Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Santa Ysabel

This old store is at the corner of Highway 78 in Santa Ysabel, CA.  We drove up through Ramona, past this old building, and up to Julian.  Julian was very crowded and hubby hopped out of the car to run and buy two apple pies while I drove around the town and did a U-turn!  That's how crowded it was!  We headed back to the horse ranch and gave one pie to the owners there.  I'm sure they enjoyed it as this area is known for its apple cider and apple pies!  Yum, yum!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hummingbirds~Nature Notes~092930

The ranch owner up at the horse ranch has several hummingbird feeders around her front porch and I always love to see the little guys flying around!  They are so cute and colorful.  She told me that many of these are last year's babies.  Additionally, some of these are on their annual migration to Mexico.  I counted 16 of them on Sunday.  Aren't they adorable?  Nature Notes for September 29, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall leaves at the ranch~LEM photo challenge~092811

The ranch where I board my five horses has some red maple trees alongside the driveway.  I wandered over to take a look at them on Sunday, when we stopped to check on the horses.  There's one tree and I remembered from last year that it had leaves on the northern side which turned red early.  I caught these leaves on it.  They were the only ones.  The horses are getting wolly and I'll take some pics of them this next weekend.  LEM photo challenge for September 28, 2011. To visit the LEM photo challenge, please go to:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sierras and sunflowers~Creative Exchange~092511

This is a side road near Lone Pine, CA which goes toward the Sierra Nevada.  We were surprised to find the cattle pasture FULL of wild sunflowers!  Cattle were out grazing in it when we came back down toward home 3 days later.  Creative Exchange for September 25, 2011. To visit the Creative Exchange, please go to:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Signs of Fall~Sunday Stills Challenge~092411

Hubby and I are in San Diego this weekend.  Yes, from the Sierra to San Diego.  Phew!  He wanted to get out of our 106 degree days in the desert, so off we went.  We left home Friday night, drove up Highway 74, down through Temecula, and then out Interstate 15 to Rancho Bernardo.  My aunt and uncle lived there a year ago and the Marriott Residence Inn is right off Camino del Norte, where we used to turn to go to their home.  My aunt now resides in the desert, near us, but my cousin still lives in Rancho Bernardo.  So, my aunt gets to visit her daughter and enjoy the cool ocean air.  We are enjoying it, too.  Yesterday we awoke to fog and this morning is foggy, too.  What a difference from our hot, desert days!  Honestly, we are just so sick and tired of 100+ degree days, I want to SCREAM!!! That kind of heat just wears 'ya out!  Yesterday morning hubby and I drove out to see my parents' former ranch, on Gopher Canyon Road.  Then, we drove out River Road so that I could view this old bridge.  It is now closed to traffic, except for bicyclists.  And, there were plenty who rode by!  I was saddened to see the state of this old bridge (They are building a new overpass nearby.) and I'm glad we stopped to take photos of it, as it may not be around much longer.  The bush or tree in front of it had already turned yellow, so I'm including this for signs of fall on the Sunday Stills Challenge for September 24, 2011. To visit Sunday Stills Challenge, please go to:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Silver Lake Resort

We spent two nights up at the Silver Lake Resort, which is one of the lakes in the June Lake loop.  It is a very quiet spot and hubby was out one afternoon, across the general store and cafe, down by the boat rental shack when he heard a movement in the bushes.  It was a deer!  He said she wasn't afraid at all and he was able to take several photos of her.  He actually took all these photos, as I was off wandering along the horse trail above the cabin!  The 3rd and 4th photos are of our cabin, which was right across from the duck pond.  (Guess who fed the ducks?)...heheheheh!  We BBQ'd some steaks Sunday night and they were delicious.  After dinner, we sat outside and I saw the Milky Way for the first time in ... years!  The resort is open through October 19th, then they close for the season and will reopen in April of 2012.  We've been trying to get the kids and grandson up there, but coordinating everybody's schedule is nearly impossible, so we just go by ourselves.  Here's a link to their website:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mono Lake tree~SkyWatch Friday ~092311

