Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Four years ago today: Saddleback Butte SP

Feb. 15, 2010
Four years ago today we hiked Saddleback Butte State Park in the Antelope Valley, California! The park was about 15 miles east of our house.

The butte has a large number of Joshua trees that sit on the desert floor beneath a large rocky hill. We hiked to the top of a smaller butte/rocky hill at the park's norhwest corner and then through the Joshue Tree forest below it.

The hike was quite brief in terms of mileage - only about 0.75 to 1 mile long, but you were at the point in your life in which you wanted to walk the trails rather than be taken in the child carrier, and that was about all the distance you could handle!

I also remember the day being fairly warm, in the high 60s.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Four years ago: Hiking Ripley State Park

Feb. 12, 2010
Four years ago today we hiked the Ripley Desert Woodland State Park - one of the last virgin stands of Joshua trees in the Antelope Valley, which is where our homes in Lancaster and Palmdale, California were located.

The park was located way out in the desert, about 15 miles from our house. It was very easy to get to but had no facilities to speak of.

You most enjoyed the numbered markers posted along the trail! The numbers corresponded with a brochure that told about Joshua trees and the local ecosystem. You had great fun searching them out and making sure you got the next number in the sequence!

Here's a bunch of photos from our adventure!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Four years ago today: Tortoise hiking

Spotting a desert tortoise, Jan. 30, 2014.
Four years ago today we hiked a trail in the Desert Tortoise Natural Area. It was a remote area in the Mojave Desert, though driveable from where we lived in Lancaster, Calif.

The wildlife reserve was set aside as a place for the endangered desert tortoise to live. They've been on the planet for about 2 million years but are rapidly disappearing. We were lucky enough to see one, by the way!

I do remember the day being just a tad under perfect warm; we had to wear hoodies and sweatshirts, but it felt very nice compared to the cold winter we'd been experiencing.

Herre's a whole bunch of photos from our adventure!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Remember our gem hunt in Opal Canyon?

Opal Canyon, Jan. 18, 2011.
Three years today we went hiking in Opal Canyon at Red Rock Canyon State Park north of Mojave, California! It is a gem trail on which we searched and dug for opal and other cool rocks.

Our hike began with a drive down a desert jeep trail to the edge of an dry wash. We then hiked up the arroyo to various fossil sites.

Once at the sites, you helped me chip away at the rock with my geologist's hammer. We found some great gems, and I still have them in a box, all labled for you (I will show them to you one day!)!

Here's a bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recall our gem trail hiking guidebook?

Do you remember the gem trail book that I used to have? I often used it to plan hiking trips for us where we could find fossils and cool rocks in Southern California.

Though the book was borrowed from the library, I photocopied a number of the pages, and read it quite a lot, so it sat prominently on my desk.

I remember when we once hiked Red Rock Canyon State Park in the Mojave Desert, and while we we were in the gift shop, you saw it on the bookshelf and said, "Hey, we have that book!" So I wonder if you still remember it today...

I think that day I got you stuffie at the gift store, though I can't remember if it was a bat, a road runner, or a songbird. Anyway, there are lots of photo albums on my Facebook site of our gem and fossil trail hikes, and I will show them to you one day (as well as some of the rocks that we'd collected!).

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Remember scaling the Kirk Rocks?

Nov. 8, 2009
Four years ago today, we hiked Vasquez Rocks (which you affectionatley called "the Kirk Rocks"!).

We'd been there before a couple of times, but on this visit, you were very keen to hike all the way to the top of Gorn Rock on your own! With a little boost from me, you were able to scale each set of walls to the next level up.

Our trips to the Kirk Rocks usually began with a walk to the Friday's Child Rocks (Where scenes from the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child" was filmed) and then a hike up the Gorn Rock (Where Captian Kirk fought the Gorn in the Star Trek episode "Arena.").

Here's a bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Remember our hike in Nightmare Gulch?

Three years today we hiked Nightmare Gulch!

The canyon is deep in Red Rock Canyon State Park and absolutely otherwordly. Walls of volcanic ash rise up to 20 stories above the canyon floor and virtually no plants grow there.

