Exploring Pilot Rock Trail

Serendipity ~ finding something good without looking for it

Last week while hiking in SARA Park, I chatted with a Minnesota snow bird about another trail in the area. Based on Minnesota Mans instructions, I set out Wednesday to hike and explore the 7-mile round trip to Pilot Rock.

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Everyday starts with a sunrise, but it’s what we do before it sets that matters ~ K. McGraw

The sun rises late in Arizona, 7 a.m. actually, but the day is mine and as a slow-moving wanderer, I’ll need the hours to come full circle.  With plenty of water, snacks, and sandwiches in my pack, I’m good to go.

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If you come to a fork in the road, take it ~ Yogi Berra

Within SARA Park, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has numerous side trails, including paths for off-road bicyclists.  I am so grateful for the trail markers pointing the way, because without written instructions, my memory rarely serves me well.

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From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere ~ Dr. Seuss

I happened to wander off path and discovered  this circular pattern on the desert ground ~  in the middle of nowhere. I believe it’s water-created, but sometimes funny things just can’t be explained.

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Time flows away like the water in a river ~ Confucius

I’m hoping the sight of water means I’m getting closer! Pilot Rock was once used by steamboat pilots for navigation on the Colorado River.  At the end of the trail, there’s a mini lighthouse and BLM site that serves modern-day boaters.

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A cache of water for a thirsty desert traveler.

I took the signs word for it that there were water bottles below ground. With all the paths out here and the lack of signage, it is very easy to get misdirected. The good thing is most trails intersect; you just don’t want to run out of water with the extra walking.

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I want to live, I want to give, I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold ~ Neil Young

Minnesota Man mentioned an abandoned mine; a good sign that I’m going the right way.  The Arizona desert is full of old mines, and for safety’s sake, this one has been filled in.

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What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us ~ Henry David Thoreau

Resting above the mine is an old metal chute, left behind by a previous prospector. I can’t imagine working in the middle of nowhere, exposed to extreme temperatures. It takes a certain type of person to be a prospector in the desert.

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Wisdom from a rock ~ never take your life for granite :0)

I’m finding all sorts of interesting things during today’s journey.  As I went to take a step, the layout of the layers of sediment in this rock caught my attention. My niece saw a wolf in the pattern, and I see an alligator. I can only imagine the age of this rock.

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It’s better to burn out, then to fade away ~ Neil Young

Decisions, decisions ~ up and over a ridge or down the wash? I chose the easy wash walk and came upon what I think is an old oil can, bleached by the sun and tumbled by the dirt and stones. I’m sure stumbling across some interesting things today.

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When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say why me, say try me ~ Anonymous

You’ve got to be tough to survive in the desert. I did not notice the spine-laden camouflage on this prickly bouquet until getting up close and personal. Can you see the “teeth” in the flowers opening? I can almost hear them jeering, “just try me.”

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A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it ~ Ray Davis

Are we there yet, are we there yet? I can see the river, just not a clear path to get there. In the desert, sometimes choosing the easy path ends up being the inaccessible (but interesting) path.

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Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost ~ Erol Ozam

Although my attempt to find Pilot Rock was unsuccessful, in the end I was rewarded with a view of a hidden cove with rippling water and a graceful natural arch.

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Sometimes the best paths we take are wrong turns ~ Jay Long

With dwindling water and tired feet, I decided to head back to the car and head home. I’m determined to return next week and find Pilot Rock, this time with written directions and a trail map.

Although I got off-track today, my detour yielded unexpected discoveries. After coming across some pretty cool stuff, I think that today, my best path was a wrong turn.

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The Best Things in Life…….

The bests things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way ~ Anonymous

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“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.” ~ John Muir

As a kid, I had so much fun spending time outdoors with my family – traveling, camping, and hiking. I hope my grandson will look back on this time with fondness and remember hearing the waterfall sing.

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Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experiences. ~ Paulo Coelho

Spending the day at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point, OR. The kids loved holding the gator……my daughter looks a little worried. My brave babies.

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“Rivers know this:  There is no hurry. We shall get there some day” ~ A.A. Milne

We were on our way to the coast and stopped for lunch and a dip in the Smith River at Jedediah Smith State Park. Kids are like rivers….they’re in no hurry.

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Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly ~ Van Morrison

Letting their spirits fly……dodging the waves in Brookings, Oregon. Remember when kids didn’t need anything but nature and a few friends to have the best time? Good times.

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When was the last time you did something for the first time?

My youngest grandson experiencing the ocean for the first time ~ he was so fascinated with chasing the waves and playing in the sand. In nature, life can be so sweet and simple.

