Monday, July 04, 2022

Virginia Lakes (The Silmaril Series)

Happy 4th of July! It has been a while so I thought I would upload some drone pictures I took last year and a one from a few years ago.

This picture was taken a few years ago in August at Virginia Lakes. It is the biggest lake: Big Virginia. I felt kind of bad that day because I suggested to my friend we come here so he could fish, and I would use my drone. He ended up not getting any fish. He was fishing on the other side of this picture at the lake in this picture. I remember we both took off for home after that, and I have not seen him since. Lol!

I came back last October to take a few more pictures of the area. So the following is Big Virginia with some fall colors:

Basically, I rotated the drone to get the following pictures:

This is Little Virginia. You have to look closely or blow up the picture, but there are a bunch of people either in small boats or "rubber tubes" (?) fishing that smaller lake.

Looking toward the east is Trumbell Lake. I believe that Trumbell Lake Campground was closed so no one was fishing there. 

Finally, to the west is Blue Lake. Some people hike to that lake to fish it, but I usually pass it heading along the hiking trail. I showed it back in November 2009 while hiking to Mt. Excelsior.

That covers the "new" content I wanted to share. I think I would be massively repeating myself and stating the obvious that we are living in a strange time. While I have some things I have done over the past few months I will share at some point I am not as motivated to do so right now. I had to force myself to make the time to do this blog entry. 

With inflation and gas prices right now I am not as excited to take off to do things. Everything feels like a lot more work to do at this point. There are a lot of goals I had for myself to get done this year, but I am not sure that is going to happen. If the typical fires start this summer, then that will probably cancel what I have in mind. 

In any case, I cannot predict the future, and will only find out what happens when it happens. Until that point I wish my readers well.

Friday, April 15, 2022

R.I.P. Elzy Lay (AKA William E. Lay)

I hope you are having a Good Friday!  

While Covid was going on these past two years I started to spend more time going back over Old West history books I had purchased and read over ten years ago. It was around ten years ago that I "burned" out of reading those types of books. Maybe I will explain that some other time, but it basically came down to the things that I had an interest in I had already read everything there was about it.

There was one other thing I did during the last two years that influenced me too. I was playing the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 (aka RDR2). I tend not to play many video games these days other than flight simulators, but I enjoyed the first game years back and wanted to play this new one. RDR2 deals with being in a gang that does a lot of train and bank robberies. It turns out that the game was slightly influenced by Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. I was never really into that part of the Old West history, but decided to purchase a book or two about the Wild Bunch.

I was curious to read about one of the persons connected to this was William "Elzy" Lay. This blog entry is just a very brief bio entry on this person: 

It turns out that Butch Cassidy's best friend was Elzy Lay. The more well known Sundance Kid partnership was much later. In 1889, Cassidy and Lay met up. When they were not working on cattle ranches they were robbing banks and other stickups. They ended up at the Robber's Roost in Utah, and the Hole-in-the-Wall in Wyoming which were two of the hangouts for the Wild Bunch gang. 

In 1899, Lay along with Kid Curry, Sam Ketchum and Bill Carver robbed a train near Folsom, New Mexico. While it was a success, a posse was sent that caught up to them at an area known as Turkey Creek. The posse ambushed them, and Lay was shot while filling his canteen at the creek. However, it is disputed, but in the book citied below, Jeff Burton writes that during the gun battle that followed Lay regained consciousness. He then shot Sheriff Farr with his rifle which kills Farr. Lay, Curry, and Carver got away, but Sam Ketchum was injured. While in captivity Ketchum dies of his wounds.

Lay escaped to Eddy (aka Carlsbad), New Mexico, but was eventually captured. Sentenced to life in prison he ended up serving seven years due to his helping the warden and his good behavior at the prison. 

 I found it interesting that after he got out of prison he headed toward the border of Mexico to a spot where a cache of money he knew about was hidden. He then headed to the Wyoming/Colorado border. After a time, he went with his new wife Mary Calvert to Southern California where he supervised and worked on the All American Canal system in Riverside and Imperial Valley. He died in Los Angeles.

In one of my old books that lists gravesites I found out Elzy Lay's gravesite was at Forest Lawn in Glendale. After serving a weird week of Jury Duty a few months ago, I was headed to Los Angeles, and decided to see if my grave hunting skills still were working. I got to the cemetery a little before they opened and kind of laughed to myself. "What kind of person is early to a cemetery?" That week was just weird, and I was in that kind of mood. Also, it was a foggy morning which I don't mind if I visit a cemetery; it adds to the mood. 

