OUR PAS TRIPS ARE GENERALLY GRADED BY THEIR DIFFICULTY, WITH ONE BEING THE EASIEST AND FOUR BEING THE MOST DIFFICULT. THIS TRIP IS GRADED MINUS TWO: EASY FOR ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY (including wheelchairs)
Time to make your Sunday night reservation at Silver Pines Lodge. Use link to the left or phone 951/659-4335. Silver Pines Lodge has an historic group of cabins and rooms representative of most of Idyllwild accommodation: comfy, rustic and old. Choose the room that suites your personality and needs best. We do not recommend the Bear’s Den in that it is just too narrow. Rates, before tax, run from $100 to $140 per night. Silver Pines also has rooms half a block away at Silver Pines Village, should you wish an only so slightly more modern style. Check-in for both is at Silver Pine Lodge. Your registration for this trip is $15. This covers entrance to Idyllwild nature center and a contribution towards Sunday night’s pizza and nappies (bring your own refreshments). Please Zelle $15 per person to email@example.com to hold your spot. This way we know how many people are coming and who to watch for at the starting point. We do need to have a manageable group, and although we do not anticipate an overflow of registrations, we still ask that you send your registrations in quickly. Finally, CARPOOLING IS ENCOURAGED. Some stopping spots are small and the fewer vehicles the better. Please note on your Zelle payment if you can give a ride or want a ride. I will then email everyone a list of those participants wanting or offering carpooling including their phone numbers. Please note on your Zelle payment if you can give a ride or want a ride. We can also consider consolidating vehicles at our meet-up point, Dripping Springs Campground parking lot, since we all return through that spot.
What to bring: bag lunch for Sunday; refreshments to have with happy-hour and with dinner; fixin’s for Monday breakfast (check to see what facilities your room has).
Our 8:00 am meeting point will be at the parking lot of [https://www.recreation.gov › camping › campgrounds › 234719]Dripping Springs Campground. Use Google or your GPS to get you there, and to figure out your timing. You will already have had breakfast and are fat, happy and ready for a fun filled couple of days. After birding the campground by car, we will parse out vehicles, a few at a time, to a small location a few miles up the highway where we are almost guaranteed Rock Wrens. A couple of miles further is Stagecoach Inn (unfortunately it does not open until nine) for a walk up and down a fence-line where in the past we have picked up as many as ten species. Then off again towards Lake Riverside Estates. If we slow down enough (or stop) when the highway climbs for several miles, we may to our left see Cactus Wrens or California Quail. Lake Riverside Estates will provide us with a large number of shorebirds and waterfowl. Next stop is the Cahuilla Casino for the opportunity to quickly lose ten bucks, buy a cheap tank of gas, or have a pee-break. Twenty-minutes later we will find ourselves at the Ramona Trailhead where we have been blessed on a couple of occasions by both the White-headed Woodpecker and flocks of Pinyon Jays. Are we there yet, Mommy? Not Quite. Just before the turn off to Lake Hemet, we will slow down for cliff swallows that circle a highway culvert. At Lake Hemet we will keep our eyes peeled for the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Black-crowned Night Heron and White Pelicans, amongst other species. What’s next: the Idyllwild Nature Center. But we will probably fit in lunch beforehand. Time will be the determinant.
As you can easily tell, with this outing we collect a lot of bird species as we travel up and towards Idyllwild Nature Center. If you just show up at the nature center on the chance of finding the crowd, your timing will probably be off, and you may be missing half the birds we see. At the nature center, we will however, have another good chance to see the White-headed Woodpecker, along with being almost guaranteed to see the Pygmy and White Breasted Nuthatches, Band-tailed Pigeons, Oak Titmice and Brown Creepers. Who knows, one day again, we may see the Mountain Quail, but don’t bet on it!
After a very full day, we check in and retire briefly to our rooms at Silver Pines Lodge. Happy Hour (and bird listing) will start at 5:30 in a large fascinating social room. Pizzas will start to arrive about 6:00. Bring your own beverages. If anyone like to play the piano, maybe we can get a sing-along with old time favorites. Now what decade would that be these days: 50s, 60s, 70s…?
On Sunday, before breakfast, at 6:30 am, we will head five minutes away to Black & Decker Meadow (otherwise known as Kwikset Meadow), where just a week ago we tallied up 21 species, including four woodpecker species. After a couple hours of very easy trail walking (or viewing from the vehicles and street) we will return to Silver Pines Lodge to make our own breakfast. There are outside tables where we might again socialize. At 11 am, we are on our own checking out and Heading Out the Highway towards home.
Got lost? Phone 310/387-8190 or 310/375-7968. Blue writing (if I have done this right) should give you clickable links for details about locations.