Rose Valley Falls

IMG_7241This is fall break at the Claremont Colleges, the weekend chosen to inaugurate Pomona College’s 10th president, Gabrielle Starr. I don’t have a post about the event, as we choose the weekend to get away. I’m sure it was one for the books.

You can read about it at my friend’s blog here.



Instead, we spent the day in and near Ojai, with a short hike (a stroll, really) in the Los Padres National Forest. Perusing a number of choices for hiking, we chose the one with the most shade as California weather has been hot and dry with the Santa Ana winds blowing.

Driving past Ojai, the coastal mountains were clear.


Around a bend we saw the smallest post office in the US. Aside from the closed antiques store next door, I didn’t see anything that might be called Wheeler Springs. We didn’t investigate, but I’m sure there’s civilization somewhere nearby.


The Rose Valley Falls Trailhead starts in a campground and traverses over a few small streams and through some shaded areas, enjoying what passes for fall colors in Southern California.


The falls were not large, but offered a cool spot on a hot day. I would certainly recommend it for families.




Claremontographer in Kaua’i: Odds and Ends

Beautiful Beaches

Lots of mud

Feral Chickens everywhere

Delightful walk to the Stone Dam


Cute churches everywhere


The waterfalls seen on the opening of Fantasy Island episodes


Little girls from a wedding who were tired of being photographed


and with this sunset picture, you know the end is here


Claremontographer in Kaua’i: Na Pali Coast


Probably more well known than the Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali Coast has offered up great filming locations and great hiking. The coastal trail runs 11 strenuous miles and takes experienced hikers one day from beginning to end (and another day back – so one must acquire a permit and backpack to and fro). Luckily for us moderate hikers, you can hike in for two miles to the lovely Hanakapi’ai Beach (above) and back in a leisurely half day. We chose not to go the additional two miles to the waterfall.

We joined the long never-ending trail of other hikers (some in flip flops which I’m sure resulted in blisters) and headed up (really UP) the beginning of the trail over tree roots and big rocks after reading the warnings.



After a while, we were rewarded with views of not only our starting point, but then what lay ahead.



After 90 minutes or so of mostly up and some downs and a lot of stopping (to take pictures, of course), we arrived at the river just before the beach.

Of course, there was a warning not to go in the water.


Fortunately it had not rained for a few days, so the rocks were available for crossing. Apparently this is not always the case.


The rocky and sandy beach was a perfect place to spend some well-deserved sitting-time.

With lots of stacked rocks to contemplate and photograph

The hike back still required uphill climbing, but it didn’t take quite as long, and we were back in Hanalei for lunch. My calves and hamstrings are still tight, but it was such an amazing hike that I would do it again. I would say this was probably the highlight of our week.



Claremontographer on Kaua’i: Waimea Canyon

Spring break occasionally finds us in exciting locations, and this year we made it to Kaua’i. We’d been to Maui when the girls were teenagers, and then five years ago we took a VW Camper Van around the Big Island at Christmas. Kaua’i was next on our list. Rumor had it that it is the most lush and most remote island with more hiking opportunities than the other islands in Hawai’i.

Kaua’i is known for Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. People say that Mark Twain named it that, but apparently he never set foot on Kaua’i. I guess he named it from all the photos on the internet.


If you stay on the north side of the island, driving to Waimea Canyon is an all-day affair involving lots of driving. Panoramas abound along the road with ample opportunity to get out and enjoy the views.

This waterfall made me think of what water on Mars could look like.

After perusing the various hikes available in the park, we chose one that didn’t seem too long, too short, too much up or down. The Canyon Hike leads to tall, cascading falls, but the book and internet warned that one could not actually see the falls at the end since you are standing above them.

Some kind soul left two walking sticks at the entrance to the hike which we used and returned for the next people in need of walking sticks.

After the hike, we drove to the end of the trail for amazing vistas. These clouds were gone ten minutes after I took this photo.


One of the wettest spots on earth was fairly dry that day.




47 Things: Winter – Part Two

Many winter suggestions are indoor activities, even though we live in a mild climate. The first two on this list are outdoor activities.

  • 31. Hike the Wilderness Trail. Winter is a great time to head to the hills when it is not too hot.






Claremonters in England: The Lake District

We like to end our trips in nature somewhere – mountains, beaches, anywhere where we can hike and soak up beauty. Because public transportation is not terribly convenient in Northern England, we held our breath and rented a car (and no one died, and we didn’t even dent the car). Starting in York, we took a slight northerly detour to visit Hadrian’s Wall, the remains of the 70-mile long barrier from Hadrian’s time as emperor of the Roman Empire. It was built to keep out the barbarians of the north, and it made me think of the Wall in Game of Thrones.

These photos show no blue skies, and when we made it to the start of the hike (after lunch at the wayside called Twice Brewed), a mist was settling in, so the rain jackets came out. We hiked up and down and up and down (with a look at the Robin Hood Tree seen in the bottom row) and I marveled at the wonderful rocky ruin and took many photos.

When we’d had about enough of that, we turned around into the wind, and soon it was whipping up quite a squall, and the camera had to be protected, and we had to make it to the car before we were blown into barbarian country. I don’t remember how many miles we hiked, but I did register 68 flights of stairs for that adventure. It was worth it.

Keswick (pronounced Kes-ick) served as our base of operations in the Lake District from where we hiked every day.

Buttermere Lake offers an easy, flat walk around the lake and sits in the middle of a lovely drive through valleys with waterfalls and little towns. Little Town, seen in the top right of these photos is where Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle lived. We did not see her.

Two other days were spent hiking up various high places to get good views of one of the lakes called Derwentwater. One was Lattrig, another called Catbells, and another was Castlehead.

Castlerigg Stone Circle sits just outside of Keswick, providing another great opportunity to photograph rocks.

Everywhere we went we walked through all kinds of gates with various latches and saw sheep, and then more sheep.

Good-bye, Keswick. Good-bye England!