Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014
This big guy crossed the highway, October 2014.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Sierras trip~highlights~010111

Hubby and I headed out with our new car, a Nissan XTerra, to the Sierras for a few days. We left Wednesday morning and arrived about 2:00 p.m. in Lone Pine. That afternoon, we headed out to the Alabama Hills and headed up the Whitney Portal Road a ways. Not too far, however. There was snow all around and we don't have snow chains (YET...)...Thursday, we headed up to Bishop, CA and drove up the road to South Lake. We got as fall as AspenDell as the road was closed. We got as far as Crowley Lake and Highway 395 was so icy, that we turned around. The road was closed further up and, like I said, we didn't have chains or a 4-wheel drive. Many, many cars were covered with snow coming from that direction! We enjoyed our 3 days in the Sierras and will go back either in January, February, or on my spring break!

Sierras, snow, and wind~SkyWatch Friday 123110

Hubby and I headed up Highway 395 yesterday morning, to Bishop. Along the way, we stopped at a rest stop. Hubby wandered off one way and I took this photo of the Sierras. The wind was blowing at the top of them, blowing off Wednesday afternoon's snow! We saw this all along the Sierras yesterday. Apparently another storm is moving in, so we are heading home! SkyWatch Friday for December 31, 2010. Does anyone know the term for this? When the wind blows the snow off a mountain???

Thursday, December 30, 2010

We're havin' FUN with the XTerra!!! Sierra pics

We arrived in Lone Pine yesterday afternoon and decided to take a drive out by the Alabama Hills. It was snowing on the tops of the Sierras and the wind was COLD! I mean, I had on 3 layers (2 t-shirts and a sweater) and my long jacket and the wind was going right through all of them! I had a scarf around my neck and another one over my head and I was freezing! We took a drive up the Whitney Portal Road until there was so much snow that we turned around. And, it was getting dark quickly. We'll head back up there this morning to take more photos. At least it is clear today!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Weekly color~Brown~122810

I headed up the road by Deep Canyon late one afternoon and stopped by my favorite dirt road. The sun was quickly setting and I only had a few minutes to quickly take some photos before it became too dark for my camera lens. I like the brown colors in this one, especially the dead tree which I call "the dancer". For some reason, its graceful branches remind me of a dancer. Weekly color, "brown", for December 28, 2010.

XTerra~ABC Wednesday 122910

Well, we bought our new car yesterday and it is a Nissan XTerra! We drove to the dealer which stated they had a Nissan Titan (2010), the only one still left within 65 miles of our house. Turns out, it was mislabeled and was a 4x4 Frontier. I could tell that when the time came to decide, hubby really didn't want a truck. At our ages, do we really want to sit and ride in a truck on long trips? He had been in love with the XTerra ever since we rented one on a trip to Arizona one summer. It was very comfortable. And, we decided, we really don't need a 4x4 to go up and over rocks and boulders, but we DO need something with a high enough clearance to go on dirt roads. After our disappointment with the Titan/Frontier, hubby asked to see their one remaining 2010 XTerra, which was white, and they brought it out. He had a quote from his credit union and the dealership matched that, plus we got a $3,000 buyer incentive. So, hubby got to drive home HIS new car last night, and we'll be heading up to the Sierras this week to try out the new car. Today is our son's birthday and we'll spend the day with him and our grandson. Hubby is so eXcited!!! ABC Wednesday 122910

Monday, December 27, 2010

Carrizo Canyon walk~That's My World 122810

It was lightly misting the day after Christmas and I was eager to try out my new monopod. It had rained in Carrizo Canyon the previous night and everything was still wet and damp and smelled so good! It stayed cloudy and dreary all day, but I didn't care...I just wanted some "outdoor" time. I stopped by the store and rented a carpet shampoo machine because...well, with three big dogs, you HAVE to shampoo your carpets...accidents DO happen! But, at this time, I was glad to be out in the canyon, which will close on January 1 while the bighorn sheep are lambing. I may not have a chance to return before then, so I wanted to see as much as I could on this day. That's My World for Tuesday, December 28, 2010.

New truck???

