Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Day One… Sunday, April 13

Sort of a late departure at 9:30 a.m. ‘cos we still had some packing to do and my tugboat man wanted French toast for breakfast. Since he does 100% of the driving, he deserved a bit of pampering, right?

Vehicle mileage 176,080

We stopped at Vons to get water and ice before heading East on the 78 to North 15.

There was a squeaky sound near a belt or bearing or something that was annoying hub; I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying — blah blah blah, and we stopped to buy a small can of WD-40 at Lowe’s in Escondido and got back on the road.

11:35 a.m. On Highway 10, OMG, just saw a solo rollover crash on the south side of the freeway; we didn’t stop because so many other good samaritans had already pulled over to render aid  – hope it won’t a driver distracted by texting.

12:30 p.m. Ate lunch at a rest stop just outside Coachella where the music festival is happening this weekend.  35-40 mph winds, crazy windy!

7:00 p.m. Because it’s Easter week and everything’s so crowded, we changed our itinerary a bit and drove all the way to Payson, Arizona where we’re spending the night at a Comfort Inn.

Tomorrow we plan to leave early to hike to 13th century Native American pueblos, and then drive to the Petrified Forest National Park  – after than, we’re on to something hub found called The Grand Staircase or “escarpments” — after that the Grand Canyon, ending up at Zion later in the week.

Or something like that.

We’re pretty flexible. If we see something interesting, we’ll stop and camp and hike even if it’s not on our official itinerary.

The scenery here in and around Payson, Arizona is amazing. It’s in the middle of Navajo country.

We drove through Maricopa County, home to the eccentric and notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but we didn’t see any of his pink-clad chain prisoners, I’m glad to say.

We walked over to Denny’s Restaurant for dinner. I had a veggie burger and hub had grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli. Everything was surprisingly delicious — or maybe we were just starved.

Good night!

Click on each pic to see a larger version.

 

Wandering To Zion

FINALLY, my tugboat man recovered from his bout with the flu and we’re packed and ready to leave early Sunday morning on a road trip to Zion National Park

It’s a place we’ve always wanted to visit — hopefully we’ll get to more than one park –have you seen all the TV commercials about Utah’s Mighty Five?

Utah’s five national parks have it all. See unique soaring spires, towering pinnacles, sandstone canyons, and intricately eroded arches of sculptured stone.

I’d love to camp and hike at Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, too, and we’ll be try to include at least a couple days at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

We might stay at a hotel or a lodge for a night, especially since the weather calls for night temps in the 30s and the possibility of rain.

It’s been a while since we’ve gone off the grid for a while; I’m really looking forward to beautiful country and some long, rigorous hikes.

Wearing my Chanel sunglasses to pop a squat in the desert; always fashion forward no matter where I go, that’s the way I roll.

Yay for adventures!

panoZION

 

 

 

 

 

*Secret Location* Hike with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Now that my masterful mariner is totes recovered from the flu and the weather is AMAZING, it was time to drag him away from watching surf videos in his man cave and hit the dusty trails.

I can’t tell you where this spot is.

I wish I could but I can’t.

BUT  I promise if you come to my neck of the woods, I’ll blindfold you and take you there and you will LOVE it as much as we do. I promise.

In one direction, there’s a spectacular view of the ocean and off to the east you can see snow high atop the peaks of Mt. San Jacinto near Palm Springs. We could see snow today, but it was a bit hazy and the pic didn’t come out very good.

It used to be a place that only locals knew about; really primitive, but over the years the trails have expanded and are now managed and maintained and protected as open space by the city of Carlsbad, which is one of the FEW good things they’ve ever done (now you know what I think of the politics in my little town).

This secret spot is about five minutes by car from our house; sometimes we ride bicycles there but now we only have one bicycle ‘cos my son took tugboat man’s to a seminar at UC Irvine and it got stolen and we haven’t yet replaced it.

I snapped lots of pics. Click on them for a bigger and better view.

If you think you know where we are, let me know!

