Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lele Kawa at Squaw Lake, CA

I was surprised to learn form some guys at work that there was some cliff jumping near Yuma. Could this be real? An opportunity to do some lele kawa here in the desert.

It turned out to be true, and the cliffs are no joke. They loom about 35 feet over Senator wash. The only catch was unless you have a boat, you need to hike about a mile to get there. Now a mile doesn't sound that far but remember in the desert summer when the water is warm enough that you want to jump the air temp is often over 110. The mile there isn't too bad, its the mile back that is killer.

 Center of the photo has a 30 foot cliff
This photo lacks scale, but that point on the right is about 40 feet

The trailer for "Lele Kawa's literally living the dream" shows some clips from our time at the cliffs, and the full movie should contain even more.


Early season snowboarding at Big Bear, CA

The worst part about early season snow is only two runs being open and lift lines. The best part is all the snow bunnies in tank tops as the day heated up.

It had been a while since I spent any time on a snowboard, so I was happy to get up to Big Bear, CA for the long weekend. Plenty of fake snow on the two open slopes, one beginner and one intermediate. The good thing was the intermediate trail had a bunch of man made terrain scattered all over it.

Normally I shy away from terrain parks in favor of glades or side country, but for early season you have to take what you can get. They had a good variety, which was nice. They had rails, boxes, small table tops, larger kickers, and some large pipes.


San Bernardino camping

After I split from my friends in Joshua Tree, I headed to Big Bear Lake, CA for some snowboarding. I didn't really have any plan for this part of the weekend. Before I hit the road from J Tree I went online to see what camping and lodging options I had.

I found out about Yellow Post camp sites, from my google search. The main permit needed was the Adventure Pass, that I have had and barely used for about a year now. A further search gave me the map below, which showed me the locations of all of the sites.

View Yellow Post Campsites (partial) in a larger map

I decided to try for Yellow Post 26, because it was the closest to the lake and the ski resorts. I was amazed to find that the site was empty, since it was less then a mile off the paved road and 3 days into a 4 day weekend.

Once I arrived I was disappointed I didn't have my mountain bike. There was a constant stream of bikes headed up and down "Plantation Trail", which is mapped below. The weather was perfect for some biking. The ground was a little crunchy from the cold rather than wet with snow in spots but the air was a comfortable 60 or so in the early evening.


Up to "Shit" creek with a Paddle board

I finally did it. I paddled a SUP board from Gateway Park in Yuma, up river to the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers, here often referred to as shit creek.
Board in front of the Ocean to Ocean bridge

It happened to be a little cooler this time, but I still set out around 1:30 in the afternoon sun. The cool weather must have scared away most of the floaters, because there were only 3 groups that I saw.

Going upstream was burning my arms out. It started to seem like I would never make it. There were a few times I though about turning back to attempt another day, but I pressed on. Eventually I made it to "shit creek". It wasn't very crowded, just a few people camping out and some trucks tooling around.

I decided to head up the Gila for a just a little bit. It proved to be too shallow after not very long, so I turned around and went up the Colorado for a little distance. Once I found a little beach to myself, I stopped for my break.

View during my break

After my break was the easy part, downstream. I kept a pretty good pace on the downstream, paddling the whole way rather than just floating. The worst part was the sun had gotten low and was in my eyes the whole way. I arrived back at Gateway Park just as the sun was setting.


Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

This year Yuma hosted the 22nd annual Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival. I took it as an opportunity to break out the camera and take some pictures.

It didn't hurt that they were pouring beer and serving barbecue. For $15 they had tethered balloon rides, to a high of 75 feet. It sounded better than it looked, so I didn't partake.

After my food and drink, I picked my seat in the stadiums bleachers. My seat seemed to provide a pretty good angle for seeing the balloons for the glow.

Watching the balloons inflate with the sky still bright was underwhelming. As the sky got darker the balloons started looking better.

After it wasn't getting any darker, I decided to wander around the grounds. It was kinda cool feeling the heat from the burners in all directions.

As I was leaving, I turned to see the balloons from the parking lot. I think this gave one of the best view. Being farther away evened everything out a little better.