Riverbend Trail (last day of “vacation”)

Well, I’ve been on “vacation” for the last week.  My “vacation” has consisted of running a chainsaw, burning brush (from the aforementioned chainsaw), and getting a somewhat feeble start on building a fence.  I go back to work tomorrow and figured I better get at least ONE day of R&R on my week off (don’t feel too sorry for me; I only go back to work for 3 weeks before having 2 more weeks off, some of which will be really cool R&R, but I digress).  Not many better ways to spend the last day of “vacation” than  with my lovely daughter on a short spring hike.  She suggested Riverbend Trail near Red Bluff.  It is a nice little loop of about 5 miles without too many steep hills (good for me since I’ve put on plenty of beer weight this winter).

It didn’t take long to figure out the wildflower bloom is kickin’ at that elevation.  The lupines on the lower end of the trail were especially pretty…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0011

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The trail is pretty easy but it is composed of lots of lava rock so I’d advise good shoes and watching one’s step…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0013

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Pretty nice view once you reach the “top” (not like it’s some great summit you climb…the entire trail consists of a few  hundred feet of elevation change tops)…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0001

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Also at the top is this cool sign that says some stuff about Jedediah Smith that I may actually read next time I head up…
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We thought we’d head up on this little rock to kick back for a few minutes…
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However, the aforementioned lava rock attacked me (note to self, put a small first aid kit in the camera bag)…
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….nevermind…found the first aid kit….CHEERS!…
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The walk back down was pretty as well (unfortunately some ugly power lines DO detract from some of the scenery)…20170410_riverbend-hike_blog_0009

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Not a bad little jaunt!  Time for a couple more of those nice Hop Valley brews to close out this “vacation.”

CHEERS, PROST, PROOST, ZIGGY SOCKY!

Snow Strolling

Just thought I’d share a few shots from some short strolls up on the grade the last few days…

This was about the end of the line for the grocery-getter on Sunday morning…
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Given it was all new powder up there Sunday (still coming down some when I got up there) I figured I better put these funny lookin’ things on…20170122_083223

It was chilly, but pretty…
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I tested the weather seals on the ol’ Canon pretty well (had I tested the damn batteries BEFORE i took off, there would have been more shots from that day)…
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Mel humored me the next day after it cleared up but hadn’t exactly warmed up…20170123_snow-hike_janesville-grade_blog_0004

We’ve definitely been getting some of the white stuff around our neighborhood…
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Some times I think my baby takes just as pretty of shots with her Galaxy as I do with my big heavy beast…facebook_1485306053203

Almost back to the warmth of the old truckster…
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We survived and didn’t even have to eat each other!…20170123_snow-hike_janesville-grade_blog_0010

The plow operators have earned their keep on the hill this year…
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…Wait 15 Minutes!

Well, the good ol’ Pineapple Express has been making things interesting around here.  The old adage about if you don’t like Lassen County weather wait 15 minutes has surely been the case lately.

I just thought I’d share a few shots (as always, click on any image to view it larger)

This is what the branches of an apple tree look like when it rains for 12 hours without exceeding 32 degrees…
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The yard critters were definitely chilly Sunday Morning…20170108_our-yard_blog_002

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We took a little drive on Monday.  First we headed up Janesville Grade.  I think the grocery-getter COULD have made it to Antelope Lake but lack of cell service made us chicken out.  It was definitely pretty up on the mountain though…20170109_winter-drive_blog_-1

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We headed up 139 next.  Some of the guys from 5 Dot Ranch posted on social media  that they were starting a yacht club the other day.  I see why…20170109_winter-drive_blog_-4

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I thought I’d grab a shot of this solitary goose near Willow Creek.  After two shots I realized I’d been duped…it is a decoy.  It may not be good enough to attract real geese but it was good enough to steal 5 minutes of my life…lol…. 20170109_winter-drive_blog_-6

The main reason for the journey this direction was to see if Eagle Pond has a chance of turning back to Eagle Lake one day.  The way Pine Creek is running this early give me some hope…20170109_winter-drive_blog_-7

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Just a few more shots from the drive back down.  We’ve definitely had a bit of precipitation the last week!…20170109_winter-drive_blog_-12

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SR139 was getting spooky with trucks chaining and taking their half of the road out of the middle so we thought we’d run back to town via Rice Canyon Road.  This is when our normally bleek desert looks pretty…
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As I wrap this up I’m looking at a rain gauge that says 8.21 inches of rain in the first 11 days of the year.  Add that to the dozen or so it recorded from October through December, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say the drought is over; at least for 15 minutes!

