January 23, 2009

Slipping Underground

While not really a camping trip, it did occur in the mountains near Arrowhead -- way inside the mountains. Today, Andy and I went 4,000 feet inside the mountain on an incredibly rare tour of the construction of an eight-mile long tunnel from Devil's Canyon to Waterman Canyon.

The tunnel is being built by the Metropolitan Water District to move 10,000 cubic feet of water per second to the Diamond Valley Reservoir. We got the tour because of my volunteer work with the US Forest Service.

The engineering of this project is too fascinating and too involved to describe here, but should make for a great campfire discussion if you get me started. The Waterman end of the tunnel was too busy for a bunch of tourists to get in the way. They were dragging a dozen 60,000 pound, 12' diameter tunnel sections through a 19' diameter bore. We went through the Devil's Canyon end, walking almost a mile through the pipe, past various stages of grouting, forming and welding, to this pipe placing machine that places the smaller pipe into exact position. We kept looking for Mike Rowe and the Dirty Jobs crew. What an amazing experience.

January 10, 2009

Backup Plan

Our friend Paul runs the Holcomb Valley Scout Ranch, and we had planned on camping there in March, however record snowfalls have sealed the valley. Getting to the camp requires crawling over several miles of bad dirt roads, so as a backup, I reserved a hookup site in San Mateo Canyon. The reservation is for just one night, but we can loiter in the day use area to maximize our time on the famous, "Trestles Beach."

January 1, 2009

The Year Ahead

As the new year begins, a look at the calendar reveals our camping plans for 2009. I can't take credit for any of these photos. They're all from visitor's bureaus or campground sites.

In January, we're planning a boy's trip to Joshua Tree National Park.
In February, we will be spending several days in Big Sur.
If the snow has cleared in March, it could be another boy's trip, this time to Holcomb Valley. We'll be there again in September.
In early May, we'll be out boondocking in Death Valley.
In late May, we'll be at Leo Carrillo State Beach near Malibu.
June is too busy for camping, but in July, we'll be camping to the left of these stairs at San Elijo State Beach.
We have a long trip to Zion National Park planned in August and back to Holcomb in September.