Hiking the big M near Moreno Valley

I was going to hike Mt Rubidoux yesterday to get a view of Riverside city and parts of Inland Empire, but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to hike Box Springs Mountain Park instead.

There’s two ways to get to Box Springs Reserve Park. You can drive up Box Springs Mountain Rd (there’s parkings along the side of the park) or hike the Two Tree’s Trail. Once you get to the park, it then branches into two main trails:

  • The left one leads to the big M with beautiful panorama of Moreno Valley, Pigeon Pass Valley, Hidden Springs and Riverside.
  • The right one leads to the big C with the complete view of UC Riverside and Downtown Riverside. You can also get to the big C by hiking the Big C Trail at Mt Vernon Ave. This trail (starts at Mt Vernon Ave) is very steep. It’s a little over 1 mile with a gain of 997 ft in elevation.

I started off at 430 Two Trees Rd and took the Two Tree’s Trail. This is a steep trail with a gain of 971 ft over 1.3 miles (a little bit easier than the Big C Trail). Bring lots of water if you’re hiking in the afternoon. I started at 10a.m. and didn’t wear any hat or cap, only a t-shirt and short, so today i’m still suffering from sunburns all over my face, my neck and my arms. It sucked, I know  😦

Two Tree's Trail
The Two Tree’s Trail

The trail starts off very nice…

Box Spring Mt Trail (0)

Five minutes in and you can enjoy some nice view already:

Box Spring Mt Trail (1)

There’s a warning sign of mountain lion and rattlesnakes on the trail so be a little careful when you hike alone. I didn’t see any wildlife except lizards on my way up but I ran into two very colorful rattlesnakes (they’re poisonous btw) on the way down and almost sprained my right ankle trying to avoid them. The trail was lightly trafficked. I only met two hikers on the way.

Took me almost one hour to finish the trail, including photographing and break times (mostly photographing time cause I love taking pictures). I take pics whenever I see beautiful landscapes, to the point I had fights with my family members on many vacation trips cause I kept taking pictures and wouldn’t go when they wanted to leave for other places. Anyway, the view at the top of the trail was worth it:

Box Spring Mt Trail (6)

Now that was only one third of the way to the top of the mountain. As I said above, there are two main trails from here. I continued on and took the left one. The big M, wait for me!

Box spring Trails
The Two Tree’s Trail stops at Box Springs Mt Reserve Park

Wildflowers were still blooming along the road:

Box Spring Mt Trail (4)
Half of the way already!!! Lot of wildflowers.

About two thirds of the way, you can see Sycamore Highlands on the right corner and part of freeway 60 and 215 South in the middle:

Box Spring Mt Trail (2)
Two thirds of the way.

A few minutes later I reached the top:

Box Spring Mt Trail (3)
Beautiful view of Hidden Springs on the left and Moreno Valley on the right

The big M is at the right corner but I didn’t know at the time. I thought there was nothing behind the tower so after taking some more photos at the top I came down. I MISSED IT!!!! I only became aware of it when I was writing this post today. Poor me!

More view of the 215 South, 60 West and part of Riverside (on the right corner):

Box Spring Mt Trail (7)

Before going down, I saw this guy:

Box Spring Mt Trail (5)
Serious hiking stuff right here people!

I don’t know about kettlebell much but that must weigh a lot from how big it look. And that was at the top. Serious leg strength here. I better not skipping leg days anymore. Anyhow, one last view of Moreno Valley with clearer sky on the way down:

Box Spring Mt Trail (9)
I wished I could fly…

Next time I’m gonna try the Big C Trail before the summer kicks in. I definitely don’t like the heat 😦

Whitewater Preserve

Located about 14 miles north east of Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, the Whitewater Preserve is a perfect getaway from the southern California desert heat. At Coachella Valley, the sun is brutal all the time except for winter. Last summer it got up to 122ºF in Palm Springs.

Take exit 114 off the I-10, head north on Whitewater Canyon Dr and one can enjoy the stunning view of wildflowers blooming along the dusty winding road.

Whitewater Preserve (3)Whitewater Preserve (15)

Even though it’s already April but there’s still snow on Mt San Jacinto.

The surrounding area is windy all year round so you can also see a lot of windmills.

Whitewater Preserve (18)

Just as the road’s name suggest, the view of the canyons is spectacular:

Whitewater Preserve (14)Whitewater Preserve (9)Whitewater Preserve (10)

At the end of the road, roll down your car window to enjoy the refreshing air because there’s a river right there. Yes you heard it right, there is a small river flowing year round in the middle of the desert.

Whitewater Preserve (19)

Going into the preserve, the first thing that get my attention after parking my car (there’s a lot of parking spaces in the back even though the sign at the entrance says otherwise) is the pond. Lot of ponds.

They have fishes too. The water in the ponds looks ultra mega clear.