Those of you who follow this blog know I have a favorite tree up in the pinyon forest next to Deep Canyon.  I found this one while driving down the county road west of Mono Lake.  I like its lines, too.  There are several dead trees along the road, which meanders out to the Mono Lake Cemetery, and I always like to drive down the road and see them.  It was very late in the afternoon when we drove by this tree on our Sierra trip last weekend and soon it was too dark to photograph anything, so we just went to the county park and listened to all of the gully out on the lake.  SkyWatch Friday for September 22, 2011. To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Water in the Sierra~Nature Notes~092211

There was a LOT of water yet up in the Sierra when we traveled there last weekend.  In June, there was still snow on the Tioga Road and Yosemite wasn't even open yet!  The upper lakes were still frozen.  I kid you not.  By the July 4th weekend, there was still a lot of snow in Mammoth.  We rented a cabin at the Tamarack Lodge and a small stream was running right next to it!  It was a good feeling to see Grant Lake (top photo), one of the June Lakes, very full.  Last time we were there, last spring, it wasn't.  And Mono Lake, bottom photo, had more water than we've seen for a while, although it still isn't at the levels mandated.  There were still waterfalls (this one was up near Aspendell) and there were small ones still running.  California needs this water and the Owens Valley desperately needs it.  Even Crowley Lake (2nd photo) was way beyond its normal level.  While nobody knows what kind of winter 2011/2012 will be like, it would be nice if it was another wet, snowy winter like last winter's.  Nature Notes for September 21, 2011. To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mist on the lake~Watery Wednesday~092111

I woke up early one morning while we were staying at the Silver Lake resort.  Hubby was still asleep, so I crept out of the cabin to the lake across from us.  It was about 6:30 a.m. and mist was rising off the lake.  Now, for a native Southern Californian, we don't know of such things!  I mean, hubby...yes.  He is of the "People of the Mists", the Iroquois Nation.  When we traveled to upper New York state, I saw the mists rise up from the forests there and he explained what was happening.  It was fairly ordinary for him.  But, for me, this was something spectacular.  I hope you enjoy it too!  Watery Wednesday for September 21, 2011. To visit Watery Wednesday, please go to:

Searching for aspen~Our World Tuesday~092011

Hubby and I headed up to the Sierra this past weekend to find signs of fall colors.  We were about two weeks too early, however.  There were some aspen that had touches of yellow, but they were few and far between. In any event, it was good to get out of the desert heat and experience chilly mornings at Silver Lake, which is one of the June Lakes.  These aspen were north of Bishop, CA, on the aspen road that I posted on Sunday. Our World Tuesday for September 20, 2011.  To visit Our World Tuesday, please go to:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Aspen road~Sunday Stills Challenge~091811

Hubby and I are once again up in the Sierra.  This trip we are looking for early signs of fall, especially any aspen which are turning yellow.  It's really too early for most aspen, but there are a few "early birds".  We drove up the road outside of Bishop, up to South Lake yesterday.  Along the way, I spotted a side road (our favorite kind of road) which was lined with aspen, so away we went.  I parked the car and we walked back along it.  Unfortunately, in my eagerness, I walked further than I should have and altitude sickness hit me about an hour later.  I was dizzy, had a horrible headache, and started shaking.  So, we stopped for a late lunch in Bishop at Jack's and after eating some food and drinking a large glass of ice tea, I felt better!  Here is the road to the aspen.  Sunday Stills Challenge for September 18, 2011.

