Friday Decompression

During one of our morning walks this week, my friend Michelle mentioned an old abandoned mine up in Garner Valley that her kids love to go play around in. I was ALL over that, because Luke has a big fascination with mines and caves and such, so we decided to get together after school today, pile my two kids and her three into her SUV, and drive up there.

Just before we got to the mine we stopped at a rocky place where rain and snowmelt sometimes wash through, forming streams and waterfalls and little ponds. There wasn’t much water there this time of year, but the runoff has eroded the stones into fantastically beautiful shapes. The kids frolicked there for a while, scampering around the rocks like mountain goats.

Then we headed on to the mine itself. I don’t know what they were originally mining there, but my guess would be quartz; there’s a lot of that in these mountains. Nowadays it’s mostly full of bats.

It was satisfyingly dark and cavey, but rather small, with three entrances that met in the middle. Once they’d covered that, and amused themselves by harassing the bats for a while with a flashlight beam, Luke checked out the old pieces of machinery lying around while the other kids scrambled around the rocks and fallen trees.

After that we drove down to Lake Hemet to feed the ducks. Here’s a view of the lake from the road near the old mine:

In the seventeen years I’ve lived in Anza, I don’t think I’ve ever walked Lake Hemet’s shoreline before. I was surprised by how pretty it was.

Michelle had supplied two loaves of bread for the outing, but we could only find one lone duck to bestow them on. So the three boys decided to hike along the shore to check out a dam at the far end, and I went along as the designated grup.

The sun was setting as we left for home, and Luke was already negotiating plans for a return trip. I’d like to come back after a rain or snow, when the waterfalls are all running up in the rocks.

Michelle’s turning out to be quite the encyclopedic resource for knowing all the fun stuff to do with young kids around here. She keeps coming up with the best ideas, things I really need to find the time for. And I love how nicely my kids get along with hers!

And tomorrow I have a whole Saturday free with absolutely nothing planned, and the kids will be spending most of it with Steve. I could theoretically sleep in till noon and then eat bon bons in a bubble bath for a couple hours, and no one would care. Except the horses I guess, who might want to be fed. Selfish jerks.

Been a busy week. I’m looking forward to slowing down for a while.

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Categories: Animals, Family, Friends, kids, Life | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Friday Decompression

  1. Michelle

    I see you’re still awake as well…
    It’s absolutely fantastic to do things with our kids (while they still consider us “cool” enough to hang out with.
    However…you and I need to go out one Friday or Saturday Night, solo. No ninos.
    What do you think??

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  2. SurferJoe1946

    Be careful…the dam is “Out Of Bounds” and is not supposed to be played upon or even approached. There’s a fence to keep people out and away from it about 1/8 miles to the East and I know you had to go past it to get where you did on that rock.

    You cannot go around the lake anyway…there is an active cattle ranch on the South side and there’s also a nesting pair of protected California Golden Eagles there that are being very are fully monitored as someone vandalized the nest a while back. The rangers are very aware of this and keep a close eye.

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  3. Debora

    Actually, we approached the dam (the one on the right as you face West) from the East on the South [edit: it was actually the North shore, no idea why I typed South. Sorry for any confusion] shore, and didn’t cross any fences, barriers, or No Trespassing signs to reach it. There was a fence around the dam itself, which we didn’t attempt to get past. Which rock are you referring to?

    Nice to see another local reader. :^)

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  4. Michelle

    SurferJoe1946 – Exactly….what rock?? Because no fences were crossed…
    By the way, since you seem to know the area; do you know what was mined for in that mine above the Hurkey Creek playground??

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