Monday, September 23, 2013

Goodbye Summer

 Hubby and I spent the last day of summer doing something we've been wanting to do for a long time. 
We went hiking in the mountains above Idyllwild, CA.

There was a huge fire up there earlier in the summer that threatened the mountain communities
and many of the trails we love and use often.  The trails were closed for a while after the fire.
Eventually they re-opened but it's been too hot up there to hike (it's not as cool as the Big Bear
area on another mountain where we've been mountain biking and camping at a lot).

When the weather started cooling last week we wasted no time in planning a hike.
We headed up early Saturday morning, stopped at the ranger station
 for our trail permit, and we were on our way!  Woo hoo!  

We hiked the South Ridge Trail that day.  It was so great to be hiking up there again!  
I only brought my phone and a small camera for photos and took very few.
I wanted to just soak in the day.

The mountain had recently been washed in flash floods.
So, all the trees and bushes were extra clean, green and pretty.
It was interesting to stop at various lookout spots along the way to see where the fire had burned.
It had burned a lot but it's still beautiful and the views are spectacular.
We enjoy stopping at this pile of huge boulders to climb around and have a seat.

Here's the view out from inside that pile of boulders...with my cute hubby!

When we got to the top of Tahquitz Peak it was awesome to see the fire lookout stand.  I'd worried about it during the fire and couldn't wait to get back onto our trails again and go see it.
We were surprised to see that the tower was open.  There was a volunteer up there for
the day and that night.  I've wondered what it would be like to stay up there.  
She said the sunrise and sunset are awesome!

There are windows all around with views of the ocean, the desert, and more mountains.
And, there's a deck that runs around the entire outside of the building.
There was a thick marine layer in the lower areas that day but the views were still great.

The stand in the center has a map and a device to help calculate where fires are when they're spotted.

It even has a little cook stove and heat stove.
There's a bed just to the left of the heat stove.

This is the National Forest Service volunteer that was up there that day.
She was really nice and we enjoyed chatting with her.
Here, she's filling out a visitor card for my husband.
He has one from when he was about 16.  It was fun to get another one so many years later.

That's me sitting on the rock near the tower...

And, hubby...

It was quite a hike!  There was over 2,400 feet of elevation climb in just over three miles to the top!
The steepness was tough for the trip back down too.  What a great workout and great day!
The weather was awesome...warm in the sun and chilly in the shade and super blue skies.

We ended the day as we often do when we go to the Restaurant Gastronome.
I keep finding myself ordering the same thing because it's so yummy...a turkey sandwich
on ciabatta bread with tomato, lettuce, purple onion and a spicy cranberry sauce.
It's delicious...especially when I'm really hungry.  Hubby had a turkey sandwich on a 
croissant with fig jam.  It was yummy too.  The beer was icey cold...Yum!

When we were at the ranger station that morning, I got a cute little pair of 
Smokey the Bear earrings that I've been eyeing for a while.  Fun!

That day was such a great end to our wonderful summer!
How did you end your summer?


Quinn said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your hike :)

Sandy O' said...

Wonderful time! Pat and I spent Saturday afternoon helping a friend prepare for a "House Concert" at her place outside of town. Then that night we sat outside under the stars, listening to a wonderful country western singer playing an 18-string guitar. Great music, good wine and beer, pleasant company! What more could I ask for!

Art and Sand said...

Your hike looks like fun.

It has been hot here despite the feel of fall in the air. We were on the beach last night at 8:30 p.m. in shorts.

Delighted Hands said...

Beautiful area to hike! I do miss our mountains in NY when I see this-I loved the view from the tower with the ocean in the background! Glad you had such a stupendous day!

Roxie said...

What a splendid way to end your summer. And what great memories you brought me. When I was a kid, we used to go visit the lookout near our cabin every other week or so. Mom would bake something for him, and dad would load all us kids up in the back of the jeep, and off we'd go to visit the lonely fellow.

Many of the lookouts can be rented, now, for overnighting. Especially in the winter, cross-country skiers and snowshoers spend serene, transcendent weekends above it all.

Deborah said...

Lovely photos! I haven't seen Smokey the Bear for ages! He was ALWAYS around when I was growing up. Love the earrings!!