music to live by
My grandfather, Ralph, and me after
a hike in the early
When we were young my grandfather would take us on hikes up
Little Dalton canyon of the San Gabriel Mountains. My grandfather,
Ralph, first came to California in 1929. At that time he was hired, along with
another young man, to build a cabin in the San Gabriel Mountains near Crystal
Lake. Although the adventure did not turn out quite as planned, the cabin
burned down due to an unattended fire, it embedded in my grandfather a love for
the local San Gabriel Mountains.
grandfather was not an environmentalist he was a staunch conservative
(registered Democrat so he could vote for the least likely Democratic candidate
to win). Ralph, my grandfather, taught me to be conservative. His type of
conservation was a quite different type from what it means to be a conservative
now. He believed in conserving resources and getting every little bit of use
out of each possession. (He wore thread bear undershirts to get every little
bit of value he could out of them).
My grandfather started something that I never got enough of,
exploring natural places.
I love the mountains.
As a young boy I was able to get on my bike, ride to the
mountains and go on an adventure of exploration. I have backpacked
and hiked many places in the High Sierras of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
I usually go to the area of the High Sierras that is sandwiched between the
Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Parks and Yosemite National Park. I have been
to Sequoia / Kings Canyon National Parks and Yosemite National Park many times
especially when my boys were young.
I have not spent to much time in
the northern Sierras but have camped and explored in the northern Sierras of
Placer, El Dorado, Nevada and Sierra counties. I have also camped at Lassen but
that is really not the Sierra anymore.
I love canoeing.
I take the canoe along any time that I will be near small lakes
on which only canoes or trolling motors are allowed. Me and the
canoe do not get along with jet skies and large boats. One time we decided to
paddle from Laughlin to Needles. We found out that the jet skiers do not take
to kindly to natural adventurer types. One jet skier nearly went through the
canoe and did swamp us. They got a good laugh. I have had an intense dislike
for jet skiers since then.
Another time we decided to paddle from
Needles to Lake Havasu City. We were enjoying the trip paddling into backwaters
watching the ducks, egrets and herons. At one point we made a wrong turn
though. We did not know that down the waterway we were following was a large
sand dune where the locals gathered to party and slide. The locals used a water
pump to shoot water unto a sheet of plastic laid on the sand dune. They then
slid down it like a giant water slide. Looked like fun but we quickly found out
as outsiders we were not welcome. They threw beer cans at us and jumped off the
back of their boats to try to swamp us. They acted like the
barbarians that adhere to the
cult of materialistic consumerism act - uncivilized.
I love the desert.
I have always trekked to the desert in the early spring after
the rains have come. This is the best time to see the wildflowers
and the weather is usually milder, not too hot as in the summer or too cold as
in the winter. We used to camp at Joshua Tree quite frequently but now
typically only backpack as the conversion to a National Park (with the ensuing
onslaught of motor homes with loud generators) and an influx of rock climbers
has made finding a campsite nearly impossible and not worth the effort.
I now prefer to go to the east Mohave National Preserve to
camp. The Mohave National Preserve is still relatively untrammeled
but since it has been turned into a National Preserve federal government
"improvements", rules and regulations are eroding the freedom it once afforded.
Still it is possible to find places were one can just pull off the road and
I have a favorite place in a pinon pine forest that of last
spring was still a great place to camp away from "improved" campgrounds but
there is no way I am letting my secret out.
The last time we went to
the Mohave National Preserve we camped at the base of the New York
Copyright © Lawrence Turner