Saturday, July 31, 2010

4 Wheelin above Sardine Lake

Last Monday I took a ride up a 4wheel drive trail that I have been driving various off road vehicles on for many years now ... This trail is pretty hairy ... There are plenty of large rocks to slowly climb over along the way up the steep almost cliff like mountainside that leads  to upper Sardine Lake ... video
The aerial views of Lower Sardine Lake are spectacular from this trail and only from this trail can you see the lake this way ... 
This year I never actually made it to Upper Sardine Lake ... There was an area that I just could not travel across with out all terrain tires on my SUV ... This section was not like this last year  ... Obviously a result of the heavy snows that buried this mountain last winter ...
However , Here is a shot of upper Sardine from the past for you ...
There are a family of River Otters that live at Lower Sardine and I had hoped to get some footage of them however I never did locate them while we were there so here are a couple of pics of them from Sierra City.Com that  I found for you ...
The Sardine Lake Vantage of the Buttes is the "traditional" view of the mountain that is most often seen in post cards and media ...
The post right under this one has another vantage point for seeing the Buttes that shows the mountain from a completely different angle giving it a totally different look than the Sardine Lake views... Truly a majestic place ....

Friday, July 30, 2010

On The Trail @ Packer Lake

High above Sierra City nestled in on the opposite side of the Buttes is the very beautiful Packer Lake ... This beautiful little alpine lake hosts some of the most incredible exclusive vantage points  of the Sierra Buttes that you can ever see up there ... The trail around the lake is very pretty as well ,

leading you through large pines in the dense forest that creeps right up to the edge of the water along much of the shoreline ...
This lake is great for an afternoon of kayaking adventures which my wife really enjoyed quite a bit ...She was out on the water paddling around for quite a while ...
All the while that she was paddling around the lake there was a very large Osprey hunting trout from above ... What a really cool experience that was for her to be out kayaking on the crystal clear waters of  Packer Lake watching an Osprey dive down from the sky and gracefully snatch a nice trout from the water flying off with it in his talons ... Which he did several times ... Apparently he had other mouths to feed ...
Unfortunately I never managed to get footage of the fish grabbing because after following him on camera for what seemed like for ever  of course I would set the camera down and that would be the moment when my wife would say "ooh wow did you see that , were you still filming" ?  Dohhh !... But here is a short clip of him hunting  above the lake just moments before he dove down and snagged a fish ... video
High above Packer Lake there is a very cool four wheel drive  trail that leads to the lookout at the top of the Buttes ...
The road that leads  up to the trail is a heck of a climb with some very steep grades and cliffside views looking out across the sierra that are some of the most beautiful sites in the world ...
I always enjoy a nice off road adventure up above the lake when ever we are in this area ... The Sierra Buttes Trail is one of my favorite places to be ...
It winds up the back side of the Buttes to an elevation over 8000 feet and goes all the way to the top ... It always amazes me how even in the middle of the hot Summer there are still many patches of lush foliage and beautiful sierra mountain wildflowers thriving under the alpine canopy ... One area in particular that I like along the Sierra Buttes Trail is a small underground mountain spring about half way up ...
It  flows out of the side of the rocks and crosses the  trail ... This area is always surrounded by various beautiful ferns and many different wildflowers that splash color all around the trail ...
Although our trip was a short one we enjoyed every moment of it and we plan to get up there once more before school starts ... What a beautiful place to be !

Standing In The Falls For A Measly Ten Bucks !

This past week my family and I have been enjoying a few nice days up in Sierra City at the Yuba River Inn ... Our trip was cut short however by a death in the family which was not really sudden but still very hard on our hearts ... However we did enjoy every bit of our time together up there just as grandma would have wanted... Just up the road from our cabin is the ice cold fresh water sierra mountain springs ... These falls have been flowing out of the side of the mountain for ever and ever ... My dad has been taking our family up there all of my life ... Back in the seventies people would be lined up in cars with big drinking water containers for their campsites... The water at these falls  is soooo good ! This water is better than the stuff in the waterboys  secret necklace vile ... It doesn't get any fresher than this ...