Battle Creek Falls – A Few Hours in Nature

 

Mel and I decided today would be a good day to get out and get some much needed fresh air.  I also wanted to start getting an idea whether the General Grabber AT2’s were a good call for a winter tire on the grocery-getter.  Judging from the performance in 6 inch deep slush, I’d say they’re going to get the job done if we want to get a bit off the blacktop (in moderation) in the winter…

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We took a spin into Battle Creek Falls.  Just a little 16 foot drop next to an antiquated power house.  I wish the snow/terrain/my bum knee would have let me get down for a better photo angle but these will have to do for now…

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Naturally, you have to stop for a road-side selfie…

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We liked the look of the sky when crossing the causeway at Almanor on the way home (ok, in reality it was more pastel pink but you don’t take a photo you MAKE a photo, right?)…
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Nice little afternoon with my gal that we ultimately capped off at Lassen Ale Works (gotta get a few more runs there while it still exists)!

 

Sierra Buttes Lookout

Well, Carly and I finally made this hike, which I have been meaning to do for 2 or 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is smoke on the horizon in pretty much all directions right now (’tis that time of year.  Thoughts and prayers to those who battle these blazes!).  Therefore, the views up on top weren’t as epic as I’m sure they can be.  Smoke or no smoke, it was still an amazing hike!  I was only able to narrow the images down to about 45 (I shot 186 and Carly grabbed some with her GoPro) so bear with me.

We got to the area a bit early so we stopped by Packer Lake to take a gander.  It is one of many pretty little lakes in the area…
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Yep.  That little house up there is where we’re going!  What have we gotten ourselves in to?…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_012

Gaining a little ground but already huffin’ and puffin’ and still a good way to go…DCIM188GOPROG0420727.

Just an incredibly scenic hike, all the way up…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_015

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There are several “teaser” looks at the lookout, just to keep you wondering what you were thinking!… 20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_024

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The breaks certainly got more frequent, the farther we got.  Carly lives at 500 foot elevation.  SEVENTY five and ultimately EIGHTY five hundred weren’t her favorites!…

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One of the treats of this hike is the frequent views of these three lakes.  Closest to farthest in this view are Young America, Upper Sardine, and Lower Sardine Lakes…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_022

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This sign, literally translated, means, you still have a ways to go…lol…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_025

Finally getting close.  At about this point, I told Carly, “Oh, by the way, there are 200 spooky stairs to climb at the end.”  This is the first glimpse at those stairs…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_033

Just about…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_035

Great view from near the base of the stairs…shows the smokiness in the air though…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_034

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Just a cool rusty old tank below the base of the tower…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_031

Time to head up!…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_037

Definitely, not for those with height phobias.  If the stairs aren’t enough, you get to walk on expanded metal at the top…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_038

Judging from the fairly modern stove and fridge, I’d say it was in use not all that many years ago…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_039

Absolutely spectacular views and I got 4 bars on my phone so I could check in on Facebook while up there…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_032

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Gotta have your nourishment! (and take plenty of water!)…DCIM188GOPROG0430778.

Yep, Carly loved the stairs (Don’t worry.  They’re only slightly more scary on the decent than the accent)…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_040

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We were treated to some wonderful “golden hour” light and a rising moon on our decent…20160814_Sierra Buttes Lookout_Blog_043

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We made it back to the grocery-getter just in time for the end of a beautiful sunset (one advantage of all that smoke, I suppose)…

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I certainly want to try this one one more time in some crisp, clean air (which may be easier said than done as the fires could start pretty much any second after the snow melts off the trail). But it was a wonderful hike and we’re only a little sore today! If you’re a hiker and haven’t done it you need to add it to your “to do” list!

If you’re interested there are pretty good directions on how to get there available from All Trails HERE.

Josh, over at California Through My Lens, has a great post related to this hike as well.  It can be found HERE.  His blog is worthy of a look/subscription for lots of other great recreational/travel ideas around the state as well!

 

 

 

Sifford Lake – Lassen NP

Well, yesterday afternoon I decided I better get in at least one more good hike on my week off.  On both of my visits to Kings Creek Falls I’ve seen a sign for Sifford Lake so I figured I’d go take a look.  This is another fairly mellow hike with only some mildly rolling terrain.  Like many of the hikes in the park, it has quite a diversity of scenery in a fairly short distance (this one is about 5 miles round trip)… 20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_008

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This little dude decided to strike a pose for me on the way in so I figured the least I could do was snap a shot…
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The lake itself sits over a little rise…
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It is a fairly small body, I’d say a scant acre in size…
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Like the trip to the falls, this one starts and ends along Kings Creek…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_014

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The park folks made a neat little bridge to keep your feet dry..20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_010

On the way in I noted that the compass said the mountain was due east of this spot…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_011

So, I figured it would be as good of place as any to see if there was a sunset.   The clouds really didn’t cooperate and, after several attempts in post processing, i still don’t have an image I like.  This is one attempt and it came out sort of ok, if you like the “painterly” look…20160805_Sifford Lake Hike_Blog_012

All in all, it was a great way to get some exercise and see some of God’s country!

