Florian's 2007 stargazing/hiking/camping/traveling blog


Map of local hiking trails

flickr photostream - PBase gallery

Local Weather

Past year's blogs from 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001

Monday evening, 12/31, Two comets

Comet 17P/Holmes in Perseus seems no longer visible to the naked eye from my backyard. But still fairly easy in 10x42 binoculars. Through the TV76 at 30x is actually harder to see than through the binoculars. Comet 8P/Tuttle over in Pisces easy to spot through binoculars and telescope. Much brighter than when i last tried to find two weeks ago. Happy New Year!

Sunday, 12/23, Cahuilla canyon hike

Pretty day for a hike up Cahuilla canyon with Eddie. The encelia all have fresh green leaves. A few pictures are here... Pools of water, cholla cactus, and Palm Springs from canyon. [Regarding the pools of water picture: I noticed it's hard to tell the size of the pools in the poor cellphone picture. The pools are about 8 to 10 feet across and i was probably about 150 feet away. The water appeared to be fairly stagnate.]

Wednesday, 12/19, Shannon trail hike

Hike Shannon trail to peak. Bit cool. Couple of pictures here... Cactus and clouds from top of Shannon trail and Palm Canyon wash.

Saturday, 12/15, Anza-Borrego day trip - Photos

Day-trip to the northern Anza-Borrego desert exploring along S-22. Pretty much a Truckhaven highlights trip... Truckhaven cache (GC30A), Truckhaven campsite, hike to Truckhaven rocks, and lunch along western Truckhaven trail. Was a beautiful clear crisp day.

Thursday evening, 12/13, Geminids and 2 comets

Went out in the backyard for just a bit this evening. Caught a couple of Geminid meteors. Was also just barely able to spot comet 8P/Tuttle through the TV76. But just barely. This comet should brighten over the next few weeks. Also checked comet 17P/Holmes. Still visible to naked eye as a large hazy patch. Pretty much fills the TV76 field at 30x.

Wednesday, 12/12, Murray Hill hike - Photos - .kml

Midweek vacation day off and a beautiful bright clear sunny day for a hike. Starting in Andreas Hills took the Theleman trail, over Hotdog hill, then up to Murray Hill. Bit chilly at the top. GPS says 3.4 miles one way. Did the round-trip in 2 hours 50 mins. Found Cobber99's geocache (GC12CPQ) without using GPS just based on where Eric told me it was hidden. Ran into two women at the peak that were confused how they ended up on Murray peak. They somehow thought they were on a different trail. They said they were hike leaders for a hiking group. I sort of worry about them leading hikes!

Saturday, 12/8, Lykken trail hike

Eddie and i hiked the Lykken trail from Mesquite trailhead south to Cahuilla canyon this morning. Nice clouds rolling over the Desert Divide. Beautiful day.

Friday, 12/7, Slippers

Eddie sitting on Wen's slippers because the tile floor is cold.

Sunday, 12/2, Garstin trail hike

Spectacular day for a hike! Everything fresh and bright after Friday's rain. Hiked up the Garstin and looped through the middle mesa then over Smoketree mtn before heading back down. This shot is looking SW toward Murray Canyon and the Desert Divide. Ran into a Forest Service ranger (Lee) doing a trail survey. We had a nice chat about the trails. What a great job... getting paid to hike all day!

Wednesday evening, 11/28, Comet 17P/Holmes

Comet Holmes remains visible to the naked eye from my backyard.

Sunday, 11/25, Shannon trail hike

Quick hike up and down the Shannon trail.

Thursday, 11/22, Cahuilla canyon hike

Beautiful Thanksgiving Day on the desert. Hiked Cahuilla canyon to my Cahuilla geocache (GC3D4) with Eddie. Cache is in good shape. Great day to be out hiking on the desert. Some photos... Eddie at cache, cache contents, Eddie enjoying the view.

Sunday, 11/18, Rimrocks to Araby hike

Eddie and i hiked from Rimrocks to the Araby trail this morning. Warmish day. Felt like spring.

Saturday, 11/17, Middle Lykken trail hike

Hiked the middle Lykken trail from Mesquite Ave trailhead.

Friday evening, 11/16, Green laser pointer experiment

I live in Palm Springs, Calif, just east of the San Jacinto mtns. The PS tramway upper station is about 7 miles line of sight from my backyard at about the 8500' level. This evening i tried an experiment with Ray, a friend of mine. He was at the upper station and i was at home. At a pre-arranged time i shone (shined?) my 5mW green laser pointer at the upper tram station using my Tele Vue 76 to aim the beam. Ray said he had no trouble seeing my laser but that it wasn't particularly bright. It pretty much matched the brightness of streetlights and wasn't at all a blinding beam. Ray's photo is here with some additional comments. After trying this experiment i feel a green laser pointer is certainly not a threat to an airplane flying miles away.

Wednesday evening, 11/14, Comet Holmes image

60 second image of comet Holmes and the Pleiades from my backyard.

Tuesday evening, 11/13, Comet Holmes and M33

Comet Holmes (17P) still a very nice object high in the NE. Easy naked eye and big and round in 10x42 binoculars. Through the binoculars i could also see M33 almost directly overhead. I hope i'll still be able to see M33 after the big shopping center at Farrell and Palm Canyon opens. My skies now are about LM 4.8.

Tuesday, 11/13, South Lykken trail hike

Hiked the south Lykken trail with Eddie. Eddie on the edge.