My son for some reason enjoys standing under these freezing falls ... It has become something of a tradition for my son and I after betting him ten bucks last year that he wouldn't stand under those freezing cold falls ... Well he did stand in the falls last year and I had to pay up ... This year he did it again !
The other day as we were passing by the falls on our way to Packer Lake he spoke up and wanted to know if the offer still stood ...Well , needless to say I eagerly pulled over at the falls remembering how entertaining this site was for me last year ...
You would never get me to stand under this particularly icy cold glacial waterfall for a measly ten bucks but I sure do get a kick out of watching him do it !...

"We don't know if it was one bear, two bears, a black bear or grizzly bear,"--- 1 Dead, 2 Hurt in Bear Attack at Campground

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Beautiful Day In The Canyon

That was indeed a beautiful day in Donner Canyon taken earlier this year ... Stay Cool...

Park District To Purchase 460-Acre Property Between Pittsburg And Clayton

At their July 20, 2010 meeting, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors agreed to purchase 460 acres located at 8040 Black Diamond Way between the cities of Pittsburg and Clayton. The property will be an addition to Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and is located along the existing Black Diamond Trail, providing access to the western portion of that park. The property is being acquired through a partnership with the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy (Conservancy). This acquisition is the Park District’s seventh joint project with the Conservancy, which was created to identify, preserve and restore high priority land areas with significant habitat for protected species.

The subject property is located west of the former Chopra property, historically known as Irish Canyon, which was recently acquired by Save Mt. Diablo. Irish Canyon was named for early settlers in the 1800s who raised food crops and sold them to miners at the nearby coal mines. Irish Creek runs through the newly acquired property.    This information comes from EBPARKS.ORG

The Dance

In the mountains you can see something that's more stable than you are...Something that's more enduring than you are... Our moment on stage is soooo brief,,,But if you can be aware of the ingredients that make up the stage upon which you live your life, dance your life ,,,You can enjoy the Dance Of Life ever so much more...                         Ruth Kirk       

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Killer Whale Plays With A Dog On The Deck Of A Fishing Boat ! Very Cool ...

Click HERE to see this incredible video footage ... Apparently this whale was called Luna and became pretty famous from this footage ... You can find lots more about Luna the dog friendly Orca at  the Luna Stewardship Collective ... Also click HERE for another absolutely incredible completely unrelated video starring a dog and a shark that is pretty cool as well  ...Enjoy !

The Yuba River Inn

Ever been here ?      Earlier this month I did a post called "Vacation Much"  which was all about getting out there and enjoying your life this summer... Particularly up in the beautiful Gold Lakes basin  mountains of Sierra City ... I also mentioned how money is tight this year and we were gonna do our best to get up there later in the year ... Well it pleases me greatly to share that next week we are unexpectedly headed up to the Yuba River inn @ Sierra City  for a week !   The Yuba River Inn was originally a piece of Gold Rush history. The Inn’s property was part of the Devine family farm in the 1800’s which supplied miners and townspeople with food. The property was purchased by the Tschopp family and was established as an inn with a swimming pool and cabin rentals. The Inn opened its doors for business in 1937. The one and only private swimming pool in Sierra City is located here. People traveled up Hwy 49 in busses for day trips and enjoyed lunch around the pool after the main building burned in the 1960’s.
Many famous news and entertainment personalities, authors, and song writers have spent time at the Inn, relishing in the solitude of the Sierras and rejuvenating their creative well-being.
Most of the original log cabins have undergone restoration and remodeling, with the exception of the main Inn building, which burned down in the 1960’s.   Needless to say , I will definitely be posting lots of pictures of the area as well as some hiking stories and hopefully some unique wildlife footage also ...The last time I stayed here I had a big bear right on my porch one night and another evening there was a beautiful Grey fox at the back sliding glass door ... So , I am hopeful to get some more great animal pictures for you !

