Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mountain Lion at Whiting


The OC Register reported that an aggressive mountain lion was shot and killed in Whiting Park.

TRABUCO CANYON – Officials shot and killed an aggressive mountain lion that had been stalking a family walking a trail near Foothill Ranch Elementary School on Sunday in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, state wildlife officials said Monday.
A Mission Viejo resident, Madison Smith, and her two children were walking on Borrego Trail on Sunday evening when the mountain lion came within about 6 feet of her 5-year-old son – close enough to pounce.
The young mountain lion was close enough for the family to hear it making hissing sounds, California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan said.
“A mountain lion came up behind them and was acting very aggressively,” Hughan said. “The lion made several moves toward the family.”
Another hiker on the trail shouted at the lion and threw rocks at it, Hughan said. The family got away from the mountain lion and called 911.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden found the mountain lion in a grove of bushes a few feet away from the Borrego Trail about 5 p.m. Sunday. They tried to scare the animal away; instead, it acted aggressively toward the officers, Hughan said.
“The lion showed no fear whatsoever, which is a very dangerous situation,” Hughan said. The game warden shot and killed the lion.
The body of the 1-year-old, 60-pound animal was taken for examination to a California Department of Fish and Wildlife lab in San Bernardino. Officials will examine whether the mountain lion had a disease that may have prompted its aggression, said UC Davis Wildlife Health Center Associate Veterinarian Winston Vickers, the lead veterinarian on the Southern California Puma Project, which tracks the behaviors and habitats of mountain lions.
“Normally, we would not have expected the animal to have yet left its mother, so it does make one wonder if there was an issue there that could have led the animal to behave abnormally,” Vickers said. “But we do not know that.”
A mountain lion was seen in the same area of the park in February, Hughan said.
Mountain lion attacks are rare but do occur yearly in North America, Vickers said. The most recent mountain lion-related human death statewide was in January 2004 in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
“It’s unfortunate when there are these kinds of incidents,” Hughan said. “The animals are always going to be the ones to lose. We don’t relocate problem animals. If the lion did this once, he’ll do it again.”
Contact the writer: 949-454-7373 or ejames@ocregister.com

Sunday, March 23, 2014

For Whom The Bell Tolls

Richard and I made a noble push along Bell Ridge, negotiating rocky climbs, steep descents, abyss-like ruts and man-grabbing foliage. At ride's end, it was only the lack of sunlight (days are short now) that stopped us from continuing on lap two. I jest. We weren't that strong. In truth, the five hours was well spent but a bit exhausting. I thought I would have enough fuel left over from Turkey day, but that wasn't the case. I found myself bogging down on the final climbs - bonking as it were - losing breath and energy over each small hilltop. Typically downhills are for recovery, but Bell takes it toll descending as well. I found myself at the mercy of gravity and terrain, out of breath and holding on. Next time I will eat more.

The views from Pinos Peak were stunning. This is the highpoint of the route, offering a panoramic view from the snowy San Bernadino Mountains to San Clemente Island. Richard pointed out where the 5 freeway winds over the ridge near Carmel Valley in Del Mar. Beyond that we could see the distant ridge lines of Mexico. Bell Ridge begins just a stone's throw from the peak. The trail requires several more climbs -steep, wearisome hike-a-bike ascents - and plenty of descending - steep descents, loose, rocky descents, and harrowing I-wish-I-wasn't-looking descents. We kept our tire pressure low, our skidding in control, walked some of the can't-see-bottom section (yes, it is that steep) and I even tripoded a bit. Our strategy was successful, we arrived back at the car with smiles of satisfaction.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Travel Site

You might try these guys:


 Etihad Airways Flight

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I'm in Chile currently,  hopefully I will have photos and exciting posts to follow.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

All Mountain Wine

 This may be a first:  Mountain-biking terms used figuratively to describe and promote a bottle of  wine.   It is difficult to imagine what "fork travel" would taste like.   Perhaps it would be even more difficult to describe a mountain bike in terms of wine.  Tequila perhaps.

2010 Alec's Blend
Napa Valley

All-mountain is Alec's favorite kind of cycling and it best describes this deliciously complex blend of 70% Syrah, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Heading up trail the air is heavy with wild blueberry, violets, and oak forest aromas. Dropping into descent, deep chutes of blue-black fruit consume a full 160mm of fork travel. Picking up speed the palate turns lively and technical with youthful acidity and some tight twists through the trees. Mocha and espresso bean flavors kick in just as you glide through the dust to a fine chocolaty finish. 450 cases produced.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Pathology of Cancer

Check out my piece in the Connotation Press:


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Always Chasing Rainbows

My story "Always Chasing Rainbows" will be featured on Fiction 365 on July 11. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rider Airlifted From Laguna Wilderness

My regards to the friends and family of this man.  He suffered a cardiac arrest while riding up Bommer Rd. near the back of El Morro Canyon.  I was riding with  Josh, and we came upon the scene.  It was sad and tragic, even though thoughtful and determined individuals tried to administer CPR, the man, a fellow mountain biker, passed away (I found this out later, although I watched as his caregivers were unable to get a pulse for nearly an hour).  The photo above, credited to Josh Wolff, shows the man being hoisted into the helicopter before a quick flight to Hoag.  It is easy  to say he died doing what he loved, but it that a true sentiment?  Or is it just a convenient way for the survivors and the witnesses to understand a tragedy.  I can't imagine I would go out riding if it meant I would die, even if it would only be one day before my eventual termination.  I'm not trying to be morbid or disrespectful.  A friend, someone I truly admired, died while road riding last fall.  This type of news is always difficult to accept - nothing is more horrific, final, and shocking than having a friend or relative die, so, of course, the inclination is to search for easy answers. 

This man, I know, was 67 years-old.  I hope he had a brilliant and fulfilling life.  I love this image of him being lifted into the blue sky.  Whatever your personal beliefs, there is something majestic about being lifted into the sky after your final breaths.  I watched both my parents die while confined to white-sheeted beds.  I wish everyone could be granted one final ride into the sunset.  Condolences to everyone who knew the man.  We should all try to stay alive, make the choices that promote our own health and well-being, and live each moment, each day, each opportunity, and, forgive me, ride each mountain-bike ride, as if it were the only one we had.