Sunday, 11/11, Shannon trail to cache

Hiked the Shannon trail to my Flag Over Palm Springs cache (GC2165) then looped through the middle mesa and back down Shannon. When i got back to the trailhead there was a car that had been broken into. The owners arrived shortly after i did and were pretty pissed off. The woman lost her camera and wallet. I think i'll stop leaving my wallet in the truck when hiking and just bring driver's license.

Wednesday, 11/7, Shannon trail hike

Quick hike up Shannon trail to Araby overlook.

Saturday-Sunday, 11/3-4, Anza-Borrego overnight - Photos

Camped in Clark Valley along the Rockhouse Canyon road. I've camped at this site a couple of times years ago with the VW camper. (Got stuck in the sand once.) Nice afternoon and evening with no vehicles passing. I'm quite sure i was the only person in the valley/canyon for the night. Sunset at 5:28pm with temp 80°. I was planning to do some stargazing but feeling sleepy by nightfall i thought i'd take a little nap and get up after an hour or so. But i slept straight through until 3am! I did get in some good views of comet Holmes but otherwise didn't do much stargazing. Sunday morning i hiked to the CORP benchmark. Didn't find the benchmark but was surprised to find petroglyphs i didn't know were there!

Saturday, 11/3, Cahuilla canyon hike

Cahuilla canyon with Eddie. Just a quick hike.

Tuesday evening, 10/30, Comet 17P/Holmes

Comet Holmes still looks really great. Tight core is visible in the TV76. Still easy naked eye and binocular object.

Sunday, 10/28, Araby trail hike

Hiked Araby trail to Araby Hope geocache (GC9FD) with Eddie. Here is a picture of Eddie looking down to where the cache is hidden.

Wednesday evening, 10/24, Comet 17P/Holmes

A week ago comet 17P/Holmes was a very faint mag 17 telescopic comet. Way to dim for me to even attempt trying to locate. Then in a couple of days it brightened a million-fold to an easy 2.4 mag naked eye object! Very easy to spot this evening in Perseus even with the almost full moon. Through the TV76 is a round ball with bright core. One of the most amazing things i've ever seen in the night sky!

Sunday, 10/21, Theleman trail hike

Hiked up the Theleman trail from Andreas Hills, over Smoketree mtn, and back down the Theleman. Picked up a big bag of dog poo.

Saturday, 10/20, Cahuilla canyon hike

Hiked up Cahuilla canyon to the second stream crossing with Eddie this morning. I haven't been up here since April. Nice warm clear day. Picture of Eddie is here.

Sunday, 10/14, Garstin trail

Hike Garstin trail to Smoketree mtn. Back down across the middle mesa. It bothers me more and more that this is a bighorn sheep area and there are signs posted that dogs are not allowed yet everyone seems to bring their dogs anyway. I don't bring Eddie on these trails. Why do other people seem to think they are exempt? What's really starting to piss me off is all the dog poop on the trails. If you have to bring your dog at least have the courtesy to not leave a big pile of shit in the middle of the trail.

Saturday, 10/13, Middle Lykken trail

Hiked the middle Lykken with Eddie. Beautiful clear sunny day.

Sunday, 10/7, South Lykken trail loop

Eddie and i parked along south Palm Canyon drive then hiked up the Descanso trailhead to join the Lykken trail. Continued south coming down into Cahuilla canyon then walked back along the road to where we'd parked. Nice loop hike. Pretty day.

Friday evening, 10/5, ISS overhead

Really nice overhead pass of the International Space Station in late twilight. SW overhead to NE.

Thursday, 10/4, Araby trail hike - Photos

Hike up the Araby trail, loop through the middle mesa, across the Berns dip, and back down Araby. Nice to have a weekday off for a hike!

Saturday, 9/29, South Lykken trail hike

Nice hike up and down the south Lykken trail with Eddie.

Friday, 9/28, C8 donation

I donated my old orange Celestron-8 to my son's high school today! My son's physics teacher is a good guy and i think the scope will be well taken care of. I bought the scope directly from Celestron in 1979 but haven't used it at all for a few years now. I felt a little sentimental at the very end. I've had that scope since i was 24. Over half my life!

Thursday morning, 9/27, ISS pass

Woke up early this morning for some reason. Went outsite about 5:30 to pick up the newspaper and caught a very nice pass of the International Space Station high in the north. Nice little surprise to start the day.

Tuesday, 9/25, Mojave trip, day two - Photos

Nice night in comfortable bed. Had maybe one or two trains an hour during the night so didn't exactly sleep much but still feel very rested and relaxed in the morning. Up early before sunrise. Huge plate of eggs and hash browns for breakfast in the cafe. Left Nipton about 9am. For fun drove east 3 miles into Nevada then turned around. Followed dirt road along the railroad to Ivanpah then south to Goffs. Bought 4.5 gallons of gas in Fenner for $4.39! Damn. Back to Amboy along Route 66 then home via 29 Palms and highway 62. Great trip!