Chef and Brewmaster

Join Lindsay Wildlife Museum August 13 at 6 PM for a fabulous 5 course dinner and beer pairing. Morgan Cox, Co-founder of Ale Industries and James Koskiniemi, Chef / Owner of A Grand Affair Catering will talk about the pairings for each course that evening. You must be 21 to attend. Space is limited so make a reservation at 925-627-2951 or online. Proceeds from this event benefit the museum’s education and wildlife programs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

This old west RE: Three Fingers Jack

After receiving an interesting comment from a reader known only as lp , I became curious about a man called "Three Fingers Jack" and found this interesting piece at a site called Wandering Lizard...
The legend continues with Joaquin tracking down and killing the five men who had raped and murdered his wife and then swearing that he would take revenge on all Americans. He formed a bandit group and began a life of robbery and murder that allegedly spanned the length and breadth of the Mother Lode Region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Murrieta's right hand man was Three Finger Jack (Manuel Garcia) who played a minor, if grisly, role in the Bear Flag revolt and is credited with numerous atrocious murders. Virtually every community in the Sierra foothills has one or more stories of Murrieta and Three Fingered Jack during the three years from 1850 to 1853.
The nature of Joaquin Murrieta's character depends on who is telling the story. Lawmen of the day considered him to be one of the worst banditos ever to appear in California. Many others saw him as a kind of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Allegedly he had a vast and loyal following among Mexicans living in California who saw him as an avenger of the wrongs being committed against them by the newly arrived Anglo-American interlopers. All seem to agree that Murrieta and his band were accomplished cattle and horse thieves, inveterate robbers, and ruthless killers.
In July 1853 it was announced that, on order of California Governor Bigler, a specially formed company of State Rangers led by Captain Harry Love had killed both Joaquin Murrieta and Three Fingered Jack at Ponoche Pass in Tulare Valley. In order to prove their deaths, Murrieta was decapitated and three Fingered Jack's hand was amputated. These items were then placed in bottles, embalmed in alcohol, and taken back to the State Capitol where a reward was paid to Love. Official announcements were made proclaiming Murrieta's death and the gruesome bottles went on tour through the state.
In spite of the official proclamations, rumor quickly spread that Love had not killed Joaquin Murrieta but rather another man named Joaquin. Sightings of Joaquin were reported in various places and people who claimed to have known him declared that the head in the bottle was not his. One story has it that he retired to Mexico. Another has him reappearing in Hornitos, California, to reclaim a fortune in gold that he had buried there. Whatever the truth of the matter, there is no question but that his name has, for some political activists at least, symbolized resistance against Anglo-American economic and cultural domination in California.

Volunteers Needed For Coastal Cleanup Day

Volunteers are needed to join in East Bay Regional Park District's share of the 26th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, scheduled for Saturday, September 25.
Participants will help to rid the shoreline of trash and debris, as well as recyclables. Of  particular concern is the plastic refuse that collects along the shore because of its detrimental effect on the wildlife.
Contra Costa County
• Bay Point Regional Shoreline, Port Chicago Highway exit off Hwy. 4 in Bay Point, go north to McAvoy Harbor.
• Martinez Regional Shoreline, north end of Ferry St. in Martinez.
• Eckley Pier, Bull Valley Staging Area, Carquinez Regional Shoreline on Carquinez Scenic Drive between Port Costa and Crockett.
• Lone Tree Point, end of Pacific Ave. in Rodeo.
• Breuner Marsh, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, Giant Highway in Richmond. From points south of Richmond, take I-580 west to the Richmond Parkway and head east towards I-80. From points east of Richmond, take I-80 to the Richmond Parkway exit and head west. Once on the Parkway take Goodrick Avenue north to the end where the park gate is located. Follow the graveled trail to the Bay Area Radio Control Society parking lot on your right. A few hundred yards farther is a rocked, flat area that will be the temporary staging area for volunteer cleanups.
• Bayfront Park, west end of Tennent Ave. in Pinole. To volunteer, call (510) 724-9837 after July 15.
• Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, end of Isabel St. in Richmond.
The work day will last from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Volunteers should wear work clothes, gloves, and sturdy shoes and should bring snacks.  Beverages will be provided.
Volunteers may choose among 14 staging areas in the two counties where cleanup crews may assemble.  Pre-registration is required. Except where noted, register after July 15 by calling 1-888-327-2757,  or register online after July 20, 2010 at
You can also help with a trail cleanup work effort on the Marsh Creek Regional Trail in the Oakley/Brentwood area. Go to for details.
See also the State of California's Web site.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Joaquin Murrieta: Literary Fiction or Historical Fact?

