Kinsee and I went to San Felipe with her family and Derrik for Thanksgiving. More pictures on Flickr.
Kinsee and I went to San Felipe with her family and Derrik for Thanksgiving. More pictures on Flickr.
Posted in desert, environment, family, friends, life, outdoors, photos
Tagged san felipe
Lake City, Colorado is the spot where Alfred Packer ate five of his fellow travelers while stranded in winter 135 years ago. I’ve heard that Packer is the only person convicted of cannibalism in the US, but I’m not sure if that’s true. You might know Alfred Packer from the fantastic Cannibal: The Musical, a musical retelling of his story.
We headed out early Saturday morning for Lake City, Colorado, about a three hour drive up into the mountains to do some backpacking. Some friends were supposed to meet us there, but they decided to take the “short cut” over Cinnamon Pass and couldn’t make it over, so it was just Kinsee, Walter, Mona and I. The trail was only 4 miles but over 2000 feet of elevation gain. It got steep in some parts but not too bad. We got to Waterdog Lake and were the only people up there.
I was a little disappointed that the surrounding mountains weren’t more rocky and that there was no good beach or jumping rocks at the lake, but it was nice regardless. We camped around 11,100 feet and the weather was perfect. As is usually the case (unless you’re in a canyon) the hike out was much quicker and easier than the hike in.The physical geography of Southwest Colorado reminds me so much of that of Andean Patagonia, from El Calafate to Bariloche.
Below are some more pics from Lake City and Waterdog Lake.
Posted in colorado, environment, life, outdoors, photos
Tagged alfred packer, cannibal the musical, continental divide, lake city, lake city colorado, waterdog lake
Posted in colorado, environment, outdoors, photos
Tagged clear lake, dogs, hiking, miss mona, silverton, walter
Sunday morning we took a trip down to the La Boca Center for Sustainability to check out their farm and, if we liked what we saw, sign up for their CSA. La Boca is an old railroad town on the Pine River just north of the Colorado/New Mexico border, about 35 miles for our house. More than just a farm, La Boca practices and teaches principles to farm/ranch sustainably.
Gabe the Assistant Director of the center was our tour guide for the morning, showing us the property where the grow the crops, raise the animals, and even his low impact housing. Towards the end of the tour I found out that Gabe went through the Ecological Horticulture program at UCSC and knew/worked with Amy at Freewheelin’ Farms. That was the farm we got our CSA from when I was living at Zami House. Small world. We signed up for their CSA, hopefully the food is as good! (And if anyone knows where I can get duck, emu, ostrich or any other “strange” eggs in the Four Corners area, please leave a comment!) Kinsee’s pictures are below.
Posted in bayfield, colorado, environment, food, life, photos
Tagged bayfield csa, csa, durango csa, durango farm, gabe eggers, ignacio csa, la boca center for sustainability, la boca co, la boca farm, pine river
Edward Abbey died 20 years ago tomorrow. I’d never even heard his name until at least 10 years after he died. But since the first page I read in The Monkey Wrench Gang I’ve been captivated by his writing. I’ve read nearly all of his books since. I agree with him on a lot of things, and disagree on a lot of other things, but I always find his writing thought provoking and entertaining.
Monday at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango there’ll be some people gathering and reading to celebrate old Cactus Ed. I’m excited to go and meet some like minded people, hear Ken Wright and Kate Niles (among others) read and just have a good time.
There’s more info at The San Juan Almanac and Maria’s Bookshop.
Posted in colorado, desert, durango, environment, life, literature
Tagged cactus ed, durango colorado, ed abbey, edward abbey, kate niles, ken wright, maria's bookshop, the monkey wrench gang
…I Love Santa Ana’s.
Posted in environment, photos, san diego
The REAL ID Act allows the Department of Homeland Security to disregard all environmental laws to protect our borders. I don’t think they’ve started filling in the canyon on the border near the Tijuana Estuary yet, something that will cause all sorts of environmental problems with run off, erosion and effect plenty of birds, but it’s in the works.
Today I just read a story about the DHS using the REAL ID Act to start building roads in designated wilderness east of San Diego in preparation of building the triple border fence. Wilderness designation is supposed to keep the land free of human influence, a road and border fence are definitely human influence. A couple of years ago a border patrol spokesman said the area wouldn’t need fencing because the rugged land was fence enough, but apparently something has changed and they’re going ahead with it anyways.
One of my favorite things about much of the designated wilderness areas east of San Diego on the border are that they’re not wilderness for humans. There are few trails, few natural wonders for people to visit, but plenty of wide open space for the environment to be left alone. What wilderness designation was meant for. But no longer for the Otay Mountain Wilderness Area.