 

Wordless Wednesday — Moose Tracks — Don’t Murder Animals

Is it really Wednesday already? On my way to a Pilates class, here’s my contribution:

Moose Resting in Tall Grass in Grand Tetons.

moose

He didn’t move all day. He was about ten feet from the trail when we began our hike and four hours later, he was still there. We watched him for a while, admiring his rack (ha ha) and wondered how anyone could kill such a beautiful creature and mount the antlers on a wall for decoration. 

It hurt our heart and soul to think that if this lovely animal wandered off the protected lands of Grand Tetons National Park, he’d be slaughtered.

If I was anti-hunting before this trip, I have become (if possible) even more militantly against animal murder.

At the risk of offending anyone, I’d like to suggest that hunters have sociopathic tendencies. That opinion was derived from an animal rights group and it resonates with me. 

I guess this wasn’t so wordless after all.

Guide to Camping Preparations: Princess Rosebud-Style

PART ONE…

Princess Rosebud Hiking Guide

Me at Slough Creek Campground in Yellowstone. Pose it, girl!
Chanel sunglasses, of course.

Me on rocks near river

Hiking in Julian with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Broken wrist notwithstanding, it was time for a back-to-nature adventure; this time a seven plus-mile, four-hour walk.

We drove up to our local mountain to the beautiful and historic town of Julian to hike the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, East End. The Cedar Fire in 2003 caused some damage that’s visible in a few burnt out trees, but most of it was spared.

Santa Ysabel East End Open Space PreserveTo get to the starting point from Julian, drive two miles north on Farmer Road to Wynola Road, jog briefly right, and turn left to remain on Farmer Road. Continue 1.2 miles north to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve staging area on the left.

Start heading west, alongside the upper reaches of Santa Ysabel Creek, on the Kanaka Loop Trail. This part of the trail doubles as a segment of the unfinished Coast to Crest Trail, which will ultimately stretch all the way to the coast at Del Mar. It would be so cool to hike that one day.

Right away you’ll notice cattle — as in COWS — grazing on the grassy hillsides overlooking the creek. Another not-quite-natural occurrence is the appearance of large flocks of wild turkeys. The 20,000 or so turkeys now roaming the Julian-Cuyamaca area descended from an initial population of about 300 that hunting enthusiasts  animal murderers introduced in 1993.

I forgot my camera in the car, so here’s my embarassingly poor rendering of the cows and turkeys we saw.

Don't I draw like I'm five-years-old?

Artist: Princess Rosebud …Don’t I draw like I’m five-years-old? Obviously, both sides of my brain are not evolved equally.  It’s a good thing I don’t shop like I draw.

We saw sycamores, black oaks, and blackberry thickets. It’s a very active site for mountain lions – prints were everywhere along with a lot of coyote and mule deer scat.

The cows have an amazing playground; why they chose to sit in the middle of the trail along the entire route and either give us dirty looks or cause us to walk into the brush to get out of their way or in one case, CHASE US, I have no idea. They are VERY large and appear malevolent as if they know how big they are and were laughing with each other at my FEARFUL screams of “Go away, go away, shoo, shoo, get out of here, you stupid Cow!”

Geez, we don’t even eat meat, so they should have been extra nice to us, don’t you agree?

If I had my camera, I would have taken pics like this…

Kanaka Loop

Other people’s pics

It was a beautiful hike, not too strenuous for my still-healing broken wrist, and we decided to drive the few miles into Julian and walk around like tourists. Julian is an old mining town and is quaint and cute. We went into a one hundred year old soda shop and had a yummy sarsaparilla.

Now I have my camera again.

We gave this guy a few dollars for his animal rescue, ‘cos his little mini-pony was adorable. 

minipony

Carriage ride
Julian realty
Our fun day ended with a stop at a farm stand. Twenty-five avocados for $5.00. Yay! Guess who’s making guacamole?
avocados

Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man visit Palm Springs

What a difference a week makes

It’s nearly impossible to fathom that it was only last week that my tugboat man and I went to Palm Springs. He’s been gone for a week today and I’m experiencing “husband cold turkey” with no cell phone reception and only spotty email.