Anyways, the grave is on a slope, and it just a basic marker with the name on it: 

This is looking down the hill from it:

For basic info check the Wikipedia entry on Elzy Lay HERE:

For a lot more scholarly detail on the Wild Bunch Gang you need to hunt this book down:

Burton, Jeff. The Deadliest Outlaws: The Ketchum Gang and the Wild Bunch. Denton, Tex.: University of North Texas Press, 2012

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Housekeeping 2022

First post of the 2022. Like I usually do I wanted to make a few housekeeping announcements for the blog as we move forward. A lot has happened since I started this blog. It does not feel like it was that long ago, but it has been about fifteen years. Back then blogs were really interesting and cutting edge, but as social media has become more prominent online blogs have take a backseat to sites like Facebook and Twitter. I do not think that is a good thing, but it is what it is. I kind of saw the direction we were heading in about ten years ago so that is one of the reasons I have cut back on how much content I have put online. Still, I do want to put content up once in a while so that is why I keep this blog up. 

Two decisions I have made:

1)No more GPS Coordinates.

Honestly, I do not take a GPS with me when I am out hiking or hunting anymore. Why will I not be posting GPS coordinates anymore? Geotagging is becoming a big issue where isolated areas you could go to ten years ago without seeing a person are now being trampled on by more and more people. I am not sure these people have the same appreciation of these areas that I thought most people had. We need to ask ourselves why are we visiting a place? Is it to enjoy nature, or to leave our trash and take mindless selfies to stay relevant on an algorithm? 

I am keeping old coordinates up, but do not ask me for coordinates in the future. If it is not on the blog, do not ask me. If I am in a good mood, I might give some general directions. Remember the point of this blog is for you to go out explore no matter where you live. Not for me to give you location instructions on a silver platter.

2)Taking a Hiatus From Videos

Okay, this might be a little disappointing. I am taking some time off from making videos. It has been quite some time since I have released a public video on my main channel. While I did take some videos this last summer and fall, I have decided to wait before I upload anything new. Some of this is me trying to use new technology, some a little bored with what I have doing, some Youtube is not as fun as it used to be, Youtube becoming an advertisement spam site on everything, Youtube trying to control what everyone says,  etc.

I will probably show some unlisted short content on here from time to time, but nothing major for the time being. This is a good thing for my sanity in the long run.

Anything Else New?

I have found two new really cool movie locations. I know exactly where they are at it is just a matter of getting to them. I am also revisiting some old spots with new technology. There are some areas I do want to "reboot".  

I said almost six months ago that it looks like issues with COVID might be coming to an end. That was me being cautiously optimistic about what people were saying. As I have said from the beginning, I am massively skeptical of everything we were and are being told about COVID. I think it will take some years looking back to figure out all the details. With that said, some areas I like to visit have been affected by all of this and continue to be. 

Finally, I am trying to get myself back into good shape right now. While I am not as motivated to do all day hiking as I used to, there are some areas I want to visit and revisit again.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

A Fox on Christmas Day! (Merry Christmas 2021!)

Just checking in! I hope you are having a great holiday season! After all the nonsense and scary stuff life has thrown at me, this is one of the happiest Christmas times I have had in my life. I have a lot to be grateful for.

So one night not too long ago my brother and I heard something bigger wandering around outside at night. We are used to having squirrels, chipmunks, and Steller's jay birds outside. In this case, we could hear something during the night. Then when it snowed I saw tracks outside of a bigger animal. Originally, we thought it could be a bear, but based on the tracks it was a smaller creature. So, I baited it with some popcorn and did a stakeout that night. It took about forty-five minutes after dark for it to show up:

  It was a fox! We were really shocked about this. A fox is common in the High Sierra, but I have never seen one here before.

I did walk into two bears cubs, a mother, and two other bears about a week before this picture. They were drinking from a stream at the end of a canyon at around 7am. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera(s), and it would have been a low light situation anyways. It got kind of pathetic because two of the bears were really scared of me, but kept walking along the human trail which I had to use to continue. Then at the bridge where there is a public camping area, I had a stand off with one of the bears. He stood up and turned around on me! It would have been the perfect picture. At this point, I found a way to walk around the bear so it could be in peace. 

Have a great New Year! I will have something to say at the beginning of 2022..

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001

If you are in the United States you are probably encountering something today in regards to the attacks on the World Trade Center twenty years ago. I know everyone is doing it, but I wanted to reflect a little to pay tribute to those who lives were lost in the tragedy, but also to the first responders and to the men and women in the military that served and continue to do so. I feel I do not do it enough, but nothing I have done on here could be done without those who have served in the military. By God's grace, I am a human who was born in this country at this time period. Had I been born in other places on planet or at a different time period my life would be very different. I probably would not have the type of free leisure time for blogs, pictures, and videos. 