Monday, 9/24, Mojave trip, day one - Photos

Departed home about 8am after taking Kai to school. Stopped for gas in 29 Palms. There is water in the salt flats near Amboy from recent rains. Attempted to visit my Amboy dino-cache (GC6A7) but the road quickly turned into soft mud. Had to stop, get out, engage front hubs, get shoes muddy, then slowly back out. Thank goodness for four-wheel-drive! I'd have been stuck tight in the mud otherwise. Stopped in Amboy for a while watching workers replace a section of track. Continued north stopping for lunch just south of I-40 along gas line road. Arrived Kelso about 1pm. My first visit to Kelso since the station has reopened. It's been beautifully restored inside and out! Really nice. Make sure to visit if you're ever in the area. From Kelso on to Cima then north to Teutonia peak area. Turn around, back through Cima, and on to Nipton arriving just after 3pm. Registering at the store i find i'll have the entire Hotel Nipton all to myself for the night! I'm in room #1 with view of the trains. Perfect! Such a neat place. Decided not to eat in the cafe and spent most of the afternoon and evening sitting on the hotel porch. Moon is a day short of full so no stargazing tonight but that's fine. I'm happy just being here.

Sunday, 9/23, North Lykken trail hike - Photos

Hiked the north Lykken trail from the west end of Ramon with Eddie. Visited the English Tom geocache. Cache is in fine shape. Beautiful clear day.

Saturday, 9/22, Shannon trail hike - Photos

Hiked up the Shannon trail again today. Removed the LED light i placed last week and replaced it with the retro prism.

Sunday, 9/16, Shannon trail hike - Photos

Nice hike up the Shannon trail to Smoketree mtn. Placed LED solar light. [Checking after dark i find that the old battery does not hold a charge long enough for the light to stay on after dark.]

Saturday, 9/15, New addition to the family

We now have a very sweet young Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata) about 15 inches long. Some photos here, here, and here.

Saturday, 9/15, Middle Lykken trail hike

Hiked the middle Lykken trail with Eddie this morning. First hike with Eddie after the hot summer. He was lagging a bit. Need to get him back in shape for hiking season!

Tuesday, 9/11, Walking the dog under the Milky Way

I'm always pleased this time of year to still be able to see the Milky Way while outside in the evening. It's not bright, and does take a bit of effort to detect, but the Milky Way is still visible from my neighborhood. Sadly, i doubt this will last much longer. There is a new shopping center going in a quarter mile SW at the corner of East Palm Canyon and Farrell. There is also a new BMW car dealership being built about a half mile to the SE. A year from now if i can still see the Milky Way from home i'll be surprised... and very pleased! Here is a photo of the sky i took this evening.

Sunday, 9/9, Araby trail hike

Hike Araby trail.

Friday night, 9/7, Anza-Borrego overnight - Photos

Drove down to the Anza-Borrego desert after work arriving at Truckhaven site a few minutes after 5pm. Temp 100°F. Calm and clear. Quite nice. Spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the shade of the truck. Just realized i can see Chuckwalla peak with its antennas from here. Sunset was at 6:50pm with temp down to 94°F. Nice evening stargazing with bright Milky Way over head. Slept in the open bed of the truck. Sunrise Saturday at 6:25 with temp 80°F. After leaving camp drove S22 to Font's Wash before turning around and driving home.

Monday, 9/3, Garstin trail hike

Quick hike up the Garstin to the peak and back.

Sunday, 9/2, Pasadena day trip - Photos

Fun day trip to Pasadena to visit Wen's mom and have Japanese food for lunch. See link above for photos.

Saturday early morning, 9/1, Aurigid metetors

Went out in the early morning to catch what seemed to be the end of the Aurigid meteor shower. From about 4:15am to 4:30am saw 8 or 10 bright Aurigids then nothing for the next 10 minutes. Then i went back to sleep.

Thursday, 8/30, Vesta and Jupiter

Asteroid Vesta very close to Jupiter this evening. Less than half a degree apart. Vesta easily visible in the TV76 at 30x. Also visible in 10x42 binoculars.

Sunday, 8/26, Tramway to Tamarack and Round Valley - Photos

Followed the unmaintained "use" trail taking off from the Long Valley trail to Tamarack Valley. Comes into the QUARTZ brown post campsite. Trail is a bit steep with no switchbacks but is easy to follow and seems to get a bit of use as there were fresh footprints. Neat day in the mountains with loud thunder giving way to light sprinkles. Foggy at the upper tram station. This will be my last tramway hike of the year since my summer pass expires the end of August.

Saturday, 8/25, South Lykken trail hike

Up and down the south Lykken trail. Another steamy one like last Saturday.

Sunday, 8/19, Tramway to Round Valley hike - Photos

This is pretty much my regular summer Sunday hike... Ride the tramway, loop hike to Round Valley, have a beer at the tramway bar, ride back down on the tramway. Is nice. Maybe it's a bit boring but i like it. Saw a nice group of about six deer along the trail between Hidden Lake and Round Valley. This was my ninth tramway hike of the summer. Hoping go get in one more hike next weekend before my pass expires.

Saturday, 8/18, Shannon trail hike

Shannon trail to Smoketree peak and back. Pretty steamy weather. I was the first person on the trail since yesteday's rain.

Friday, 8/17, Bit of rain

Had a little downpour this afternoon with some lightning and thunder. Got pretty wet but was over and drying up in about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, 8/14, Tramway to Round Valley hike - Photos

Morning hike from the tramway to Round Valley then back via the high trail. Just a perfect little hike with very few people on the trails. Clouds were building up throughout the morning. By the time i got home it looked pretty dark up on top.

