Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Letter "I"

The timing of the letter "I" in the alphabet photo challenge couldn't be more perfect.  The Mountain Fire that burned over 27,000 acres in the mountains surrounding Idyllwild is contained and life is getting back to normal.  A lot of us are heading up the mountain to see for ourselves that Idyllwild is fine and to support the community by shopping in the stores, eating in the restaurants, etc.

My letter "I" post is dedicated to Idyllwild!

The Hub Cyclery planned a bike ride for Saturday morning and a kids bike rodeo for Sunday.
We went up early Saturday morning for the ride.  

People gathered at the shop...

We all signed a banner to thank the fire fighters and all who worked hard to save the community...

 Then, we all headed out for a ride around town.  I wasn't able to get a picture of everyone because we were all so spread out.  But, estimates were that there were at least 60-70 people that showed up.
The shop owner and local residents that came were surprised and thrilled to see so much support.  

That's my hubby on the left side, holding my mountain bike up for me...

After riding around town for a while, we stopped at the ranger station.  
The bike shop owner went in and asked the rangers to come outside.  He thanked them for
their public service, for all the hard work they do and all they did to help during the fire.  
The banner was held up for them and we gave them cheers and a round of applause.  It was great!

Some members of the Hemet Jeep club came up to join in on the festivities and 
show their appreciation as well.  If I heard correctly, many of them helped 
during the fire by driving supplies up the mountain.  
There were at least eight Jeeps that came up on Saturday.

Our next stop was the fire station.  They were presented with the banner and given lots of cheers and applause as well.  I thought I'd gotten a great panoramic photo of the event but when I went to retrieve the photos from my cell phone, it wasn't there.  But, here's a photo of me at the station...

The last stop was at the local coffee shop, Higher Grounds, for a moment of gratitude and prayer.

There were signs of appreciation all around town...

Some of the bikers went on a trail ride afterwards.  Hubby and I decided to ride around 
through the neighborhoods a bit more.  I'm glad we did because I was able to get a picture of something I'd seen earlier that I thought was funny.  It was hanging on the side of a garage...

After our ride, we went to one of our favorite Idyllwild restaurants, Gastrognome.
It's right near the center of town with a wonderful outdoor, under the trees dining area.
They have awesome views of the mountains and the food is really good.  We enjoyed some 
refreshing beer and toasted to the firefighters and everyone who saved our wonderful mountain. 

After our yummy lunch, we walked around town and did a little shopping.
It seemed that a lot of people were coming up to enjoy the mountains and show their support.

Thunderheads were building over the deserts and the tops of the mountains.
It brought some humidity to the hot day but it was still a lot cooler and nicer than home.

My beloved Lily Rock/Tahquitz's so great to see it up close and that the surrounding forest
is still there!  The trails are currently closed but I have high hopes that they'll re-open for hiking once 
all the hot spots are out and all the work on the fire is complete.  I can hardly wait to go hiking 
up there again.  We can see this rock from our house!  Through our loft window, if we peek
between the homes across the street, we can see it!  I think that's so cool! 
It can be seen from miles and miles around.  It's enormous!  It's world famous for rock climbing.

It was wonderful to see this butterfly.  There's still life on the mountain!

Yup!...Idyllwild is still here and open for business.
Isn't this little bear adorable?!

It turns out that the fire was started by faulty electrical equipment on a private property.  It was difficult to impossible to get photos of the area near where it started as we drove into town.  But, it was interesting to see where it had traveled.  Near the start of it, it's black but many of the trees still have needles and leaves...they're just not green any more.  The fire path was narrow at first and skirted itself between homes, jumped over areas, and even went around both sides of a ranger station.  As it moved, the path got wider and wider and eventually burned huge sections of the mountain and traveled around to the east side, toward Palm Springs.  The large areas were hard to photograph because they were so far away from the road that you couldn't tell very easily which parts were green and which were black. But, I know one thing for came very close to homes and a lot of people are very, very lucky!

There is a line across the center of each of these pictures that is black
and show where the fire traveled from west to east...

We took a drive to see where the fire had burned and to check on our favorite campground.
It's ok!  Yay!  We saw the staging area for the fire fighters and their equipment.  
They still had a helicopter there, some fuel and water trucks and various other equipment.
The staging area was at the Garner Ranch Cattle Company.  The cattle are healthy and beautiful.
I couldn't resist taking some photos...

This one is my favorite.  He's so cute and he looks like a model with his tail blowing in the wind...

The tall mountains in the background are where a lot of the burn area is...

We drove up to the top of Thomas Mountain.  It's an area my husband has been mountain biking 
on for years but I've never seen.  It was wonderful to see that it didn't burn.
As we enjoyed the scenery and fresh piney air, I'm sure he was feeling very grateful 
as he sat there gazing at one of his favorite trails.  I know I was.

As we drove over and down the other side of the mountain, I was amazed at the 
views of surrounding desert communities of Anza, Aguanga and Sage. 
The air was hazy though and didn't make for good photos...
...but, you can get a glimpse behind the yucca in the next photo...just click it to enlarge it.

I couldn't pass up a photo of these beautiful yucca though...

The flower plumes were huge, dried and so pretty.

Well, there's my letter "I" post.  Not many photos of objects that start with "I" but all taken in the Idyllwild  area.  An Incredibly Inviting place that's Impossible to forget.  I've been finding an Increasing amount of things up there that I love and keep me going back again and again.


Art and Sand said...

I don't know that I have ever been to the town of Idyllwild, but I spent my college summers in the mountains as a camp counselor and I remember hiking to a place called Tahquitz Meadows.

Thank you for thanking everyone who worked on the fire.

I enjoyed your letter I post.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! Mountain bikes are so much fun! What bike do you ride? Our area had the Monument Fire in 2011 and it was scary! We could see the smoke billowing up! We were never in danger, but it is hard not to worry. And the firefighters are definitely a special sort of people. Thanks for taking us along with your pictures. (I'm struggling with "I" for the photo challenge.) Sandy from My Yellow Swing.

judith said...

Looks like a great time. You have a completely different species of yucca than what we have here.

Acorn to Oak said...

Judith - This yucca is new to me too. The ones I usually see around here look very different...with bigger flowers on the stalk.

Deborah said...

Yours is a story with a happy ending! We have a similar situation near our cabin at Huntington Lake. We're so grateful to all the firefighters working to put out the fire!

Roxie said...

Forest fires are ghastly, and the firefighters are awesome. So glad Idylwild was saved! Thanks for the splendid tour.

Judy S said...

GREAT job Cheryl! Your love for the mountains and the town ooze from each word and picture!

I really want to get up there soon and after your post, I think I might do so with my bike! :-)

Carmen Tye said...

Thank you very much for your visit on my blog! I'm very glad that you found the translator!
Looks that you had a great time, thanks for the wonderful pictures.
If you are interested in tha blue shawl pattern that you saw on my blog I can send it to you, just give me a buzz!

Beth said...

What beautiful images! A beautiful place to bike.

Delighted Hands said...

an Inspiring tour-thank you for sharing it! I appreciate the personal connect to the pictures we see on tv related to the forest fires.

Acorn to Oak said...

Thanks. I ride a K2 Razorback. : )