Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Golf Ball (Beek's Concluded)

(GPS: N33° 49.060 W117° 38.160)

Continuing from where I left off in the last blog entry, I went up behind the main cabin's ruins to the smaller cabin's ruins. Apparently, this one was where the caretaker would stay for the family.
There is not much left to this one either. If you looked at the O.C. Register article I linked last time there was a picture of this that showed some of the roof still up. Not much now.
I went in and looked around. Lots of weeds were growing in there. I looked out the "window."
A little beyond there is something known to the locals as the "Golf Ball." If you have seen the beginning of the video I did of the Indian Village back at the beginning of last November, then you saw it for a few seconds as I zoomed into it. It is a NEXRAD WSR-88d; a weather surveillance radar.
Up close I thought it should be renamed the "Volleyball."

This is something I had seen for years from far away and down from the freeway below. There was one day a few years back I was hiking to nearby Sierra Peak and it was a really foggy morning. Visability was really bad and I remember finally seeing it across the way. It was kind of mysterious at the time and decided I wanted to see what it looked like up close some day.

I really have learned to like a lot of the Santa Ana Mountains over the past few years. While it is not as fun and epic as some of the Eastern Sierra stuff I do, it does have some mysterious stuff I like to explore.

My concluding video:

The Golf Ball of Death (Youtube Version)

The Golf Ball of Death (Vimeo Version)

Finally, again, if you have further curiousity about this place, the links I posted in last blog should answer some of the questions and be a good start for finding out more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Beek's Place

(GPS: N33 49.220 W117 38.310)

The day I did this it was overcast so the conditions for doing a video were not that great. So, I just made this one a little more silly while editing it and not something I took too seriously.

Beek's Place (Youtube Version)

Beek's Place (Vimeo Version)

Here is one of the local hikes I did back in February. At different times of the year I go out and hike some of the places nearby just to keep in some sort of shape. Normally, they are not worth putting on this blog. The next few that will show up on here in the next month all have something worth noting.

This hike starts in Corona, CA. Technically, if you work it out right, you do not have to hike it. One could take a drive up the dirt road. Once while I was exploring the beginning of this road, I had lots of vehicles passing me up. The trick is you have to be sure the gate is open and stays open when you return. I do not know the details to that, but I know people have had the gate closed on them when they return. There is a number listed on the gate if you get stuck.

The second thing to note is there was a part of the road, that due to the recent rains, really looked split up. You would have to park and continue on foot anyways otherwise risk being stuck in a really bad way. In any case, I intended to walk the whole thing. I cannot remember the mileage or how much time it took me. It seems like a 12 mile roundtrip and maybe a little less than a 2,000 ft. elevation change.

This picture is early on in the hike, but I have gained some elevation. In the background you might be able to see a tiny white round ball-like structure and some trees below it. That is where I ended up.

The video shows more of the I encountered on the hike. It is just a long dirt road that switchbacks a lot then flattens out a bit, but a few uphill portions remain. Here is what used to be at Beek's Place:
Here is what it looks like now:
In the early 1930's, Joseph Beek purchased the land and built a cabin here for his family. It was the family getaway place to spend time at. Vandals have take over and decimated what was once here. The sad thing is I have seen pictures taken in the 1980's which had the structure a lot more intact than what is left.
This is one of the unsolved mysteries that I do not know the answer to. What are these old towers? Supposedly, they did have electricity up here. Maybe this is what helped generate that. This area was also supposed to be a fire look out point. Also, I have read somewhere that this area was used by the military during WW2, but I do not know anymore than that.
Under these towers the initials of Joseph Allan Beek are listed here with the date being 9-26-41.

I will finish this hike up with another blog in a few days. In the meantime, you can check out these few links with give more information on this area.

The Mystery Above (O.C. Register Article)

Beek's Place (Dirtopia)

Joseph A. Beek (Wikipedia Article)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

As the Summer Approaches (Update on What's Up)

Since I have a little more free time right now I am in the mood to reflect and mention what is going to happen this summer and beyond.

As I mentioned in the last blog entry, I am practically finished with all the hikes I want to talk about from last summer. There were a few others I did, but they were the type that I always do during the summer and felt there was nothing worth showing this time around, or the type I will probably do again soon with better pictures and video, so I do not feel the need to put them up now.

I did do some hikes last October that will come up this summer, but before I get to those I want to show some of the local southern California hikes I did in the past few months. Normally, for me, these type of hikes are not worth talking too much about. However, the few that I intend to show do have something worth putting up. These lead to what I mentioned a few months back as my "jungle adventures."

