Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012

21 December 2012
Vacaville, California, USA
The Hardwicks have had another very good year.  We spent a week at Lake Almanor and hiked in Lassen National Park with our oldest son, James, and his family.  We spent many days watching Kooper’s baseball games, flag football games, and wrestling matches, and Marley and Elaine’s soccer games.  Kooper’s baseball team won their division and he was awarded MVP of his football team.  Marley played on a competitive traveling team and Elaine coached another traveling team.  Betty helped with management of the youth soccer team Elaine coaches and Jim ran in a 5 K race with the team.    Betty and I still drive our grandchildren to and from school, soccer, baseball, wrestling, football practice, and 4H meetings.  The two were also 4H clothing and textiles leaders again.  Their girls won several ribbons at county fairs and dress reviews.  Marley was busy with rabbit, cooking, and dog training projects too

Once again Jim planted a large vegetable garden in Elaine’s back yard.  We planted black eyed peas, pole beans, summer squash, Tahitian winter squash, lemon, Armenian and striped serpent cucumbers, cantaloupe, tomatoes, okra, eggplant, peppers, basil, and cilantro.  Oliver started several varieties of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers in his greenhouse.  Jim tilled and weeded.  Marley’s rabbits provided us with copious quantities of manure.  Matt took charge of the irrigation and we had good yields of most crops.  

We visited my sister, Barbara and her family, husband Stan, son and daughter-in-law Scott and Angie, grandchildren Logan and Brenna, in March in Calaveras County and they visited us in Vacaville a couple of times.  Betty’s sister Terry visited us a couple of times, and we attended our 50 year high school class reunion in Selma in April.  We saw many old friends we had not seen in decades, and visited relatives in the area.  We visited our oldest son, James, and family, Barbara, Adam and Alison in New Jersey in July.  We spent most of our days there with our grandchildren, Adam and Alison watching them play tennis and soccer, and we visited several farms where we picked berries. 

Jim took cousins Louise and Lowell Smith to his cousin Harold Wilcox’s funeral in Salt Lake City in January, and had a good visit with the children and grandchildren of Louise and Lowell Smith, Kenny and Margaret Wilcox and Harold and Helen Wilcox.  Jim also went on numerous day hikes throughout central California, and played golf a couple of times with old friends, John Duffy and John Geibel.   Jim went on two raft trips on the Rogue River in Oregon and one trip on the San Juan River in Utah with relatively new friends he has met since he took up white water sports.  He also went on a backpack trip with youngest son, Oliver, in the Emigrant Wilderness, and spent a few days hiking in the Warner Mountains of NE California.  We had a great visit and Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family at our house.   Jim and Betty visited with old friends Jack and Bonnie Ames in Castroville and cousins Mike Huckabay and Peggy and Lou Rudolph the day after attending a Christmas play at the San Juan Bautista mission with friends, John and Anita Mitchell of Palo Alto.   We celebrated Marley’s 15th birthday at the Suisun lighted boat parade aboard Rob and Nancy Forest’s yacht which Elaine helped Rob and Nancy decorate for the parade.  

As you can see from our active life, we are enjoying our semi-retirement.   

Best wishes for good health and happiness to y'all.

Jim and Betty Hardwick

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Friday 4 June 2010
Scott Haggerty of Port Townsend, Washington drew a permit for the Selway this year, and invited me to join his trip. I was not comfortable with my ability to row the Selway alone, and invited Jiro Yamamoto, an experienced class IV raft guide to join me. We were to launch on Sunday 6 June, but on Wednesday 2 June the flow on the Selway was rising rapidly, and we began to consider our alternatives. The level at put in was 3.5 feet on the gauge the previous weekend, an excellent flow. .By Tuesday The flow was up to 4.2.feet, and Wednesday it was 4.9.feet. The forecast was for increased flow for the next week. Rain showers and 60-70ºF temperatures during the day were expected to melt lots of snow and add to the already high flow. Night time temperatures were expected to be in the mid to high 30s. By Friday we had firmed up our plans to abandon our Selway trip in favor of an Owyhee trip.

Saturday 5 June 2005. Jiro Yamamoto arrived at my house in Vacaville, California shortly before 0800. We wasted little time transferring his gear from his van to my 1961 Jeep Cherokee sport with 260,000 miles on it and heading up highway 80 to Rome, Oregon.. We stopped for gas in Sparks, Nevada, and again at a rest stop just west of Winnemucca, Nevada. Jiro took over the driving responsibility, and drove the rest of the way to Rome, Oregon. It was a beautiful drive. It was cloudy most of the way, but the visibility was good, and Nevada was very green due to the abundant late rain the entire west coast has had this year. We found the rest of our group at the put-in campground on the right bank of the Owyhee just east of Rome. We introduced ourselves to Scott, Jen, Marc, and Joe. I had paddled with Scott on the Rogue and Deschutes last year, but had never met the others before, and all of us were strangers to Jiro. Scott introduced us to Eire. Eire was waiting for some friends to join him for a trip down the Owyhee, but they had not shown us, and he asked if he could join us. We all agreed. Eire had spent much of the winter researching the Owyhee, and was well versed in the geology and history of the area. He had also built a dory of cedar. We rigged the rafts on the launch ramp, and made camp on the bank. Several other groups were there too. One launched about 1800, and planned to make camp a short way down stream. Another was rigging their rafts on the ramp along side our three rafts. I tied the boats to my Jeep before making camp. I put up my tent due to the threat of rain, and we snacked on finger foods for supper, and tasted Joe’s selection of scotches.