Whitewater Preserve (13)

After taking a walk around, this strange hut caught my attention:

Whitewater Preserve (4)

There are many areas with plenty of shade in case you got tired and wanna sit down. There’s even a picnic area with tables and chairs for families too.

Whitewater Preserve (12)

For those that wanna get adventurous, there are a few trails in the preserve to satisfy your hunger for hiking but be careful. There’s a sign that warns visitors of snakes and mountain lions. And the sun is brutal too.

On my way out I saw a large group of children, probably elementary students, jumping around and playing in one of the shallow ponds. Look like a fun place for families with small kids.

P/s:  Just right after entering the freeway, I saw a rest area with stunning view of the San Jacinto.

Whitewater Preserve (16)

P/s 2: The preserve opens daily from 8a.m. to 5p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/WhitewaterPreserve

Time to test the gear…

Yesterday I got so excited after receiving the D3300 that I canceled my plan for rest of the day and went out to shoot.

It was in the afternoon.

A little warm, humid and bright at Riverside.

Where to go… hmm… the UCR Botanic Garden again since it’s close by.

im ready

Look at him, he’s ready to fight!

(I used Auto mode, need time to get used to the camera and try out the M, A, S, P modes)

This one below was taken two weeks ago with Galaxy S6 Edge:

ucr botanic garden spring 2017 (15)

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hey buddy
Guy in front: Hey fatty, you’re too slow! I’m gonna leave u behind, u know?
say whaa
Guy in back: Say whaaa… Seriously!?
whats ur problem
Guy in front: I’m not kiddin. Hey yo, what’s ur problem? I’m talking to you. Yeah, you, the one behind the screen right now! Bug off!!

Guy in back: Chillax man!

lets go
Guy in front: Let’s go fatty! We wasted too much time here already. Need to get food for dinner!

Guy in back: Okay okay.

After the sun set, it rises again…

Well, as the title said, the sun set today and rises again the next day bringing light to life on Earth.

The Palm Desert Cross Trail is one of my favorite trails because it’s not too long and too steep. It’s only an hour round trip. It’s also near my place. You can work up some sweat and enjoy a panoramic view of the whole Coachella Valley in Southern California. Hiking early in the morning (5-6am) will give you something like this:

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It was worth the effort. Well, the air is fresher and you can burn some extra calories. Also, at this time of the year, there are the BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament and Coachella Music and Arts Festival with lots of international tourists and Hollywood stars visiting the area. A perfect weekend getaway in the winter and spring.

P/s:

The pics is from one of my biweekly hiking trips last summer. During March, the scenery is greener with wildflowers blooming along the trail.

P/s 2:

If you want to get a better panorama (elevation 8,516 feet), take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway located only a couple of miles away from downtown Palm Springs.

Sunset

When people talk about photography, one topic comes up regularly: sunset.

There are some special things to say about sunset, like how it’s golden time for taking photographs, how short it lasts for one to set up and take a picture, how hard it is to find a spot for a perfect view, or how beautiful the sky always is at this time of the day, etc.

Now there is even an app to check the time for sunset. You can check it out at Skyfire for TPE.

I had a chance to capture one when I was passing by Fort Bragg (California) along State Route 1 in 2015.

sunset fort bragg

It brings up a warm, cozy feeling to me whenever I look at it.

Having Fun

Sometimes I get bored and don’t know what to capture. In those times, I always try something new that I have never done before.

Sometimes they turn out good, sometimes weird like these two:

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Photography is so much funnnn 🙂

Spring in Southern California

Hi everyone,

This past winter brought a lot of water to the decadelong drought in California. As a result, we Californians can see wildflowers blooming everywhere from hills to hills. They even bloom alongside the I-10 in the middle of the southern desert.

I went hiking on University of California Riverside’s Botanic Gardens (located right in the middle of the university campus) this past Monday (which was actually the first day of Spring – just googled it when I was writing this) and had a chance to witness those spectacular views.

If anyone lives near the area, you can pay a visit there. They have annual Spring and Fall Plant Sale events. Nice flowers and scenery with some steep hills. It can be a fun hiking trip on the weekends.

Website: http://gardens.ucr.edu/information.html

Open daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Introduction

Hi everybody, I’m Kevin N.

Taking photographs has been one of my favorite things to do since ages ago.

Every time my family went on vacation, I was always the one taking care of the camera.

This hobby of mine is still going strong till now and many more years to come, hopefully.

I also like to go hiking. I love nature. And whenever I have a chance, I always take some pictures, mostly with my phone (right now is a Galaxy S6 Edge). I’m saving up some money and when the time comes, I’m gonna grab one of those professional cameras ($1500 – $2000).

This blog is kind of like a photo journal where I’m posting photos from my hiking trips. Sometimes, I’m just gonna post photos from around my area.

So everyone is welcome to read and comment on my photos.