On my own, I have tons of free time but I’m always busy. Today I sent a Valentine’s Day package to son, DIL, and sister wife. After that, I stopped at one of my fave consignment shops and got a few things– nothing designer or vintage–not photo worthy–just a top for the gym, a Free People sweater, and a Tommy Bahama long sleeved Hawaiian shirt. I prolly won’t ever wear it, but at seven dollars, how could I NOT rescue it! The silk’s worth more than that, right?

I worked my way over to the library and got a few of their $1 books ‘cos I’m out of reading material after the “Elegance of the Hedgehog”.  I saw a car catch on fire in the parking lot!! Luckily for the owner, there’s a fire station right across the street. A few of those hunky guys came out, smelled smoke, did a little pointing, saw lots of people waving them over, jumped in their fire engine AND a paramedic’s unit (although no one was injured) and drove right by me as I stood next to my car. YUMMY!

I arrived home to discover that I was missing an earring, probably dropped at the consignment shop. It was an amethyst with a dangly pearl and I was super upset so I got back in my car. It wasn’t in the dressing room or anywhere else in the store but I retraced my steps to where I had parked earlier and there it was!! Thank you, Mother Earth!

As I drove home along the same route for the second time today, I noticed six police cars at the Motel 6 (for a “village” that tries to promote its quaint-ness, Motel 6 kinda messes with that whole marketing campaign). They seemed to be converging on one man and handcuffing him. Excitement!! I was gonna cross the street and film the action, but my merchant mariner’s voice was in my head telling me it wasn’t very smart to get smack up in the middle of something that could get out of control. Dumb captain always in my head!! Sheesh.

The previous week, my last as a married woman…for a while

Palm Springs is about three hours from home, perfect for a day hike. Neither of us had ever been there or taken the tram, and we both love to hike in the snow, so we packed a lunch, gassed up the truck, and embarked on another adventure. We passed this…bearstore

and this…not a real bighorn sheep

and this was our first glimpse of snow on a hazy day.first view of san snow

We drove past the Marilyn Monroe statue but my tugboat man wouldn’t stop long enough for me to take a pic, so I had to Google it.marilynmonroepalmsprings

Before you reach Palm Springs, there’s another little town called Palm Desert with a shopping section that rivals Rodeo Drive.

gucci

I spied a GUCCI storefront out of the corner of my eye and yelled “GUCCI, GUCCI, GOOOOCHHIIIIII!!” My tugboat man’s response wasn’t very nice, “Don’t even think about it. I’m not stopping. I didn’t drive all this way to take you shopping.” Mean man. I shmushed my face up against the window and whimpered wistfully, “Gucci, Gucci, Gucci” in a manner guaranteed to elicit pity from my stone-faced hub until the light changed and I could no longer see the signage. Nothing. Nada. He drove right by it. Two can play this game I thought to myself–hmm, there’s only one road in and one road out and I’d have another chance on the way home. I’m one clever cookie!

Frank Sinatra lived in PS when it was a celebrity hotspot. We didn’t stop there, either.sinatra house palm springs

tram

Our destination was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. It’s a brief ten minute ride starting at the  Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft.–ending at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. [from Wiki] San Jacinto Peak, 10,834 feet (3,302 m), is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California. It lies within Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”[4]

The tram ride up was SCARY. I spent the entire ride clutching the captain’s arm ’til it went all numb ‘cos I thought the cables were gonna break and we were gonna die. When I expressed that thought to him, he told me to be stop hyperventilating, be quiet, and let up a bit on the vise-like death grip. Sometimes he’s NOT all that perfect. By the time I formed an appropriate response, the ride was over, and we were still alive.tram bench

I stopped to use the restroom and snapped a pic of my new Osprey backpack chock full of the essentials. El Capitan is getting a bit annoyed with the incessant picture taking of my Chanels.