About an hour ago I was able to watch a short motorcade that was delivering twenty-three tons of wreckage to be displayed at the Nixon Presidential Library:

It is hard to believe it was twenty years ago. Where has the time gone? Like most people around during that time I remember exactly what I was doing when I saw the news. It was kind of pathetic, but I had worked a really long day before on September 10th, 2001. I was exhausted. I did not have to be up as early the next day so I slept in an extra hour or so. I then lazily got online and saw the news. I remember just watching the news most of the day and talking to family. My martial arts instructor called letting me know classes would be cancelled that night. There was a lot of fear that, even being on the west coast, that the areas I live near could be attacked.

Life is a lot different now. In some ways I feel much safer than back then, but at the same time the recent issues with leaving Afghanistan make me worried of another potential attack. Those in charge have A LOT to answer for on that. I am reminded of a famous line Bane delivered to Batman in The Dark Knight Rises: "Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you." I do think it is important that we remain vigilant against people who hate western views of freedom and democracy.

Friday, June 18, 2021

June Lake on June 1st (The Silmaril Series)

In a blog entry a few months ago I uploaded a picture of June Lake I took in the fall. I wanted a picture of that area during the fall season. I mentioned the issue there, and in another picture off the June Lake Loop, is during the fall season the sun is a lot lower in the southern direction as it moves east to west during the day. So, you are either not getting enough sunlight or you are taking pictures into the sunlight. 

I had the opportunity to go back to this area at the beginning of June. I thought I might as well do another drone shot here:

Obviously, there was a lot more light to work with in this picture. I was there roughly the same time of the day as the shot from October.

In a different direction, let me state a few things personally and how the next few months will probably go. From where I am at, it appears that we are getting near the end of lockdowns and issues with Covid. From the beginning I have been massively skeptical of what we are being told about this pandemic. It is kind of the way I feel about global warming. I do accept these things actually exist, but the stats, faulty projections, and responses to them are what put me into skeptical mode. I do not think we will find out the full story of this pandemic for a few years. 

In any case, it does appear things are opening up again and there will be more to do. In the short term, I want to visit as many places locally as possible. Some of the things I want to do are not things that will necessarily show up on the blog, but some will. This is just for my own sanity due to the last two years of my life.  However, in the long term I want to visit a few places out of state that I am currently researching.

So I will probably not have much for the next few months on here. That is pretty typical of how I have been in the past during the summer. Usually I am out somewhere working on some project to show on here during the fall/winter/spring anyways. I do have some completed projects from last year that I have postponed as well. 

Hopefully, you, your family and friends, can get out wherever you are at and start enjoying the real world again. It really is not healthy to be stuck indoors looking at videos screens all day. Turn off the cell phones, tablets, and computers! Get out there again!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Boba Fett Fighting in the Arena (Hunting the Mandalorian Series)

 (GPS:  N34° 16.615 W118° 38.220)

Alright! The final blog entry in this series. I am finishing this one up in the same area we were at last time, but you get to see more of the directions this time. Here is a screen capture of Boba fighting in one direction:

My picture shows the big rock in the background that is slightly out of focus above to focus on Boba:

Another screen capture to compare with this time focusing on the big rock:

Now looking towards the other side:

My picture:

The above picture is a bit off if you compare them. This is the price I paid of just using my memory and not having actual pictures with me. To get this one right I would have to move to my left and it would line up better. 

The other issue I had was I was fighting the sun and wind a lot here. I had to really battle a lot of the elements here to get this right for pictures and video. I knew not everything would be exact, but good enough to show the areas and how they filmed her.

That wraps this one up. Let me give you a few tidbits about this:

1)I was actually tipped off on this one by a friend that knew I did a lot of work at Iverson Ranch and Corriganville in the past. At the time I was basically told something big would be going down at the park here, but we had no idea it would be related to Star Wars or The Mandalorian. In any case, he knew I would keep my mouth shut. 

2)I saw this episode the morning it came out. Okay! This was it. There will be hiking and filming locations for this! Let's do this! However, I knew from my times at Iverson Ranch and Corriganville it probably was not the best time to visit in December/January due to sunlight and wind issues. So, I waited a few months.

3)I wanted to be really positive about this one. I hope it came across that way. I think the writers, directors, cast, and crew did a great job here. I know a bunch of the online fan base can be rather toxic, but that is nothing new to any franchise out there. I have seen that with the fans and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien in this past year. As the new Amazon series comes out I suspect that will get worse. With that said, I have found that I just like to stick with the things I like and not really worry about the fan base. After all when I watch a movie or read a book it is just me watching or reading. No one can take that enjoyment away. There is very little I can do with decisions companies make other than not give them my time or money if they do something I do not like.

4)There are some things I wanted to keep as mysteries for this one. The video was supposed to be an April Fools' joke connected with the blog. Yet, I wanted the video to be a bit subtle, and not "HEY EVERYONE! Look at my Star Wars video!" While I do not pay attention to everything Star Wars out there like I would have as a kid, I do see a lot click bait for views types of videos out there.