You walked part of the way, but we went quite deep into the canyon, so I carried you on out in the child carrier. You had a lot of fun playing with the few mud puddles we found along the way!

Here's a whole bunch pictures from our adventure!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My email to you for Sept. 14, 2013

Here is my letter sent to you Sept. 14, 2013, in case you do not receive it.

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine though I miss you like crazy! I am sorry that we did not get together today; unfortunately, other people decided that we should not. If I had my way, we would be able to get together every day! I have made arrangements for us to get together either next Friday (Sept. 20) or Saturday (Sept. 21), however.

How is school going? You must be in your third week by now! What kinds of things are you learning about in reading class? Even if some days reading class isn’t very fun or interesting, always pay attention and try your best – there is nothing more important to learn in school than how to read. Once you know how to read, you can look up the answer to anything else you can learn about in school. That’s not to say math or science or music or gym class aren’t important – they are – but even if years later you forget what you’ve learned in those classes, so long as you know how to read well, you’ll be able to find the answers.

What new stuff are you learning about in music class? You’ve always had a great interest in music, as you enjoyed listening to songs while at home and in the Jeep, playing with your musical instruments, and pretending to be a performing band while plucking my acoustic guitar. You’d even make up songs and tell me that it was a new one sang by one of the Beatles! The melody you tapped out on the piano when we were last together on Sept. 5 was very lovely, though I could hear a bit of sadness in it. Keep learning how to play the piano – you definitely have talent and one day could write songs that make people very happy.

I have been busy working but this week had the chance to take a hike through the woods behind my farmhouse. With autumn’s arrival, the leaves have fallen off the bottom branches, or at least the animals fattening themselves for winter have eaten much of them bare. So at last I was able to see many of the chipmunks and squirrels, who I’d only heard scampering through the summer, as they made their last collections for the cold months ahead. In one small cliff cutaway, I even spied a bee’s hive built beneath a limestone overhang. Then while walking along a ridge, I unwittingly frightened six wild turkeys asleep in the grass on a ravine’s side. They took off with a whoosh that scared me as much as I did them. After jumping back, I realized what was making the hillside come alive as they took to the air; I don’t think I’ve ever seen turkeys fly that high. Down at the ravine’s bottom, the pond has yet to dry up, which the black bears apparently appreciate, as I spotted their paw prints in the sand and from the trail to the green water a path of crushed grass, the wild fresh scent of their broken stems still filling the air. These bears must have bad table manners, though, as some of the scat was full of acorns that appeared to be unchewed. Imagine a bear just stuffing a paw full of acorns into his mouth and swallowing whole!

Did you watch the football games on Sunday? My Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers both lost, but the teams playing them had to come from behind to beat them. I see your Chicago Bears won, though! And the Minnesota Vikings lost – while I like Adrian Peterson, I don’t like the Vikings because they are the Packers’ (and the Bears’) rival, so I was pretty happy that they lost. Maybe one day Adrian Peterson will play for a good team like the Packers!

Well, that is all for now. You have a good weekend and a great day in school. I will see you next week, either on Friday or Saturday.



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our hike along the Sierra Alta Trail

Sierra Alta Trail, Aug. 25, 2010
Three years ago today we hiked the Sierra Alta Trail in the Angeles National Forest!

The trail was about 6800 feet above sea level so nicely overlooked some canyons yet was shrouded by higher mountain peaks.

The trail was surrounded by greenery and very comfortable in temperature, a nice respite from the sandy, hot desert where we lived!

You got your own trekking pole for this hike. It was a brief enough trail that I let you walk it by yourself. You had a blast, though I had to keep telling you to wait up as you wanted to run ahead out of my sight!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Remember peakbagging Throop Peak?

Pointing at the highest point
of Mount Throop.
Three years ago today, we peakbagged Throop Peak in the Angeles National Forest, California. Mount Throop peaks out at 9,138 feet, and it was our highest peak to date!