I am finishing up the videos about the local hikes right now. I have been working on fine tuning some of the techniques I have learned on Sony Vegas. I am only now starting to understand the basics of the program. It was sad to find out that I only needed to make a few adjustments and my videos could have been better than what I put out. Oh well, live and learn, or, better yet, learn and live. So, when you see them come up, you will notice I played around with the editing a little more than normal and just had a load of fun with it.

The same goes with the movie location videos. Some of the footage I took last summer I look at now and do not think I shot them well with the then new video cam. Well, I have picked up some techniques in Sony Vegas that will make them more useable than I thought. I just have to use a little more editing than I was going to.

Meanwhile, as far as what I am currently doing "out on the field," I am in the process of putting together my most ambitious project yet. Unfortunately, I was not able to make the "old west" history trip happen just yet as I told some I would be doing a few months back, it will come eventually though. However, what I am doing now I think makes up for it. I had been looking for something new to explore for this blog. I found it. It has taken me to places that are really not that far from me and really just expands on the history, movie locations, and hikes I like to do. The theme fits in with everything I do on this blog, but I will be curious what type of additional readers/followers it brings in. In any case, this epic will start at the beginning of next year and take most of the year to present. I will mix in other stuff during the year so it will not be only the epic that I do next year. I will have a "prequel" type of blog/video coming this summer that indirectly shows you a little of what is to come.

I was going to mention two or three other things, but those can wait. If for some reason you thought I was running out of pictures, video footage to play with, or stuff to talk about, well, talk to me again in 2012. ;)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Silent Cathedral Hike

(GPS: N37 50.720 W119 25.345)

The Silent Cathedral Hike (Youtube Version)

The Silent Cathedral Hike (Vimeo Version)

Here is what the deal was on this hike. We decided to get up early and do something simple in the morning and then drive into Yosemite Valley. It had been some years since I had been into the valley so I wanted to take some updated pictures/video and examine a few other areas to prepare for a much bigger hike (ex. Half-Dome).

The hike to Cathedral Lakes seemed like the perfect choice. A short tourist hike with a little uphill to a nice lake. I cannot remember how long it took us, but I suspect it was about an hour and half. The hike was nice while you are experiencing it, but nothing I want to spend too much picture/video bandwidth showing. There was a lot of glacial polished rock everywhere which is what Yosemite is known for, and even showed up at the lake edges we were at. We saw Cathedral Peak:

Then just turning around from the above picture we encountered one of the Cathedral Lakes. In the video, which shows how it was when we first got there, you can see there was an awesome reflection in the lake. That lasted about ten minutes.
I believe that is Mt. Hoffman, in the picture below, in the background. That was definately one peak I intended to bag during my time there last summer.
I did not add music to the video because I wanted to show how quiet it was during the time I was there. It really felt like to make much noise there was the wrong thing to do.

So, after spending about a half-hour there we headed back to Tuolumne Meadows and there were tons of cars parked along the road. We got in and headed to the valley. After passing Tenaya Lake I had the video going and turned to see that I could hardly see the area over the valley due to the smoke. I cannot remember what I said, but I know it was recorded on the video. I was not too happy because I kind of realized what was going to happen. Eventually, we were forced to turn around.

That fire was an ongoing story while I was there last summer. I had high hopes of doing many more climbs, but never got to. I remember one of the information desk people I talked to in order to get the latest on the fire, told me as one of his final comments to me that, "There is plenty of stuff to do over here." Well, maybe for the first time tourist, but for a guy that plans out my long backcountry hikes a year in advance that was not too helpful. Or, in other words, to respond to this guy I should have said, "Google 'Great Silence Blog' and get back to me." ;)

I think I mentioned back in September how we spent the final day trying to force a Mt. Hoffman hike, but after driving there we were forced to turn around and did not even try. The problem we had is we never knew how much of it was contained. The reports made it seem like it was almost contained, but when we drove in that last day the visability we had off the road was the worst we had seen.

We salvaged that day by hiking around the loop of lakes that start at Saddlebag Lake, but our enthusiasm was pretty much shot at that point. As I remember, I was kind of angry too that day. So, we came home a few days early. I did take a bunch of pictures and video of that hike, but I think I would rather do that hike again with better conditions than the smoke you would see. I will think about whether I post that one in the next two months. I kind of hope this is the last blog I do that I have to mention any Sierra fires.

So, this marks the end of the Sierra hikes I did last summer that I want to show. I did do some more hikes last October that will eventually show up here soon. I will have an "update" type of blog sometime this next week on how this summer and beyond should be with this blog.