5)The director had the right idea about what he did with the Boba Fett character. I was one of those kids in the late 70's that sent away five proof of purchase seals from the figures (with postage) to get this new toy figure that would be in the new movie in 1980. I remember it took many months to get my Boba Fett toy figure, but when I did I thought it was the coolest thing! Then the character had a small key role in that movie and the next one, but we never got to see him in all his glory. So, here we are forty years later, and no matter what happens in the future the kid in me appreciates this episode.

6)Finally, an inside joke with the video. The labrador retriever seen on the pillow case during the end of the video was the family dog, "Jango". I loved that dog, but really we should have called him, "Jar Jar Binks".

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Youtube)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Bitchute)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Odysee)

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Arena (Hunting the Mandalorian Series)

  (GPS:  N34° 16.615 W118° 38.220)

In this blog we continue where I left off in the place I nicknamed the arena or amphitheater because it is an open area with rocks around it. Kind of like you could watch all the action by standing or sitting on the nearby rocks. Keep in mind these are my made up nicknames and nothing official. It just makes it easier to describe than saying, "That area." We continue with Fennec fighting off stormtroopers:

My picture:
All the above rocks can be seen a different angles during this part of the episode. However, something is not quite right with this next screenshot:

My picture:

This is the big picture that gives you an idea of the arena. You should be able to mentally zoom in with the screenshot to match up the pictures. The rock they are huddling next to is obviously another rock prop brought in. That rock does not really exist here. The same thing happens in the next screenshot:

That rock Boba was standing on just behind him here is another prop that was brought in. Compare to the right half of the following picture:

Fortunately, we have enough real rocks around to enjoy this area. Next time I will wrap this one up with some pictures of what they did with Boba Fett and a few tidbits of my experiences here.

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Youtube)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Bitchute)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Odysee)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Focusing on Fennec (Hunting the Mandalorian Series)

 (GPS:  N34° 16.615 W118° 38.220)

Today I am going to be focusing on the Fennec Shand character which I assume is played both by a stunt double and actress Ming-Na Wen here. From the last blog entry on the Stormtrooper Hillside Assault/Boba Fett's Golf Course location we head back up the trail about ten to fifteen minutes right before the initial confrontation area I started these blogs with. The rest of what I am going to show will be just above and behind the confrontation area.

This is part of the big stunt of the episode. Here we have Fennec running down a big rock formation as the stormtroopers are trying to blast her. 

The picture above is the rock formation. The screenshot portion is focusing on the very stop of the rock formation. So you have to mentally zoom in here to match up the rocks. An interesting thing I should point out here is right behind me is a place it looks like one can sit down at. I did not do it, but the rock is cut out enough to look like a throne or chair you could sit down on.
This screenshot shows the same rocks, but from a higher different angle. This screenshot also shows where I will be spending most of rest of this series down on the other side of the picture.

I had just been standing on those rocks. You should be able to match up the rocks here. The difference is that when they were filming the camera they used would have been much higher.

Moving over to the other side of these rocks we get to where the major action ends in the episode. I nicknamed this area, the arena or amphitheater, because it is an open area surrounded by rocks. This is where the GPS coordinates are at. Here is Fennec's jumping backwards shot:

My picture:

Not exact, but you should be able to match up a bunch of the rocks. I think I was standing on the rock they had her jump back on.

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Youtube)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Bitchute)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Odysee)

Friday, April 09, 2021

Boba Fett's Golf Course (Hunting the Mandalorian Series)

 (GPS:  N34° 16.350 W118° 38.170)
The above GPS coordinates are right next to the bush I refer to in the last blog. From there I just looked south-east. It is the same area that the stormtroopers assault the hillside. This open area I like to refer to as "Boba Fett's Golf Course".
My picture gives more of the area:

You should see that hanging rock again. It shows up quite a bit in this episode along with the other rocks. They had unarmored Boba Fett (actor Temuera Morrison) doing a lot of fighting here. I show in the video another look if you pan the camera left here.

There were some moments of this part of the episode I tried to find. I took a lot of pictures and videos wandering around all the rocks in the area. Those ended up being elusive to me. Someone will probably come along and find those spots eventually. I kind of wondered if some CGI or other rock props were used because that would have thrown me off.

Finally, I did show that wide screen shot in the video that I knew I had the right idea, but did not quite get it right. I say I could have gone higher or maybe it was an Aerial shot. My opinion now from looking at my footage and pictures is that it was an Aerial shot. I do not think you can climb higher there to get them to line up. I did want to fly my drone here, but the wind was really bad. I do not know if I will get back there anytime soon, but if the conditions are right I would try that. 

Next time we go back to an open spot very close to the confrontation location. 

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Youtube)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Bitchute)

The Silence of Rocky Peak (Odysee)