I hate to say it, but our beloved Toyota RAV4 (1997 model) is KAPUT. It needs a $700 diagnostic job to figure out why an exhaust light won't go off. We've replaced what we could and our mechanic tried to fix it, but he doesn't have the equipment necessary to fully figure it out. And, it needs a new clutch AND the suspension is shot....Sooooooooooooooooooooo, we are looking at new trucks. Hubby will have to buy this one as I'm still paying for my Honda CRV, which now has 80,000 miles! ACK! Where does the time go? I actually drove the RAV up the hill last weekend, but it was too wet and muddy to go any off-roading. We figure we need either a truck or something like a 4-wheel drive XTerra or something with a high clearance because we DO like to take dirt roads and go exploring! I'm kind of leery of Toyotas after all their recalls. Our son has a 2010 RAV, but with its low horsepower and low clearance, I don't think we would want one of those again. Any ideas or suggestions? We need something that we could take on dirt roads and haul around all of our camera equipment and suitcases! Hubby likes the Nissan Titan and there are some nice incentives right now on it. We also have a $23,000 limit, so some of the more expensive trucks are OUT!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pinyon afternoon~Scenic Sunday and SOOC Sunday 122610

Hubby and I headed out Friday afternoon after our recent series of rainstorms that hit our valley and mountains. I could tell he needed some "outdoors" time after being cooped up in our house for 4 days! I love to watch the afternoon shadows creep across the pinyon forest. Hubby bought me a monopod and a matching tripod for Christmas and I am anxious to try them both out today! Scenic Sunday and SOOC Sunday for December 26, 2010. To visit SOOC, please visit: Yes, that's hubby in the middle photo!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Sad news...bighorn sheep hit on Highway 74!

Last night, Christmas Eve, I went to our local newspaper's web page and was dismayed to see that a bighorn sheep was hit by a motorist on Highway 74. And, even worse, it was a "hit and run". No, the driver didn't stop. Apparently other motorists who saw the sheep said it went away limping. How sad indeed. There are so few of the bighorn left and I'm pretty sure this one will end up as a meal for a mountain lion...I'll post updates as I see them. Very sad indeed. As I've said numerous times, people need to SLOW DOWN on this road. It's called "THE KILLER HIGHWAY" for a reason. Just last weekend, as I was driving back from a visit to my horses, a car full of teenagers had spun out and rolled. They all appeared okay, but dazed. There is NO cell phone service for the majority of this road and another car apparently had gone down to alert the Palm Desert fire department and I saw two ladder trucks and a paramedic ambulance heading up the hill as I was driving down...sigh...As for the desert bighorn sheep, this road goes through their natural habitat. In fact, starting in January, many of the hiking trails through these canyons will be closed to allow the sheep to have their babies. Carrizo Canyon closes January 1st and I would like to get in there and hike, but my time is running out! I always keep an eye out for bighorns, but you would be amazed at how fast and how carelessly some people drive this road!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tree and afternoon shadows~SkyWatch Friday 122310

Hubby and I grabbed our cameras this afternoon and we headed up the highway next to Deep Canyon. It was partly to get out and enjoy the blue sky and partly to get away from our two dogs and our son's Weimeraner, who we are now "dogsitting". It was good to get outdoors, after 4 days of rain! I showed hubby the dirt road with my favorite dead tree, which I call "the dancer". He took his own photos of it, which I haven't seen yet. The daylight quickly faded and soon it was time to head home, but I'm glad we had at least a half an hour to go up the canyon. It was interesting to see it right after a major rainstorm. Everything smelled so fresh and clean and damp! I saw many places where the water had run over the last 4 days and our footprints were the only ones I saw the entire time! I love this tree and I've photographed it now for nearly a year and I love to watch the area around it change through the seasons. I can't wait for the pinyon forest's first snowfall this season and I'll walk back to "the dancer" and see it in the snow! SkyWatch Friday for December 23, 2010. This post was also submitted for "Festival of the Trees". Please click on the badge below to read more about the "Festival of the Trees" and to visit their blog.

