Mid summer news

Hello fellow volunteers!

We have reached the middle of the busy summer vacation season here in the San Jacinto Ranger District.  The last few months have been very busy for the FSVA.  On the administrative side we have purchased a new point of sale system for the book store at the Ranger Station.  We can now accept all major credit cards using the Square system. This has increased our sales dramatically but this has presented some challenges for our Treasurer, Chip Hurn, which he is handling.   Jana (also board secretary) is doing great running the bookstore and getting new products to sell.

On the Wilderness patrol side, all our rangers have been busy.  We have new Equestrian and Hiking Wilderness Rangers in training right now.  Welcome them if you meet them.  Rick has done a great job, thanks for all the volunteers in getting Devils Slide Trail head coverage since Memorial Day weekend.  This has freed up the rangers in the wilderness to get off trail and look for illegal fire rings, etc and make LNT contacts with the visitors they see.  Steve Schwitters and the cross cut team are keeping the trails clear.

  • Patti Hudson and Robin Roberts are keeping busy with LNT and interpretive programs.  The rock climbing presentation I attended was well planned out and very interesting.  See Robin's blog entries on our site.  Patty Andersen continues to keep our website up to date.

Upcoming events involving the FSVA are:

*Jazz in the Pines Aug. 12-13-We need help for the gate entrances and Equestrian patrols.   Labor Day Weekend patrols Sep. 02-04.                                                                                 *Hours for fiscal year 206-2017 end on Sep. 30.  Please get your hours and reports turned in on the web by Oct. 08.                                                                                                            *Volunteer Appreciation Party-Tentative date, Nov. 05.  Running throughout the year on the 3rd Saturday of the month at Idyllwild Brewpub 600pm to 800pm is FSVA social hours.  *Volunteers are also invited to attend the FSVA board meetings that happen about 6 times a year.  The date is generally listed on the patrol calendar.

Keep up the great work, everyone! Andy Smith and the District Staff really appreciate your support.   I hope to see you soon.  Thank you!  

Bob Romano, Presdient, FSVA

Colorful Birds of Summer

Besides looking for some of the wildflowers I recently wrote about, I highly recommend trying to spot a few of the colorful feathered birds that return to our mountains each Summer. In a month or so, they will start leaving so now is the time to find them.

The male Western Tanager with its bright yellow body and orange head is absolutely beautiful! Last year, our mountains were full of them but this year, there are far less. It'll take more time finding one. I did see one of these beauties last week near Tahquitz Meadow.

The Black-headed Grosbeak is another striking bird that arrives each Spring. When the males are singing, their lengthy, melodic song will catch your attention! Some compare it to a Robin that has taken singing lessons. You may get lucky and have a growing family visit your backyard feeder before they migrate south.

 

The Green-tailed Towee breeds up in the high country. For the last few years, I have seen them foraging on the ground near the Saddle. Notice the rufous cap and white throat. When the light shines on the tail, you'll see why it got its name. Just like the other two, these birds migrate to Mexico and Central America.

 

The last two birds are residents. They migrate down slope but they still are in our area in the Fall/Winter. This colorful warbler is one of the few that breed in our mountains, the Yellow-rumped Warbler. They do have yellow rumps that are visible when they are facing away from you. Too bad all the birds aren't so descriptively named. Like most birds, the breeding plumage is pretty spectacular and when nesting is over, they molt into a duller plumage until the following year.

 

The Western Bluebird is one bird that most people recognize even if they aren't birders. What a brilliant color of blue! They are quite easy to spot since they are using sitting motionlessly on an open branch looking for the next insect to devour.

 

If you have a nesting box, you may get to see some baby chicks and exhausted parents feeding them throughout the day! This chick took its first jump shortly after this photo.

Most of the birds have finished nesting and are helping their fledglings adjust to life outside the nest now. Look closely, you may see some of these families foraging together. Enjoy! This season will come to an end soon.

Photos and Content by Robin Roberts

Searching for Summer Wildflowers

It's always fun to search for wildlife and native plants while hiking in the High Country. This entry is about some of the current wildflowers you can try to find when you are on a hike up to Tahquitz Meadow. Flowers are always changing so what is there now will probably be gone in a month or so. Good luck with your search!

 

As you are hiking up Devil's Slide, look for this huge leafed flower. It is inappropriately named... it is a Thimbleberry.  

As you are hiking up Devil's Slide, look for this huge leafed flower. It is inappropriately named... it is a Thimbleberry.

 

Alittle further up the trail is the Western Azalea. It is past its prime but you should still be able to see some of these flowers.  

Alittle further up the trail is the Western Azalea. It is past its prime but you should still be able to see some of these flowers.

 

Thanks to the abundance of snow this winter, we still have some flowing creeks! Along this creek which flows through Tahquitz meadow, you can find some beautiful blooming flowers.  

Thanks to the abundance of snow this winter, we still have some flowing creeks! Along this creek which flows through Tahquitz meadow, you can find some beautiful blooming flowers.

 

The most prevalent are the Mariposa Lily and the....  

The most prevalent are the Mariposa Lily and the....

 

Mountain Monkeyflower and ...

 

...Yarrow.

 

Hidden away behind brown post site 1, I found a few Lemon Lilies .......

Hidden away behind brown post site 1, I found a few Lemon Lilies .......

...a California Geranium...    

...a California Geranium...

 

 

and finally, a California Columbine hanging over the water. Good luck with your searching! Enjoy the hike!

and finally, a California Columbine hanging over the water. Good luck with your searching! Enjoy the hike!

Rock Climbing

Our Wilderness has two favorite climbing destinations - Tahquitz and Suicide Rock. To increase our awareness of this growing sport, we invited climbers, Merritt King and his climbing partner, Ashley Alonzo to introduce us to rock climbing on June 11th. What a day!

A group of us volunteer Wilderness Rangers, along with Andy Smith, watched as Merritt and Ashley demonstrated the techniques of technical climbing.

Merritt and Ashley like most climbers in our mountains are free climbers. The lead climber finds appropriate crevices to insert cams. They they attach the rope to this "anchor".

The second climber or belayer feeds rope to the lead climber. This pattern continues until the destination is reached. An anchor is set so that the belayer can start climbing up the mountain removing cams along the way.Early climbers hammered or hand drilled pitons, anchors, into the rock. They were not removable. With the explosion of gym rock climbing, there is a resurgence in this type of climbing on preexisting pitons. As you have heard on the news, there is a small minority of climbers who climb free solo without ropes, cams or pitons. They rely on their skill and strength with no room for error.

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A few historical facts to remember....Technical climbing was developed at Tahquitz Rock and so was the system which rates climbs. YDS (Yosemite Decimal System) should have been named TDS (Tahquitz Decimal System) We hope that Merritt and Ashley will be able to give another demonstration in the future. In the meantime, check out the display at the Idyllwild Historical Society Museum.    by Robin Roberts