It’s always a fun weekend when our grandchildren visit. This Saturday Quade and Noah came over in the morning and then Dawn picked up Brooke from an ice skating party in the late afternoon. During the afternoon before Brooke arrived, I decided to take the boys on a hike and, naturally, I grabbed my camera. We’re fortunate to live near the Cleveland National Forest, so after a short seven-minute drive we were in the wilderness. It was so serene you wouldn’t even know there was a city nearby. Our dog, Emma, was more than happy to go along, sniffing every poop pile along the way.
For those who think Southern California is an arid desert, this scene should be enlightening. By the end of the summer, of course, these hills will be very dry and wildfires are always a possibility, but at this time of year the hills were as green as the Scottish highlands (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit).
But we did find what looked like a Scottish thistle.
After we went some distance we came to a giant mountain that was begging to be scaled.
I know, the scoffers among you are saying that mountain in the background doesn’t seem so giant, but trust me, if you tried to climb it you’d think differently. But climb it we did. First we had to skirt a dangerous cactus patch that was just waiting for an unsuspecting hiker to tumble into it.
The boys (and Emma) were well ahead of me, but then I’m ancient, have a bum knee, and had to carry a heavy and cumbersome Nikon D700.
Eventually, after crawling much of the way on hands and knees, we reached the summit. The views were spectacular both ways–to the southwest we could see Catalina Island, more than forty miles away. If you look closely on the photo below (you may need to click on it to enlarge it) you can see the ships on the ocean between the mainland and Catalina. Looking the other way we could see through the Santa Ana Canyon all the way to Riverside.
When we reached the bottom of the hill, Quade took a picture of Noah and me.
Then Noah wanted to take a picture of Quade and me. It was something of a miracle that he could hold the very heavy camera, find the shutter release with his small fingers, and still manage to capture his subjects. But I think he did a very good job—even deciding to take an artistic shooting angle!
On the way back a couple more photo opportunities presented themselves. I liked this lone tree on a hillside.
Near the end of the trail we walked through some brilliant yellow wildflowers. I got a picture of Quade doing his Kobe Bryant angry face.
It was a lot of fun. Later, after Brooke arrived, we played baseball and Dawn watched a movie with them. The next day we went to Church. The kids cleaned up very nicely. Here is Brooke.
And here are the boys.
After Church Matt and Amy came over and we ate a wonderful pot roast dinner prepared by Dawn. Unfortunately, I was too busy eating to get a photo of of the meal.