Happy and Healthy and Safe to All…

Happy Holidays all! If Christmas is your thang, that too. Hope it is all happy and healthy and safe. It’s quiet and weird this year, but relatively safe. We are just doing one shorter gathering outside later today to do all the food and presents, and our other gathering was on Zoom last night.

I missed the prompt for yesterday, so again, I’m pushing two into a day. The State of My Work Table. Um. I don’t have just one work table…in fact, I don’t really have anything I consider a work table? I use the light table for some of the art process, although it’s currently being used for school as well. I sit on the couch for some parts, the drawing and cutting. I sit at a sewing machine that is on a desk used for other things as well. I have a rolling table I use for some other parts of the process…you can see that here with the ironing board and the sewing desk.

Everything is kind of jimmy-rigged together, no fancy work table or setup. I’d say I’m obviously doing it wrong, but it works for me. Sure, I’d love a giant sewing room with a big table in the middle, but that’s not in the cards right now. I have what I have and I make it work. I have to clean up between each project because otherwise there isn’t room to do the next one. That’s probably a good thing. If I had more space (this is an 8×10′ room and the computer is in here too), I’d fill it and have to clean a larger space. It works.

Today’s prompt is Show Us Your Scraps. Um. Again. I don’t separate my fabric by size of piece…color is a much more useful separation for me. So they’re all in bins of different sizes…

And the smaller bits are shoved in there too, as you can see in the bottom right corner…

If I need black and white, odds are I don’t need a huge piece, so this is what I pull from. Most of what I do doesn’t use huge pieces.

Christmas Eve Eve was spent watching bad television with the girlchild while grading science. She managed to decorate some cookies in between drama on the TV…

Simba worked hard…

Oh yeah. Wish I were that dog.

I took pictures of my pitiful tree…I managed 5 ornaments this year and that was it. Oh well.

It was a good thing I took that picture, because when we got back from our hike, all the presents were gone to the ex’s house, where Xmas will happen. Outside. On a deck. In the sun.

The man and I decided to spend Xmas Eve on the 4th hike of the Coast 2 Crest Challenge, San Pasqual Valley to Raptor Ridge.

It claims to be 5 miles. It’s not. It was 4.4 miles.

The first part is very flat and runs next to the road and then wanders off across probably old fields. I don’t think these are native. They were planted in very straight rows. But they’re pretty.

We didn’t see many people on the trail. Or the Not a Trail.

It’s an easy hike even with the short bit of UP to get you out of the valley.

It would be really hot on a summer’s day.

Very little shade. So interestingly, a few years back (wait…searches blog…February 2014, to be specific), I hiked from the other direction, near the mall in Escondido, past Mule Hill, out to this tree. Yes, this tree. I remember it. It was an 11.8-mile hike that day…much longer than today’s.

So it was interesting to link up to that hike 6 1/2 years later.

A view of the valley that looks similar to one I took that day. We took the required selfie (we get a patch when we finish all five)…

It was cloudy and gloomy, but still a little warm. Started to rain when we got back to the car…

It might be prettier in Spring…wildlife!

He kept poking his head out to see if we’d left. We hadn’t.

We came back and I read for a bit, then Zoomed with the man’s family for Christmas Eve, then graded while watching a movie by the fire. The sky was impressive.

Yes, I graded on Christmas Eve. Y’all, I just want it done and out of my hair. I don’t want it hanging over me. And I don’t want to deal with it in January, which often happens.

Sleepy Kitten.

All the cats were pretty chill, because the dogs were with the kids at their dad’s house. Until a moth showed up.

And then there was excitement all around…

Christmas presents for cats are so easy…just find them a bug.

Eventually the man caught the moth and we released it outside, but sure, Luna had her paw on it twice and then fumbled it. So much excitement.

Oh yeah, I drew after I finished grading.

I finished science anyway. Still have 5 large art assignments. Honestly, yes, on Christmas Day, I am going to try to bang through one of those. I NEED THEM DONE. But here’s last night’s drawing for you.

And no, I haven’t been able to work on the current quilt for the last two nights…too much other stuff going on. But later today, the family will meet and social distance and eat and gift. And then tomorrow, the girlchild wings back to Boston and another COVID test and quarantine, while we keep on keeping on here. Yeah, having her home was a bit of a risk, but the family health issues have had her and the rest of us pretty worried and anxious, so hopefully this will help. Hope your holidays are whatever you need them to be. I guess mine need to be quiet yet productive and apparently full of sugar. Could be worse. It’s a beautiful day and I don’t have to Zoom. Oh wait, I’ll be FaceTiming later, won’t I? Ah well.