I hauled you up the mountain on my back in the child carrier. The trail was about two miles long one way, and when I'd stop to make sure I didn't lose my breath (There's less oxygen at that high of an elevation.), you'd tap me on the shoulder and say, "Go, Dad - Why are you stopping?" :)

When we neared the peak, you asked to be let out of the carrier, and you walked the last 100 feet with me! We found a rock at the the top of the peak that had been painted by someone else who had peakbagged it.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You picture is in the paper again!

I'm proud to write that pictures of you are appearing all over the place in the media. As I promote my new hiking books, newspapers/magazines/bloggers ask for pictures of me hiking. When I send them photos, and I'm always sure to include at least one with you in it.

Guess what? They always choose the photo that has you in it!

The latest picture and article mentioning you in those articles appeared in Saturday, June 8's Eau Claire (Wis.) Leader-Telegram. I've included it here for you to enjoy!

You were two years old in the photo. It was taken at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California's Mojave Desert.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

My email to you for June 8, 2013

Here is my email sent to you on June 8, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing today? I’m doing fine, though I miss you more than anything! I am looking forward to seeing you in just two weeks, on June 21. We also should be able to start seeing each other every other week after that.

How has your first two weeks of summer school gone? What stuff is the teacher covering in our classes? Have you read any interesting books in class? Are many of your friends back in summer school, too? Do you have new classmates for summer school? So many questions, I know! But you are the most important person in the world to me, so I want to know everything about you!

I purchased some new fun “Star Trek” stuff for us to play with when we get together. Some of them are the Lego characters. Another is a set of models of the spaceships from the show. The models snap together, and we should have a lot of fun building and playing with them. Have you seen the new “Star Trek” movie yet?

There are a whole bunch of great movies coming out this summer that I’d bet you love to see. “Monsters University” (the follow-up to “Monsters Inc.” – remember when we used to go on that ride at California Adventure?) comes out on June 21. “The Lone Ranger” (Remember when we used to play Sheriff Jack and the Deputy?) comes out on July 3. Finally, “Disney’s Planes” (It’s like “Cars” except the main characters are airplanes!) comes out on August 9. Hopefully, you will get to go to each of these movies, as they all sound like lots of fun.

Now that’s summer here, I bet you’re enjoying spending time outdoors! I didn’t receive a response to the email I sent to you last week, so I will have to ask again how the bicycle riding is coming along? I bet you’ve got it down already! If not, don’t worry – you’ll get better with practice. Be sure to wear a helmet when you go bicycle riding, though; if the bike crashes, and you don’t have a helmet on, you could get hurt!

I will be outdoors a lot as well this summer, hiking trails in the Northwoods. My latest hiking book is doing well, so I’ve decided to write a follow-up to it. There are some neat trails that go over ancient volcanic rock, to waterfalls, and past beautiful lakes and rivers in the Northwoods. I always liked going hiking with you in the Angeles National Forest when we were together and sure wish we were allowed to be together this summer to explore all the neat places Minnesota and Wisconsin have to offer.

I found a new book you might like to get from the library! It’s called “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein. It’s all about this young chicken who keeps interrupting everybody! Do you know of anyone who interrupts someone? It’s not very nice of them, is it?

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you on June 21!



Saturday, June 1, 2013

My email to you for June 1, 2013

Here is my letter from June 1, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, though I miss you a lot! I have very good news: We will be able to see one another more often – every two weeks in fact. It may take a while to get it all arranged, but soon we will get to visit one another every other week. I’m very excited about getting to spend more time with you and about all of the fun we will have.

How was your first week of first grade? What did you learn about in your first week? Do you like your new teacher? What is your new classroom like? Does your teacher have any fun field trips planned for the summer?

I recall you telling me last fall about learning how to ride a bicycle, but you had to put it off until spring. Have you gotten out the bicycle and mastered pedaling and steering yet? When I was a little boy your age, our local John Deere tractor shop also sold bicycles. While the clerk was helping my dad, I got on one of the bicycles to figure out how it might work. I started pedaling, and the bicycle took off through the store! Zip it went past the shelves of tractor parts. I didn’t know how to stop the bicycle, though, and crashed into the front counter! After that, the store clerk always kept his eye on me whenever I came into the store. By the way, don’t ever do what I did in the John Deere tractor shop. Not only was it very naughty of me but my elbow hurt like heck for the next week because it hit the hard floor.

