Monday, May 29, 2017

The Mishe Mokwa Trail

(GPS: N 34 06.870, W 118 55.100)

It is that time of the year again where the unofficial start of summer beings on Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. I wanted to show a short popular hike in the Santa Monica Mountains I did a few weeks ago. Admittedly, I’m a High Sierra snob so it is hard for me to get too excited about every hike in the southern part of the state of California. This one did have some good moments in it so let’s get to it…

My brother’s church hiking group wanted to do this one, and I was dragged along. To make it work out right I had to get up at 3:00am, meet up with the group, travel through Mulholland Drive on small roads though the Santa Monica mountains to get to the trailhead. We arrived at the small parking area sometime before 7:30am. There was some confusion here since some other friends we were supposed to meet ended up further on down in the main parking area where the Mishe Mokwa trailhead officially starts. We tried to get to them via cell phone, but the reception was not very good there. I wasn’t really in charge on this hike, nor did I know much about the area, so it wasn’t until later we all realized the simple mistake that had taken place.
The Mishe Mokwa Trail (1 of 13)
About twenty minutes into the hike we encountered the nice looking canyon that contained the sandstone rock formations that are major scenic point in doing the hike. Unfortunately, any pictures at this time of the morning in this direction would not be as great as later in the day due to the some just coming up over the east. Still it gives you an idea of the area.
The Mishe Mokwa Trail (2 of 13)
It was not too long after this that the open trail area closed up where trees and plant life were all around us. I had to constantly duck under the branches that would have “beheaded” me had I gone right through them. As we descended we finally came across “Split Rock”:
The Mishe Mokwa Trail (3 of 13)
After some jokes about how isolated this part of the trail is and this is where a serial killer would strike…not my joke, but some of the younger ones talked like this…we were off again. We passed many sandstone rock formations along the way which is really the scenic strength of this hike.
The Mishe Mokwa Trail (8 of 13)
It was while observing this rock formation above that something was triggered in my mind. There was a Kurt Russell horror western movie called Bone Tomahawk that was filmed somewhere in these mountains. I’m not sure exactly where, but I remembered a certain look that film had with sandstone rocks in that movie.
As we went around this loop trail we finally encountered an area that I liked the most. There is a residential area down below and the Pacific Ocean is in the distance:
The Mishe Mokwa Trail (9 of 13)
It was a little further beyond we were close to the highest point, Sandstone Peak, but we didn’t ascend that part because there were too many people near the top of that rock formation. We were content with the area we had ascended too; it was a big antenna adjacent to the highest point. On the descent back to the parking we saw a man made lake that I was pretty sure was Lake Sherwood. If I remember correctly an old silent movie was filmed at that lake connected to the Robin Hood story.

The last twenty minutes or so I had a really slow pace due to the amount of people just starting the hike. I was encountering groups of twenty people or more on the trail so I had to move off trail for them. A lot of Koreans like this hike from what I could tell.

As I got back to the now full parking lot, my brother was on the phone with the friends we were supposed to meet up with. We found out they were further on down at the main parking area and trailhead that morning before we got there, but after waiting around for us ended up doing the hike thirty minutes after we had started it. They were describing all the places they had been to that I have described in this blog, but were trailing us so we never saw them. That was the only disappointment we had about this.

Supposedly, there is over a 1,600 foot elevation change in this loop hike, but I never really felt I got any serious uphill in. It there was that type of elevation change then it is rather gradual with lots of ups and downs. Had we gone the other direction on the loop trail I think I would have felt it more. In any case, I don’t consider this hike to be that difficult and can be done in a few hours.

Some of the other pictures I took on this hike can be found in the following Album on my Flickr account:
The Mishe Mokwa Trail

Thursday, April 06, 2017

WW1 Aircraft (San Diego Air Museum)

(AKA The 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Entering WW1)

On April 6, 1917 the U.S. entered World War 1 due to what is known as the Zimmerman note and German unrestricted submarine warfare. It seems like it was just a few years ago that I was noting the 100th anniversary of an old west hanging that took place. The world changed dramatically in those years of the war. WW1 was the great event of the 20th century that influenced just about every other major event of the 20th century to even issues we face today.

I decided to visit the WW1 exhibit at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. While they feature everything from the dawn of flight to the modern era, I wanted to focus this blog on the WW1 aircraft they have. One has to remember that at the beginning of the war in 1914 that airplanes had only been in existence for about a decade. At the beginning of the war airplanes were used to make observation flights into enemy territory to see where the enemy was. Reconnaissance was the key early on. Some have claimed that air power in the first world war did not have that much of an impact on the war, but at the same time probably made it a longer war because the element of surprise was gone due to the reconnaissance being gathered. In other words, it bogged down in trench warfare because each army knew where the other army was.

