Monday, April 30, 2012

GEO-tography: Forest

Without a doubt, most of the Utah offroad ATV trails run through our wonderful mountains. And, it just so happens that the most downloaded post of any we've ever done on Offroading Home is the GEO-tography post about mountain photos.

However, much of a mountains granduer has to do with its dressing: forests. It is true that often we don't stop to see the forest for all the trees, like these aspens near Old LaSal by Moab.

I ran across a photographer who had some great tips for us the next time we're out photographing trees. And from what he seems to say, it's not that difficult to obtain a great shot: "Take time, find a point of interest and shoot any season" – now those are things that I can do!

Take Time

"One of the beautiful things about landscape photography is that there is no need to hurry. Take your time and get a real feel for what it is you want to capture. Time is on your side. Lighting conditions can change dramatically throughout the day, and if you’re really fortunate, the perfect shot may find you!"

He say's for us to "wander through the forest and consider all the possible vantage points" which is something that most of us have down pat! Then he advises us to "try out both wide and telephoto lenses" or, I guess, to at least try zooming out and in if we have cameras without changeable lenses. Pointing a wide angle lens upward emphasizes size and scale. A telephoto lens compresses a row of tree trunks and captures patterns.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

S California Offroad Map: Whipple Mountain Trails

An entire new trail system has been added to the Southern California Master Map file available for free at the Offroading Home web site.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Offroad: Beaver Dam - East Pass Loop

I got a chance to take a ride in Gordon's CanAm and jumped at the opportunity. We joined Hugh and the "Beaver Dam Gang" on their adventure up "The Wash" to "however far we can get before the snow stops us" – not really expecting to get all the way to East Pass, which I think was Hugh's secret goal.

The Beaver Dam Bridge seems, to me at least, to have a new entrance this year after all the repairs to the bridge caused by last years floods. It actually makes it quite easy now for all the town's residents to head to the trails on their ATVs – a major past time activity for them.

There was but the tiniest trickle of water in Beaver Dam Wash this winter but you could tell that there had been major runoff by all the broken limbs and debris strewn along the banks and caught on rocks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

URGENT: Help Rescind Mesquite's Wilderness Bill

Tuesday, April 25th, the NEW Mesquite City Council will discuss a resolution to RESCIND former mayor Susan Holecheck's (now a paid lobbyist) resolution to close off the entirety of Gold Butte, clear up to the outskirts of Bunkerville, from offroad use and make it the largest wilderness area in the state.

All interested offroaders should attend the 5pm meeting as we have been told that Susan, Nancy and their Sierra Club type contingents intend on bussing people up from Vegas and stuffing the meeting at City Hall. Naturally, as is probably their intent, the latest battle is occuring after the large number of senior offroaders have left for the summer.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Offroad: Anniversary-Oar Car Mines

For some reason this year, it has taken nearly everyone a lot longer to "ramp up" for the offroading season in Mesquite – the "oomph" just didn't come easy.

I thought it was just me, but all the locals I know are going through the same thing – a touch of the ol' "lakawanna." It could be the weather, it could be the "been there, done that" syndrome or it could be that pretty much every time we hear of Gold Butte or the Bunkerville Mountains any more it's in the context of some political idiocy.

The weather was cold when we arrived (unusual), got intermittently wet (not enough to do much good), snowed (not really unusual, but early) and completely warmed up (odd) – so perhaps that's it.

With the weather being so capricious, and gas prices being so unearthly high, we didn't want to trailer very far; so, I guess it might be a bit more difficult to get excited seeing the same things over again. However…

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Southern California Desert Offroad Map: Anza Borrego

Now that the California ATV Master Map has been split into two parts, the Desert Offroad Riding Area is undergoing major additions.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

GEO-tography: Silhouette

Photography of the "Geo" is what these sessions are about: GEO-tography. We look at them because as long as we are on the off-road most of us are taking photos, and as long as we are taking photos we might as well at least TRY to do a good job.

Are we photographers who need to go off road to get good photographs? Probably not… oh, let's call a spade a spade– mostly not. We're offroaders who either: want to prove where we've been or merely need to be able to remember where we've been.

This session is about a topic which all of us mostly overlook and most of us always misspell: silhouette's. They're not all that difficult to obtain, and most of us have accidentally gotten them unintentionally– some more than once – yes, you know who I'm looking at!

Friday, April 13, 2012

California Trail Map - Split

The California Offroad Trails Master Map has been split into two parts: Northern California Trails and Southern California Trails.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Offroad: Carp-Caliente Loop

Literally the very first "offroad" trip we took when snowbirding into Mesquite for the first time five years ago, was the dirt road exiting I-15 toward Carp-Caliente. We were in a touring car, which wasn't so bad, but noticed that we were at around a quarter-tank of gas, running through some pretty isolated country.

Couple that with the fact that there are absolutely no route or place signs out there, AND it was before I had bought my first GPS unit, and what it meant was that, although we knew Carp was up here somewhere, we had no idea how far it was from where we were or even where precisely WE were.

We turned around long long before seeing what we expected might be something called Carp, let alone Elgin; but, we did make it back before running out of gas. So, every time we have passed that exit since then, we had a nagging sense of failing to find out what was up there.

So, after the trip into the Tule Desert this year on ATVs, and having a much better understanding of the relationships between places, we decided to see how far the van would get us up that road.

Although, as Murphy seems to have decreed: because there have been so many waypoints plotted on my GPS that I have begun to "archive" them, yet again this year I STILL hadn't brought any of the landmarks for the area! Couple that with the fact that there STILL aren't any place signs for most of the area's historic places and it means that we STILL haven't seen Carp!!   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home: 05-Carp-Caliente.]

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Offroad: Black Warrior Mine

It's a rare opportunity when Gordon will offer to give up his new pup's "sidekick-seat" to someone, so when it happens you take him up on it. He, dad and I wanted to take a "quick" ride somewhere shortly after Christmas and we ended up heading north up the good ol' highway 91 from Beaver Dam Arizona.

Gordon had ridden the area above Lytle Ranch Road a few weeks before with Hugh and wanted to show us the general area where they went. With plenty of time and no real plans, we stopped at the mouth of the canyon to see the caves that always looked interesting enough to wonder about but not enough to have stopped.

This time we stopped and found… pretty much nothing much. They must have been something at some time but it's probably anyone's guess as to what, this late in the game.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Offroad: Quick Trip to Lime Kiln Pass

The winter of 2011 is a funny snowbird year weather wise. Snow came and then … went. Just after Christmas it had warmed up and the snow had all but gone from the mountains.

We decided to get out of the house and take a quick afternoon ride up to the "fish tank" – the name the locals have given to the huge stock tank at the mouth of Lime Kiln Canyon which everyone has taken on as a project to keep stocked with goldfish. (I've written about that before).