Mule Hill Trail to Raptor Ridge

I spent about 3 1/2 hours this morning hiking Mule Hill Historic Trail in the San Dieguito River Valley to the beginning of the San Pasqual Valley Trail, going through Raptor Ridge (over? through?) on the way. The trail map is here, if you’re interested. We started in Escondido off of Sunset (across from the mall), and there happened to be a very small farmers’ market taking place, so traffic was a mess. I’m fairly sure I did a hike out of here over 10 years ago, but going the other direction, under the freeway towards some hill on the other side.

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This is part of the Coast to Crest trail, which will eventually be 55 miles from the coast near Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian.

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We didn’t do the whole thing…went 5.9 miles out and back. I guess the whole thing of that section is more like 24 miles…11.8 seemed plenty for one day.

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It was a little on the warm side, certainly in the high 70s/low 80s for part of it, although there was a decent breeze, and the clouds kept it a little cooler. You could totally feel the potential for nasty summer heat baking up off the dirt when the sun was shining down on the eastern side of the ridge, though. I mean, this is February.

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The skies were amazing today.

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The trail is mostly flat and fast through the valley, although there is a lot of competition with mountain bikers. In general, the bikers are good people, respectful of trail rules (everyone yields to horses, bikes yield to people). We didn’t see any horses today, although they are allowed on the path.

There is a section of the trail that travels next to farmland, mostly strawberries it looked like.

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You can see the plastic covering some sections. When you get further out into the valley, you can see the beginning on the left of the hills that lead into Raptor Ridge, which peaks out at 1000′ in elevation (not super high, eh?).

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There were very few trees on this trail…so very little shade. Summer would be difficult.

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Once you get out of the valley and start climbing into the ridge, there is some green and trees to shade you for the first part…

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This is also generally where the mountain bikes disappear. It’s a one-track trail at this point, and it climbs fairly steadily from the valley up to about 600′ elevation, maybe a little higher. You can see the San Pasqual Valley from this section.

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In the beginning of the hike, I was out in front with about three other hikers. It was a really big group, about 36 people, and it was just too many people and too loud for me. I guess when I’m out in nature, I want to actually BE out in nature. I don’t mind talking, but it was just too many live bodies in one space. At this point, though, when we started to climb, somehow I ended up being first, so once I got into my rhythm, I just kept going.

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They’re all strung out on the trail behind me…not too far behind…

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More of the San Pasqual Valley, sort of towards the Wild Animal Park.

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I wasn’t trying to be antisocial. I just find it hard to hike slowly. Or behind people who are slower than I am. Or in huge groups of people. Sigh.

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There are a few viewpoints on that side of the ridge…this is looking up to the peak, although apparently the trail doesn’t go up there…you have to bushwhack it.

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We kept going around the ridge to the San Pasqual Valley side looking for some mythical bench that never appeared. Once we realized we had hit 5.9 miles…this is where you remember that however far you hiked out, you still have to hike back…the organizer decided to have us go back to the viewpoint.

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So we did…took the obligatory group photo and snacked a bit. After about 10 minutes of drying the sweat off your back and eating something, a couple of people said they were taking off, so instead of being a social butterfly (I’m not), I took off after them.

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I was kinda tired of hearing boys tell girls to “work it.” Sigh. Sometimes. People.

There’s the rest of them at the viewpoint…they never did catch up with us…to our credit, we were moving pretty damn fast.

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It only took about an hour and a half to get back to the parking lot…about 5.5 miles

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I eventually caught up with the three ahead of me (garter snake on the path stopped them for a bit, just to move him out of the way) and hiked out with one of them, who is a high-school teacher…so we had lots in common. That was pretty much the only conversation I had.

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I do better in smaller groups. This is a pretty easy section of the trail, even with the climb up to the ridge. Certainly, you could wander the river valley for a while with kids or dogs and have a good time, turning back when you’re ready, although I suspect it gets quite warm sometime in June or July through late October. Someday I will do the next section, across the San Pasqual Valley…maybe with someone to pick me up on the other end. I can do 12 miles…not sure I can double that though. The hips and knees eventually complain.

It was a good workout, a good day for it. Not sure where my next hike is…I don’t have one planned for another 3 weeks…will have to see if I can do something before that.