Monthly Archives: March 2016

Secret caves at Cabrillo National Monument

 

IMG_3735

I have been trying to get to Cabrillo National Monument for the last two years but couldn’t interest the boys. After much internet research, I finally found a compelling reason – a secret cave! We did some research and found a day with extra low tide at a reasonable hour and made the plan to drive the hour down to check things out…

IMG_3765

We climbed down from the upper level parking lot and then headed north rather than south along the coast line in search of the cave.

IMG_3746Thanks to the very detailed instructions from www.Californiathroughmylens.com we knew not to get suckered in by the first cave we saw but to continue on in search of a tiny slot on the far side of a cove…

IMG_3754The cove on the outside of the cave is pretty cool and we got to see a number of seals frolicking around.

Once you go through the slot you climb down into an opening that has a large skylight above and two entry/exit paths for the water. At low enough tide, and with a willingness to get a little wet, you can wander through the northern opening to check out a whole pod of seals out sunning themselves on a large flat rock.

IMG_3750

We made the most of the visit and went to check out the southern area of sea cliffs and tidal pools.

With all the rocks laying around we had an inukshuk building contest (math, physics, architecture…???) as this was a school day.

We had fun attempting to catch the rock crabs that were hiding in the horizontal slots in the rocks – they move fast!

No day at the beach is complete without playing with the Sea Anenomes… glad we got outside and explore this national monument. Totally worth the drive from North County San Diego.

IMG_3741

San Luis Rey Mission

IMG_3796San Luis Rey Mission was founded in 1798 and is a National Historic Landmark located in Oceanside, California. It is a few blocks off the San Luis Rey bike path so we headed out for a family ride (30km round trip) to check it out… The history of the San Luis Rey area reflects five periods of occupation: Luiseño Indian, Spanish Mission, Mexican Secularization, American Military, and Twentieth Century Restoration.

IMG_3798

The mission was established by Spain as a way to ward of the threat of Russian expansion. Spain had learned that land could be claimed inexpensively by establishing a mission and sending dedicated padres, a handful of soldiers and a few supplies.

IMG_3790

With a shortage of Spaniards in the New World, Spain decided to colonize with the indigenous people. The Franciscans were chosen not only to preach to the Indians, but to teach them new skills so they could become productive citizens for Spain. Between 1798 and 1832 the mission became home to approximately three thousand Indians. In their name and as a result of their labor, the mission cared for over 50,000 head of livestock. Large sections of the mission’s lands were brought under cultivation. Grapes, oranges, olives, wheat, and corn were some of the crops produced. Fields were irrigated by water channeled from the river just north of the mission. The mission was self-sustaining; its buildings were constructed of local materials, such as adobe, fired clay bricks, and wooden timbers. By 1830, the mission was the largest building in California.

After Mexico won the war with Spain in 1821 each mission was given 10 years to fully educate the indians and turn over the missions and land to them. This did not end up happening at San Luis Rey and by 1833 the administrators had actually gathered more land.

IMG_3791

From 1847-1857 the mission was used as an operational base by US military. In 1850 California became part of the United States and the Catholic Bishop in California petitioned for the return of the mission. Unfortunately after it became vacated by the military it sat vacant until 1892.

In 1892 a group of Franciscans from Mexico sought refuge in California and asked the Bishop for a site to move their noviate. They were assigned to San Luis Rey under the guidance of Friar O’Keefe. From 1892-1912, Fr. O’Keefe repaired the church and rebuilt the permanent living quarters on the foundations of the old mission (where the museum sits today). Restoration has continued throughout the years since Fr. O’Keefe’s death. Included in this has been the partial rebuilding of the quadrangle in 1949 for a Franciscan college which serves today as a Retreat Center. During the 1950’s and 60’s the Friars uncovered the soldier’s barracks and the lavanderia from layers of dirt accumulated over the years. In 1984 a restoration effort to stabilize and preserve the exterior of the church building was completed. Conservation of painting and sculptures in the museum collection is an ongoing process, and archaeological investigations continue to unearth the past.

IMG_3802

In search of dirt in Southern California…

IMG_3771

We have spent most of the last two months in North County San Diego at the beach, which is a wonderful place to be. While most of our time has been spent walking and surfing, we have been biking for variety.

IMG_3820

Most of our biking has looked like this – some nice ocean views but a lot of cars and a lot of pavement…. While Oceanside and Carlsbad are both bike friendly cities, there are still a lot of people out driving and not paying attention, which makes this type of biking a tad less relaxing!

IMG_3767While Hunter was out playing Airsoft last weekend Tim and I went in search of dirt and found it at Daley Ranch, a city owned natural area in Escondido.