Sunday night, 8/12, Cottonwood for the Perseids - Photos

Spent the night at Cottonwood Spring campground to watch the Perseid meteors. Arrived about 5pm and found only one other site occupied. Took site 31 in the lower loop. Since i arrived early and temps were warm went for a drive up the park road to Porcupine wash and back. Got back to my site about 6pm. Warm but quite comfortable in the shade. Very good conditions for stargazing. Great temps, clear and calm. Throughout the evening more people arrived. I'd say the site was probably a bit over half full by midnight. Only the lower loop was open. Spent most of the evening with David, Mindy and Amanda from San Diego in the next site sharing views through our scopes and binoculars and talking about the sky while some k-rats bounced around under our feet. Such a nice family. After midnight i returned to my site and tried to photograph some meteors but all attempts failed to actually catch one. Slept for a few hours before dawn then drove home after sunrise. Temp at sunset about 90°, at sunrise about 76°.

Sunday, 8/12, Shannon trail hike

Up the Shannon trail to the point overlooking Araby. Too hot!

Tuesday, 8/7, Hidden Lake hike - Photos

Hiked from the tram to Hidden Lake to retrieve my laser reflecting prism. Took me a little while to find it as it wasn't quite where i thought i'd hidden it. After retrieving the prism took the high trail back to the Round Valley trail. Really nice day in the mtns.

Saturday-Sunday, 8/5-6, Boulder Basin camping - Photos

Nice little one night camping trip to the Boulder Basin campground near Idyllwild. Drove up midday Sunday and set up in site #25. Perfect afternoon just sitting around reading and relaxing. Had a nice campfire in the evening then did a little stargazing looking at Milky Way with Leica 10x32 binoculars. There were a handfull of other sites occupied but everyone was really quiet and no one played music. So nice! Walked up to the Black Mountain fire lookout the next morning before driving home.

Saturday, 8/4, Garstin/Theleman loop hike

Hiked up the Garstin, across to Wildhorse junction then down the Theleman. Nice loop. Warm but not too bad. No one else out hiking this morning. Looks like some of the trails haven't had any traffic for a few days.

Sunday/Monday, 7/29-30, Mini beach vacation - Photos

Mini overnight vacation to Huntington Beach with Wen and Kai. Drove to the HB Sunday morning, spent some time in the sun and playing in the surf, got a bit too much sun. Surf competition was going on at the pier so the place was packed! Had to park about a mile away. Spent night at Ramada Limited in Sunset Beach. Found Lisa's Bench on the pier in the morning. Drove home on Monday stopping at Fry's to buy some electronic goodies. Some photos from the trip are here.

Saturday, 7/28, South Lykken trail hike

Haven't been in the mood to go up the tramway lately so did a quick hike up and down the south Lykken trail.

Monday, 7/23, Shannon trail hike

Quick hike up and down the Shannon trail.

Sunday, 7/22, Garstin trail hike

Overcast and not so hot this morning. Hiked up the Garstin trail, looped through the middle mesa, over Smoketree mtn, then back down Garstin. Was a bit muggy/steamy but not too bad.

Saturday, 7/21, Outdoor World day trip - Photos

Visited the new Outdoor World store in Rancho Cucamonga during their grand opening weekend. Huge store! But lots and lots of people. Took 40 minutes to get through the checkout line!

Sunday evening, 7/15, Comet C/2006 VZ13

Found the comet again tonight from my backyard. Visible in Nikon 10x42 binoculars with a bit of difficulty. Fairly easy in Fujinon 16x70. For comparison M101 was not visible in either binoculars while M51 was just visible in the 16x70. Comet appeared somewhat larger and brighter than M51.

Sunday, 7/15, South Lykken hike

Quick early morning hike up and down the south Lykken trail. Working night shift today so decided not to do a longer tramway hike.

Saturday, 7/14, Shannon trail hike

Early morning hike before it got too hot up the Shannon, over Smoketree mtn, across the middle mesa, and back down Shannon.

Thursday evening, 7/12, Comet C/2006 VZ13 (LINEAR)

Was just able to pick out the comet from home tonight with 10x42 binoculars. I had tried from home on Monday but was UTL. Better sky conditions tonight and the comet being brighter made the difference. Fairly easy in TV76 but not at all like the view from the desert a couple nights ago.

Wednesday, 7/11, Anza-Borrego overnight, 2nd day - Photos

Temp at sunrise about 80°. Departed camp at 7am. Picked up a few cans and bottles along S22 before driving home.

Tuesday, 7/10, Anza-Borrego overnight - Photos - Video (silly)

Departed home at 3pm headed for the Anza-Borrego desert. Arrived at my regular Ella wash campsite at 4:30pm. Temp about 105° with hazy broken overcast skies not looking too promising for stargazing. But was a nice afternoon. Mostly still but once and a while got a little breeze which felt good. Made a silly video of me in camp. Sunset about 7:40pm with temp down to 95° and the skies mostly clear now! After dark found comet C/2006 VZ13 (LINEAR) in Draco easy in the 10x32 Leicas. Had been UTL in the 10x42 Nikons from home a couple nights ago. Through the TV76 the comet was round with no tail visible. Also using the TV76 picked out 10 or so Virgo/Coma galaxies high in the west. Took a little nap then got up again around midnight to enjoy the Milky Way overhead.

Sunday, 7/8, Round Valley hike - Photos

Tramway to Round Valley then back via the High trail to Desert View summit. Simple hike but just felt great to be walking outside. Had some things on my mind and was good to think them through walking the trails.

Saturday, 6/30, Mt. San Jacinto peak hike - Photos

Hiked to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto after riding the 8:20am tramway. Arrived at the peak about 10:45am just as a group was leaving. Had the place to myself for a good 15 minutes. Very nice. The walk back to the tramway was hot and dusty. About 5 hour total hiking time.