The blog post linked above (and here it is again in case you missed it, because I think it’s important to get the word out) is the first mention of this I’ve seen. Nothing in the newspapers, no other press. The DHS is doing a lot of stuff with very little public input.
Posted in environment, news, outdoors, politics, san diego, tijuana
Tagged border politics, otay mountain wilderness, real id act, us mexico border, wilderness
A few months ago I was reading through The Paris Review when I came across a story called Diary of a Fire Lookout by Philip Connors (you can read an excerpt online, and maybe find it at the library to read the rest). It’s a diary of the authors time spent as a fire lookout in the rugged Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
Fire lookouts are becoming more and more rare as modern technology encroaches upon the task of spotting forest fires. Which is sad because some of my favorite writers spent summers high up in a lookout tower thinking, writing, and watching for signs of smoke. Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. Ed Abbey’s Black Sun. Doug Peacock spent some time as fire lookout after Vietnam, I’m not sure that he ever wrote about it, but it probably helped clear his head and help him to readjust.
As Connors’s story shows, not all fire lookout towers have been shuttered, but most aren’t in service anymore. The Forest Fire Lookout Association has a list of links to retired lookout towers available for rent, most from the US Forest Service.
A recent article in the UT talks about the old fire lookout tower on Palomar Mountain reopening to be staffed by volunteers.
There’s something romantic about fire lookout towers, spending all that time in the woods. The solitude. The open space. The few journeys into town, via steep mountain trails, to get supplies. The chance encounters with passing hikers. Connors’s story captures the mood perfectly.
I went camping at William Heise County Park in Julian this past weekend. It being December and all, I was a little worried about the cold, but when I looked up the weather forecast I realized that December in the Cuyamacas is like July in the Sierra Nevada. I’d never been to William Heise Park, I guess the fact that it is so close to Julian and a county park rather than state park always kept me away. I was a little bummed we weren’t driving the extra hour out to Anza Borrego, but was looking forward to checking out the area around Julian.
Driving east on I-8 we decided to stop by the new(ish) Liars Club in Alpine. I always liked the Liars Club because they had a ton of good beer on tap, but I didn’t like the bar itself. It was pretty small and in Mission Beach. Well, the new location in Alpine isn’t much better, but the building itself is a lot better. There was plenty of seating and the same friendly bartender serving good beer and giving samples of stuff he thought I’d like.
Back on the road we were heading up Highway 79 past Lake Cuyamaca when I drove over a newly paved patch of road. I realized this is where there used to be a grate in the road. What I always assumed was a cow grate. Cows won’t walk over grates, so this was an easy way to keep them from moving too far. It made me wonder if those grates are now unnecessary because no one is raising cattle out there any more, it made me wonder if it’s becoming suburbanized. I was a little disenfranchised by this. But what happened later more than made up for it.
We got to the campground and met up with Kinsee’s friends. As we were sitting around the slowly dying fire before calling it a night, we some movement in the distance. As our eyes adjusted from looking away from the fire we could tell it was a group of deer. About five of them only 10 meters away in the meadow watching us. They moved around for a while but kept their eyes on us for quite some time. Even though we could hardly see them it was exciting, this was only the second time I’ve seen deer in San Diego and it made me hopeful that maybe the San Diego backcountry is still a little wild after all. There was no cloud cover the first night so the stars were quite the sight as well. Nothing like the dessert of Sierra’s, but a lot more than we can see in the city nightly.
The next morning we were awoken by a lot of loud birds and even some wild turkeys. My brother warned me that they were mean, but when trying to photograph them they just ran away from us.
We went a couple short hikes, one to a desert viewpoint above highway 79. It was a clear day and we could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean to the west and to the Salton Sea to the east. The view of the desert wasn’t as good as from some of the mountains off Sunrise Highway were the drop from mountains to desert happens, but it was a great view.
That night we were supposed to go to the Observer’s Inn, a home made/DIY of sorts observatory outside Julian. I was told it’s a two hour lecture/show by a retired engineer that loves astronomy and has five telescopes setup in his observatory. Sadly the weather turned bad and clouds rolled in obstructing the view, so we didn’t go. It sounded like a good time though.
The camping was good at William Heise, we had almost the whole campground to ourselves. There isn’t too much hiking from the campground, but it made for a relaxing weekend.
Posted in environment, outdoors, san diego
Tagged camping, cuyamaca, julian, julian observatory, liars club, observer's inn, san diego camping, william heise county park