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“It’s a party. It’s a celebration of another year of life..” ~ Kim Etheredge

Celebrating my youngest grandsons 3rd birthday with Mama, Big Sister, and cousins. That blonde hair and baby blues sure run in the family. Who needs Chuck E. Cheese when you can spend the day at the park with family.

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“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” ~ Winnie-the-Pooh 

It had been two and a half years since I saw my girl and grand-kids; I’m so grateful to have the means to spend time with them. Although, I love exploring nature and experiencing the beauty of the outdoors….. nothing can take the place of spending time with my family. It was hard to say goodbye.

Goodbyes are not forever ~ Goodbyes are not the end ~ They simply mean I’ll miss you ~ Until we meet again ~ Anonymous

 

And into Yellowstone I go……..Day 1

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir

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The beautiful Madison River, Yellowstone NP

I was in my element this past week, immersed in the nature-y goodness of Yellowstone National Park. We got an early start our first day, stopping by the Madison River en route to the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, and the Canyon of the Yellowstone. Trees, rivers, forests……I am in nature-nirvana!

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Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and the most photographed thermal facet in Yellowstone. What I would have given to have an aerial view of the spring – a sideways glance does not do it justice.

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The Firehole River, adjacent to Old Faithful

As we waited for Old Faithful to spew, the grandson and I took a stroll around the Upper Geyser Basin enjoying the cobalt waters of the Firehole River. The river flows through several geyser basins, including Old Faithful, and temps can rise to 86 degrees.

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Thar she blows……….Old Faithful erupts every hour to ninety minutes and lasts for about two and a half minutes. Besides walking the adjoining Upper Basin trails, there’s ample seating while you wait for nature’s show.

 

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The lower falls of the Yellowstone from Artist Point

A must-see for me was the Canyon of the Yellowstone via Artist’s Point.  After braving 30 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic through the parking lot, we nabbed a spot and joined the other billion (I’m exaggerating) folks on their way to the falls. The downside of summer travel, of course is the crowds…..and the peak-season costs.

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Time for a picnic lunch on the Gibbons River

Last stop of the day, the Virginia Cascade picnic area, for a tuna fish sandwich and some pretzels. What better way to eat lunch than at a picnic bench next to the Gibbons River!

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If you can manage an early rise, you can somewhat beat the summer crowds. Later in the day, expect the roads and visitor areas to be jam-packed with lines, for both cars and people.

I really enjoyed each part of the park we visited, crowds and all.  With the temperatures at home hitting 120, I truly appreciated the cooler weather, the views, and all things green and blue.

 

 

 

 

Schabarum Regional Park, Rowland Heights, California

DSCN2311A wonderful hike among the hills last week at Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights, California.  Schabarum backs up to the Puente Hills Land Preserve offering miles of additional trails to explore after you finish with the park.  There is not a lot of shade and nowhere but the dirt to sit and rest.

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All trails go up for the most part, but the view from the top is inspiring.  It’s springtime in California and the hills are covered in yellow wild flowers.  There is company on the trails, but not too many to make it overcrowded.

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I took a right and wandered down a shady service road, appreciating the trees and desolation.  The remaining trails steeply go up and after a few miles of climbing, these old legs have had enough.  At the end of the service road lay another hill so I turned around and headed back to the park trail.

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After coming back from the hills, I decided to finish up the second half of the Schabarum trail loop.  My car was parked up front by the entrance and a trail beats a parking lot walk any day.

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You know it’s spring in Southern California when the hills are covered in yellow.  I hum a little of the Cold Play song, “Yellow” as I sip my water and keep on walking.

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A sad reminder that your still in the city

Like most metropolitan cities, Los Angeles County has its share of taggers.  It saddens me that people have such disregard for our public lands.  With such little open green space in the area, it a shame that some folk feel okay with desecrating the little bit of land we have in the city.

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Every trail went up!

Too tired to go up anymore and passed on this trail.  Eat a good breakfast, lunch, etc., and bring lots of water and snacks to keep your energy up.  It was a good work out for this weekday cubicle dweller.

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One of the high points of the trail.  Across the park are some lovely homes sitting up on the hills.  If you look to the left your reminded that you’re still in the city with a view of industrial buildings, malls, and track homes. This was my reward for climbing up all the hills. Time to go down and back home.

Although it was hilly, I enjoyed this park. I’ve visited Schabarum before, but never got the chance to hike its trails. I recommend going early while it’s cool –there’s not a lot of shade and when summer rolls in the afternoons will be quite uncomfortably warm. Happy trails!