Thursday, 6/28, LA day trip - Photos - Tesla Coil Video

Day trip to LA with Wen. Visited Travel Town and the Griffith Observatory. We ended up at Travel Town because we were over an hour early for our reservation to Griffith Observatory but TT is great. And free! Had a really nice day except for all the traffic on the drive home.

Sunday, 6/24, Back too work tomorrow

As hard as it was in Phoenix working on system setup it was good to be out of the office for a bit. But tomorrow it's back to work. Hope things aren't too crazy.

Sunday, 6/17, Round Valley hike with Wen

Wen and i rode the tramway then hiked to Round Valley via the high trail. For a while was quite windy and cool. We just walked slow and had a nice time talking along the way. Had a couple drinks with Ray at the tramway bar when we were done.

Monday, 6/11, Phoenix trip - Photos - .kml

I'm in Phoenix for a couple weeks doing server setup for a new advertising system. I've been posting some random photos now and then.

Sunday, 6/10, Mini Cache One and Two hike - Photos

Hiked from the tramway to both Mini Cache One (GC272F) and Mini Cache Two (GC29A8). These are two of my favorite caches and i've sort of adopted them as my own. I visit them every year without GPS because i just know where they are. Both are in good shape.

Saturday, 6/9, South Lykken trail hike - .kml

Quick hike up and down the south Lykken trail.

Sunday evening, 6/3, Space Station surprise

I was about to go to bed around 9:50pm and was checking the north-facing sliding glass door into the backyard to make sure it was locked. Looking up to the sky i noticed a fairly bright object moving toward the north-east. I thought it was probably the space station (ISS) but wasn't sure. The next day i checked and sure enough, it was a nice pass of the space station over southern Calif. Little surprise sightings like this are fun!

Sunday, 6/3, Wellman's Divide hike - .kml

Tramway to Wellman's Divide. Back via the high trail. Nice clear day in the mtns. The .kml file shows a weird scribble of a track since i just left the GPS on my belt and didn't try to get a good recording of my route.

Saturday, 6/2, Shannon/Berns/Araby loop hike - Map - .kml

Hiked up the Shannon trail to Smoketree mtn, then across the Berns dip and down the Araby. Walked back through Palm Canyon wash to where i'd parked at the end of Barona. Good loop hike. A bit warm and muggy going up but a nice breeze at the top which felt good.

Monday, 5/28, Garstin/Theleman loop hike - Map - .kml

Nice warm loop hike up the Garstin trail, across to Wildhorse junction, then down the Theleman trail. Not giving up on desert hiking just yet!

Sunday, 5/27, Hidden lake and Round valley hike - Photos - Map - .kml

Bought my summer tramway pass today. Hiked to Hidden lake (dry) then over to Round valley (brown). Going to be a very dry summer on the mtn this year. I did see five deer in Round valley. Talked to someone at the tramway that said the state park might even close the wilderness to hikers/campers later in the summer if we don't get any rain. Too much danger from someone starting a fire. I better get in my tramway hiking early just in case!

Saturday, 5/26, Lykken trail hike - Photos - .kml

Up and down the middle Lykken trail from the west end of Mesquite ave. Probably one of my last desert hikes before it gets too hot. Too hot for little dogs so Eddie stayed home.

Saturday, 5/19, Moon and Venus

Very pretty pairing of the moon and Venus this evening. The two objects were within a degree of each other. First photo taken about 8:15pm and a second longer exposure taken at 8:54pm.

Saturday, 5/19, Shannon trail hike - .kml

Hike up the Shannon trail, loop through middle plateau, then back over Smoketree mtn. Warm on the desert but still okay. I've lost a lot of weight on my new diet. Something new i'm trying... Google Earth .kml file showing route.

Thursday, 5/17, Moon and Mercury

Just came in from watching the new moon and Mercury together in the western sky. Both visible with naked eye. I watched Mercury set over the mtns west of me through my Leica 10x32 binoculars. Very nice! Looking forward to seeing the moon even closer to Venus on Saturday!

Sunday, 5/13, Araby trail hike

Hiked the Araby trail to my Araby Hope geocache (GC9FD). Little bit humid so felt warmer than then 85°F or so it really was.

Saturday, 5/12, Anza-Borrego day trip - Photos - .kml

My original plans for the weekend were to spend the night camping in the Anza-Borrego desert on Friday. However for some reason yesterday afternoon i just didn't feel like going anywhere so stayed home. I made up for it a bit today making a day trip to explore along the Truckhaven trail and S22. Just as well i didn't spend the night as the skies today had a bit of high thin overcast. Wouldn't have been good for stargazing. Departed home about 8am and drove to Salton City then west along the old Truckhaven trail route. There is a big concrete obelisk about a mile west of highway 86 that i'd never seen before. I wonder what it's original purpose was. Visited my regular Truckhaven campsite then made a 2.5 mile loop hike through Smoke Tree wash and Ella wash. Lunch in the shade of my smoke tree in Font's wash. On my way home drove through the old Salton City marina area. See photos link above for pictures.

Thursday, 5/10, Samuelson's Rocks hike - Photos

Drove to Joshua Tree in the morning and hiked to Samuelson's Rocks. Very neat place! After checking the rock inscriptions i hiked a bit west toward Quail Spring but turned around after going about a mile. Good day on the desert. Temps were about 90° by noon. Had lunch at the Quail Spring picnic area before driving home.