There was SNOW!snowhike

On a gigantic flat rock warmed by the sun, we enjoyed a hearty lunch of canned sardines, cheese and crackers, dried mango, fresh fruit, cookies, and trail mix with raw almonds and cashews.our lunch snow hike

Four legs taking a break. Mine are NOT the hairy ones wearing shorts in the snow.two sets of legs

I left behind a message to others…ES in snow

No GUCCI. No WAY.

Here’s a gallery of the rest of the pics. It was a spectacular day! There wasn’t going to be a Gucci moment–that wasn’t going to happen even though I promised that all I wanted to do was LOOK and not actually buy anything (well, unless there was something that I couldn’t live without), but he was steadfast in his resolve to NOT stop–a girl needs to know when to quit and I do so I did. The last couple of pics are from a detour we made to walk a bit on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Hubs dream is to walk the entire Trail. Probably not with me. What.Ev.

The Princess Guide to Camping

Yawn. Stretch. Sore.
It was grueling. But so much fun.

My tugboat man suggested a quick overnight camping trip to the Anza-Borrego desert because a NW swell was supposed to hit our little beach town on Sunday, the same day as the Mavericks surf contest in Northern Calfornia.

We left on Friday so we could hike during the day, camp at night, and hike again on Saturday before heading home.

From a few of the COMMENTS I received on my previous “Desert Solitude” post, SOME of you think I am incapable of “roughing it”.  I am very offended by your lack of faith in my chameleon-like ability to adapt to all environments.

SOME OF YOU are under the WRONG assumption that a girl who thinks she’s a princess of seashells–enchanted seashells no less–spends her days tottering around the mall on six-inch heels and shops all day with her Chanel on her itty bitty arm, stopping only for a nourishing bite of sushi before heading home to bake and clean compulsively. And create seashell bouquets.

Actually, now that I’ve written it, that sounds pretty damn accurate!

MOST of the time.

But there’s another side to this petite princess.

Although I confess to adore my creature comforts, I love to hike and camp. I love outdoor adventures.

Here’s how I marry the two sides of my personality. It’s not exactly glamping–glamorous camping, but it’s my way to experience the beauty of nature.

I call it…

The Princess Guide to Camping

  • A backpack is of primary importance, not only because you want to be able to carry important items like lots and lots of toilet paper and water, but it makes a statement about who you are.

We went to REI on Thursday because I needed a new daypack. Since I’m short even for short women, a youth pack fits me better than an adult sized pack. I got an Osprey Youth Jet 18 in grey and red. It’s super comfortable. This is a Made in the USA company.backpack harrodsbag

  • I carry the essentials: a Yale/Hello Kitty water bottle, small size Chanel perfume(Chance), and Kiehls Vitamin C cream.** I pack a LOT of tp. I can’t emphasize that enough. Gurrrlz, we don’t want to run out. We. do. not. Since you’re not supposed to throw it on the ground when you’re done using it–the whole “Pack it in, pack it out” mentality–remember to take a plastic bag just for that purpose.
  • And I love my Nivea. I usually use a travel container, but couldn’t find it, so I’m showing the larger size as an example.
  • In the Louis Vuitton makeup case, I carry lipstick (also Chanel), a half dozen or so different types of lip balm, a mirror that is one side actual and one side magnified (also good to use if you get lost and need to signal the rescue helicopter), my new Cha Cha wallet, Altoids,  and a miniature flashlight to light my way to pop a squat at night.
  • The sparkly Harrods case (a gift from DIL) carries a minimum amount of makeup. I always bring an eyeliner, brow pencil, highlighter and blush all-in-one, and tweezers. How embarrassing would it be to have an errant hair or two sprout up in an unsightly location? I know, right? Well, be prepared. Better safe than sorry. You never know who you’re gonna meet. I know someone who met Elton John at the Yosemite Lodge. What a nightmare it would be if he noticed that a little plucking was needed!!
  • Also in my pack, I carry my glasses and contact lens solution, camera, and phone. Oh, and a pair of gloves. Usually two. One to keep warm and the other as protection against the ravages of dust, dirt, and rocks. Rock climbing wreaks havoc with a chicka’s manicure. Very unpleasant. Very. **Tip: coat your nails with a quality clear glaze–I like OPI–because the chips won’t show, and you’ll be somewhat protected.