 

 

2016 – Hot August Nights

Melanie flew into Reno on the evening of August 2.  I figured we’d be remiss if we didn’t walk at least one show and shine while we were in town.  By the time we got to the Atlantis parking lot the light was fading so it was tough to get good photos (on-camera flash is no fun!) but I salvaged a few snapshots from our stroll.  Melanie’s son-in-law Tarrick is a VW guy so I grabbed a couple of them…

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Her former co-worker Jim is a Nova guy so I kept my eye out for Novas and Chevy II’s..

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…and just stuff I thought was generally cool like this ’56 F-600 (more on it here)…
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or this badass Willys..20160802_Hot August Nights_Blog_0080008000080008

Gotta appreciate the work some folks put into these vehicles, even under the hood…

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One of the current photo challenges on Pixoto is themed “American Cars” (CLICK) and another is just “Chevys.” (CLICK)  This very well done ’57 Bel-Aire made me think of both of them…

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However, I didn’t like the background clutter so I took a bit of “artistic license,” AKA screwing around in Photoshop and came up with this composite…

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Not sure how it will fare in the contest but it was fun, none-the-less!

All in all, it was a nice way to spend an evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings Creek Falls – An Evening Stroll

Well, the plan yesterday WAS to go hike to the Sierra Buttes Lookout with my daughter.  Unfortunately, life happens and she had to postpone.  Hopefully that epic hike will happen before the summer is out.  Needing a Plan B to get some “nature therapy,” and not having a great deal of time, I decided to hike into Kings Creek Falls in Lassen Park.  It is one of my favorite places in the park and I wasn’t super pleased with the last photos I took there.

I’m going to employ a little “artistic license” with this post.  I wanted to make sure to get there in time to set up the camera so I took no photos on the hike TO the falls.  However, it would seem a bit anti-climactic if I put the falls pics ahead of the trail pics so I’m going to put the shots of the hike OUT before the main subject…

The trail-head starts right next to Kings Creek, which you cross at a pretty little meadow if you’re coming from the south (SR36) entrance…
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It is definitely a pretty walk with very diverse landscapes considering it is only a couple miles…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_014

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I call this the “falls before the falls.”  Just a pretty little spot on the creek…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_002

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The park folks are doing alot of work to this area.  Indeed, the most direct trail to the falls is closed until 2018.  One has to hike around on the “horse trail” to get to the falls.  It is a bit longer but quite scenic. When I was here 2 years ago there was an ugly old metal railing.  Looks like they have spruced it up a bit…20160801_2016-8.1_Kings Creek Falls_Blog_007

Ok, I guess it is about time to “land the plane” before this post gets too long.  I think this is one of the prettiest waterfalls in northern California.  Some day I hope to get truly excellent photos of it!  To make that happen I think I’ll have to hike in in the early morning dark and shoot it in the golden light of the morning sun.  In the evenings, the sun is low and behind the falls making it hard for me to properly expose the falls without turning the sky into an ugly white mass.  However, these shots illustrate the splendor of the place fairly well…

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(As always, clicking any image above will allow you to view it larger)

 

2016 Montana Trip – Part 4 (The Rest)

This is the catchall for the miscellany of the trip…

The Engels have really let the old house go…lol…20160714_Little House_001

This old church caught my eye on the way back to Havre…
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This is what is known as a heavily wooded area on the Montana prairie…20160715_Havre_Blog_001

Coeur d’Alene Lake from atop Mineral Ridge just above where I camped…20160711_144238

This barn adjacent to a canola field caught my eye… 20160714_115319

More funny Montana woods..20160714_143251

Fresno Reservoir just north of Havre.  Supposed to be a very good Walleye fishery…20160714_180548

I added a couple more pub pints to my collection…20160716_Home Drive_Misc_Blog_004

Yep.  Long drive…20160716_Home Drive_Misc_Blog_003

2016 Montana Trip – Part 3 (The Main Mission)

As noted earlier, the main mission for my trip was to spread mom’s ashes.  She always wanted to move to Montana and set up a little mini-ranch.  She also always had a fascination with the Milk River and asked that her ashes be scattered where it returns to the US from Canada.  The river originates in Montana, goes northeast into Alberta, then returns to Montana on the prairie north of Havre.  In doing research for the trip, I found that there was a great deal of access to the river from Fresno Reservoir, just north of Havre, downstream.  However, access north of the lake is not the easiest to achieve.  With the help of Google Earth and my trusty GPS I was able to find a single 10 mile dirt road leading to a bridge over the river, 14 miles south of the Canadian line.  Here are some shots of the site.  I think she’d approve…

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While walking back to the car, this little bird (a sandpiper of some type that I already forgot the name of) was buzzing right around my head.  If I was the superstitious type or a native American, I may have read more into it, but it was stirring, nonetheless…

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Janet Diane Lee

4/28/1946-10/27/2015

Gone but not forgotten.  Rest in Peace.