Friday, December 25, 2009


As they say, from our yurt to yours...
Peace on earth...

The kids would like to take this opportunity to extend their most heartfelt thanks to those special admirers who have always made their Christmases worth staying up all night for in anticipation!!!!!!!!!!
To Uncle Dougiedog & Aunt Victrola in Florida:
"We couldn't wait! We opened our presents late on Christmas Eve! And Mom didn't even get the chance to photograph those cards - we ate them too fast!!!!! YUM!!! We BOTH growled at those dumb cats when they came to look...
Those cards were for US!!!" (Ouray & Seneca)
"P.S. Seneca IS a princess, all right!!" (Ouray)
"That yarn ball is THE BEST!!!!!!!!!! You should see me killing it!!!!!!!!" (Tractor)
"Tractor looks so silly killing YARN!!!!" (Scrat)
To Uncle Lance & Auntie Lisa (and new "cousin?" Aliyah):
"Wow! Christmas morning was awesome!!!! I'm almost paralyzed with joy!!" (Seneca)
"There's nothing better than seeing Daddy holding up that stocking full of goodies just for ME!!! Mom and Dad hardly ever get us anything for Christmas anymore, but I look forward to all the stuff YOU GUYS get for us every Christmas!!" (Ouray)
"Little green things all over the floor, feathers and jingly stuff to bat around, and cute penguins! Woo-hoo! I played with EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the BEST Christmas ever!!" (Tractor)
"Yeah, cool stuff! Very fun. And Tractor is too funny - he's berserk! I prefer to hang back and just watch him make a fool out of himself! But I'm glad he is who he is. Very entertaining for me!" (Scratty)
We wish you the merriest Christmas!!

And the brightest, most spectacular 2010!!
With love from all of us ~
Bill, Carrie, Ouray, Seneca, Tractor, & Scratty

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hiking Mt. Woodson - aka - The Seneca Series

On Monday the 14th, Bill went to Ramona to help work on his old trike, which he sold to friend Karl. The dogs and I went with him. Ouray stayed to stake out some good sunning time with the guys, and Seneca and I took off for our Girls Day Out. This was to be my first time (and Seneca's too) up Mt. Woodson from the east side, which entails a VERY steep old paved road. Once on top (with all the antenna towers), we would transition to the trail which starts down on the west side, then hook up with the old Fry-Koegle trail, which would eventually loop us back to Hwy 67. It was a beautiful, perfect hiking day - cool, with gorgeous clouds.

The start of the old road.

We exited the road momentarily to check out the view. In the meantime, we got passed by a beagle with his guy. Do they know they're being watched??

One of the many cool parts of this road. I wasn't too excited by the idea of hiking up on pavement, but this road was actually pretty awesome - between the humungous boulders it winds around and the expansive eastern views.

Seneca scopes it...

The road, with 2- and 3-story sized boulders on each side and sometimes overhanging!

Bird on a Wire? Dog on a Ledge!

Seneca, SuperDog!

Looking east. Cuyamaca Peak somewhat hidden by a cloud.

Up, up, up!

Cool honeycomb rock formation (dog included).

Seneca finds one of nature's transient watering holes...

Antenna central...

I've heard this rock referred to as The Potato Chip Rock...

Seneca, Queen of All She Surveys...

Heading down the west side but looking back...

Seneca standing on our lunch table...

Seneca the Supreme Ruler...

Me & Senny do the self-portrait thing again. Four hundred tries and one decent shot later...

Just ANOTHER trail shot...

Seneca leads the way on the old Fry-Koegle portion...

oooo...approaching the witching hour...!

A girl and her dog (well, one of them...)

The way home.

Supernatural Yurt Skies

Emanating spirits...? Trapped lost souls...?
Fleeing poltergeists...? Mesa Grande Aurora...?

A walk in the rain...

Sat. the 12th was a cloudy, showery day - one of my favorites! These days are full of mood and mystery. The colors are richer, the air more invigorating. So it was that Ouray and I set out for a walk. After all, it was only drizzling lightly off and on...

Here you can see the wonderful view that greeted us that morning. This is looking east, down to the Shenandoah property below us (want to buy this land? go here: you can learn the interesting history - incl. gold mining - and see more photos than you'd care to...!). The clouds were obscuring Volcan, as well as the Henshaw valley below. The "window" effect that was created reminded me of Sitka, Alaska. Gorgeous. Not quite as green and not nearly the amount of water, but still a cool look.

And here is a peek into an oak forest glade a little ways down our driveway.

Ouray in the mist...(and muddy driveway)

Lord of the Rings forest...

Down to the paved portion...

Poplars in the mist... (there's a lot of stuff in the mist today!!)

Poor Ouray. We got to the road and walked out about a half mile before turning around. It was at this point that the rain began....and yes, in earnest, as they say! We were both soon drenched, although the rain was only about 3/4 mile's worth. But does that stop Mommy from getting the camera out, wiping off the filter, and making the dog wait for the photo to happen? Hell no! You gotta feel sorry for his lot in life at times...

And we're back! Soggy and a bit chilled but happy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hiking Warner Springs

I wasn't really expecting snow on this hike, but it was Thurs. the 10th - only a few days after the big storm on the 7th - and not everything had melted off yet. There were quite a few shady hillsides with significant patches of snow and still-frozen ground!

This hike is primarily through shrubbery - manzanita, yucca, and red shanks/ribbon wood.

Some nice boulders.
And...yes, the snow!
Looking back.


This is definitely Yucca Town! This one here was a cool dead one (once they send up their one shoot and bloom, they die...), and from it, I actually got to finally see yucca seeds! They've always been dispersed already whenever I've seen the open pods. The seeds are flat and black, and there are hundreds (if not thousands?!) in one yucca pod (and many, many pods on one blooming yucca). again... 


This whole trail is a tiny section of the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), which is about 2,000 miles and goes from our border with Mexico all the way up to Canada. You can often see caches of water set aside for the thru-hikers by "trail angels" (people who help out the PCT hikers, often anonymously). Many people manage to hike the entire PCT in one blow, going 20-25 miles/day for about 4-5 months, and there are a surprising number who do it solo (but they bump into each other so often they end up with a lot of friends!)! I would so love to be able to thru-hike the PCT - maybe in another life...
Since Bill needed the truck to go to Ramona on this day, I took his motorbike to get to and from the trailhead. That meant spending a lot of extra time just putting on and taking off extra layers of clothing, since the air temp going over was probably in the 50s but in the 30s coming back!!!! Brrrrr!!!!!!!! Despite gloves, etc., my face, fingers, and feet were all pretty cold by the time I got home! But I'm grateful for the transportation, as I really needed to get out and hike on this day! And riding added to the adventure - although it also added a bit to the muscle fatigue as well!