Tuesday, December 6, 2011

LIFE !

Six metal wires stretched across 24 individual spaces offering up 6 different options per space for a total of 150 choices for me to combine as i please... Inside of this realm , I am reassured and often confirmed ,,,but always infinitely humbled ... truly an awesome creation...
Days like this one ,makes me glad i play ... Some days nuthn else ever works...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back To The Castle



 Last year My wife and i enjoyed a hike through Pine Canyon along the Little Yosemite trail quite a few times ...  The one hike in particular that stands out last season for me on this trail was the time she and I got way out on this trail on a very blustery day and actually got a ride back to our vehicle by the ranger on a very cool 4wd electric Polaris !  ... We headed out on the trail in just a light mist carrying our plastic ponchos with us and a light lunch  ...It was just beautiful to see this part of the Diablo Foothills trails so green and lush during a late February winters storm ... The skies were very grey and it was about 1:30 in the afternoon ...I remember that the wind was howling above us through the very tall trees many of which are very large very old oaks ... Along with the pines that whistled through the valley  as we hiked under their canopy along the now swollen Pine Creek ...About half way down the trail you begin to see some beautiful views of the tall rocky peaks standing tall above the trees ... Some of them shoot straight up from the valley floor giving the illusion that they are much more giant than they are ... That is why this trail is called The Little Yosemite Trail ... Correctly named for it's small scale  likeness ... At this point along the trail however , the rain did pick up quite a bit and we both put on our ponchos ... It was so beautiful out though that we kept on going along the trail finally ending up at the Mt.Diablo State park entrance way out on the East Bay Parks borders ... That is when we had a Ranger who had passed us earlier on the trail in his off road vehicle stop on his way back in and offer us a ride  which we gracious;y excepted ... And as I said before , he gave us a ride all the way back to our vehicle out in the parking lot which was very far from the state parks border ... We enjoyed this winters stormy hike so much that we allowed it to inspire us to go ahead and head on up to strawberry that weekend for some serious family Snow Days ! Which you can clik HERE to see as well ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

From The Summit



Ok Folks , Here we go ! Our first entry of the new year ......For those of you that have never been to the top of Mt. Diablo here are some shots that attempt to show you  the vast views  you can expect to see from the top... As you can see from this shot here , you don't really even need to get out of the car to enjoy the views though I really recommend that you do ...It has been said that More territory can be seen in a 360 degree radius from only one other peak on the planet ... Making Mt.Diablo
the second most far-seeing view of any peak in the world, beaten to first place by no less an adversary than Mount Kilimanjaro. The state park that surrounds the peak seems much more remote than it is, and while the hiking trails are amazing, biking adds a whole different spin..However one of my favorite things about climbing to the summit of Mt.Diablo are the incredible distances and vistas that you can see the sun setting in ... 

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Return Of Smokeys Mountain !

Hello everyone !  In case you have been wondering I have been on an extended Vacation from writing or should I say trying to write the Smokey's Mountain blog ... However rest assured that in 2011 I will be out on the trail again sharing adventures and getting you those amazing shots that you are accustomed to here on Smokey's Mountain ... This year I will most likely be exploring more of the eastern side of the mountain such as the Black Diamond hills and The Round Valley as well as the Delta Shore lines that look back at our mountain with incredible vantages that are only to be seen from the water ... You see this year I have relocated my home to the shores of the San Joaquin River ... I now live in a beautiful home here in Antioch which is why my stories will include a bit more of this area this year ...Looking forward to exploring and sharing with you all this New Year ...Yours Truly ,,, Smokey ... 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bear On A Wire

What is that line made of ?
Only in Canada will you see a sign like this ... This is an actual sign ...  Funnee----Be sure to read the whole sign ...Click to enlarge...
This post was sent to Smokeys Mountain by  Ed Birsan ...  Local candidate for Concord City Council

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Homeless Folk

I am re-posting this story as it is easy to become hardened to the homeless of Concord by the sights we all see around the Claycord area..I am referring to the 13 Drunkards of Claycord of course ...Those guys have been harassing and loitering for years and years but they do not represent the homeless population in Concord...Though they do not have homes most of them,,,they are something else entirely...No, here is the face of Concord's homeless ...Just a guy trying to stay out of sight as he pushes and drags everything he has in the world up and down a local street here in Concord.   I don't know his story,but I do know that it is important not to forget the less fortunate as we head into the Holiday Season this year..So let's all not  let the 13 Drunkards and their rude behavior cloud the Issue ... Homeless people exist here in our city and I do not have a solution to this problem at all...However Kindness and Generosity to those who actually are genuinely in need goes a long way... Remember , its getting colder at night.....Smokey...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Big Bug Season


This is the time of year when we start to see the bigger bugs come out to eat the other bugs. Have you seen any of these huge Predator Bugs in your garden yet this year? These guys are really interesting to see each year... Ive always been fascinated by the way that the Praying Mantis appears to have such alien intelligence ...I actually found one of these guys inside my house last week. I was opening the blinds on the backdoor and he was on the blinds. He flew into my face and startled me pretty good. Though these guys are quite large thankfully they are harmless to us...when they fly , a large 1 is like a softball size. very startling at 6 am. lol..

