Tuesday, October 10, 2017

SEVEN BRIDGES IN SAN DIEGO

My hiking partners and I did an urban hike this past weekend. It started and finished in Balboa Park but does not include any of the hiking trails within the Park. The object was to visit seven small bridges located in the city. They are all located around Balboa Park. I had visited both the Quince Street and Spruce Street Bridges in the past and photographed them in 1993. I have crossed the Cabrillo Bridge many times, and driven under it more times than I can count.

We had an early morning start as there was a big Maker Faire going on in the Park and we wanted to get a parking spot and avoid any crowds. We were at the Park and starting out about 0815, and had no problem finding a space. My husband, George, was going to be volunteering at the Natural History Museum and was only about a half hour behind us. He was very lucky to get a spot as the lots and Park Boulevard were almost full by 0845.

We headed off with water as we were having a heat wave. (The high at our house was 104˚F!!!) Snacks or lunch would be found along the way at one of the many restaurants we would pass.

The first bridge was a pedestrian bridge that spans Park Boulevard and runs East-West. It crosses over Park Boulevard and connects the Rose Garden and the Cactus Garden with the Prado area.
PARK AVENUE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
After walking through the Prado area we crossed the Cabrillo Bridge which spans CA-163. This is a lovely tall 7 arched bridge which was  was built for the 1915 Panama–California Exposition and completed in 1914. It’s height is 120 feet and towers above the canyon floor

Originally built in 1914 for the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition, surprisingly, this was the first time in the bridge's history that it had been lit for aesthetic purposes. Photo by Peter Lerum Photography

We  then proceeded West to First Avenue and turned North. The First Avenue Bridge was built in 1931 in the mid-west, shipped to San Diego to be reassembled in place. It was built in response to the need for a direct commuter route to offices in Downtown, the bridge aided the growth of the Uptown district in San Diego after World War I. The historic steel arch bridge is the only metal truss bridge in the City, and one of a handful truss bridges located within the State. 

FIRST AVENUE BRIDGE
We continued North to the Quince Street Bridge where we found the wooden-trestle bridge that was built in 1905 at a cost of less than $1000 to allow easier access to the Fourth Ave. trolley station. 
QUINCE STREET BRIDGE
After crossing to Fourth Ave., we retraced our steps to Second Avenue and then continued North  to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.
 
SPRUCE STREET BRIDGE
The Spruce Street Bridge is located in the residential Bankers Hill neighborhood and was built in 1912, and engineered by Edwin Capps. This footbridge was initially designed to provide pedestrians a passage across the deep canyon, to get between the new trolley lines built on Fourth and Fifth Avenue. It now serves as a secret, serene, and very romantic spot, beloved by locals and visitors to San Diego alike.

After crossing this bridge we continued North to the Hillcrest neighborhood which is vibrant and bustling. At several houses along the way there was some large metallic art. What fun!






There is a large variety of restaurants with enticing smells to call you to them. We were attracted to Chocolat where we enjoyed varieties of chocolate gelatos. Chris enjoyed Chocolate Spice, Myrna stayed with Dark Chocolate, and I enjoyed Dark Chocolate Grand Marnier. We all enjoyed our choices. Then it was time to head East to the Vermont Street Bridge.
YUM! CHOCOLATE!


THIS IS REALLY GOOD!

The Vermont Street Pedestrian Bridge is a 420 ft. long steel and concrete pedestrian bridge spanning a canyon and connecting two distinct San Diego communities, University Heights and Hillcrest. The project includes surface treatment of the concrete, creating images and text, and 28 laser cut stainless steel and colored plexiglass railing panels with icons and quotations that refer to the metaphors of time, walking, and bridging. Some of the quotations include Dr. Seuss, Audrey Lourde, Irving Gill, Kate Sessions, Pythagoras, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.     

We  then proceeded to Georgia Street and then headed South to the Georgia Street Bridge, another pedestrian bridge which spans University Avenue between Park Boulevard and Florida Street. This bridge was built in 1914 by architect James Cromly. It was designed to complement the theme of the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition at nearby Balboa Park. It became a key symbol and artery for residents because it linked Hillcrest to North Park. The new bridge was an instant classic with its elegant Roman arches, a theme echoed on the massive retaining walls on both sides of University Avenue, below the bridge.
 
