Monday, February 20, 2012

DAY 461: ALPINE BUTTE WILDLIFE SANCTUARY / BIG ROCK WASH WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Where am I???
Day #461 Hike #520 * New Track #468
Saturday February 18, 2012
Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary

Big Rock Wash Wildlife Sanctuary
Sun Village, CA
Palmdale / Lancaster - California
My Tripometer: 1 Hour * 2 Miles * +250 Feet

Welcome to Palmdale (This car represents the average citizen)
Directions:
From the LA area, take I-5 to the 14 Freeway and head North to Palmdale.  Take exit #35 and turn right on route 138 East E. Palmdale Blvd.  Go through town about 5 miles and when you approach the round-about stay in the left lane.  Go straight on Palmdale Blvd (do not veer right on 138).  Remain on the narrow Palmdale Blvd for another 6+ miles.  When you reach 110th street (traffic light) turn left.  Remain on this for a couple of miles and then turn right on O Street.  About a mile from here you will begin to climb a small hill and you will notice the rock formations.  Big Rock Wash Wildlife Sanctuary will be on the right just as you are beginning to climb the hill.  Park on this side of the road if you wish to hike here.  Otherwise, continue up and over the hill for about a mile.  Alpine Butte Wildlife Sanctuary will also be on the right.  There is a dirt road that you can turn down, 135th Street.  Follow this about a quarter mile in and there is a place to park.  Happy Exploring...

 Looks like my camera is nearing death; not again :(

Snow Capped in the back

That mountain is what is known to the youngins as the North Pole.  When the kids were younger we drove up there every year to go tubing.  "Mountain High" is the proper name of the place.  I guess now that my 8 and 10 year old are older, we no longer go -- maybe next year (I've been busy)







I looked up driving directions on Google Maps and it messed us up majorly!  Rather than turning down 110th, it told us to continue on Palmdale Blvd and turn left on 130th.  Jess was driving and when we got to 130th she said, "I'm not going down there".  Keep in mind we were in the middle of the desert and the dirt road did not look inviting.  I talked her into it and after about a mile, the road ended at another road.  Well, according to our Google directions this road should have gone all the way through.  Hmm, "turn right", I said.  A sign said "Welcome to Sun Village".  There was no town, just some abandoned trailers but maybe people were living in them.  Another sign sprayed in graffiti said "Welcome to Sewage City".  It was truly an eerie feeling back here and we got the heck out.  Fortunately Jess allowed us to find the legit Sanctuary but this detour took away from our exploration time!

Official Websites:
www.devils-punchbowl.com/pages/Alpine%20Butte.html
www.devils-punchbowl.com/pages/bigrockcreekwash.html


Pardon the pun but due to the rocky start I did not have much time to really go in depth and explore for wild flowers and whatnot.  Instead, the kids and I just ran around for awhile and we made the most of it.  The area was cool and the weather was perfect for this area but I wouldn't recommend coming all the way out here just for this.  We jumped back in the car and zigzagged our way for 15 minutes to meet up with Alyssa at the Lancaster Soccer Fields for the next round of the State Cup. 
We were an hour early for the game so I tossed the football around with one of the little brothers of one of Alyssa's teammates.  His father was a former punter at USC.  The young boy wore me out!  I dove on the ground like a teenager, staining my jeans and bruising my elbow.  As I write, my shoulder is still tender from all of the throwing.  Sucks getting old but I still got some mad football skills :)
Unfortunately, Alyssa's Camarillo Eagles lost 3-1.  Plain and simple, the other team was just better and no one on our squad found the will to strike the ball.  Hey, this makes my life easier.  Instead of coming back to Lancaster tomorrow we could go home.  Besides, Alyssa's Viper Team is still alive in the State Cup which will be held in Palm Springs next month...

Day #461 Hike #521 * New Track #469
Saturday February 18, 2012
Downtown Lancaster
Lancaster, California
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hours * 1.5 Miles * +0 Feet


After the game we drove into Downtown Lancaster.  Follow Sierra Highway to Lancaster Blvd aka "The Blvd".  We drove through the downtown first, parked on the far end and then walked the 3/4 mile stretch back and out.  Downtown Lancaster was neat I suppose but ugh, the weather is horrible!  In the summer time it averages over 100 degrees with no ocean breeze and today was just bitter cold and windy.  Forget about it!

 Walk the streets and catch up on aerospace history

 Small but cool Playground in the center of Lancaster

Jess was excited for the cupcake store just behind the playground but all they had left was three raspberry lemon swirl cupcakes and some crumbled up oatmeal cookies.  I mean, why even stay open for that?

 BEX

This is a BJ's style restaurant.  We went inside but decided not eat (saving money).  It was cool though.  There was a separate lounge and a comedy show that came on at 7:00.  However, with the kids we had to pass.  Around the corner and downstairs was a small rock and bowl / bar.  What you may not know about me is that I was in bowling for 10 years as a kid.  I did good, as a kid.  I often won high average and high score for the year but as the game progressed I could not hang.  One of my old teammates still bowls and averages 220 --- that's his average, insane huh?!

Good Night Lancaster - We're heading back to VTA!!!

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