That’s about it for my load.

Hubs carries everything else: lots more water, our lunch, snacks, first aid kit, and rope. (And when my pack starts to bother me and/or I get tired and all whiny and cranky, he carries mine, too.) We always have a few packets of Emergen-C, protein powder, and sardines. I know what you’re thinking. You either love canned sardines or you hate them, but they’re a great source of protein. I buy the kind in water, unless it’s for my son who needs a lot more fat in his diet ‘cos he has such an efficient metabolism.

I think hubs carries rope just ‘cos he’s a mariner, but I’m not sure. Or maybe he’s anticipating the day I get too scared of heights or I get hurt and he has to pull me down a mountain. Either way, I don’t have to carry it!

  • These are the best. I cut them in half because I’m a thrifty gal (haha) but these are thecleansingcloth BEST for all over body cleansing.
  • Use a lot of good quality sunscreen. We used a 50+. Hubs carries it ‘cos it’s too heavy and I don’t have room for stuff like that.
  • Good hiking boots are invaluable. bootspolesI’ve had these for about five years and they fit like a glove. We both use trek poles, and it’s really helped me navigate through rocky terrain and hills, plus you burn extra calories, so it’s all good.
  • I rock hiking pants with all the little pockets and velcro. This time it’s not really for anything but practicality. The pockets are great for lip balm and if they’re sturdy, you can easily slide down a part of the trail that might be too difficult to navigate standing up.

I slide A LOT.

  • We have our favorite camp dinner; burritos with refried beans mixed with a can of tuna fish (sodium free), freshly made guacamole, and low fat cheddar cheese. I cook it all up on the camp stove while hubs heats the tortillas over the fire, and it is SOOO satisfying after a long hike.  I brought the avocados, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes, and made the guac right there on our little table. I prepared a few extra burritos and wrapped them individually in aluminum foil for lunch the following day. With apples, pears,  oranges, and crudite,  it was a healthy meal on the trail.
  • Bring a lot of clothes. No, really. You never know what you might need and the weather could change unexpectedly. This time, I brought a down jacket, scarf, gloves, two hats, two pairs of hiking socks, two pairs of regular socks, a few long sleeved shirts, Ugg-style boots for around the camp, two sweatshirts, and underwear. So it was a lot, whatever. We weren’t hauling everything on our backs–we were driving in a truck, and I like to be prepared. A good sun/hiking hat is ESSENTIAL!
  • A helpful tip is to always carry nuts and raisins. We like raw almonds and cashews and dried fruit, too. On a long hike, a couple of handfuls give you the energy you need to continue without whining–and by YOU I mean ME.
We're here!

We’re here!

First stop!

First stop!

We found a remote spot of Anza to set up camp. I’m not telling where it is, ‘cos we want to keep it a secret. There aren’t too many places that aren’t filled up with RVs and dune buggies when all we’re after is a little solitude and nature. After we set up the tent, we hiked about six miles.View from our secret campsite

View from our secret campsite

Since it looks like the captain probably won’t be here for our 19th wedding anniversary in February, I thought we’d have an early commemoration of the event. betterrockheart

The night was clear and crisp. We left the tent open to see the stars but the temp dropped to the low thirties and we FROZE.

It was so awesome.

COYOTES
From the moment the sun set to the next morning when it rose, we were serenaded by coyotes-in stereo–all around us–an astounding diversity of beautiful, haunting, melodious animal communication. It was heavenly.

The high was 78 degrees, the low hovered around 35.  That’s thirty-five bone chilling degrees.