The entry to the park is a paved road that immediately has you headed up and over a peak and then down into a valley. It’s a bit of a grind to start the ride but at least you get a downhill coast to rest and then the same at the end of the ride.

daley ranch map

We took Ranch House (paved road) up and into the valley, then swung left onto Boulder Loop and hit sandy dirt. This was quite the slog up to the top of the ridge where we were then rewarded with a nice ridge ride along Cougar Ridge. We took a right onto Englemann Oak with the plan on heading back to the valley floor via wooden springs but somehow we missed the trail. That meant a fabulous downhill on the rest of Englemann Oak until we hit Bobcat, which was our first clue that we had missed our turn!

We enjoyed the single track of Bobcat and then had the displeasure of a hike-a-bike up a fairly scramble Cougar Ridge until we hit the top of the ridge again. From there it was a full back track of our earlier ride.

Other than venturing out in the heat of the day (24c) which made the hills quite challenging, it was great to get back onto some dirt!

carlsbad trail mapWith the kid away again today we thought we would try to find some dirt closer to home… We are camping just on the north side of Buena Vista Lagoon (top of the map) so were intrigued with some of the green squiggles on the City of Carlsbad bike trail map.

Hospital Grove Park turned out to be a small set of wooded trails tucked into a corner of land that is a confluence of residential, commercial and large roads in a ravine. We entered off of Jefferson Road which is the lowest elevation point. We road a number of switch backs up and down and enjoyed the wandering along with a few groups of kids out hiking. Unfortunately not all of the trails are connected and the trail section is split down the middle by a major road so riding the whole system was challenging and seemed like a lot of work for not a lot of return.

We headed back out to the ocean for a ride down the Pacific Coast Highway to check out the waves and the beaches before heading back home.

 

Summer in the Slocan Valley

IMG_3651The Slocan Valley is a fabulous place to spend some (or all) of the summer. We found ourselves in this area last summer at the end of June and then again at the end of July – close to three weeks in total. With day time high temps above 40c some days it was absolutely crucial to find ways to get out on the water!

IMG_1836All of our adventures were based out of Endless Adventure’s home base in Crescent Valley where I had spent a week kayaking in 2014. The camping is rustic but the location can’t be beat – just across the road from the lower Slocan River, and comes with internet and a wash house.

With all the wacky river levels last year, we found the river quite low when we came through for our late July visit (definitely not the norm so don’t let that scare you off…). Instead of kayaking (which it is also great for – see our post from the kayak festival a the end of June) we opted to spend time out playing on our SUP.  I think we ran the Upper Slocan three different times and it was fun every time – lots of easy current plus a few deep swimming holes to really cool off.

IMG_1829For our last trip down the boys decided to snorkel the river – that was definitely a work out but it was great to see Hunter so excited about something. It was a really fun afternoon – nothing beats being out or in the water!

The other fun place to go SUPing is on the Columbia River near Robson Landing, just outside Castlegar. Endless Adventures runs SUP clinics here on a weekly basis and it has a great mix, from beginner to expert. You can play in the big eddy, paddle upstream in a slight current or be bold and ferry across the river to the other side and then work on ferrying back across while also going upstream.

The reward for all that hard work was exclusive access to loads of riverside blackberry bushes, fresh for the picking at the end of July!

 

APB – Cops do math & physics at work!!!

 

IMG_3684

As part of the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering we spent an amazing 2 hours in a free workshop put on by the Escondido Police Department. The audience was a mix of homeschool families and high school students and it was standing room only…

IMG_3685The presentation was broken into two one hour sections – Traffic Accident Investigation and Forensics. Both areas were engaging and clearly demonstrated how math and science are used on an every day basis within the police force.

IMG_3686

We learned about all of the tools that the Collision Investigation Unit use – both high tech and low tech to help decode and deconstruct the scene of an accident so they can then replicate it, both to determine cause and to demonstrate the information to others (i.e. in a court room).

We learned how to calculate velocity and what the ideal safe speed is for a car driving at night based upon visibility provided with high beams and human response times (hint… it’s around 28-30 mph).

IMG_3689

We learned about how kinetic energy logic is used to measure the velocity of a vehicle in an accident (what goes in to a force comes out of the force with equal energy – like the balls).

And we learned how you can use math and physics to determine angle and velocity of the vehicles in a crash based upon the angles of momentum and the size of crash damage. I was blown away with how effectively the officers conveyed the information and how they managed to connect it so simply and clearly with the kids in the room!

IMG_3692

The Robbery/Homicide team came in and ran a mock investigation of an incident with blood spatter to determine who’s story was correct between two complainants. It was a little slower paced because the group was so large and they had kids doing some of the work but there were lots of good nuggets of information.

The BEST part of the whole 2 hours was the recommendation that students get a BACHELOR’S DEGREE if they want to become police officers. It was a slam dunk for Hunter that he now needed to shift his goal from college to university – whew… THANK YOU ESCONDIDO POLICE DEPARTMENT!