Monday, August 30, 2010

Herringtons Sierra Pines Resort

Last week I stayed at Herringtons Sierra Pines in Sierra City... This place is a great mountain getaway spot for families and also couples ... We actually spent part of our honeymoon here ... The restaurant there serves  one of the best Filet Mignon plates that I have ever had ...  This year we stayed in the Pond level cabin which is across the Lawn from the Trout Pond which also has two fountains flowing in the middle of it ... This room is unique because of its views ... The front door looks out across the trout pond and right up from the base of the the Sierra Buttes ...Here is a shot of the view out the front door...
The back patio deck looks out over the Yuba River which is very pretty and there is a big waterfall that flows down the mountainside  into the river right across the ravine ...Here are a couple of shots showing the river out back of the resort ...
There are many many trout in the pond out front at Herringtons ... This pond is a pay pond and you pay by the size of the fish you catch ... No fish exceeds $20  but that is for a Salmon sized one ...If you have a kid or kids that have never caught a fish then this place is for you ! They will not leave this experience empty handed ...Or Even if you are an adult who has never experienced the feeling of fighting a nice big fresh Rainbow Trout on the end of your line  you will definitely enjoy this place ...
Some of the fish in this pond are huge ! All of the fish in this pond are Rainbows and they are beautiful fresh mountain trout !
I myself do not fish in this pond but if the kids haven't caught anything in the lakes and streams by the time we leave we always let em fish here for that guaranteed lunker ...Here is a quick video showing me getting some fish food from the dispenser there and feeding the trout... video
  This year at Herringtons was special for us in many ways but one thing that we will always remember was that this year our little girl caught her first fishy and she is only two... She pulled and pulled and reeled and reeled saying fishy fishy the whole time ! It was a fifteen inch Rainbow Trout that we ate the next night ... What a great memory !  Herringtons Sierra Pines Resort and Trout Pond is not open in the Winter so if this looks like fun you better get yourself up there soon !  Here is their link Herringtons Sierra Pines

Thursday, August 26, 2010

4 Wheelin Tamarack Lakes

 Tamarack Lakes are located up above Packer Lake on the north side of the Sierra Buttes... These lakes can only be visited by 4wd or hiking up ... The trailhead from Packer Lake Lodge Road heads up the mountain  about 3 miles into the wilderness... This is Lower Tamarack Lake ...
What a beautifully serene alpine lake ... The 4wd trail leading up to these lakes is full of large rocks and it is a really fun ride up ... Here is a video clip of the road conditions and some of the surrounding terrain ...
video
 Not the best video because I was holding the camera and driving over big rocks... These next shots are of Upper Tamarack Lake...
 Though they look similar  but the upper lake is even more clear than the lower ...  It seems as if the lower lake acts as a kidney or filter for the upper lake, having more of a reddish color on the bottom... .Upper Tamarack Lake was a bit more pristine as well being about a mile further up the mountain ...
There were these large patches of wild flowers growing all along the northern shoreline thriving just outside the water grass on the marsh like  banks ...
I have been coming up to these mountains nearly all of my life and never made it up to Tamarack Lakes until now ... I had always heard it was an awesome experience to be that high up on the Buttes at these totally secluded alpine lakes , but being there is another thing entirely...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunset On The Trail @ Frazier Falls

 
   This trip up to Sierra City we decided to explore some areas and do some things  that we don't usually do ... Frazier is something we haven't done in a few years so it was 1st on our list ... Frazier Falls is located in the Plumas National Forest at an elevation of six thousand feet ... The turn off for Farzier Falls is on Gold Lake Road which is between Hi-way 49 and 89 connecting Bassetts Station and Graeagle ... The road that leads to the Frazier Falls trail head is a 3 mile gravel/dirt road that takes you way back into the thick forest woods until you finally reach the parking lot for the trail ...From the  trail head to the falls is only about a mile ...  We decided to go and hike this trail at sunset this trip thinking of how beautiful the sunset up at the falls must be ...
Wow were we right ! This place is incredibly beautiful at anytime of the day on any day of the year in any kind of weather but Sunset here on a warm night in late August is awesome
! What a treat to be on that trail at that hour ... This trail is really well maintained and it is fully paved with large benches placed along the way ...
. Hiking this trail at that hour was also cool for my dogs because there was no one else out there at all and they really enjoyed being off leash with access to the entire trail ... They ran up and down the trail like it was a race track ... The section of trail around the bridge that crosses over Frazier Creek  provides some great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys ...