Rainfall records~Nature Notes 12/22/2010

I stepped outside yesterday afternoon and took this photo of the clouds low on our mountains. This isn't Deep Canyon (it was totally obscured by clouds), but is looking up toward the pinyon area of the mountains which I travel through on my way to visit my horses. It rained here 24 hours straight today and we got 2.34 inches of rain here in Palm Desert. Palm Springs got 3.47 inches, a new record, and Desert Hot Springs got 4.00 inches, also a new record! Nature Notes for December 22, 2010.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"W" is for weather~ABC Wednesday 122210

The second of several storms hit our area on Monday and I grabbed my camera when I headed up the mountain to visit my horses. From the desert, through the pinyon forest, to the top of the mountain, the WEATHER was WET and chilly. The WIND was blowing and it was cold! Snow is forecast down to 5,000 feet today and it rained all night here in the desert. All roads crossing the WASH are now closed to traffic in Palm Springs and along the rest of the desert. Hubby and I may head up the mountain this morning to check on the horses, who will be standing in WATER and mud. Ahhhh....WINTER!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A different view of Deep Canyon~the coming storm~That's My World 122010

The first of several storm fronts moved through our local mountains and the desert this past weekend. And, of course, I had to drive right through it so that I could stop and check on my horses and give them an extra high-calorie meal! I had no idea what I would find as I drove up the mountain from the desert floor. I did notice clouds hanging around the mountains and filling up Deep Canyon. As I drove up the mountain road, I saw them rising up the sides of the canyon, like cotton. I frantically searched for a turnout (there are VERY FEW on this road) and I finally found one going the opposite direction, so I made a U-turn and parked. I stood in awe at the scene before me. Clouds were rising up from the bottom of the canyon and were tossed around by the wind. I saw several other motorists stop, too, and people hopped out to take pics and then retreated to the safety and warmth of their cars (it was extremely windy and cold outside!) I parked and walked down a small trail and tried to get as close to the edge of the canyon as I could, but it immediately started POURING and I didn't have my waterproof jacket. Plus, as I mentioned above, the wind was blowing and it was very cold! I'm glad I had the opportunity to see these clouds. While it was cloudy again today, and I drove the same road, I did not see the same phenomenom. That's My World for Tuesday, December 20, 2010.

Cactus growing out of the side of the hill~Cactus Monday 121910

I HAD to get out of the house on Saturday and I felt well enough to go for a morning walk and then I drove up to check on my horses up above Deep Canyon. I decided to take a drive on a dirt road which wasn't too muddy. I hadn't been up this road before and I was intrigued by the cacti growing out of the side of the road. The hills were full of manzanita and blue jays! I would like to take this road again sometime when it isn't raining (or snowing). Cactus Monday for December 19, 2010.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fog and mist~Scenic Sunday 121910, SOOC Sunday

So, today I headed up the road by Deep Canyon to visit my horses and make sure they were all okay. They were fine...wet, but fine. It had rained all up and down the mountain, the beginning of our 5 day forecast of rain for the next week. Along the way, I saw something that I haven't seen in a long time...mist and clouds along Deep Canyon. It's always unusual here in the desert when we get clouds like these and these were definitely tropical moisture. It wasn't that cold. It was very windy along highway 74. I glanced off to my left, on the way up, and spotted the clouds which were uplifting along Deep Canyon. I pulled over several times to stop and take these photos and I noticed that other motorists were doing so also. It was good to get out (see yesterday's post), but my bronchitis is still with me and so I took my Ny Quil as soon as I got home and slept for nearly 3 hours!!! Scenic Sunday for December 19, 2010 and Straight Out of the Camera Sunday.
To visit SOOC, please visit: To visit Scenic Sunday, please visit: Something I should mention: There are NO roads down into Deep Canyon. The nearest thing near the bottom of it is the Desert Bighorn Institute, run by UC Riverside and it is on private land. I have tried to get a tour there and they do NOT allow visitors! It also is IMPOSSIBLE to hike down into the canyon from Highway 74, unless you start up at the SugarLoaf Cafe and work your way down a very strenuous trail, which I am not physically able to do! So, all of my photos I have to take at an overlook on Highway 74 (and, there are VERY few) and then look down into the canyon. I think I need a bigger lens for Christmas! Oh, hubby.....!!!! So, that explains part of my fascination with Deep is nearly inaccessible and it is shrouded in mystery!

I want to get OUT of the house today!!!