As the war went on something had to be done about the enemy planes or observation balloons viewing one's territory. That is where the origin of the dogfight took place: planes attacking planes. Early on the notion that there was chivalry between the pilots where there was a knightly respect between pilots was not uncommon. However, as the war went on and technology increased that became less likely. One of the key technological developments came though the design of the Eindecker III plane:
Eindecker III
This was the plane Anthony Fokker developed a synchronized machine gun that could shoot through the propeller without hitting it. This is what led to what is known as the "Fokker Scourge" of August 1915 to early 1916. One of the main fighters that ended the scourge was the French Nieuport 11:
Nieuport 11
What is considered the best German plane of the war was the Albatros D. Va:
Albatross D.Va
One thing I should mention is that even though the U.S. entered the war on April 6, 1917 it had an economic impact for the Allies, and the navy helped too. It didn't have much impact on the war on the ground or in the air for another year. In fact, the U.S. had to end up buying airplanes from the Allies since it had none ready for an air force. One of these was the Nieuport 28:
Nieuport 28 (Other Side)
Another was the SPAD VII:

Of course there were many other planes used. At some point in the future I will show some of the others I have from a different museum. There are not many WW1 era museums or aircraft in my area. So I was happy to visit this museum.

My WW1 Aircraft Album (Flicker)

WW1 Aircraft at the San Diego Air and Space Museum (Youtube Video)

A few books I have read and influenced this blog:

The First Air War: 1914-1918 by Lee Kennett

Marked for Death: The First Air War by James Patterson

Wikipedia articles:

U.S. Enters WW1

Focker Sourage 

Bloody April (April, 1917. Another 100 Anniversary)

Fokker Eindecker III

Nieuport 11

Albatros D.V.

Nieuport 28


Be sure to check out The Great War Youtube Channel for a week by week look at the war. They just released this video of the U.S. declaring war on Germany..

Finally, the link to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Top Gear Episode (Season 24, Episode 2): Supercars for all Seasons

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A kindred spirit of the blog, The Stig, has mysteriously communicated that a segment of this weeks episode of the BBC show Top Gear will be of interest to my readers. The Supercars for all Seasons episode has something called the "Four Seasons Challenge" which starts out in Las Vegas goes through Death Valley to the High Sierra to Mammoth Mountain. Part of the challenge ends up at Bogart Curve on Whitney Portal Road as seen below:
The episode has already aired in the U.K. and should be airing this Sunday night on BBC America. However, check your local listings to find out dates and times.

I'll just say The Great Silence Blog had a tiny little influence on some of the ideas in this episode. Not whole lot, but it was there. While watching the episode I was amazed at how they used some of the concept ideas that I knew of before they filmed it and how the final product came out. It was really well done. There is this point where they travel by Owens Lake, which really isn't a lake anymore, but the reflections and the scenery make it very powerful! So be sure to check it out.

A few of my related blog entries on some of the spots used in the episode:

Bogart Curve.

Mammoth Mountain

As far as this blog is concerned. I've been a bit lazy in the past few months. I should have a minor project up in a few weeks. The big project that I meant to have up by the end of last year then delayed is...still delayed. I haven't forgotten about it, but need more time on that one.

It is nice to know the the drought is over in the High Sierra at this time. Lots of ice this time around. This is good. I'm excited for this season!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

I thought since I've been hearing Gene Autry sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer just about everyday since mid-November on the local radio stations it was time to put up a video dedicated to him. I'm not a hard core Gene Autry fan, but do own a bunch of his movies on dvd and remember him as the Angel's baseball owner when I was a kid. However, my family always had great respect for him and the goodness he portrayed on and off screen. I mentioned the Gene Autry family story in the video and got out the paperwork I was talking about while I was editing the video to make sure I still had it. As I note in the video this was done about two hours after the hike to the Lon Chaney Cabin video I showed on Halloween. I thought I had time for it on the way home so off I went.

It wasn't that easy. I mentioned in that blog that I had to wait for roadwork on Whitney Portal Road. That was one thing, but what I didn't mention is the amount of people in the Alabama Hills.There were many travel trailers in key spots I wanted to video at. I intended to have at least two videos possibly three for today, but because people were parked in the spots I needed to video at I just gave up. Keep in mind what I had faced at the Lon Chaney Cabin if you read that blog. I wanted to slam my head into the ground since I had put some mental preparation time into what I intended to video. Let's just be grateful that I was able to get this video done and leave it at that.