Do you have any trips planned for the summer, such as the zoo or the fair? I will be traveling around Wisconsin promoting my book and researching hiking trails for my next one. Some of the places I’m going to are: the St. Croix River, which has neat rock formations on it; Big Manitou Falls, which is as tall as 16 houses stacked on top of one another; and Lake Superior, which is one of the largest lakes in the world (It would take days to drive around it!). I’m looking forward to going to all of these new places but sure wish you could come with me to see them.  

What did you get to do for Memorial Day? Did you go to any ceremonies? Memorial Day pays honor to soldiers and sailors who died in battle defending our country, and often there are special programs at cemeteries and parks. You’ve had many ancestors and relatives who served in the armed forces. Your Uncle George served in World War II, which was the biggest war the world has ever seen. He fought in France and Germany against the Nazis. Your Grandpa Ed (who you are named after) also served during that war and played a very important role in it; you’ll have to ask your mother to tell all about him.

How are your “Star Trek” Lego toys holding up? Hopefully they haven’t come apart! If they do, maybe you’ll be able to put them back together using the instructions I put in your bag. You always can bring them with you when we get together, and I’ll help you put them back together. I will bring some more character packets when we next get together (June 21 at the latest), and hopefully we will get the Gorn!

Well, that is all for now. I miss and love you very much and can’t wait to see you again!



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Our picture is in a bunch of bookstores!

This weekend your face is gracing book covers at a number of book stores across northwest Wisconsin!

My latest book, "Headin' to the Cabin" has been getting a lot of attention, and a number of businesses have asked to sell the book. Whenever they do, I try to talk them into also carrying my other hiking guidebooks - "Hikes with Tykes" and "Hikes with Tykes: Games and Activities" (And they usually take them!).

The two "Hikes with Tykes" books both feature a picture of you on their covers. One has a picture of you on the Manzanita Trail in the Angeles National Forest and the other shows you at Vasquez Rocks (Or what you call the Kirk Rocks!).

The books with you photo on the cover are on sale at Wisconsin book stores or outfitters in Hudson, Eau Claire, Cumberland, Spooner and Cable! I also have books on sale in Stillwater and Menomonie, but they don't carry the "Hikes with Tykes" books. :(

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Your name/pic is in the newspaper!

Your picture and name appeared in Wednesday's (May 15's) St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper! The newspaper ran article about my recent hiking book, "Headin' to the Cabin."

The article included a picture of us when you were just two years old when we were hiking Red Rock Canyon State Park in California. It also describes how to came to write my hiking books because of our experiences together and notes that the book is dedicated to you.

In just a couple of weeks, I'll be reading a hiking essay, which includes you in it, at three bookstores. The stores are in Stillwater, Minn., and Hudson and Menomonie, Wis.

I've saved a copy of the newspaper article for you to have one day. But the article also appears online.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Our hike along Monte Cristo Creek

Four years ago today we went hiking in the mountainous Angeles National Forest on the Monte Cristo Creek Trail. Temperatures were in the high 90s in the desert where we lived, so I thought the mountains would be a bit cooler.

It was cooler, and we were helped in that the trail paralleled a creek. Still, the terrain was at a low enough elevation that it still was desert, so we didn't walk too far before having to turn around.

We parked at a campground near the trailhead, and I remember that when you saw the ash from a campfire ring you got all excited and wanted to play in it (see picture at left). I stopped you just in time by giving you a snack of dehydrated ice cream!

Unfortuantely, the area we hiked no longer looks like it did then. Later that summer, a horrible forest fire swept through the area and burned up the campground and surrounding woodlands.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our expedition!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recall our hike along Lake Piru?

Watching a bug cross the road near Lake Piru,
Calif., on April 28, 2010.
Three years ago today we took a hike along Lake Piru, a reservoir near Santa Clarita, Calif. The water is held in a canyon, so the mountains rise straight out of the water in a really cool effect!