Sunday 6 June 2010
I awoke at 0400 PDT to a chorus of birds including quail, chuckar, pheasants, ducks, kill deer, robins, nighthawks, and a wide variety of perching birds. It is still warm. I did not pull my sleeping bag over me until about 0100. Eire was up by 0500 PDT making coffee over a wood fire. I packed my sleeping gear and walked down to the boats. The water level had risen very little over night, and the boats were secure. My Jeep was still out of the water. We had about 1700 cfs, a very adequate flow, but we were hoping it did not drop. The sunrise was beautiful. The rest of the crew got up about 0600 PDT. Jen made oatmeal with raisins and almonds and served with fresh oranges and grapefruit. We took our time breaking camp and loading the boats. Ken Haylett, our shuttle driver, arrived about 0900 MDT. One of his shuttle drivers was upset that none of the vehicles were ready to go, and the delay was causing him to miss a NASCAR race he wanted to watch on television. We launched and were headed down river about 1040 MDT. Scott rowed his cataraft, Marc his large 18’, raft, and I my 13.5’ raft. Jen, Jiro, and Joe were in kayaks. The first 5 miles of river were very flat, the river meandering through farm land. We stopped for lunch at 1200 MDT on a sand bar on river left, and were back on the river by 1300. Shortly after lunch we entered a deep canyon and ran several interesting class II rapids with some surf waves. Eire found some rocks on the right at Bull’s Eye. We stopped at a sandy beach on the right bank at 1430. We drank a beer while setting up the kitchen, our tents and my gravity filter. The muddy Owyhee water soon clogged the ceramic filter which filters only about a liter every 20 or 30 minutes under the best of conditions, so we abandoned trying to use it until we found some clear water in a side creek. Several of us went for a hike up the lava slope behind camp. We saw lots of wildflowers, a cottontail rabbit, and deer and elk sign. Scott and Jen barbecued salmon and served it with wild rice with lots of vegetables in it. I washed dishes and broke out my port and chocolate. I was asleep well before dark.

Monday 7 June, 2010
I slept soundly until 0615. Cody and Smokey were already quarreling, and Eire was trying to quiet them. I quickly packed my gear before breakfast I drank coffee and wrote some in my journal while Jen and Scott scrambled eggs with vegetables and cooked sausage. We launched at 1040 MDT, and stopped for lunch at 1215. We went for a short hike through the eroded volcanic landscape, and were on the river again by 1300. We made camp at 1500 just downstream from an unnamed hot spring on the left bank. There is a very wide surf wave next to the hot spring. After setting up the kitchen, groover, and wash station, we sat down with a beer and reviewed the guide books Scott had brought along. I carried Joe’s RPM up to the wave thinking I would surf a bit, but got into the hot spring for a soak before beginning supper. The water was quite hot, so I didn’t stay in it for long. I went for a swim in the river to wash off the hot spring algae before putting my clothes back on, and hiking back to camp through a field of mariposa lilies. Jiro and I lit some briquettes in the fire pan thinking we would cook two tri tip roasts and some vegetables on the coals. It was quite windy and we couldn’t get anything hot enough to cook on the coals. Marc saved us by recommending that we stur fry the vegetables (broccoli, sweet pepers, zucchini, onions, garlic, and cauliflower) on the stove, and put the tri tip roasts in the Dutch oven. Using those techniques we soon had supper ready to eat. We quickly washed dishes and hiked to a nearby ridge to the west where we watched the sun set and looked at trails people have used for millennia to cross the Owyhee canyon. I was asleep by 2200. The only star out was Venus. Since the sky was clear, I didn’t put my tent up this evening. I slept under the stars on my tarp.

