New York Visit, Being Back At The RV, Arcadia Hiking, And Climbing

9 03 2011

A lot has happened since we got back from Israel. Here are some highlights that stick out in my mind:

New York City / Connecticut

It was nice seeing my immediate family, but the highlight of our East Coast visit was spending last Friday and Saturday with our aunt and uncle in Connecticut. They are both awesome people, total opposites who love each other and are way fun to hang out with. She’s a doctor lots of degrees science type and he’s a yoga guru meditation artist guy. Their dog, Max – AKA Maxie Dog – is pretty great too. We took them all geocaching and found GC16X02.

On our way to their place we passed a sign warning drivers that hitchhiking is illegal and that they should not pick up hitchers (real word?). I thought that the sign was unusual, but didn’t think much of it. Until our drive back, that is. Around the same area, I noticed a lot of “Do Not Stop” signs, and then one sign put all the pieces together: “Correctional Facility Area. Do Not Stop.” Whoah.

Flight Back To LA, RV Pickup!

Once again I lucked out by having a window seat with no one sitting next to me. Sleeping through most of the flight helped me fight jet lag, and some chess puzzles and crossword puzzles kept my brain alive during the hours that I was awake. One awesome thing that happened during our flight: we whizzed past two helium balloons at ~9,000 feet. What a sight! One other: One of the flight attendants announcing that anyone caught smoking onboard will be “thrown off of the plane somewhere near Denver.” Getting to the RV involved two buses, one of which was a quick free shuttle from LAX to the bus depot and the other of which was a $1 bus to Redondo Beach. I exercised my limited Japanese during the bus ride, helping an English-challenged Osakan girl get to a mall where she was to meet her friend.w

It felt awesome to be back at the RV. I missed Arvie, and the RV really felt like home. There was no re-acclimating that needed to happen. The (fantastic) storage place let me fill up on fresh water, and after some quick checks of the RV’s condition, tires, and systems I headed on the road to Arcadia.

Arcadia

The folks at a centrally located Jewish organization in Arcadia are letting me park in their lot for my stay, which is great because Arcadia doesn’t allow any non-resident overnight parking. The parking lot is quiet and level, which is pretty much everything that I might want.

Hiking Jones Peak, Climbing On Wednesday

I waited until Monday morning to stock up on groceries, as I wanted to make sure that the fridge had completely cooled down before tossing lots of food in it. On Monday morning I pulled into the Trader Joe’s parking lot just as the store was opening and picked up some wonderful food. When I was checking out I struck up a conversation with the friendly cashier. It emerged in conversation that he is a hiker, and he suggested a local spot for me to check out. Twenty minutes later, the groceries were in the fridge and I was at Bailey Park talking to a Nicaraguan guy named Silvio.

Silvio Giving The Thumbs Up

Silvio Giving The Thumbs Up (Click For Non-Fuzzy Version. This WordPress Fuzz Thing Is Getting Annoying...)

Silvio and I ended up hanging out for an hour or so, walking around and chatting over some OJ at a picnic table. He told me fascinating stories about his family’s immigration to the United States, only part of which happened legally. His personal story was pretty funny in that he tried to illegally sneak into the United States in 1989 but was caught at the Nicaragua / Guatemala border. The Guatemalan police sent him back home, and a week later he put on his nicest clothing and went to the US embassy to try applying for a visa. His application was approved, and for the last 19 years he’s been living in California with his Italian wife. Nice guy.

Once Silvio headed home I hit the trail. I thought that I would take it easy and just hike a few miles, but a geocache at the top of Jones Peak kept me going for seven miles and 2400′ of elevation gain. There was one pretty weird spot off-trail by a stream where someone had set up a now-abandoned semi-permanent tarp camp.

There Was An Old Mattress In The Shelter. Sketchy.

There Was An Old Mattress In The Shelter. Sketchy.

When I returned from the hike I took a shower and read some Forest Service literature about snakes. (Yes, I showered in the parking lot. That’s one benefit of an RV.) A newspaper article in the snakes display seemed pretty alarmist, but buried in the article was a hilarious stat: “About 50% – 60% of bite victims are males who have been drinking and are “messing with a snake” says Dr. Nobert Norris.” Assuming that I trust someone with the name “Nobert”, that makes me a bit more at ease about my personal risk of a snakebite.

Near The Start Of The Hike

Near The Start Of The Hike

Looking North From Jones Peak

Looking North From Jones Peak

Most Bite Victims Are Dumb (Fuzzy Cell Camera Pic)

Most Bite Victims Are Dumb (Fuzzy Cell Camera Pic)

Separately, I found a local climbing gym and scheduled a lesson for later this morning. It’ll be nice to learn some actual technique.

In Summary…

New York was good, as was the flight back to California. It’s awesome to be back in the RV, and I’m happy in warm weather in Arcadia. Also, a guy named Nobert says that most snakebite victims are stupid drunk guys.

Coming up next: The most epic geocaching trip ever.

An amusing thing: The WordPress spellcheck doesn’t recognize “WordPress” as a word.

posted by yair

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4 responses

9 03 2011
Stumpy and Cyndi

Wow! Talk about jumping back in! Sounds like a great couple of days. I didn’t know you guys were into geo-caching. That’s on my list of things to do!

Happy Trails, forever!
Cyndi and Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

9 03 2011
jayhorowitz

It’s fun and is so easy to get started. Get Geocaching off of that list already! 🙂

9 03 2011
Michael

In order of favorites:

Be sure to take the short side trip to Sturtevant Falls
http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/WinterZion_4472.asp

Switzer Falls
http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Switzer_4472.asp

Bridge To Nowhere,
http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/EastFork_4472.asp
11 stream crossings each way. Water may be too high right now. (swift creeks are deceptively dangerous)

Be sure to get the Tom Harrison Maps, Angeles Front Country
Don’t hike in the Angeles High Country in the winter (where there’s snow). It’s deceptively very dangerous.

Either book is good. I have both.
http://www.amazon.com/Hikes-Southern-California-Jerry-Schad/dp/0899973515/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

http://www.amazon.com/Trails-Angeles-Gabriels-Hiking-Biking/dp/0899972322

10 03 2011
Michael

If you want to get an idea where the snow is in Angeles Crest check out the Mt Wilson Tower Cam. http://obs.astro.ucla.edu/towercam.htm They like to point it northeast for motorcyclist who want to know about snow conditions on Route 2. They like to descend on Newcombs Ranch making enough noise so the forest sounds like it’s being carpet bombed. : )

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