Thursday, July 28, 2011

Big Bear Day 3- Butler Peak

Today we got started a bit later than planned. My fault. I took some Tylenol PM and even though I had 8 hrs of sleep, I still couldn't fight my way out of the drug induced coma.

I filled up my Camelbak and the Pie Pack and packed some snacks and off we went.

The sign on Butler Peak says it is closed, but we heard otherwise on the Internet- one site was Seven Summits site. The lookout volunteer confirmed they were open, so it was nice to find out were were not breaking the rules. We were the only visitors to the lookout that day and the volunteer seemed happy to see us. We did not go up right away, resting and snacking first, and eventually he waved to us and shouted down to see if we were coming up. Perhaps he was lonely or bored. The view was incredible, but not quite as amazing as it could have been due to smog and haze. On clear days you can see the ocean, but we could barely see San Bernadino. In the other direction we could see the aqueduct snaking through the desert and Edwards AFB.

My camera batteries tired to give out, but I wouldn't let them, coaxing it along to take just one more picture- and then just one more after that. Sadly, I think the hard life my camera has had is catching up with it. Used to be no matter how badly I composed a photo, the camera would compensate, but now photos are coming out overexposed or too dark. For example if I am in the sun shooting into the shade, the subject stays shaded. Before the camera would lighten the subject. I really like my camera and don't want to have to get a new one, but I also like having nice pictures. Speaking of pictures...

Pie showing us how it is done! Also modeling the Pie Pack.

Wild roses. Just like wild dogs vs tame dogs, they are very different than the roses my mom grows.

Good dogs after a cooling dip.

Pie posing.

More posing.

A pretty purple flower of unknown origin and name.

Fancy needs a photo with only her in it. I think she also needs a haircut.

Dottie rediscovered her love of carrying sticks around on this hike.

This is one of the photos that makes me think the camera is breaking.

Pie waiting in the shade with a big tongue.

All the dogs posing.

Dottie went into the creepy underground pipe. As soon as I saw her go in I called her and she came out. Who knows what could happen to her in there? Why she would think it was a good idea to to in, I have no idea. That is just Dottie being Dottie.

Pie resting in the shade again, but this time with our destination in the background.

Almost to the top! The final approach is the steepest section and has no shade.

We made it to the top!

ffuffy and I at the top. I think I might need to get a different hat. But it does do a good job keeping the sun off.

8000 plus feet. Phew.

Heading back down the mountain. I see Dottie has found a new stick.

Dottie posing with flowers that match her collar.

Yep, more posing.

All the dogs (and humans) made it back to the car and no one had to be carried.

Apparently I got a bit dirty. Or, an alternate caption could be, my souvenir of Big Bear (dirt.)

Click here to see all of the photos.

Another great hike. The scenery on the way up was not as good as the hike a few days ago, but the tower and the views up there made up for it. Plus, walking on a single track is usually a bit more entertaining than walking along a road that I could drive my car up (except the road is closed to traffic.) This was our last full day in Big Bear. Very sad. Tomorrow we have to pack up and check out...

Big Bear Day 2

Today (actually yesterday) we checked out the Big Bear Zoo, which is mostly a sanctuary for injured wildlife, did some shopping, and walked around the neighborhood after a delicious steak dinner on the patio of a restaurant that allowed dogs.

The zoo.

Bald Eagle with eye problem.

Snoozing Mnt. Lion.

Giant wood bison (larger than plains bison.)

Badger thing eating a chicken leg.

One of the grizzlies. There is a mom and two large grown cubs. They were all very active.

Pie takes in the sights.

Pie and Hunda got to come shopping.

I like how you can see the photographer in the window.

Later I decided to test out carrying the Malinois, should the need arise.

As expected Dottie was very squirmy.

Pie was very good. I had her get on top of her crate and lifted her from there.

The rest of the photos from the day can be seen here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big Bear 2011

Yes, I am in Big Bear again! I love it here and want to come as much as possible. After coming home from Flagstaff, I worked Thursday and Friday, went to the agility trial on the weekend, then departed for Big Bear with fflufy and the dogs on Monday.

Monday we arrived, checked into our cabin (the same one as last year) then walked to the Village for dinner, came home, watched a movie and went to bed.

Today, Tuesday, we got up and went to the lake, went on a great hike, walked to dinner, had ice cream, came home and watched a different movie. Soon I will be in bed...

The lake pictures:

On the way to the lake!

Pie, as always enjoying the swim.

Dottie, as always, annoying Fancy.

Fancy swam out to ffluffy then abandoned her. ffluffy was sad.

Bun is not overly impressed with the water and stood on the shore with her tiny ball instead of partaking in the aquatic activities.

Next up was the hike. We bought a map at an outdoor store and off we went!

The hike was 7.35 miles (my GPS watch tells all) up to Grey's Peak, one of the 7 highest peaks around the Big Bear area. We could see the fire tower on Butler's Peak on some sections of the trial, and once at the top, we had a great view of the lake and we could also see the airport.

We had walked for about 2 minutes when we had our first picture break.

The Mals pose on the rock.

Do I look like this guy?

We hiked mostly on leash and Fancy got a bit squished. The Mals pull quite a bit which is great going up hills but not so great going down.

Fancy blends into the rock she is posing on.

View from the top, actually zoomed in a bit.

We posed on these neat rocks at the top of the peak. After the posing was done I released the dogs, which Pie took to mean, "Jump from right where you are." It was way too big of a jump, and her landing spot was another rock. She landed badly and hard. Luckily she does not appear to be injured. We will see how she feels tomorrow. For the future I will not give the release word and will instead direct the dogs how to get down.

I also had a bit of a misfortune, but since I am now blogging about it, rest assured it turned out ok.

Love the timer on my camera! But the only rock to balance the camera on was pretty far away so the first picture didn't come out the best.

This time we were better prepared and it would be a super picture, had I not had some kind of shirt malfunction. I tossed a pine cone at the exact correct time for the dogs to look in the right direction.

Hiking back down with the papillon in the bag.

More posing.

Demonstrating I can carry Fancy if I need to. She would prefer to walk. I think Dottie would be too squirmy since the dog has to be pretty still as I am lifting them up there. If Pie was up on a rock or some other high place I could support her weight on my shoulders, but I'm not sure I can lift 60 lbs above my head.

On the way back it was later in the day so we didn't expect to see any other hikers. The dogs got a bit of off leash time. Here is Dottie enjoying her freedom.

After 7.35 miles Dottie helped herself to the couch.

Not only did the GPS watch tell us how far we went, but it also told us how to get back to the trail head. Yes, it is true- we got a tiny bit lost. Not lost lost, just, "which way was it again?" lost. We thought it was one way, but that didn't look right. Then ffluffy thought it was another way, but I didn't remember the sign we passed. So I used the "back to start" feature on my watch, and we could see the new trail we were (incorrectly) blazing, instead of the established trail (meaning the one the watch mapped on the way in.) Once we picked the correct way back, the trail we were blazing matched up with the trail already on the watch and we knew we were headed the correct way. Hooray! We would have found it soon enough on our own, but it was neat to have the watch tell us how to pick the correct way sooner. The dogs were completely useless for getting us home. They seemed to pick random trails and dash down them, most likely hoping to lure us on an even longer hike.

Here are the rest of the pictures, taken so far.

Now it is late and I'd better get in bed so I can get up early and do more stuff tomorrow.