It was almost too cold to sleep even though we have an inflatable queen-sized bed in our huge tent. The tent is so big, it’s like a mini-house. We’re talking princess-style, don’t forget. And check out the sun shower-OF COURSE I have a shower! A princess needs to be fresh at all times, right? Hidden inside the shower is a….TOILET! Ha ha! I don’t always run behind a bush and pop.

tablecampstove

A tent fit for a princess!

sunshower:toilet

Of course a shower is essential!

Wine, leave-in spray

Wine, leave-in conditioner, perfume

AND, in case you’re wondering, I do help set up. Just a little.

If you’ve never done so,  put it on your wish list to spend a night or two under the stars in the desert. There is such an overwhelming amount of mystical legend and lore–you really need to check it out for yourself!

Sunrise

The sunrise was magnificent!

hawkorgoldeneaglefeather

A hawk feather we found on the slot canyon hike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t want to bore anyone with a zillion pics, but they really are spectacular–if you have the time, take a few minutes to scroll through.

Photo Gallery of first six-mile hike around the campsite.

Photo Gallery of day two six-mile hike: a slot canyon at Coachwhip Canyon.

Photo Gallery of last stop at Font Pt.

Photo Gallery of trail treasures.

Hiking on New Year’s Eve

On New Year’s Eve, the waves must not have been big enough to entice His Highness the Surfer because he suggested we go for a day hike. It was a gorgeous day to be outdoors; crisp and clean air, blue skies.

If all you know about the OC is what you’ve learned from the Real Housewives of Orange County or The Hills, it’ll surprise you to learn that there’s a lot of beautiful preserved land.

cougarThe last time we were in this same mountain range at Caspers Wilderness Park, there were active mountain lion sightings and warnings. I studied predatory animals in college; wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats. The mountain lion is the only animal that I’m afraid of. They’re incredibly strong and their behavior is unpredictable. I’ve only seen or heard them a couple of times but there have been several attacks in this area over the years, and I’m always a bit anxious, searching for prints, scat, and looking in the trees where they like to stretch out and take a snooze just like any other kitty cat.

mountain-lion-warning photoIt was unsettling to see this sign as we entered the park.  I wondered what exactly the park rangers meant when I read, “Convince the lion you are not prey and that you might be dangerous yourself.”

OK, that brought on an episode of role playing. As we drove to the trailhead to park, I told the captain his role was to be the mountain lion and my job was to convince him not to kill me.

“Hey guy, you’re lookin’ pretty good today, nice and healthy. How’s about we have a little convo? I’d like you to try and put yourself in my shoes–not literally, of course!  (Little joke there, Mr. Cougar) I’m here for a nice little walk and I’m sure that we don’t want to ruin my day, do we? Look at it from my point of view. I’ve seen many moons and my meat is no longer tender and young–although to be perfectly honest, I have been described as a cougar in my day. You probably wouldn’t enjoy the meal anyway. Why don’t we just agree to disagree? And if that doesn’t convince you, I have been known to go batshit crazy for no apparent reason, and you do NOT want to set me off.”

The captain didn’t really think it was a very compelling argument and probably wouldn’t convince a mountain lion that I might be dangerous, although he did agree that I have been known to go batshit crazy at times, and actually he IS kind of scared of me.

(So there’s that. Good to know; I’ll stow that gem away for future reference.)

I have no idea if the park rangers were trying to be funny since the sign didn’t elaborate, but we didn’t have to debate any mountain lions that day or yesterday, thank goodness!

We drove to Orange County near the quaint Ortega Oaks Candy Store on Ortega Highway/Highway 74 from Interstate 5, about an hour away from home.

The Bear Canyon Trail is about 6.5 miles, although we took a detour that added time to our hike and it took us about four hours. It’s not the most strenuous hike I’ve been on, but it was still challenging.

Here’s the captain at the trailhead. I don’t carry anything but water and makeup. Hee hee.captaintrailhead

I created a gallery of the other pics I took. Check out the snow on the San Gabriel and San Jacinto mountain range.

I wish everyone a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013!