Tuesday 8 June 2010
I woke up at 0300. I saw the big dipper, little dipper, the dragon, Arcturus, Cassiopia, Cephus, Cygnus, Lyra, Aguila, and scorpio. The sky was light in the east and the moon rose over the eastern rim of the Owyhee River valley about 0400 just before sunrise. I went back to sleep at 0430 and slept until almost 0700. The clear sky allowed the heat to radiate to the sky and the temperature to drop well below the dew point. My tarp and sleeping bag was very wet. I left it out to dry in the sun before packing it. I made some very strong coffee, and Jiro made oatmeal with chucks of apples, raisins, and almonds. We took our time loading the rafts, and started down river about 1100. I paddled Joe’s purple RPM Max today, and Jiro rowed my raft. I caught some good surf waves. There was one large glassy wave I was able to get back to a couple of times. We skipped lunch, and took a long hike through a badlands like landscape to a dome of bare rock from which we had great views of the surrounding landscape, and the river. We caught up with Eire at Whistling Bird rapid. He had thought we were ahead of him and had been rowing like mad to catch up with the rest of us. He rowed so hard he tore the oar locks out of the cedar. Marc helped Eire make a makeshift repair and we scouted Whistling Bird before heading downstream. Whistling Bird rapid was created when a large slab of rock broke off the cliff on the right side of the river and slid into the river still leaning against the right cliff. The main current piles directly into the rock with some water going both sides of the rock, but most to the left. It looks like it would be very bad for anyone going right of the rock. The kayakers went first. I eddy hopped behind the rocks on river left staying far away from the center of the current. Jen went almost directly into the center rock, but was pushed left off the pillow. Joe was rowing Scott’s cataraft, and he got a very good look at the rock and pillow of water just upstream of it. Eire’s dory seemed to want to go left in spite of the fact that he could not row hard without pulling the oar locks off his boat. We made camp on river left a short distance below Whistling Bird. I set up the groover near a dry creek just downstream of our camp, and decided to sleep under the stars again. We visited and drank Mike’s Lemonaid with my El Patron Añejo tequila. Toley lightly grabbed my hand in her mouth as I passed her. It scared me and I slapped her in the face. Jen gave me some treats to feed Toley, and Eire gave me some meat. I fed her, but she was not convinced that I was a good guy and continued to growl at me from time to time for the rest of the trip, and at other times came to me to let me pet her. It was a confusing mixture of behaviors. We had jambalaya with beans and rice and all kinds of vegetables for supper. The wind was at our back the first day on the river, but has been in our face much of the time since then. It was sunny most of the day today, but the cloud cover increased late in the day to nearly 100% by 1900. The water is warm, probably in the mid 60s F, and the air temperature is warm as well, probably in the 80sF. We are wearing shorts and short sleeve shirts in camp in spite of the wind. I wear a fleece vest or a second shirt in the mornings. My legs got a bit too much sun the first day rowing, so I have been wearing long pants except when in the kayak. We went for a short hike up a butte after supper, and sipped whiskey and El Patron Añejo tequila while visiting after returning from our hike. Scott and Jen played cribbage.

Wednesday 9 June 2010
I woke up at 0500, packed, made coffee, better than yesterday’s, and took pictures of myself before sunrise. Just before 0700 Marc added some eggs to the left over jambalaya, and served it with sausage, apples, grapefruit and oranges for breakfast. We were on the river by 0930. Marc, Scott, and I rowed rafts today, and Jen Joe, and Jiro paddled kayaks. We went through a beautiful volcanic gorge with some very nice rapids this morning. Jen swam after lunch, and we passed some cabins and another hot spring early in the afternoon. I got behind and while trying to catch up rowed my raft hard upon a wash rock. I was able to free it in a few minutes by using an oar as a pole and rocking the raft. We filled our water containers at a clear creek below a waterfall, and filtered it later in camp. We hung the gravity filter from a tripod of oars, and it worked well. All but Marc went for an extensive three hour hike to an arch, cave and the ridge behind camp. Eire was in the lead most of the way with Scott close behind. I ran sweep, and fell out of sight behind the rest when I stopped to pee and take pictures of wildflowers. I continued up a drainage while the others climbed down a steep volcanic talus slope. I caused them a great deal of concern when they could not find me. I eventually came into view as I came out from behind a hill that was between us. We were able to work our way down a drainage and back to camp. Marc had cooked another of his great Dutch oven meals, this time an enchilada pie with carrots and broccoli. I helped Joe and Jiro with the dishes, and then wrote and sipped tequila.

