east above Palm Springs was spectacular with perfect weather and excellent trail conditions.

          If the South Lykken holds the most favorite trail in Palm Springs claim, then the North Lykken Trail probably ranks a close second. During our hike we encountered more than a dozen hikers, in both directions, along the route. We definitely experienced an enjoyable way to start the day with a bit of cardiovascular activity in a nearby pleasant setting.

 
Bond Shands
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Rainbow Rocks Hike

January 29th, 2017
 
          Yesterday returned home, turned on pool-side Spa, applied Band-Aids where needed, removed wet socks and other clothing, took a shower, responded to puppy’s needs and took “Tessa” on her two-mile afternoon walk, returned home where I exchanged wearing apparel for a bathing suit, poured myself a glass of wine and headed for the 104 degree Spa where I was able to think only good thoughts of the earlier mid-day hike and our hike leader.
 
          My late afternoon recovery followed a mid-day hike in the Whitewater Preserve to Rainbow Falls with members of the Great Outdoors group. Our leader, Sherwood, is an experience hiker who has led previous hikes in the Preserve. We (started with twenty – three turned back) experienced the beauty of narrowing high canyon walls, spotted a Bighorn sheep looking down from high above us, cowboys controlling range cattle from a nearby reservation, lots of greenery and heavy brush on both sides of the path, and a stream bed filled to near-capacity that required crossing more than a dozen times. Some of the stream crossings are worthy candidates for tall tales at a future date.
 
          Rainbow Falls, our destination, proved inaccessible for the path we were on eventually became the stream bed. It left us two choices – wade or turn back. The expected group decision meant we’ll have to try another day for a hike to the Falls.
 
          Although we didn’t manage to reach our hiking goal, the seven or eight mile round-trip proved to be a great outing. Perfect hiking weather, blue skies and the continuous sounds of water running over rocks proved a welcome alternative to our world of asphalt and concrete.
 
          Another posted a hiking review in 2015 describing the Rainbow Falls hike, with photos. It’s worth viewing and is at http://bit.ly/2kgPEh9
 
          Looking forward to more GOPS outings – http://www.greatoutdoors.org/ps/.
 
Bond Shands
Sunday, January 29, 2017
My Notebook blog – www.BondShands.com
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