For me, the highlight of the hike was seeing a condor fly overhead. We spotted one searching for food near the lake; even at 500 feet above us, its wings dwarfed those of the raven that sat on the road just 20 feet away.

For you, though, the highlight was watching this huge bug cross the road in front of us (see picture at above right)! You must have spent close to a half-hour following it and were so disappointed when it finally disappeared into the grass!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My email to you for week of April 21-27

Here is my weekly letter sent to you on April 27, 2013, in case you do not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing today? I am doing fine, though I am sad that we were unable to get together on Friday as planned. I want you to know that I was not the one who cancelled our visit and that I was looking very forward to seeing you. I miss you every day, and there’s not an hour that goes by in which I don’t think about you. The good news is that we are scheduled to get together again on Friday, May 26, and that we will see one another again before then, though the exact day has not been worked out yet.

How is school coming along? Have you finished your unit on oceans? What new things are you learning in math? What interesting books are you reading? You are almost done with kindergarten – that must be exciting, knowing that you’ll be in first grade next year! I saw a children’s book at the book store called “First Grade, Here I Come!”, and I think I will pick it up for you so we can read it at one of our visitations during the next month.

The weather finally has turned nice, and I bet the last thing on your mind the past couple of days has been sitting in a classroom. There are lots of exciting outdoor places to go in the Twin Cities that mom and your grandpa and grandma can take you now that the weather is nice. I bet you can’t wait to go back to Como Park Zoo with the penguins. Although I bet the penguins don’t like the warm weather!

Now that the days are warm, I plan to do a lot of hiking, just like we used to do when we were together. I am writing books about the places I’ve hiked. There are many interesting places near the Twin Cities to hike. At one of them, you can walk across basalt (lava rocks) that are 1.1 billion years old! At another one of them, you see an interesting rock formation that looks like an old man’s face. Another park has a waterfall that is 168 feet high! So far, I’ve written four hiking books and three books about being a writer. Each of them are dedicated to you, and you are on the cover of two of the hiking books!

Since the snow is still melting in some spots, I probably will run into mud during my hikes. In fact, I recently read a great book about mud, which I bet you would like as well. The book was called “Mud” (What else would it be called?) by Mary Lyn Ray. It has lots of colorful pictures of people walking through mud. Each of them must avoid stepping on the blades of green grass that increasingly pop up in the mud with each turn of the page. I bet you can find the book at your school or city library.

I am getting very excited not just about hiking but the new “Star Trek’ movie. It comes out May 15. No one knows who the villain is in the movie, but there will be Klingons in it. Of course, with a new “Star Trek” movie means there will be new “Star Trek” toys! I can’t wait to go to Toys ‘R Us and see what the new toys are for us to play with.

Well, that is all for now. I love and miss you very much! I hope to see you within a few days.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Past the big trees and the big waters

Kieran, 10-12 weeks old,
Crescent City, Calif.
Caught the end tail of a televsion program about Redwood National Park and instantly thought of you. You were born in Eureka, Calif., when we lived in Crescent City, Calif., wich is where Redwood National Park is located. Redwood State Park near Crescent City is where I took you on your first hike when you were just four months old.

Both cities were on the Pacific Ocean. Eureka was the larger of the two cities; the Eureka-Arcata area had about five times as many people as Crescent City, so about once a month we'd go shopping there at the larger stores and mall.

Whenever we'd go to on the trip, I'd say to you, "We're going on a big trip past the big trees and the big waters to the big city!"

You'd just smile back!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hiking the Waterfall Trail

Three years ago today we hiked to a waterfall on the Waterfall Trail in Placerita Canyon near Santa Clarita, Calif.

I was so very impressed by you - you walked the entire way to the waterfalls and back, which was about two miles! For the previous year or so, I'd mainly carried you on my back in a child carrier during our hikes. But you were having lots of fun exploring and didn't mind walking at all!

We had tried to reach the waterfall twice before but were stopped first by rain and then by me making the mistake of taking the long route, which was too far your little legs. But this time we took the "best" route.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our hike! The picture at above left is of you hiking down the trail alongside Placerita Creek.