Front Country Ranger Station and Bonita Falls near Lytle Creek

2/22/17 Wednesday in Lytle Creek, CA (Mountain Lakes-ROD)

The day after we arrived here we took advantage of the good weather which we could see would be leaving by Friday. So last Wednesday we drove down to the Front Country Ranger Station on Lytle Creek Road to see how to find the elusive Bonita Falls we’d heard about. Unfortunately, the station was closed that day but we did enjoy hiking on a couple nature trails; one a garden trail, the other in the hill nearby. The garden trail was sweet, but there were no worthy photo opportunities. I did get a nice picture coming back from our nature trail trek:

front-country

On Thursday we returned to an open Ranger Station, getting maps and instructions for finding Bonita Falls. You park near the “Hidden Acres” sign on Lytle Creek road, cross the creek there and walk up the wash, looking to the left of the wash for a small, unmarked path. My lesson: I should have brought my walking stick because our way was riddled with good sized rocks, not the sand I was imagining from the washes in Palm Springs. Sadly, there was a great deal of graffiti along our way in the wash as well as on the trail to the Falls. It took us over ½ hour to reach the falls, so recognize this wasn’t a simple hike. We sure enjoyed the Falls just the same and were amazed at how many people we met along the way, when it was a cloudy and cool day. There even was a sweet young couple on a large rock looking up at the Falls when we arrived who offered us a strawberry. Sweet!

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The wash we walked up, at least a pretty part of it.

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Bonita Falls, including graffiti.

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Bonita Falls, well worth the effort.

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We learned, at the Ranger Station, some interesting information regarding Lytle Creek and this campground. The early inhabitants were Serrano Indians, the Mormons arrived, establishing a permanent settlement. They were sent to help with the Mexican war but it had ended by the time they’d arrived. The creek is named after their Captain Andrew Lytle. Gold fever hit in the 1800’s, yielding mostly small nuggets. There is also evidence that horse thieves used the area to hide their stolen horses. Mountain Lakes Resort began when Silas Glenn the original owner planted an orchard, raised livestock and entertained traveling families beginning in 1865. Silas Glenn turned over his ranch to his son-in-law, James Applewhite, instead of his sons. One of the sons called Applewhite out about the matter that he’d take over the resort, but Applewhite won the argument: both brothers were shot and killed. Forty years later, the bullet holes could still be seen in the front door.

Friday, as predicted, the rains came. Heavy rain for most of the day and all of the night. We spent that day doing all our week’s wash as well as our tax returns. Due to the loud noise of the rain on our Miss Journey, the squealing sounds of our dryer, the dark of the storm along with the stress of getting our tax return right, I was getting a headache and we both were sniping at each other. SO glad that day is over. Neither of us slept that night because of the constant loud rain on our roof. All. Night. Long.

Saturday being another cool (temps in the 40’s) rainy day we were happy to just laze inside our rig.

Sunday John got a sore throat, the beginning of a “heavy cold” or the flu. We went to church, then got groceries, then came home to make our favorite comfort meal: Chicken ala King. The weather continued to be miserable so we happily laid low again.

Monday it was still raining and cold so I skipped my normal house cleaning hoping that the next day would include warmer weather. We did manage to spend that day figuring out our travel plans until the end of 2017. Thursday we’d called Val Vista to secure a site for our RV in Oct-Dec. That’s when we learned they increased the price from $650 for Sept. to Dec. to $995 for Oct-Dec. By Monday we decided that such a large increase was not worthwhile in our opinion, since we have access to Thousand Trails and ROD, having paid a lot for that privilege. So we called Val Vista to cancel. I’ll miss all they had available (hiking, computer club, exercise classes, and line dance classes) and John will miss his golf and the bands. We’ll get along enjoying the activities available wherever we camp, just like we have before this year.

Tuesday I cleaned house and even scrubbed and waxed Miss Journey’s headlamps. Then I rested, along with John.

Wednesday, today, we’re still relaxing to TV and reading in our RV, although we did take a stroll in the campground to where the fire had reached last summer. They only lost one cabin, so that was good luck.  John is still suffering, not sleeping well, so we’re relaxing still.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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