Thursday 10 June 2010
I woke up at 0400. It was beginning to drizzle. I thought that it wouldn’t really rain and decided to not get up to put up my tent or even pull a tarp over me. Then I noticed that Jiro and Eiro were putting up their tents so I decided to do the same. I had the tent up and was in it by 0415. It started to really rain about 0435. At 0500 I thought I heard someone start the stove, so I packed my sleeping bag and pad, got up, and found that Scott and Jen had rigged a tarp over the kitchen table and ice chest and were sleeping under the tarp with Toley. Scott told me to go ahead and make coffee, so I put water on to boil for coffee and oatmeal about 0545. Everyone was up by 0630 and we were on the river by 0800. It continued raining off and on most of the day with some thunder. There were no rapids to speak of and we rowed hard all day. We stopped at some hot springs shortly after getting to Owyhee Reservoir. It was the most developed hot spring on the river. There was a pool made of concrete and rockwith a valve to control water flowing into the pool and a drain plug so the pool is always clean and free of the blue green algae usually associated with hot springs. The water at the spring is scalding, but the pool is about 20 m down stream of the spring so the temperature at the pool is about 105ºF. There is a beautiful view of the river upstream. A fellow from Truckee joined us for a while. After a short soak in the pool I rowed shirtless until a thunderstorm overtook us and the air temperature dropped about 20ºF. Then I put on a Capilene shirt, a Smartwool shirt, my dry top and rain pants. We got to Leslie Gulch take-out about 1430 and had the rafts derigged, loaded on our vehicles and were in camp by 1700. Joe and I hauled Eire’s gear to camp. The campground has covered picnic tables, clean pit toilets, garbage pickup, beautiful views, and is free. There is no water. We put up tents between thunder showers. Marc, Scott, and Jen started cooking another one pot meal in Marc’s Dutch oven. While Joe drove to Jordan Valley to make a phone call. He left the back door to his truck open and lost some gear, but some people brought it to camp looking for the owner. I think Joe recovered all the gear that fell out of his truck. After supper Marc made apple crisp in his Dutch oven.

Friday 11 June 2010
I woke up at 0400. The sky was full of stars. The clouds were all gone, but it was cold and dew covered everything. I went back to sleep until 0630. Scott, Jen, and Eire were all up. Scott and I made coffee with water from my water bottles. Jiro and Marc made oatmeal. After breakfast we loaded up our gear and were headed up Leslie Gulch by 1000. We tentatively agreed to plan a self supported kayak trip on one of the upper runs on the Owyhee River next year. Jiro and I got fuel in Jordan Valley, and stopped at Rome about 1130 for a huckleberry ice cream cone. I drove to Winnemucca where we took on more fuel. We stopped again at the Thunder Mountain Monument near Imlay, Nevada. It is a very interesting place worth a visit if you happen to be traveling I 80 through Nevada. We had a great supper at the Isan Thai restaurant in Sparks, Nevada, and arrived at my house in Vacaville about 2230. Jiro spent the night and had breakfast at my house before driving home Saturday morning. I have posted more photos of this whitewater expedition down the lower Owyhee River from Rome to Leslie Gulch at Picasa.

Saturday 12 June 2010
I check the Owyhee flows after I got home and found that the flow increased from 1700 cfs to 2100 cfs just hours after we put-on at Rome. and were within 100 cfs of 2000 cfs for most of of our trip. The flow dropped back to 1600 cfs the last day when we had to row across flat water to the take-out at Leslie Gulch.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We have had a very cool, damp spring here in Vacaville. Daytime temperatures are still in the low 70s Fahrenheit (22ºC), and in the high 40s (8ºC) in the early morning. I tried to till my daughter, Elaine's, back yard in mid April, but it was too wet. The soil is a heavy clay, and it is hard to catch it at the right moisture content for tilling. I didn't get the garden planted until 8 May; a month later than usual. Corn, beans, cucumbers, melons. squash basil, and cilantro came up thick last week. We will have to thin the corn soon. The okra seed didn't germinate, and some of the tomato plants look like they may die because we over watered them. I will probably have to replace at least two of them. I don't expect to have sweet corn to eat until late July.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday 15 May 2010
Bruce T, Bruce H, Kim Fondrk, Paul E and I paddled our kayaks from the Yankee Jim Road bridge over the north fork of the American River to the Ponderosa Road bridge. The shuttle was almost as exciting as the paddle. Bright and extensive displays of wildflowers were continuously in view from Ponderosa Road. There were fewer but different wildflowers along Yankee Jim Road. I was particularly impressed by the display of Indian Pink on the uphill side of Yankee Jim Road near where the pavement ends. The flow of 1700 cfs created some great surfing spots. Both Kim and I caught the wave at surf city and rode it for as long as we wanted. We found several other good surfing spots, and I was able to get a great stern squirt toward the end of the run.I have posted more photos of kayaking Shirttail Canyon run on the NF American River at Picasa, and you can read more about the day at whitewater kayaking on the Shirttail run North Fork American River.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday 2 May 2010
I had an omelet and hash browns while visiting with two local fellows at the Griddle before heading home at 0800. I stopped to take a few photos just west of Winnemucca, got fuel in Fernley, and stopped in Reno to look for a pair of hiking boots. I stayed for a class on ultra light backpacking at the Sierra Trading Post outlet, and bought a backpack weighing less than 1 Kg. I drove straight home from Reno and arrived home by 1800. You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.
Saturday 1 May 2010

I made potato pancakes with the mashed potatoes left over from supper. I added garlic powder and onion salt. Harold fried 4 slices of his favorite thick sliced bacon. I fried my potato pancakes in the bacon grease. I thanked Harold and Helen for their hospitality and bid them farewell and about 0800. I took some photos at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and got gasoline and coffee in Wendover, Nevada. I was getting sleepy, so I took a nap in Battle Mountain. I didn’t drive far before I felt sleepy again, so I got a room at the Pyrenees motel in Winnemucca. I had supper at the Winnemucca Hotel, a historic business where they serve Basque boarding house style meals. When I entered the hotel I noticed that the dining room was empty. There were three people sitting at a table in the bar and one person at the bar. I took a bar stool. Mike, the owner/bartender, said to me, “I hope you aren’t going to interrogate me.” Not being easily intimidated, I said “Yes, I do have a few questions; the first and most important being are you serving dinner tonight. He said, “Yes, seating begins at 6:15”, and looking at his watch said “That’s now.” I was followed into the dining room by everyone that had been in the bar. I joined two brothers and their mother for supper. They were on their way home to Nebraska after visiting relatives in Sacramento, California. After supper I visited with Mike until he closed the place. Mike is an interesting, if challenging, person to visit with.

Friday 30 April 2010.
There is a fresh cover of snow on everything this morning. It is about 2 inches thick. Harold got up and joined me in the kitchen while I was heating water for tea and oatmeal. He made me a bowl of 7 grain cereal sweetened with a very special honey. Many years ago Harold’s brother-in-law, Leo Eves, had given him a large container of dark honey from Newcastle, UT. Harold still had some left, and I used it to sweeten my 7 grain cereal. I knew Leo well as he and my cousin Virginia had visited my parents several times when I was a child in Selma, California, so the honey brought back many memories.

I arrived at Elizabeth’s house about 0845. She drove up a couple of minutes later. Her house is a red brick building that stands out among the mostly white houses of this Salt Lake City neighborhood. I showed her my web site. We added some information about her and her sisters. Her boyfriend wanted some information about his deceased sister, and I quickly found her birth, marriage, and death information. Elizabeth was very excited. I followed Elizabeth to the Family History Center where we worked until noon trying to identify the parents and siblings of my great grandmother, Joanna Petty Hardwick Teel. We had free access to numerous web sites and the help of experienced genealogists. Elizabeth left for work at noon. After lunch I returned for a couple of hours.

On the way back to Harold and Helen’s, I stopped at Cabela’s, a large outdoor equipment store and museum. Geese are flying over the entry; glass display cases usually reserved for merchandise contained mounted birds and mammals in dioramas of their native habitat. There is a large mountain in the middle of the store covered with mounted animals. There is a large room dedicated to North American wildlife, and another with large aquaria containing North American fishes. The store also has the largest display of firearms I have seen anywhere. It is worth a visit.

Harold and Helen had a supper of chicken, mashed potatoes, and green salad waiting for me when I returned at 1800. After supper Harold and I looked through a large album of family photos he had gotten from his sister Louise. Most of them I had not seen before. I urged him to have Elizabeth scan them and distribute them to all interested family members.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.
Thursday. 29 April, 2010
I slept soundly until 0630, the first time in a bed since I left home last Sunday. I went outside to take pictures of the house and barn. The wind was still blowing hard, and a few flakes of snow were falling. I didn’t stay outside long because it was so cold. I put water on to boil, and Carolyn got up to offer to cook me breakfast, but I told her I had oatmeal to cook. After Jimmy, Ron, and Kay got up we took pictures and I headed for Salt Lake City.
I stopped at the auto parts store in Dove Creek to buy a splitter for my cigarette lighter so I could charge my GPS and listen to my ipod at the same time. The manager of the auto parts store was a very friendly fellow. He offered to help me open the plastic packaging. I accepted his offer, telling him I would avoid buying anything packaged in this manner if I had an option. He agreed that he too disliked it.
It started to snow seriously, so I called home and my cousin Harold Wilcox in Salt Lake City while I was in Dove Creek to discuss the weather and whether I would be able to get over the Sierra at Tahoe or would have to go south to Tehachapi. Harold said there was less snow in Salt Lake City than in Flagstaff, Arizona and recommended that I come through Salt Lake City. I told him I would try to get there that evening. I took some photos of the Abajo Mountains from somewhere between Dove Creek and Montecello.
I stopped at the Mountain View RV Park in Montecello to pay for the shower I took there yesterday, and took a few more photos of the snow covered landscape just north of Montecello. I drove north on 191 through some very scenic country, then west on I 50 and north on 191 again to Helper where I took a nap next to a display of mining equipment and got fuel. Helper is an interesting town; one that I could have spent a day in. It is the home of the Western Railroad and Mining Museum, and the historical buildings have been preserved so that the town looks much as it did a hundred years ago.
I arrived at Harold and Helen Wilcox’s home in Highland, UT before 1800. They had a supper of spaghetti and green salad waiting for me. Their daughter, Elizabeth, came by after supper. Elizabeth is a bubbly, high energy person with the best hug I have ever experienced. She offered to show me the Family History Center in Salt Lake City tomorrow. Harold and Helen have a large basement with bedroom, bath, large living room and wet bar. I helped Elizabeth make up the bed, and Harold got out an electric heater in case I got cold. I didn’t need it.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

We had coffee in camp before driving into Blanding for breakfast. Bob headed home after breakfast, and I called Kay Garlinghouse. I told her I was in Blanding, and she enthusiastically invited me to come on over to Lewis, Colorado for a visit. I drove to Montecello, Utah. I stopped at the BLM visitor center to ask where I could get a shower. I fueled the Honda and stopped at the Mountain View RV Park for a shower before driving to Lewis, Colorado. I greeted my cousin Jimmy and his wife Kay before going next door to greet my Cousin Carolyn and her husband Ron. Ron and Carolyn had just arrived from their winter quarters in Arizona the day before. Carolyn had just taken some cinnamon rolls out of the oven and offered me one. I gleefully accepted. Ron soon joined us, and then Jimmy. A repairman was trying to get their telephone working. We visited most of the afternoon, discussed taking a ride on ATVs to see the 234 acre ranch, but the wind was blowing up a lot of dust, and it did not look like a good day for an ATV ride. Jimmy has irrigated pasture for his livestock in the summer, and grows 50 acres of alfalfa hay. He sells about half the hay and feeds the rest to his livestock in the winter. He has about 50 head of sheep, 50 head of Boer goats, 40 head of cattle, and his son Marc has half a dozen horses on the ranch. Marc’s daughter Hunter Jo joined us for supper in Dolores. She is 11, in 4 H with projects in goats and sewing. Her sewing projects went to the state fair last year. Kay had to go to work; she is the medical emergency coordinator at the Ute Mountain Casino. Marc is an EMT, and he got called out on an emergency. Jimmy and Kay’s daughter Monica is a respiratory therapist in Denver. After supper, Carolyn invited me to spend the night, and made up a bed in the spare bedroom for me.
Tuesday 27 April 2010

I slept in until 0630. I started the stove and went back to my pack for my breakfast food. When I returned to the kitchen, Bob was making coffee. I added raisins and walnuts to my oatmeal this morning, and had a cup of tea afterward. Bob thought it was colder this morning than the previous morning, but last night was the first time I didn’t zip my sleeping bag up during the night.

We began hiking at 0930. Bob showed me more ruins and we saw more wildflowers. We hiked to a location where we can hike out of the canyon and not far from where I left my Honda Civic hybrid. We ate lunch of tuna wraps at 1300, and Bob filtered more water with his gravity powered filter. We are using plastic bladders to hold our water. Mine still gives my water a bit of plastic flavor so I began adding lemonade flavoring to my water this morning. The water here is quite alkaline and leaves white and blue stains on the red sandstone. There are a few thin blue layers of rock (limestone?) in the red sandstone. I ground some into a paste this morning and rubbed the blue paste into a piece of red sandstone. When it dried it seemed to be fairly difficult to remove, and may be one of the colors used in creating the snake pictograph we saw earlier.

After our lunch of tuna wraps we cached our backpacks and hiked downstream with our day packs. The canyon widens here with wide terraces first on one side of the creek, then on the other. The Anasazi farmed these terraces. We found a large habitation site at the foot of the cliff on the left side of the creek, and a bit farther downstream a habitation and food storage site near the top of an isolated portion of the mesa. We hiked to the top and investigated the site.

It is quite windy, and getting cloudy. It looks like it might rain. We returned to our backpacks about 1600 and after a short rest, began the climb out of the canyon. The trail is well marked until we approach the top of the mesa. There the trail becomes hard to follow and we lost it several times, but Bob’s local knowledge took us right to my car.

We drove to Mexican Hat for a 6 pack of Polygamy Porter before driving to Bob’s Toyota pickup. Lots of people were camped at the trailhead, so we drove to another trailhead where we made camp. Bob cooked supper while I put up my tent for the first time this trip. The wind has been blowing since about noon and the sky is now thick with dust obscuring the views of distant mountains.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.

Monday 26 April 2010

The moon is nearly full so I can’t see many stars. I did see the winter circle Saturday evening and this morning about 0300 I saw Arcturus and the summer triangle as well as the big dipper and Polaris. Bob set up his stove and a pot of water within reach of his sleeping bag before going to sleep last night. I lit the stove and put the water on to boil. Bob made coffee with Starbucks instant. We drank our coffee and made oatmeal. After finishing my oatmeal I hiked back up the creek to look for my camera. I found it on the left side of the creek where we crossed it just above two waterfalls. It was hanging in a shrub about a foot off the ground. Apparently the woven fabric wrist strap was hanging out of the camera case on my backpack hip strap and snagged on the shrub pulling the camera out of the case.