GEORGIA STREET BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION

GEORGIA STREET CONSTRUCTION

Regrettably we were not able to cross on this bridge as it is being retrofitted and rebuilt to meet the earthquake safety standards. As you can see it will be lovely once again.


Once we reached Park Boulevard we continued South to Village Place where we had left our vehicle.


This was a fun adventure. It was great to see and visit some of the neighborhoods and admire their history and architecture. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to explore the city on foot.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2017 LINCOLN, MONTANA III


SATURDAY – August 26th

Today’s outing was a little West and North of town, up Lone Point Road. We drove out of town and found a safe place to park. Then we hiked up the forest service road for three miles before deciding that it was time to return. It was another lovely outing with some nice views. 

There was a good view of one of the several wildfires in the area that had flared up due to the warmer weather and increased wind.
 A nice panoramic view of the valley to the east showed the valley in which Lincoln is located. 

We came across a number of aspen, one of which showed the signs of bear having used it as a scratching post and leaving scratch marks in the bark. 


BEAR SIGN

It is quite common to see deer wandering through yards in town. This fawn was quite at home wandering through Klara’s yard. 


We ended our stay with sharing dinner with Klara’s immediate neighbor, Sally. It was fun to learn a little bit more about the small town of Lincoln and feel its neighborliness.

BACK TO SAN DIEGO –
  
We hit the road on Sunday morning for the start of our drive home, a distance of about 1250 miles. We opted to do the drive in three days.

We stopped in Dillon, MT, a small town off of I-15 South of Butte. There was a Patagonia outlet store there, but because it was Sunday it was not yet open while we were in town. The town has a number of old buildings including the Hotel Metlen which is 
HOTEL METLEN
reported to have at least one ghost. 



As we approached Idaho Falls I saw a sign for a Cabella’s store and we were planning on stopping at the one in Utah.
We found what we were looking for in this smaller version of the store.

Our stop for the night was in Pocatello, which is the home of Idaho State University. We found a small independent motel for the evening, and then walked into town to find dinner, and some bagels for the morning. It did not take long to find a local sandwich shop where we purchased two very good sandwiches to enjoy back at our room. We also located the 5th Street Bagelry.  We returned to it the next morning to pick up coffee and some bagels before heading South to Nevada.We also got to see and photograph a praying mantis.
PRAYING MANTIS
 The drive to Mesquite, Nevada was uneventful. We have done this several times as we have driven to Idaho for Christmases, or other visits to see Klara. Near Beaver,UT we stopped at the Eagle’s Landing Gas Station. The highlight there was the Bronze Eagle which is going to be on displayed soon. 

It was on a flatbed trailer when we saw it. Mesquite was hot and 112˚F. We took advantage of a special rate during midweek, at one of the Casinos and hunkered down in their air conditioned room.

Tuesday morning we were off in good time to get through Las Vegas before the start of the commute. We were in San Diego by 1130! After quickly unpacking the car, we were off to pick up Phoebe before the kennel closed for the mid-day break from 12-2 p.m. She was one happy dog to see us.

It was a good trip with a great deal of variety. The highlight of the trip was the solar eclipse, with second being visiting with Klara in her new home and town. She seems to be fitting in quite well.

Knowing that Montana is a beautiful state with beautiful blue skies, we have decided to return next year in June when hopefully the air is clear.

2017 LINCOLN, MONTANA II


THURSDAY – AUGUST 24TH

Thursday Morning we were off early so that George and Klara to do some fishing along the Blackfoot River. We ate our breakfast beside the river as the sun rose. 
BLACKFOOT RIVER MORNING
GETTING THE LINE READY
While they fished, I wandered upstream with my camera to find some thing of interest to photograph. The light was not favorable and the wildflowers were mostly gone. Nothing inspirational struck me, but I did enjoy the outing.   
GOLD BUTTONS OR TANSY

FALL IS IN THE AIR


FISHING
Afterwards we visited Ernie and Renee who are both retired USFS employees. They had invited Klara over to harvest from their extensive garden which is fenced in with a six foot fence to keep the critters from getting to the delicious greens. This evening we enjoyed fresh kale and purple beans which turned green when cooked. They were both delicious. While we were visiting, a moose cow and calf came to visit. 
MOOSE COW PLAYING HIDE AND GO SEEK?
They were fun to watch and photograph. As we were departing there was a squirrel going after berries in the tree next to our car, and not worried about our presence,

In the afternoon we walked to the Forest Service Office through the Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture In the Wild. This is a collection of sculptures by various artists from all over the world. The works are built on site in Lincoln using mostly materials found in the area. All of the art is on display and exposed to the natural elements. To learn more about it --- http://www.sculptureinthewild.com/






At the Forest Service office we admired the large grizzly bear that is on display there. 