Sunday, 5/6, Lykken trail hike - Photos

Eddie and i hiked up the south Lykken from Cahuilla canyon then made a loop coming down the middle trail and walking back along streets to where we parked. Very nice day for a hike with temps about 80°F.

Saturday, 5/5, Rimrocks to Shannon hike - Photos

Through hike starting at Rimrocks, Dunn road, west to Wildhorse juction, then across the Garstin and down the Shannon. Saw a couple of nighthawks in the middle plateau area.

Saturday, 4/28, Shannon trail hike - Photos

Warm morning hike up and down the Shannon trail. Going to be too hot for this pretty soon! This afternoon's high temp was 106°F.

Friday, 4/27, Another Space Station pass

Had another pass of the space station tonight. Not as well placed as yesterday's as the craft was low in the west illuminated from behind. I did get an interesting image of the craft going into shadow. The image is also on flickr with some comments.

Thursday, 4/26, Space Station pass

Nice pass of the International Space Station (ISS) this evening at about 8:40pm. The spacecraft passed right through the Big Dipper high in the northern sky. For fun i tried a 60 second night shot. Turned out pretty well i think. The image is also on flickr.

Sunday, 4/22, Wildhorse trail through hike - Photos

Hiked from Hermit's Bench in Palm Canyon through Fern canyon then north on Wildhorse trail to the Garstin. (Map here) Did a car swap with Eric (Cobber99) and drove his vehicle into the canyons while i left my truck at the north trailhead. He and friends hiked south from the Theleman trail (with a side trip up Murray hill) while i hiked north. Overcast day but was nice since it kept temps down a bit. I really love the south part of the Wildhorse trail as it feels very remote. Didn't see any other hikers until i got to the Garstin trail.

Saturday, 4/21, Cahuilla canyon hike - Photos

Nice hike up Cahuilla canyon with Eddie. Very pretty bright clear day.

Saturday, 4/14, West fork Palm Canyon hike - Photos

Hiked up the west fork of Palm Canyon this morning. Been a while since i've hiked in the Indian Canyons. Arrived at the toll booth just after 8am. Seemed pretty quiet. Drove through Andreas Canyon to find just one car in the parking lot. Continued on to Hermit's Bench and parked next to the trading post. Had the West Fork trail to myself. Looks like no fresh footprints since before the wind/rain on Thursday. At the junction with the trail that heads north across the west fork i continued west on what is now called the Jo Pond trail for a mile or so. This trail hasn't been traveled for a while and was a bit overgrown. But i like it that way. Reminds me of my youth hiking the Skyline trail. (Now days the Skyline gets quite a bit of traffic.) I got to about the 2800 foot level a bit beyond the Needles Eye before turning around. Compared to the start of the trail where it was quite warm it was actually getting just a bit cool with some overcast and bit of a breeze. On my way back down i dropped down to the stream crossing to a nice litte flow of water and to chat with a group that had hiked over from Murray canyon. That's one trail i've never hiked but really want to someday. Maybe next season when it's cooler. After a little rest in the Cottonwood shade walked back down the way i had come to find the parking lot at Hermit's Bench full of tourists!

Wednesday, 4/11, Middle Lykken trail hike - Photos

Since Kai is on spring break from school this week i thought we should do something together on at least one day. So i took a vacation day from work and we hiked up the middle Lykken trail from the end of Mesquite Ave. Kai doesn't really like hiking but he agreed to come along since he knows how much i like hiking. Was a bit warm but i think he had an okay time. I was surprised how fast he was on the trail for someone that doesn't hike!

Sunday, 4/8, Shannon trail hike - Photos

Hiked the Shannon trail, over Smoketree mtn, and through the middle plateau. Not a very clear day but cooler than a couple days ago.

Friday, 4/6, South Lykken trail hike

Up and down the south Lykken trail. Bit of a hazy day.

Thursday, 4/5, Joshua Tree day trip - Photos

Day trip to Joshua Tree National Park with Wen. We drove in via the Joshua Tree entrance after having breakfast at the Country Kitchen of eggs, corned beef hash, country fries, biscuits and gravy. Great breakfast! Drove through the park just taking our time. The day was a bit overcast but otherwise very nice. Drove out the south entrance via Cottonwood. A few cell phone pictures are in this flickr set.

Sunday, 4/1, Shannon trail hike

Hiked the Shannon trail with Wen this morning. Nice warm day. The Sanyo blimp made a loop round Murray Hill while we were on Smoketree mtn. Here is a shot of Wen coming down the trail.

Saturday, 3/31, Araby trail hike

Araby trail with Eddie.

Wednesday, 3/28, Garstin trail hike

Fast morning hike up the Garstin trail before working late shift. Bright cool clear day. 30° cooler than two weeks ago when we hit 100°F! Today's forecasted high is 70°F.

Sunday, 3/25, Middle Lykken trail hike to cache

Hiked up the middle Lykken trail from the west end of Mesquite with Eddie. Checked my Tahquitz Overlook geocache (GC2569). Cache is in good shape. Some people have reported problems in finding the cache so i annotated some photos to help pinpoint the location... photo1, photo2, photo3, photo4. Lots of people on the trail today. Even a family with another Jack Russell terrier.

Thursday, 3/22, Shannon trail hike

Quick hike up/down the Shannon trail!

Tuesday, 3/20, Equinox

Equinox at 5:07PM PDT.