I was stuck at home yesterday with my latest bout of bronchitis. I missed the last day of school (a half day) before Christmas vacation and I'm hoping that my colleague told my students that I miss them and that I'll see them in January. It's hard being a teacher, especially when you've had pneumonia three times and now I get EVERY bug that they bring through the door! Here it is only December and I've already used 6 out of my 10 sick days! ACK! I called my doctor's office yesterday and she's out of town until the 28th, so if I am WELL by then, I'm going to ask for the pneumonia shot, which I hear also cuts down on bronchitis. This is the 3rd round of bronchitis I've had since September!!! I've already had two z-packs (antibiotics), so I won't be given any more of that and that's the one that seems to knock it out. But, now I'm wondering...does it really? I mean, if I've had two z-packs and now I have bronchitis again...what's the use of taking antibiotics? And, isn't bronchitis a VIRAL thing? So, this time, I'm taking my cough syrup in the daytime and NyQuil at night, to help me sleep and I'm drinking Kefir during the day to boost my immune system. I'm hoping I'll get better in a couple of days (before Monday, when hubby is going to INSIST that I get in to see a doctor!)...any ideas/suggestions?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sunset on my mountains~SkyWatch Friday 121710

Not every afternoon, but once in a while, the clouds are just right for a spectacular sunset, like this one. I like the silhouette of the mountains against the sky. I pulled over and took this from a turnout as I was driving back down the mountain last Sunday. SkyWatch Friday for December 17, 2010.

I have so much to learn...Nature Notes 121610

I have so much to learn about the flora and fauna of our local mountains! These are the pinyon forests above the desert, but below the pine forests at the top of the mountains. I drive through the pinyons every time I go to visit my horses and many times now I stop to listen and learn from them. I'm also finding that I NEED this time to explore the canyon and its secrets. I feel "out of sorts" if I don't! I now recognize the juniper bush, which currently has blue berries on it. The pinyons are full of tiny pine cones and they whisper in the wind. I love to hear them on a windy day! I love to watch the antics of the blue jays! But, with beauty, there is also danger. I heard the rattle of a rattlesnake last weekend and so I backtracked. Also, I found the mountain lion tracks in the mud. (see: Alas, with beauty also comes danger, so I must learn to be more careful while exploring this unique environment. My Christmas break starts at 12:31 p.m. Friday and since hubby is home for two weeks, I'll be taking him with me to do more exploring! Nature Notes for December 16, 2010. For other participants, please visit:
~~Cheryl Ann~~

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"V" is for...ABC Wednesday 121510

VIEW. I stopped at VISTA point last weekend, on Saturday afternoon, to admire the VIEW of the VALLEY below. The clouds turned pink and orange, and several motorists had also pulled over to admire the VIEW. At one point here at Vista Point, you can look out and see the Salton Sea, but it isn't in this photo. I am always amazed by the views and things I see every time I travel up and down Deep Canyon. ABC Wednesday for December 15, 2010.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Possible mountain lion sighting!!! Oh, my!

Yup. Possible mountain lion sighting, but this is down in the desert. There are bighorn sheep in the mountains above Rancho Mirage and they do come down to nibble on the plants at the Ritz Resort in Rancho Mirage. I'll have to watch for updates. By the way, I went back and investigated the tracks I found in the mud two weeks ago and measured them. They were 3 1/2 inches long and 4 inches wide. Here are the pics that I took of them. With rain forecast this next weekend, I wanted to document them before then, so I went back Saturday afternoon. I highly doubt it is the same mountain lion, since there are others up in our mountains. Here's the link to the local news story: One read wrote in that it is not uncommon for him to see mountain lions, bobcats, and desert bighorn sheep on the ridges of the mountains above Rancho Mirage.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mountain and sunset~That's My World 121410

We actually had clouds here in the desert on Saturday afternoon and I figured there MIGHT be an interesting sunset, so I headed up toward Deep Canyon. Most of the times that I drive up there, it's morning. Afternoon light has a soft yellow color to it and is so different from morning light. I'm really not sure which I like better. On this day, however, it was the beautiful sunset against the silhouette of the mountains that I enjoyed! That's My World for Tuesday, December 14, 2010.

Cholla closeup~Cactus Monday 121310

After my run-in with the cholla last weekend, I was much more aware of where I put my feet on Saturday. I took a dirt road off Highway 74 and got out and walked around on Saturday afternoon. I came across these cholla along the road and believe me, I gave them plenty of room, until I came in closer to take these pictures! Cactus Monday for December 13, 2010. Please visit for other participants.