Which leads to this video. Even though I mentally prepared for this one I did make some mistakes in it that I had to do some major editing to make it work. I typically do a bunch of "takes" on all my videos. Then I do the editing of the clips, cut stuff out, add the movie video to it, add music, etc. Some of the clips are out of order in the way I thought I was going to present it when I was there making it. For me to watch it is slightly strange because I say something in the middle of it that I intended as the intro, but to make it work with the movie clip I had to present it as you see. It is not something you would probably know unless I told you, but if you get the idea the video has some repetitive awkward moments then maybe now you understand why.

Have a great day and enjoy the new year with family and friends. I do intend to put together a video in the next month or so that I have put off that will take a lot of work to do. I had hoped to have it for today or the new year, but I wanted to enjoy the holidays and not be in video obsession mode for this one I intend to do. So, I will see you when that one is completed.

The old blog on the Gene Autry Mule Train Waterhole

The music from used in the video is called "Fireflies and Stardust".

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Follow the Gold Leaf Trail! (Christmas Eve 2016)

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you are done with your Christmas shopping and preparations for the big day tomorrow. Take a moment and relax with this one. It has some nice magical/fantasy moments in it:

This was done on the last day for fall colors in that area because the wind that would come that day would wipe out a good portion of the leaves you see in it. The fall colors were the main reason I did that hike to Barney Lake.

I had not been to Barney Lake in about ten years. I had been on the trail a few years ago when I took some pictures in the snow there, but I didn't get to the lake. Some of my earliest blogs from 2006 show this area back then and what is beyond Barney Lake. I would have liked to have gone further, but windy conditions that were to come would have made me miserable. I achieved the main goal which was to see some of the colors and get to this lake so I was happy.
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #1
There was lots of gold on this trail. On this mountainside there was a river of gold flowing through it.
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #5
Then this was the point I thought the elves and hobbits would show up in this enchanted forest:
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #12
Finally I reached Barney Lake:
Barney Lake Fall Colors Hike #18

The above picture is actually looking back, and it was the furthest I went on the trail that morning.

If you would like to see other pictures I did for this hike then go here: Follow the Gold Leaf Trail! (Flickr Album)

The music from used in the video is called "Ascending the Vale"..

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

In Remembrance of Pearl Harbor (75th Anniversary)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the day that would live in infamy. You might remember a few months ago I posted some pictures and an unlisted video of the Planes of Fame Airshow in Chino, CA. One part I left out of the video was the tribute to Pearl Harbor they did. I decided to withhold that until today. So here we go:

There is so much out there on Pearl Harbor that I think it would be foolish of me to try to say too much on here. A google search of "Pearl Harbor" or watching the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! should do the job if you are lacking in this area. There are tons of news articles out today.
The Japanese Zero fighter is one of the main aircraft in this video. One of the Zero fighters you see was actually captured by the U.S. in 1944. It is the only one in the world that stills runs on its original engine. You can see the particular zero in the Memorial Day Blog I did.
The Curtis P-40 Warhawk was the fighter that had to intercept the Zero at Pearl Harbor. It was inferior to the Zero, but a few pilots were able to shoot down some of the Zeros.
353 Japanese aircraft were involved in the attack at Pearl Harbor. Yet the the U.S. aircraft carriers they were sent to destroy were not there. A victory for the Japanese, but not the one they needed to defeat the U.S. The element of surprise was gone from now on. The sleeping giant had awoken.

Click here for the unlisted video of the airshow.

Friday, November 25, 2016

North Lake

(GPS: N37° 13.870 W118° 36.770)

Happy Black Friday! Actually, I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be happy or wish that on anyone else on this day. I pretty much stay home on Black Friday. So, wish you well if you are one of those that braves the lines. Not my thing, but if it were a long distance hike...

From Sabrina Lake I drove back to the turnoff to North Lake. It is a dirt road that goes to the lake. Since I'm a little different to say the least, I decided to hike in instead of driving to it. I was just in the mood to explore the area and not drive back and forth. So after about twenty minutes of up hill and curves I encountered the lake:

It was very quiet. Much like Lake Sabrina, there were a few fishermen around the lake. There were a few people taking pictures around the lake. I knew this area was past prime with the fall colors before I got here. You can notice that most of the trees have lost their leaves across the lake. However, the trees on the right side of the above pictures still had some left.
So, I was happy to get this. See the tiny fisherman on the other side of the lake?

