Monday, December 19, 2011

Hiking Ryan Mountain in Black and White

The weather has been pretty gloomy and wet lately, but today the sun broke out along with some wispy clouds. We figured it was a good day to hike Ryan, so after chores, we headed over to the park and up we went. Boy, haven't done that in a while and it showed. We were huffin' and puffin' by the time we got to the top, but the view is a satisfying payoff. We found a nice spot for lunch and luxuriated in the 360 degree view. The worst part was the trip down, I knew my legs would be all rubbery the next day, so a nice, hot bath was in order when we got home. This is one of the best hikes in the park, particularly if you're short on time. It takes about and hour and a half to get up and about an hour to get down, so plan accordingly. Best times are early morning or late afternoon so you can catch the glowing light across the Wonderland of Rocks in the distance.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Last of the Fall Colors at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Covington Park

One last look at the fall colors at Covington and the Preserve. It was a pretty good year. I was able to get over to photograph on several chilly mornings and capture some beautiful moments. Now, on to winter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fall Colors at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Covington Park

The view of the marsh

Fall colors of the reeds

A golden sweep of color

The overlook of Covington Park and the Preserve
Last Saturday we went birding at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and had a great time. We walked over to Covington Park first to see what activity there was and saw some Western Blue Birds, a Sharp Shinned Hawk, a couple of Kestrels doing, what looked to be, some sort of mating dance in the air, Ruby Kinglets, White Crowned Sparrows, you name it, we saw it. It's always fun to go with the groups on either Saturday or Wednesday mornings at eight, mainly because you just see more birds. There's always a couple of folks who bring scopes, so you can see the birds up close, which is always a treat. While we were walking, I noticed the fall colors starting to unfold in the Cottonwoods in the area and got some nice shots, which I've included here. This area is such a great place to go, because it's the only place you get that 'Eastern' sense of fall here in the desert. We took a walk through the marsh area as well and enjoyed the fall colors amongst the reeds. All in all, a wonderfully relaxing walk and a great way to start the day. After birding, everyone heads over to the Morongo Cafe for their classic, home cooked breakfast. Don't miss it while you're here!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wonderland Ranch Walk

We thought we would meander in the wash behind Wonderland Ranch the other afternoon and what a nice walk it was. All dressed in pink, the ranch was one of the many homesteads in the park. Some folks say it was even a health food store at some point. It's midway between Bill Keys place and the Wall Street Mill where Will Bagley took a shot at Bill Keys and paid for it. Those were exciting times.

Wonderland Ranch
Our lunch spot view of the rocks
View of the canyon
One of the cattle tanks to capture water
Margie entranced with the view
Fall colors

Friday, October 21, 2011

Highway 62 Art Tours-Join the Tour!

THIS WEEKEND-Saturday and
Sunday, October 29-30
You can go to the Tour Site here:
There's lots of great art this year and the Tour Booklet is the best ever.

Spin will be showing at JTAG Joshua Tree Art Gallery in downtown Joshua Tree, so come on down. 61607 29 Palms Highway-Suite B (Next to Red Arrow Gallery).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Follow Along On Our Summer Travels

Jardin de Luxumbourg-Paris
The Pyramid, Louvre-Paris
Two Streets Together, Santiago de Compostella
The Cathedral, Santiago de Compostella
Luarca Harbor-Spain

This summer we spent two weeks traveling from Oporto, Portugal up to Santiago de Compostella and on to Bilbao, San Sebastian, Spain and Paris, France. Here's a sampling of photos from the trip. I'll be posting on a regular basis, so stay tuned to my Flickr site:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Havin' Fun With The Dramatic Tone Filter

The other evening Margie and I took a walk around Hidden Valley Nature Trail and I took these shots with my EPL2 set to Dramatic Tone Art Filter . Usually, this is a tricky filter to use, but the light was perfect and I really like the 'dramatic' feel of these. Hope you do too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's Cookin' in Town?!

The moment we've all been waiting for... Crossroads is back and they're open 7 days a week! The new owners re-did the inside, but kept the same 'feeling' to the place and... they now have 'wait service'. No more standing in line! They've expanded the menu and will be serving dinners in the fall. Stop on by while you're here.

The other 'new kid on the block' is Pie for The People in the same location as the former Teacakes Bakery. You'll love their pizza to go and soon they will have seating next door.
A new discovery: Kasa Taco Shop in the back of  Kasa Carniceria and Market in Yucca. Next to the Jelly Donut in 'old town' Yucca. They serve great tacos, burritos, birria and they feature fresh watermelon, canteloupe and hibiscus juices. A fun place to snack after shopping at Pioneer Crossing Antiques.

We've Been Busy This Summer!

We gave The Desert Rambler a new coat of paint; replacing the Yarrow yellow in the Living Area, with Curry Powder, and the October Bronze in the bedroom area, with Morocco Red. The new colors give the room a richer, more elegant feel. We hope you enjoy the new look on your next visit.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunset Bike Ride and Dinner With Friends

We love biking in the Park and try to go at least three times a week. In the summer, we go early in the morning, to take advantage of the cool weather and lack of traffic. This time, our friends Christa and Mark suggested we go on an evening bike ride and then have dinner in the park together after the ride. We started at the Quail Springs picnic area and rode over to Barker Dam and back, arriving just in time to enjoy the sunset colors and a half-moon above. We had a great ride and a delicious 'pot-luck' meal together. What a beautiful night it was, with the moon shining brightly and the stars filling the sky. We all thought, 'Let's do this again when the moon is full... you're on!'

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fascinating Shapes in Black and White

I've recently been photographing early in the morning around Ryan and Jumbo Rocks. I'm fascinated by the 'molten' shapes of the rocks in these areas. Color just didn't seem to do them justice. High contrast black and white was, as Goldilocks would say... just right. Jumbo Rocks is a great area to explore any time of year. I like to go for an hour or two before breakfast and just ramble around a different section each time. As the light changes, you see something completely new at every turn. Great fun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fantastic Cloud Displays During Summer Thunderstorm.

The other day, we caught the remnants of a tropical storm up from the Gulf of Mexico, so I drove into the Park to see what all the fuss was about. On the way in from 29 Palms, there were huge, dark clouds forming to the north. I stopped to take a few pictures and then the rain came upon me, so I jumped back in the car and headed through the Park, passing in and out of downpours. The best thing of course, is that distinctive scent of the desert during a rain storm, a combination of earth, sage and creosote, a special fragrance found nowhere else. I drove down the Geo Tour road and got some nice shots to the east and west, then over to Jumbo rocks and on to Ryan Mountain where I got a spectacular cloud shot. By the time I hit Hidden Valley, the weather was clearing up, so I figured it was time to mosey on home. It was great fun to be out in the Park on such a dramatic day. I noticed quite a few others enjoying the weather and light show as well. It's true, pictures of the Park are always better with clouds.