Jan 28

Accessing Whitney Portal: How To Make it Work in 2016

whitneyroadworkPress Release (USDA) – If you do plan to visit Whitney in the summer of 2016, please pack your patience and carefully plan your trip to avoid the construction delays and the parking problems.

  • Check the construction schedule before you head up to Whitney Portal (Twitter (@mtwhitneyinfo), at the Interagency Visitor Center (760-876-6222), on the web HERE. There may be times when delays and parking are little impacted. There may be periods with 30 minute delays, and two 3-hour delays per day in the peak of construction.
  • Please be prepared that there may not be a parking space available for you.
  • Consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or explore local shuttle services.

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Jan 28

Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Planned for 2016

whitneyroadworkSignificant Impacts to Access, Parking

Press Release (USDA) – The Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction is planned for the 2016 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety. The project begins just west of Lone Pine and ends just east of Whitney Portal.

Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead on the forest; with hikers applying, by lottery, to ascend the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Mt Whitney is also the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail (JMT).

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Dec 22

Be Gentle to the Lands After a Rain

muddytrailThe “el Niño” weather pattern is being talked about more and more on the news. In Southern California, we’ve had a few days of not particularly heavy rains. This can lead to closure of our national, state, and local parks and recreation areas for a few days after a rain to allow the lands to dry out and become accessible to the public. This isn’t a bad thing; walking on muddy trails can cause damage that can last well for weeks or months afterwards.

Generally, public lands will open up after three days to hikers. Mountain bikers and equestrian trails may stay closed longer. Check at your local park entrance to see what is closed and what is open. From the Irvine Ranch Conservancy page:

“…The expected rain is a welcome change for flora and fauna, but California’s recent drought has left many trail surfaces so dry that even those constructed to direct runoff into surrounding habitat could be overwhelmed by an abundance of rain. Landowners and managers are prepared to evaluate potential storm damage and reduce long-term effects, but you too can minimize rain damage by understanding wet trail conditions and abiding by closures to the trail system.

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Dec 17

What is the best year/model of Jeep that a Jeep Wrangler fanatic would recommend?

TJ200Question: What is the best year/model of Jeep that a Jeep Wrangler fanatic would recommend? I am planning to get a Jeep Wrangler to fix and customize. I want to know which model/year to pick for good performance.

Answer: It depends on what you want from your Jeep.


The CJ-5 is a fantastic vehicle, and it’s ridiculously inexpensive. The best years for it, again, depend on what you want. The 72-75s have a Dana 44 rear and a V8 option. The 76 and newer have a more robust chassis, but a smaller engine bay. The 77-79s had a boxed frame and disc brakes. Finding 76 and newer parts is still fairly easy to do. Earlier ones … well, you’ll do a lot of searching. The good news is that during it’s production run, there were 603,303 CJ-5s manufactured between 1954 and 1983. Continue reading

Nov 23

Wilderness Stewardship Plan

YosemiteTunnelViewThe Yosemite National Park public scoping process to review and update the current Wilderness Stewardship Plan has begun. The current management plan was  adopted in 1989, and is starting to show it’s age.

The proposed new plan will “provide additional policy direction and address contemporary management challenges.”

From the National Park Service website: “Located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of central California, the Yosemite Wilderness area encompasses more than 704,000 acres and accounts for over 94% of the total area of Yosemite National Park. Officially designated by the California Wilderness Act in 1984, the Yosemite Wilderness has long been a place for inspiration, wonder, and discovery.”

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Oct 13

Review: Santiago Oaks Regional Park

bolt-smallLocated on the very eastern edge of the city of Orange, Santiago Oaks Regional Park runs alongside Santiago Creek, Orange County’s main tributary to the Santa Ana River.

This secluded 1,269 acre park – located close enough to most east Orange neighborhoods to walk to, including Orange Park Acres and Villa Park – offers family-friendly nature well within the reach of everyone. There is a mature forest, Santiago Creek, wildlife, and trails for virtually every level of hiker, mountain biker, and equestrian.

Unlike nearby Irvine Regional Park, Santiago Oaks is less of an ‘entertainment’ destination park; you won’t find a zoo, trains, or large open maintained grass areas for parties. It’s a wilderness park. Santiago Oaks calls to the adventurer’s spirit within; the park does offer a cozy amphitheater, BBQs, picnic tables, playgrounds, and an interpretive programs/nature center, but the draw – the beauty – of Santiago Creek are the trails. A vast interconnected series of trails stretch throughout the park offering technical trails for all skill levels, and rewarding the hiker, biker, or equestrian with inspiring views of Orange and the unspoiled foothills surrounding the city. The park trails also connect with the Anaheim Hills Trail System.

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Oct 08

Why are Beagles so popular as pets despite their low intelligence?

boltThe question was asked:

Why are Beagles so popular as pets despite their low intelligence? According to The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, beagles have the “Lowest Degree of Working/Obedience Intelligence”.

According to American Kennel Club, they are the fourth most popular breed used as pets: AKC Dog Registration Statistics

Why do people choose beagles as pets? Doesn’t their low intelligence cause problems?

My answer is simple:

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