. Arriving at the falls vista point which is across the canyon from the falls I stood at the railing on the cliffs and enjoyed the view ...
This time of year however even after the heavier snow melt this year  the August waterfall is just a trickle ...
 
The sunset hours on this trail were really something special turning  this hike into a very memorable one... Being out there at sunset also meant that we would be returning to our cabin in Sierra City after dark ... Which also meant that there was a good chance that we may see a big ole bear sniffin around at the Yuba river inn if we drove through the parking lot on the way home ; )     Sure enough we found this fella sittn at the back door of the Inn beggin lookin just like my dog does when he does that ...
I actually got pretty close to him and got this picture of him for you ...
The Inn keeper came out and told me he was a regular there and they call him the Terminator ...  We stayed there in July and I heard what must have been him crashing through the brush behind the cabin but never saw him then ... Wow he was big ! We saw 2 more bears the next night as well , a mama and her yearling ... What a great trip !

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who's That Knocking At My Door ?

video
I am enjoying some vacation time with my family up here in Sierra City once more before my son goes  back to school this coming Wednesday  ... This evening we went for a nice hike up to Frazier Falls and got some great shots of that trail and its beautiful views which I will be posting for you soon , However This post is about what we found at the back door when we returned from our hike ... Wow was he big ! This place is awesome ! We really enjoy it up here and when ever a big ole critter like this shows itself around the cabin it is always a treat ...Never ever disrespect a creature in the wild ... Especially a big ole bear at your back door that the locals call the Terminator ...
..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Swimming @ Castle Rock

 The Pool is OPEN ! Castle Rock Park is a great place to get away for the afternoon ... One of the things that  I love about this park is that  it feels like you have gone much  further into the woods than you actually have ...For those of you who aren't familiar with where it is the park is located at the end of oak grove road ... Literally at the end of the road  past Northgate High School all the way out to the end of the road which is the East Bay Parks  parking lot for Castle Rock ... This parking lot is a short walk from the Swimming pool however the path is nicely paved and it is a beautiful walk under giant oaks along the now dry creek bed with wonderful views of the very dry Summertime landscape that now surrounds the peaks of  Castle Rock...
We often enjoy ourselves on a Sunday afternoon in the Summer swim season there and the kids love to enjoy their Summer in the huge swimming pool nestled under the giant oak trees...
The pool complex features a 30 feet by 70 feet swimming pool and deck areas. In addition, the complex is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including the bathhouse and an accessible lift into the pool. Swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty...
Lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open between 11 am and 6 pm Thursday through Sunday ... The barbecue areas are very well placed by the pool area and throughout the park...There are also some very clean restrooms equipped with hot showers right by the pool ... My kids love picnicking at Castle Rock and as I said I love how it feels like you are out in the woods while you swim a bit ...The trail head that actually does go way back into the woods however is just past the pool and I have enjoyed  hiking it many times but I myself prefer to hike it in the Winter and Spring  months when everything is so green and the now dry waters of Pine Creek flow like a  small river ...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Backyard Chickens ?

Last Easter I decided to put four chickens in my backyard ... I went over to Rhodies Feed Store out in Clayton on marsh creek road  and bought some chicks ... Two of them were Leghorns which are the little cute yellow chicks that grow up to be the  white chickens ...
The other two little chicks were the Rhode Island Reds which are a cinnamon/brown color with black tail feathers  and are also a much larger bird than the Leghorns...
They are said to start laying me an egg each every day at about six months old ... Well , that is about four weeks from now and I am looking forward to having me some fresh eggs soon ... One of my Leghorns however was killed about a month ago after she "flew the coop" when we were gone one evening and my little Fox Terrier along with his big bird dog  Black Lab brother   made short work of her ... Sooo , After that accident I have their area secured much better and so far so good ...Click on the chicken coop picture
 for some great ideas ...  I have never had chickens before and as of yet  they are not much trouble ... I guess I will know if it was all worth it or not   after  I start enjoying omelets made from  freshly laid eggs ... For more information about Backyard Chickens click HERE