Sunday, 3/18, South Lykken trail hike

Quick hike up and down the south Lykken trail.

Saturday, 3/17, Anza-Borrego camping trip, day three - Photos

Sunrise at 6:56am with temp at 76°F. 10 degrees warmer than yesterday! Some high wispy clouds moving in from the south. Time to go home. Drove through Arroyo Salado camp before driving home to find three sites occupied. Really had some ideal conditions the last few days for desert camping... calm, clear, warm. Couldn't have been better!

Friday, 3/16, Anza-Borrego camping trip, day two - Photos

Nice still night. Sunrise at 5:52am with the temp at 66°F. Hiked up through the canyon in the morning. Surprised to find one couple camped in the site above Torote Canyon. Back at camp enjoyed an hour or two relaxing then departed about 11am northbound. (The Aqua Caliente store is open again. It was closed and empty last April.) Highway 78 east of the scissor crossing is closed for construction so had to detour through Ranchita. Bought ice and drinks in Borrego Springs then stopped for lunch in Fonts wash in the shade of the willow. After lunch continued east on Truckhaven trail, S-22, Palo Verde wash, to my regular Ella wash site. Arrived about 2:30pm. Enjoyed a very calm and warm afternoon in the shade of a smoketree. The highest i saw my thermometer was just under 100°F but okay in the shade. [Checking later the official high temp for Borrego Springs today was 100°F.] I entertained myself by flicking some big horseflies off my forearm with my middle finger. They'd land stunned in the sun on the hot ground and after about a minute would be dead from the heat. I killed three this way! Morbid thrills. For a while i was listening to KCRW on the radio. Funny to hear the traffic reports about all the congestion on LA freeways this busy Friday afternoon. At my Ella wash campsite only one person drove by all afternoon. Sunset at 6:38pm. Chinese noodles for dinner. Some stargazing in early evening with TV76 but mostly just laying back under the stars and looking up. [Audio] Lovely evening.

Thursday, 3/15, Anza-Borrego camping trip, day one - Photos

Drove down to the Anza-Borrego desert today for a little late winter (almost spring) camping trip with Eddie. Entered the park via the south Ocotillo entrance. (The imigration checkpoint at Mortero Wash road was staffed but they were not stopping cars.) Arrived at the Canyon Sin Nombre overlook a little bit before noon. [Audio] Really nice clear warm day. Driving down via the Imperal Valley it had been quite hazy but the sky is nice and clear in the park. Drove through Bow Willow campground (vacant) and had lunch on Egg Mtn. (Egg Mtn is great because cell phone and email works!) After lunch went to my regular Carrizo Valley site arriving about 1:30pm. Warm with temps in mid 90s but perfect in the shade. Didn't really do anything for much/most of the afternoon. Just enjoyed the silence. Eddie and i walked up and down the road a bit. Ocotillos in moderate bloom but not much else in flower. One car drove by but otherwise had the bajada to ourselves. There aren't even any birds. Sun went behind the ridge at 5:45pm. Wasn't very hungry so just ate a can of Mexicorn for dinner. Got up after midnight for a bit of stargazing with the TV76... M65/M66/3628 in Leo; some random galaxies in the Coma/Virgo cluster; 3184, M81/M82/3077, M51/5195 and M101 in Ursa Major. Sadly the skyglow from Mexicali seems brighter everytime i'm here.

Sunday, 3/11, Shannon trail hike

Hiked up the Shannon trail, over Smoketree mtn, and looped through the middle plateau before coming back down the same way. Lots of people out hiking and trail running today. There was even a group of four at the peak having a picnic with wine! Maybe the early change to DST got everyone out early.

Saturday, 3/10, Araby trail hike

Quick hike up and down the Araby trail with Eddie. Warmish day. First day this year the high temp over 90°F. Someone put up little private property signs on Southridge Drive but as far as i can tell it's a public road so Eddie and i just walked up the road to the trail like we always do.

Sunday, 3/4, North Lykken trail hike - Photos

Hiked the north Lykken trail from the end of Alejo across the Tachevah Canyon drainage. Haven't been on this trail for a few years. Decades ago i used to hike up this way all the time to access the Skyline trail but now it's a bit of a scramble to get around some houses at the trailhead. Once on the main trail it's very nice. Lots of chuparosa in bloom in the flat areas of the canyon with a bit of encelia as well. The chuparosa are full of bees! Some photos are here.

Wednesday, 2/28, Descanso trail hike

Hiked the Descanso trail to the south Lykken vista point with Eddie. Here is Eddie running to catch up. Clear, cool, crisp morning. Bit breezy but none of the blowing dust and sand we've had for the past few days. Someone placed this interesting shrine in a little rock cubbyhole along the trail. Sort of an odd thing.

Sunday, 2/25, Garstin trail hike

Hiked up the Garstin trail, over Smoketree mtn, across middle plateau and down via Andreas Hills. Really nice loop.

Wednesday, 2/21, South Lykken trail hike

Hiked the south Lykken trail with Eddie. I'm a bit concerned to see a big backhoe parked in the mouth of the canyon! Hope this isn't the beginning of the end for Cahuilla canyon...