To read this incredible story of  famous old west history that went on right here in our county just click the Read more link ... Fascinating stuff...

Tales Of This Old West ! Claudio Feliz and the Raid on the Marsh Rancho

One of the most violent outlaw bands attacking the isolated ranchos of old Contra Costa was led by Claudio Feliz, Joaquin Murrieta’s brother-in-law. Claudio mounted an armed assault on Dr. Marsh’s rancho, Ranch Los Meganos, on December 5, 1850. After spending a pleasant afternoon as a guest of Dr. John Marsh posing as a Argentinean horse trader, Claudio returned that night with a dozen outlaws armed with guns and lances. They overran the rancho, captured Marsh, looted the adobe ranch house, and just for fun, speared to death William Harrington, an unresisting Anglo visitor. His body was found with eight lance wounds and one bullet hole. The bandits escaped with $300, gold watches and guns. However Marsh was luckier than he knew.
Two weeks after the Marsh raid, Claudio’s band made a quick thrust south to San Jose. Attacking the ranch of Digby Smith, they robbed Smith of $1500. After tying his helpless victims to chairs, Claudio Feliz crushed Digby Smith’s skull, split E.G. Barber’s head open with an ax and severed the cook’s head with a knife. Following the massacre, Claudio Feliz burned the ranchhouse to the ground.
Next Claudio attacked the rancho of Anastacio Chabolla a couple of miles from San Jose. But Anastacio and his vaqueros put up a stiff fight and the outlaw gang was driven off. With that defeat the Feliz gang retreated to the Southern Mines where he linked up with his brother, Reyes.
For the next two years Claudio preyed on the Sierra mining camps before returning to the East Bay. In 1852 an alert rancher’s wife on the Kottinger’s Rancho near Pleasanton became suspicious of the strangers. Seeing a knife she screamed and her husband shoved the outlaws out the door and sealed up the ranch house frustrating the attack by Claudio’s gang. After firing a volley of shots into the ranch house in frustration, the gang galloped off.
Shortly afterwards a largely Hispanic posse caught up with Claudio Feliz and his men on a ranch along the Salinas River. In his greed Claudio Feliz had made the fatal mistake of robbing a native Californio instead of his usual prey of Anglo and helpless Chinese miners. Claudio was tracked down and violently killed along with several of his murderous gang in a bloody gun battle. With his violent death, leadership of the outlaw band passed to his brother-in-law, Joaquin Murrieta.   

By William Mero


Did You Know : RE ; Teddy Bears

In November of 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt, a noted hunting enthusiast, had been invited to join a bear hunt near the town of Smedes, Mississippi. When the President had initially proven unsuccessful on this hunt, guide Holt Collier determined to find a suitable quarry for Roosevelt. Tracking a 235-pound bear to a watering hole, Collier stunned the unfortunate bear by clubbing it over the head, and tied it securely to a nearby tree. A messenger was sent to summon the President, but when Roosevelt arrived he was unimpressed by the spectacle of a bound, dazed and bleeding bear. He had been dismayed by this unfamiliar method of hunting, using packs of dogs to track, flush out and wear down the prey while the hunter need only lie in wait for the animal to be driven to him. This was far from the strenuous physical challenge Roosevelt was accustomed to and fond of. He not only refused to claim the bear himself, but forbade anyone else from doing so as well. Regrettably, the rarely repeated resolution to the story does not include a happy ending for the bear. Seeing the condition of the injured bear, which had been badly mauled by the dogs, Roosevelt asked that it be put out of its misery and it was killed with a hunting knife.
Reporters with the hunting party soon spread news of Roosevelt's fair play nationwide. Among those inspired by the story was Washington Post political cartoonist Clifford Berryman, who produced a wildly popular cartoon of the incident. New York City storeowners Morris and Rose Michtom were further inspired by the cartoon, and Mrs. Michtom produced two stuffed bears for sale in their shop. The Michtom family even claimed to have written to Roosevelt and received permission to attach his name to the toy. "Teddy's bear" swiftly became a nation-wide fad, and later an enduring pop-culture symbol that has long outlasted its inspiration and namesake .                                                                      Story taken from the Teddy Roosevelt National History Page ...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Did You Know :