Friday, September 16, 2011

View from Highway 74~SkyWatch Friday~091611

I love to look across the Coachella Valley from on top of the Santa Rosa mountains.  The afternoon that we came back from Orange County, these were the views.  Skywatch Friday for September 16, 2011. To visit SWF, please go to:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Back to the pinyon forest~Nature Notes~091511

There's a turnout right at this spot and you'd be surprised how many people pull over here, but never really look at the scenery.  To me, this is one of my favorite locations on Highway 74, which parallels Deep Canyon.  This is in the pinyon forest.  Sometimes I park and hike a way in and among the pinyons, but I'm always by myself and I'm hesitant to go too far from my car as there are mountain lions in these mountains!  Hubby doesn't go with me on weekends and that's when I usually travel up the road.  So, off I go, armed only with my camera.  I'm accompanied by a slight breeze and the cries of the scrub bliss!  Nature Notes for September 15, 2011. To see Nature Notes, please go to:

Santa Rosa mountains visitor center

I often take walks, especially on the weekends, at the Santa Rosa mountain visitor center.  It is at the base of Highway 74, which is the road that goes from Palm Desert to Idyllwild, then branches off to Temecula.  A lot of travelers from San Diego and Temecula take this road instead of sitting in traffic out on Interstate 15, which goes through Riverside and Moreno Valley.  All of my family drives Highway 74 when traveling to San Diego.  And the visitor center sits at the bottom of the road, which curves up next to Deep Canyon. There are hiking trails there, there's an interactive animal track station where people can see the tracks of various animals, there's a video inside the center, and there's also a gift shop.  I always buy my maps there and they have lots of childrens' books.  It's open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and they are always prompt about opening up their gate.  So, if you are in the area, stop by!  Just be sure to wear walking shoes as there are cholla out on the trails! The best part?  It's FREE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Santa Rosa mountains~Our World Tuesday~ 091311

I headed up to the Santa Rosa mountains last weekend.  The skies were cloudy and it was cool, a relief from our 113 and 114 degree days!  It was so nice to be able to get out early in the morning.  We had been having morning temps of over 90 degrees, which made it just too hot to walk, but the temps are now falling and I see a lot of joggers and walkers out in the morning.  Our World Tuesday for September 13, 2011. To visit Our World Tuesday, please go to:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The view from atop a mountain

This was the view as we came over the top of Deep Canyon yesterday afternoon.  This huge thunderstorm soon settled over the eastern Coachella Valley and that night we watched its light show.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sunset~SkyWatch Friday~090911

Our son called us the other evening and told us to go outside and view the sunset, that it was spectacular, and indeed it was!  We don't often get beautiful, colorful sunsets...maybe 3 or 4 times a year as we have a 10,000 foot mountain to the west of us.  But, once in a while, we do get gorgeous colors, like these.  I walked up the street and saw this view.  SkyWatch Friday for September 9, 2011. To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"The Dancer" ~Nature Notes~090811

And on the dirt road of my favorite spots (see yesterday's post), is an old, dead tree which I call "The Dancer".  Doesn't it look like a dancer with her sinewy limbs?  I caught it early one morning, about 7:30 a.m., as I was driving up to the ranch where I board my horses.  The light was perfect and I had my new CANON EOS 7D, which I'm still trying to figure out.  Hubby and I are going to a camera class this weekend just for CANON cameras, since we've both been using Nikon cameras.  No, I'm not giving away my Nikon and I still take it with me everywhere (as my backup camera!)  I kind of like this photo, with the clouds and the patches of light hitting the tree.  I always check to see if it is still there as I'm afraid one day it will be gone...Nature Notes for September 8, 2011. Please go to:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My favorite place ~Outdoor Wednesday ~090711

I have a favorite spot along Deep Canyon in the pinyon forest.  There's a dirt road that goes through it and it's where I took the photo that is my header for this blog.  There is a small turnout nearby and I frequently see other people stopped there, taking photos.  It's got a great view of the canyon below and it is near a Cahuilla Indian site.  It's quiet and peaceful there, except for the noisy scrub jays!  They can be quite loud.  The fly and swoop through the pinyons at record-breaking speed.  This place is special for me and I have a feeling it was special for the Indians who lived nearby. Sometimes I just go there to clear my head.  The dirt road is very narrow and rutted and I actually drove partway out over it one time, but someday I'm going to hike all the way back through it (when hubby is along) and see what is at the end.  In the meantime, I'll stick to places near the highway and look at the clouds and pinyons and listen to the jays.  Outdoor Wednesday for September 7, 2011.  To visit Outdoor Wednesday, please go to: