Saturday, July 28, 2012

Santee Lakes Sprayground

Our daughter loves water. In fact one of her favorite times of the day is bath time. She always get so exited around the ocean or lakes. I think she gets that from her dad! :-) Anyway, we recently heard about the kids mini water park at Santee Lakes and it sounded like a great way to beat the heat and let Audrey have some fun.

Santee Lakes Sprayground Info

I spent much of my youth around these lakes catching bluegill and bass after school and on the weekends. Since those days there have been quite a few upgrades to this recreation preserve. There are 300 full hook-up campsites, several waterfront and floating cabins, self-propelled watercraft for lake exploration, and access to over 50 miles of regional hiking and biking trails.

This looks like a nice spot for lunch!

No baby girl, we don't eat sticks...

Though the play area itself is only 1,300 square feet in size, the variety of water propelling structures keeps children occupied and exited for a good amount of time.

The sprayground system uses potable water that is treated and filtered before it is recirculated. 

There are benches along the inside the fence for parents to keep a watchful eye on their little ones.

While most of the other kids were older and had no problem testing their nerves for getting soaked, Audrey spent much of her time running around the perimeter of the water obstacle course.

One of the only drawbacks is that the concrete surface of the play area can get a bit slippery. Other than that it was a great way to spent some time close to home on a hot day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Santa Rosa Mtn Family Camping Trip

We don't do much camping in the summer since its usually unbearably hot out in the desert, beach camps are booked full, and Big Bear is a bit out of our way. However, a few years ago I discovered an area that's somewhat closer to home, at a higher elevation. Santa Rosa Mountain and Toro Peak in the San Bernardino National Forest.

This may be one of the best kept secrets in Southern California. A genuine pine forest paradise awaits at the top of Santa Rosa Truck Trail. This wooded island in the sky is a hidden jewel above 8000 feet. This is truly a one of a kind place. Warnings such as "Rocks don't burn, but trees and man will," have been painted on rocks and trees by none other than "Desert" Steve Ragsdale, a man who came to these mountains in the 1930s. He built a cabin atop Santa Rosa Peak (only the fireplace remains today), helped build the road into the area, and remained the unofficial protector of these parts until his death in 1970.

Our Yellow Post campsite, one of 13, right at the peak of Santa Rosa Mountain.

Santa Rosa Truck Trail 7S02

Since my wife had to work Saturday morning we got a late start and ended up finally reaching our camp at around 11:45pm. After lighting the lantern and setting up the tent, I got dinner cooking. Carne asada fajitas!

After eating it was off to bed for us. A full belly and the cool night air had me fast asleep. Autumn was up with thee sunrise and took a few photos before sleeping in some more.

Looks like someone was wondering where mommy went to!

Time to get up yet?

Before breakfast I check out our camp area a bit.

Another campsite below us along the main road.

My ugly mug!

Chorizo & egg burritos for breakfast!

Our baby girl plays while I cook.

Notice the old cabin ruins in the background.

Happy girls!

I think she likes it here!

Happy family!

Heading back down the mountain.

Of course we had to stop for the flowers.

On the way down we came across this rattlesnake on the road.

Before heading home we decided to check out the water crossing on San Jacinto Ridge Truck Trail 5S09, just North of the small mountain town of Idyllwild off Hwy 243.

Lots of folks enjoying this cool oasis in an arid environment.

This turned out to be a great place to relax.

Cooling off.

Playing in the water.

Map of the trail from Pine Cove off Hwy 243, to Bee Canyon off Hwy 74.

All too soon it was time to hit the road and head home. On the way out I noticed a historical marker and took a closer look. It was the Speed-Of-Light Experiment Historical Marker No. 26.
"From this location instruments reflected light in 1926 to Mount Wilson, 82 miles northwest. The work was one of a series of experiments conducted by Nobel-Prize winning scientist Dr. Albert A Michelson to refine the value of the speed of light. Although smoke generated in the valley below prevented measurements from being taken, the experiment encouraged Dr. Michelson to devise more accurate means of measuring the speed of light."