July is Parks and Recreation Month 
The East Bay Regional Park District is proud to take part in the 2010 “July is Parks and Recreation Month”, a national program to encourage people to get outdoors. Every year since 1985, Americans have celebrated National Park and Recreation Month during the month of July to recognize the importance of Parks & Recreation in establishing and maintaining the quality of life for and contributing to the physical, economic, and environmental well-being of communities. The East Bay Regional Park District provides very significant park and trail facilities throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties and literally thousands of aquatics, interpretive, and outdoor recreation programs for the benefit and enjoyment of children, adults, and seniors. Explore our website to find a park, trail, swim area, beach, picnic site, interpretive program or recreation activity near you. July is Parks and Recreation Month

Lions ,Tigers & Whales Oh My !


Here is a great place to get away for the day with the family and really feel like you've been on a little  vacation ...  Discovery Kingdom is just across the bridge and really affordable ... We were there a  couple weeks ago and had a blast ...
I always enjoy all of the big cats ... The Tigers are one of my favorite things there ...
But Shouka the Killer Whale is pretty cool as well ... We were down in the front row  for the whale show and it has been years since I went down there knowing that this was the splash zone and all but I figured what the heck ... Shouka soaked us pretty good with some very cold  water ...The force of the wave that hit me was like a punch in the face ... What a powerful creature the Orca is ... Great fun on a hott day !
My little girl really likes Giraffes so we went over and said hello to them too while we were there ...
This Walrus has been at this park for 15 years ... I can remember when they got him ...
These birds were beautiful  ...
I had to take their picture ...
This Blue one here with the yellow circle around his eye was like none that I had ever seen before ...
This was the fourth of July weekend on the third and so later that night they did a fireworks presentation out over the lake that was pretty cool too !
All in all a really great afternoon/evening out ... The great thing about Discovery Kingdom for me is the convenience location wise and also the  affordability and FUN ! ...  Like I was saying in the previous post , "Yes, Money may be  shorter this year ... But is'nt LIFE shorter every year" ?   Get out there and enjoy it !

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacation Much ?

    Up there in those mountains is the cure ! The cure for the Summertime blues ... So if you are struggling with finances this season like I am , then it is important to remind yourself  that you are definitely not alone in that and that the mountains if even for just a day can be some serious medicine for your soul ... Get yourself out there , you wont be sorry !   

 This year is a really tight one financially for me and my family... If we do get to go on any  vacation this Summer it wont be until it is almost over at the end of August ... But we will enjoy it when we do ! Usually we get a cabin for a week or so up in the mountains but this year we will be fortunate to go up for a weekend if we go at all ... Earlier this year I was blessed with some Winter vacation time unexpectedly that we enjoyed very much...
However there is something about the Summertime that makes that Wintertime get away seem like it was  years ago ... Not sure if it is the kids being on vacation or the warm-hot weather or maybe it is all those past reminiscent memories of some of the best days ever of your life being Summer days ... I am sure it is all of those things , but what ever the reasons , for me  the Summertime blues can only be cured in these mountains shown below here ...
All this and more can be found in Sierra City Ca.     Summer is here! The mountains are there ! Isn't it time the two of you got together ? Sure , It is a fact money is short , but life is short too ... Enjoy it !