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!