Again, like Lake Sabrina, this is another area I would like to come back to for some hiking in the canyon.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lake Sabrina

(GPS: N37° 12.720 W118° 36.680)

I want to wish my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving! If you are somewhere else then I wish you a great day as well. 

I'm going to keep things simple today. This is an area that I haven't spent much time at. About a twenty minute drive outside of Bishop, CA gets one to a couple of different areas in the High Sierra. One of these is Lake Sabrina:
I was there during the morning hours, and the sun had not quite cleared the canyon.
I zoomed across the lake for this shot. There were some fall colors there.

It's been a while since i watched Star Trek: Insurrection, but this lake was in that movie (as well as Convict Lake which is about a thirty minute drive away). In any case, I hope to return here in the future to hike some of the trails here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tankland! (Veteran's, Armistice, Remembrance Day)

Happy Veteran's Day! Armistice Day! Remembrance Day!

A few months ago I was at Tankland (Aka The American Military Museum) in El Monte, CA. It is a big lot of military vehicles with the emphasis on the American tanks. It was really fun to see some of these machines in person.
Two Sherman tanks.
M5 Stuart.
 M47 Patton Tank from the side.
M47 Patton Tank from the front.

Go here for more Tankland pictures I took on Flickr.

I took video too. Sometime in the future I will edit a video of this place as well. I'll link it here at that time.

I just wanted to acknowledge the Vets of the U.S. and other allied countries today. Bless you! Thanks for keeping me safe.

Recently, certain American football players have made the news in not acknowledging the American National Anthem while it is played before their games. They have every legal right to do that, but I do not believe they have the moral right to do this. Whatever past sins the U.S. has been apart of, those players have not made the sacrifices that our veterans have made. Many of which are minorities. I used to enjoy watching NFL games, but I refuse to watch anymore until those players apologize. My sacrifice is not the same as landing on Normandy, but I will not spit in the face or on the graves of those who have given me my freedoms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Survival of the Fittest

I wanted to upload this video I took a few months ago. I thought it was kind of interesting. I was not sure who I was rooting for while I was watching it take place:

What I thought was “fun” about this was how prey used its environment to its advantage. Normally a predator like this would completely overwhelm the prey. However, due to the ‘smartness” of the prey it was able to do what it did. I had one of those “Bruce Lee” moments while observing nature in action. A powerful opponent can be stopped if you can find a way to neutralize its strengths.

A few thoughts on the election (really about the media):

I did want to make a few comments about yesterday’s U.S. election. As I have said in the past, I really don’t like it when entertainers or bloggers I follow that specialize in something that has nothing to do with politics feel the need to go partisan. There is a guy with a nature blog that does this to a predictable level during every election cycle that drives me nuts. So, I hesitate to do too much of this on my own blog for the same reason since this is not a political blog. However, one of the issues that comes up from time to time on here is the sources of our beliefs. What good reasons to we have to believe something?

What bothered me about this election was not the candidates involved. It was the way the media handled it. Imo, they were not even trying. Or, from a different perspective, they were trying way too hard. I would log into my e-mail everyday and before I would do that this past year I was getting “hit piece” after “hit piece” on one candidate. There was a blog earlier this year that I mentioned my frustration with the media on this issue.

I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but one day I was on the Reddit conspiracy message board. It was chilling to see that they had come to the same conclusion I had come to. There was one message that showed how all the news stories over a few days to a week were so anti-Trump to the point of absurdity. It actually shocked me that I’m in line with a conspiracy site. That’s aliens and UFO territory there, right?

The expectation is that the media is reporting and representing the issues the public cares about proportionally to the views of the public. The media should not be trying to create reality or influence the public this way. That is what Joseph Goebbels style Nazi propaganda did. I wonder if members of the media truly thought the way they presented the election was fair, or are they really that biased and blind? As it is, it came across like they were bought off by someone. That is what I get off of popular sites like Yahoo news where someone is just paid off by some group to promote their views.

The notion of a “fact checker” is always an interesting idea to me. Who “fact checks” the fact checkers? Especially when they have different values, assumptions, and agendas.

I need to add that Wikileaks exposed a lot of this too. CNN was shown to be colluding with the Clinton campaign. Preparing questions to Clinton before the debates, asking what questions should be asked to other candidates, asking about what they should be publishing, etc.

In any case, if there is one thing that I took pleasure in, it was seeing the public give the media a dose of reality. The media was defeated big time. Something to remember as you watch or read anything from the media in the future. Which leads to the following article:

I hope the media starts to reflect a little more like this article does.

One of these days I will talk about what I call, "Playing Psychology" when you can't win someone over with facts and good reasoning. The article hints at that on a few points.