When I returned to camp, Bob was packed and writing notes. I packed and we began hiking down the creek about 0900. We explored a very large ruin not far below our first camp. We were about ready to leave when Jeff and Holly walked up. They had yodeled at us from the right rim last night, but we had no idea it was them until we met them in the canyon. They are day hiking. We hiked another hour downstream and had chunk light tuna wrap in the shade of a cottonwood tree on a stream terrace probably farmed by the Anasazi. They grew corn, beans, squash, and cotton. We have been seeing a small deciduous oak the past hour. It is usually no taller than 2 m (6 or 8 feet). The buds have broken in the past couple of weeks and there are several leaves and catkins on at the end of almost every twig.

We made camp under a cottonwood tree where dead cottonwood logs surround several flat stones. Bob set up the stove on the flat stones before going for a hike to a nearby spring where water drips from a layer of rock 15 to 20 m (50 feet) above a deep pool of water. This dripping water creates a habitat different than any we have seen this trip. It is early spring here, and the plants are just beginning to grow, but I can see that the walls are nearly covered with vegetation later in the year. Bob says he has seen columbines here. The pool is surrounded by a dense copse of willows.

We returned to camp, made supper and finished off Bob’s vodka. Bob mixed it with flavored EmergenC powder and water, and it makes quite a nice cocktail. I hiked up the left slope and sat on top of a large boulder. While there I saw a mammal running towards me along a ledge about 200 m away. He continued towards me until about 30 m away where he or she disappeared into a crack in the rock. The mammal had a bushy tail nearly as long as its body and half the diameter of its body. Its legs were short, and its nose pointed. It looked somewhat like a weasel, but much larger, about 60 cm long. Bob suggested it might have been a fox. That seems like a possibility.
Sunday 25 April 2010
After breakfast we left my Honda Civic Hybrid at the campsite and drove Bob's Toyota pickup to the trail head. Bob showed me some pictographs and a ruin on top of a ridge with great views of the surrounding country. The ruin may have been a lookout or guard station, and the occupants warned their people of impending attacks. My legs started cramping about 1530. We filtered water, After resting for an hour I was able to resume hiking. We tried to climb out of the canyon on the left, but could not get out. We hiked for another hour. When we stopped to inspect another ruin, I discovered that I did not have my camera, so we began looking for a place to camp. We were well short of where Bob had planned to camp. He was bothered that we were camping on the floor of the windy canyon where cold air collected rather than on the top or a thermal belt where the cold would drain off of the campsite. Bob explored the ruins while I stretched and massaged my legs and wrote notes.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.
Saturday 24 April 2010
I was on my way to Bluff, Utah by 0600. I got coffee in Prescott Valley and ate a granola bar as I drove east on highway 69 to Dewey. I took 169 from Dewey to I 17 then north toward Flagstaff. I stopped a couple of times to photograph views of Mt Agassiz. I bought gasoline in Flagstaff, and bought a Navajo taco in Kayenta. I took a few photos from the road in Monument Valley and one of the bridge in Mexican Hat.

I got into Bluff, Utah about 1600 Mountain Daylight Time. I found Far Out Expeditions at the east end of town. I didn’t see anyone around, so I called Bob Helmes on my cell phone. He told me to look behind the house. I found Bob and several friends drinking beer in the back yard. Bob introduced me to Vaughn, Marsha, Desa, Holly, and Jeff. Vaughn and Marsha own Far Out Expeditions, and live next door to the office. Desa, their daughter, is working on an archaeological dig. Jeff is a kayaker, rafter, whitewater outfitter, former owner of a kayak manufacturing company, building contractor, and was with Walt Blackadar, the famous kayaker, when he died. We went to dinner at 1800, and Bob and I headed to our campsite at 1930.

To protect the archaeological resources of this outdoor museum I won’t say exactly where we went. We slept under the stars on top of a mesa. The moon was almost full so we saw few stars, but I could make out a few stars of the winter circle in the west. Before sunrise, the summer triangle was near the zenith.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.

Friday 23 April 2010
I was on the highway headed to Prescott by 0630. I got fuel in Kingman. There was snow on the junipers near the tops of several passes, and a misty fog drifted through the junipers in the high valleys giving the landscape a mystical, fairyland appearance. I stopped to photograph the mist in the junipers twice. The first time I pulled off the pavement I ran over a rock that hit the undercarriage of the Honda.

I got into Prescott, Arizona about 1100. I visited with my cousin, Bruce Hardwick until 1230. He is in the Veterans Administration hospital. He mysteriously lost the use of his legs about 6 months ago, and the doctors haven’t been able to restore his use of them. He sold his house, a historic landmark, and bought another about two blocks from downtown that can be modified for wheelchair access. He hopes to have the modifications completed in a couple of months so he can move there. I went to a garage where a friend of Bruce’s put my Honda up on a rack. I had put quite a dent in the exhaust pipe and pushed it up against the frame so it made quite a bit of noise. The mechanic used a crow bar to pull the exhaust pipe away from the frame, greatly reducing the amount of noise it made. At 1800 I met Bruce and three of his contra dancing partners at The Raven, a very popular pub downtown Prescott. They have a large selection of beers on tap. I ordered the barbecued ribs and Bourbon Barrel Stout. The stout was served in stemware. I really liked it. It was smooth, malty, with the mouth feel of cream.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Thursday 22 April 2010; Vacaville, California