Saturday, 2/17, Anza-Borrego almost camping

Having put the camper shell back on my truck this morning i was really in the mood to go camping. So Eddie and i drove down to Anza-Borrego desert departing home about 11:30am. We found someone camped near our regular Truckhaven site (the same camper that was there 3 weeks ago) so we drove west to the next bluff. Stopped at 1:05pm. Bit breezy with high overcast moving in from the south. Stargazing prostpects look pretty bad. Nice and warm however with afternoon temp about 82°F. However by 3:30pm or so i regretably decided due to the overcast and the breeze that i really didn't want to spend the night so we packed up and drove home. But still, even though we didn't spend the night or do any stargazing, was a fine relaxing afternoon out on the desert. Here is a picture of where we would have camped had we stayed the night.

Wednesday, 2/14, North Lykken trail hike

Hiked the north Lykken trail from the end of Ramon with Eddie. Stopped by Steve and Eve's English Tom cache and checked out the new cache container. Beautiful clear sunny day.

Tuesday, 2/13, Pretty sunset

Pretty sunset this evening. Here is a picture from my front yard.

Sunday, 2/11, Cahuilla canyon hike

Hiked up Cahuilla canyon again today but this time with Eddie and Wen. We just went to the upper boulder. Nice day with some clouds rolling over the desert divide. Lots of other people out hiking the canyon today as well.

Saturday, 2/10, Middle Lykken trail hike

Hiked the middle Lykken trail from the west end of Mesquite with Eddie.

Wednesday, 2/7, Cahuilla canyon hike

Working night shift today so went for a hike up Cahuilla canyon in the morning with Eddie. Bit of overcast but mostly sunny.

Sunday, 2/4, Araby trail hike

Up and down the Araby trail with Eddie this morning. Much warmer than last weekend. Hit 80°F for the first time this year.

Sunday, 2/4, Early morning moonset

The moon setting over the mountains when i went out to pick up the newspapers this morning. Here is a modified version showing where the upper tramway station is and about where the cables go.

Sunday, 1/28, Shannon trail hike

Hiked the Shannon trail, over Smoketree mtn, looped the middle plateau, and back down the Shannon. The morning seemed a bit cool so i wore long blue jeans. Mistake! After i'd been hiking 15 minutes or so i realized i was overdressed and felt really bogged down by the heavy cotton pants. Note to self: Wear shorts while hiking.

Friday, 1/26, Anza-Borrego day trip - Photos - Map

Nice day out on the northern Anza-Borrego desert. Started with the Truckhaven trail driving all the way through to Arroyo Salado. I've not driven through for a long time and the route was in very good shape. Looks like some of the bad washouts have been repaired with a bulldozer. Continued on Ella wash, across Palo Verde wash and then Short wash to Font's wash. Looped back on the western Truckhaven to S-22 at the Thimble trail junction. Very enjoyable trail loop of about 17 miles off pavement. Clear pretty day with high temp about 70°. S-22 was also in quite good shape with very few cans and bottles for me to pick up! Topo map showing off-pavement portion of trip.

Sunday, 1/21, South Lykken trail hike

Up and down the south Lykken trail with Eddie. Cool breezy day.

Saturday, 1/20, Moon and Venus

Pretty view of the moon and Venus setting over the mtns this evening. Here is a photo.

Monday, 1/15, McNaught at noon

Comet still visible at noon local time about 8° below and left of the sun. Bit smaller and not quite as bright as yesterday but still fairly easy to spot through Nikon 10x42 binoculars. Unable to locate with naked eye.

Sunday, 1/14, McNaught and Mercury

Comet McNaught is still easily seen in binoculars this morning 5° to the lower-left of the sun. And not only that but Mercury is within a degree of the comet! Mercury is harder to spot however. I had to mount the Nikon 10x42 on a tripod before i could pick out Mercury.

Sunday, 1/14, Damn cold

Very low temps last night. The official overnight low was 25°F. Yesterday's high was 51°F. Icy sidewalks and frozen pipes this morning.

Saturday, 1/13, Daytime comet!

I've been trying for the last week to spot comet C/2006 P1 McNaught from home after sunset without success. Finally today from my south-facing driveway at about 9:30am i found McNaught in daylight! Daylight!! Using the trunk of a palm tree to block the sun i slowly scanned a few degrees left of the sun with my Leica 10x32 binoculars. At first nothing at all, just bright sky. I was about to give up then suddenly, BANG, there it was! A bright white head with just a hint of tail showing. Incredible! A comet visible in broad daylight. After finding with the binoculars i brought out the TV76 and showed the comet to Wen and Kai. The view was best through binoculars. Very neat!

Later in early afternoon when the comet and sun were higher in the sky i was even able to see with my naked eye while blocking the sun with a palm tree. Absolutely amazing to see a comet in daylight!!

Sunday, 1/7, Garstin trail hike

Hiked up the Garstin trail, over Smoketree mtn, across to the top of the Araby trail, then through the middle plateau and back down the Garstin. Bit breezy but otherwise a beautiful bright clear day. New hiking boots today too! Couple of pictures from the middle plateau here and here. No Eddie today since the area is closed to doggies.

Saturday, 1/6, Iridium flare

Very nice high overhead Iridium flare from northbound satellite 67 at 5:51pm. Was very bright. The projection says -8 mag. This page from Heavens-Above shows upcoming flares for the Palm Springs area.

Monday, 1/1, Happy New Year!

Tired from working last night (and not sleeping much since the neighbors were having a party) and still recovering from a cold so just stayed home today. My dad came over to watch the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl with us which was nice. (USC wins 32-18!) Venus set at 17:08 as an easy naked-eye object.

Past year's blogs from 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001

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© Florian Boyd