The bear when it died weighed 830 pounds and was 12 years old. It is the third largest grizzly on record in Montana. It had been tattooed and radio collared at an earlier time as it was involved in a research study. He was killed when hit by a large pickup truck while crossing State Rte. 200 in the middle of the night.

FRIDAY – AUGUST 25th

Today we hiked to Granite Butte fire tower, located along the Continental Divide. The tower is South of town. We hiked about two miles up to the tower. It was very windy at 7600 feet, but it did not clear the air. We climbed the tower and ate our lunch on the lee side of the structure. 
TO GRANITE BUTTE

LOOKING SOUTH FROM FIRE TOWER(Notice the deadwood)

THE WIND DOES BLOW HERE
While writing this I searched the internet and found a write up of some people who snowshoed to the tower and camped there overnight. The views on a clear day must be beautiful. On a cold and windy night it would be an adventure to descend the tower and walk about 100 yards to the outhouse!!
A VERY LARGE MUSHROOM
 Once we returned to Lincoln we treated ourselves to wild huckleberry milkshakes. Mmmmm Good. After dinner at the Bushwackers Steakhouse in town, we drove out to the Alice Creek Road, East of town, to look for wildlife. We did succeed in seeing a small herd of elk, but they were a very long ways away. 

SMOKY EVENING


Monday, September 25, 2017

2017 LINCOLN, MONTANA I


After the Solar Eclipse on 21 August we caravanned with our daughter to her new home in  Lincoln, Montana. We took the better part of a day to reach Lincoln.

We left Ashton before sunrise, and I photographed sunrise East of Harriman S. P. off of U.S. Rte.20. While George and Klara returned to Ashton to retrieve a rain jacket. 
SUNRISE NEAR HARRIMAN S.P.

MORNING GROUND FOG


Shortly afterwards we turned on ID Rte. 87 headed for Ennis, MT. Here we stopped for breakfast and then did some window and bargain shopping. Klara was looking for some Carhartt pants, and I was just browsing, but I found a very nice plaid long-sleeved fishing shirt for myself.

We returned to the road and our next stop was in Three Forks, Montana, the home of Montana Wheat. 


This is the wheat flour that I use to do my sourdough baking. I have had very good results with it since I started using in in 2013. We stocked up on some bread and croissants. Our final stop for the trip was in Helena for groceries before heading for Lincoln, a small town to the Northwest of Helena with a population of about 1100. 
 
Montana has been plagued with many large wildfires this season. One fire actually started about 3 miles North of town. It later merged with two other fires in the area. The result is that the air quality in the area is quite poor, and the skies are full of smoke. This is true for the whole state of Montana.


While in Lincoln we enjoyed four days of hiking in spite of the air quality. The few photographs that I have show lots of smoke in the air. Our first afternoon we took a short walk North of town to stretch our legs after most of the day driving. As you can see there is smoke in the air from the Park Creek Fire, which started in mid-July, and hopefully be fully contained by the end of September.
Looking North toward the Park Creek Fire
 
WEDNESDAY –
 
A MORNING CRITTER IN TOWN

Klara took us off to hike the Lake Creek Trail and part of the Lake Mountain Trail. The beginning was pleasant enough with a gradual climb. Later when we joined the Lake Mountain Trail the grade became more noticeable. 

Eventually the trail also got quite narrow as it climbed higher. Finally we called it a day, and stopped for a trail lunch of bagels, cheese, and fruit before heading back to our car.
THE TRAIL AS IT SLOPES UP THE MOUNTAIN
 
KLARA DURING A HIKING BREAK
The forest here is thick but also has a great deal of dead wood due to the bark beetle, and dry conditions over the past. We had a nice view down the valley, though quite smoky.
 
LOOKING DOWN THE VALLEY
On the way back into town we stopped at the gateway for the Dog Sled Race – Race to the Sky, which starts in Lincoln and travels North to Owl Creek North of Seeley Lake and then turns back to Lincoln. Here we picked up some huckleberry jam to share.
 
STARTING GATE FOR ""RACE TO THE SKY"

In the evening we had a couple of visitors to the back yard. It is a regular occurrence.