It is partly cloudy and the street is wet. I suspect it rained a little bit last night. I left Vacaville in my 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid at 0710; destination, Prescott, Arizona. I took highways 113 and 12 through Rio Vista to I 5; then south to Stockton where I cut over to 99. It rained continuously, but lightly from Stockton to Selma. I ate lunch at Sal’s in Selma. My parents lived in a house about two blocks from Sal’s when I was born, and my family ate at Sal’s frequently when I was a child. I also went the high school and college with Sal’s younger sister, Lupe Salazar Vargas who I still see at Selma High School class reunions.

I refueled in Bakersfield. There was fresh snow down to 4500 feet elevation at Tehachapi. I began seeing displays of yellow wildflowers just north of Tehachapi. Those displays continued intermittently to near Needles, California. I stopped to photograph them twice. There were very small poppies, goldfields, a larger orange composite, a purple Mimulus?, very tiny popcorn flowers, fiddleneck, and a small plant with white, bell shaped, Manzanita like flowers. My granddaughter, Marley, called when I was near Barstow. I told Marley, Kooper, and Betty about the wildflowers, snow and rain. I talked Marley through a reboot the Dell desktop computer and log back on. I wished Kooper luck in his baseball game and urged Betty to tape the ankle he sprained last week. It rained again most of the way from Mojave to Needles. I was tired by the time I got to Needles and decided to stay there for the night. I drove around Needles looking for a motel next to a brew pub. I got a draft hefeweizen and Caesar salad at Juicy’s.

You can see more photos of this trip at Picasa.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dia de Tonancin
12 December 2008
Vacaville, California, USA

Betty and I are quite healthy and had a great year full of memorable events. Our daughter, Elaine, and her family, husband Matt and children Marley and Kooper, still live only a block away. Marley and Kooper still spend about 4 hours a day at our house. Betty and I take them to school, pick them up, help them with their homework, play ball, swim, and hike, climb trees and rocks and supervise many craft activities for them and many neighbor children.

We hiked Southhampton Bay shoreline and Marley and her friend, Jaycee, went for the first swim of the year in our pool mid February. We went to a Sacramento River Cats Baseball game for Kooper’s birthday in May. Marley and I had a great time kayaking Putah Creek with my good friend, Bob Langley in July. Betty and I once again helped Elaine coach Marley’s soccer team. We actually coached two teams this year. And we celebrated Marley’s birthday aboard Rob and Nancy Forest’s, Matt’s parents, boat at the Suisun Bay Yacht Club lighted boat parade.

Oliver, our youngest son, bought a house less than a mile away. I helped him build a greenhouse to keep his cactus collection in. Having at least some of our children and grandchildren so close has been a great joy to Betty and me.

Betty and I visited my cousins Louise and Lowell Smith in Chico in January. We found them enjoying life and family. We had lunch with them and their daughter and son-in-law Ruth and John Dunbar and several of their children. We took the back roads to Chico and back. The weather was stormy so we saw lots waterfowl and scenic views of wetlands. You can see some of the pictures I took at Picasa.

Later in January I made some new friends while kayaking Rancheria Creek in Mendocino County. In June I rafted the Rogue River in Oregon with these new friends and some of their friends from South Carolina, Sacramento, and Oregon, once again making some great new friends who later invited me to raft the Grand Canyon with them in November. Photos at PhotoBucket. Although I did not kayak much this year, I was able to spend more than 30 days on western rivers mostly rowing a raft.

We made several trips to Calaveras County to visit my sister, Barbara, her husband, Stan, and her son, Scott, his wife, Angie, and their children, Logan and Brenna. We attended the Calaveras Celtic Faire in March. We saw some beautiful displays of wildflowers on the drive through the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Betty and I took a trip to eastern Washington and northern Idaho in April. We visited my third cousin, Lenora Good in Kennewick, WA. She is a professional writer, and her first novel “Brother Rat” will be published this summer. We continued through the Palouse to visit my cousin Doug McFall and his wife, Holly, in Moscow, Idaho, and my good friend and colleague, Helen Kevo, in St. Maries, Idaho. It was a very good time of the year for photography. Those photos are posted at Picasa as well.

I worked for California Fish and Game almost steadily from January through September this year. I was the Oil Spill Drills and Exercises supervisor most of the year, and wrote a report on the Cosco Busan Oil Spill of November 2007.

Once again Betty and I spent Halloween and her birthday in New Jersey with our oldest son, James, and his family. We greatly enjoyed visiting with our New Jersey family. The highlight for me was an apple picking expedition with our two grandchildren, Alison and Adam. As you can see from our active life, we are enjoying our retirement.

Best wishes for good health and happiness to y'all.

Jim and Betty Hardwick