A Saturday Hike

Every day when I walk to my office I have a good view of the Poly P from the stairs and open hallway of my department building. I’ve been wanting to see the Poly P up close.

My usual view of the Poly P.

My usual view of the Poly P.

Today I decided to abandon my office for a few hours to do some hiking. I started heading toward the Poly P. I stopped halfway to the top and took a few pictures of the valley. The views of Madonna Mountain and Bishop Peak were very good.

Panorama from halfway up the ridge.

Panorama from halfway up the ridge, with Madonna Mountain (left) and Bishop Peak (right) very conspicuous.

From this vantage point the Poly P looked different. Notice the two people on the far left side of the picture below (dark and light dots); they give you a sense of scale.

Almost at the Poly P (note humans on left).

Almost at the Poly P (note humans on left).

It’s a big letter. There are railroad tie terraces beside the P to stabilize the soil and reduce the damage done by visitors. Up close it is evident that the P has been heavily graffitied and re-painted. It also appears the entire P was painted purple not too long ago–when you look at it up close you see flecks of purple under the white paint and on the edges. Parts of the P are made from concrete blocks, other parts appear to be poured slabs. A heavy plaster covers most of it.

The Poly P up close.

The Poly P up close.

Another view of the Poly P.

Another view of the Poly P.

I stopped at the Yucca Viewpoint above the Poly P and took in the view. As I walked across the ridge top I noticed I was not alone. Lizards were plentiful. They sat on rocks, soaking in the sun until I disturbed them. Then they darted around and disappeared quickly. I noticed that they reacted to shadows with lightning speed. If I would cast a shadow that contacted them they would be gone almost instantaneously. I suspect this is a defense mechanism that protects them from swooping birds of prey.

A lizard soaking up the sun.

A lizard soaking up the sun.

I got a little closer.

I got a little closer.

Take a look at those lizard fingers.

Take a look at those lizard fingers.

This lizard is not amused.

This lizard is not amused.

I hiked along the Yucca Ridge Trail, headed toward Poly Canyon. My destination was the Design Village. I first saw it from high above.

The Poly Canyon Design Village viewed from the Yucca Ridge Trail..

The Poly Canyon Design Village viewed from the Yucca Ridge Trail..

The Design Village is a haphazard collection of structures  that the Engineering and Architecture departments use for competitions and teaching. The Design Village is a bit eerie. It looks like a collection of 1970s science fiction props. I expected to see an alien or a mad scientist.

An abandoned building in Design Village.

An abandoned building in Design Village.

Abandoned abodes that reflect Shrek influences.

Abandoned abodes that reflect Shrek influences.

At the main entrance there is a narrow winding walkway bordered by stone walls. I believe it is in place to keep the free range horses that live in the Design Village from wandering off. When I was leaving I was standing at the end of the walkway, looking back at the village, when I turned around and was startled to be looking at a face.

Faces in the wall.

Faces in the wall, slightly creepy.

I returned to campus via Poly Canyon Drive.

I saw many interesting plants, most notably California poppies on the ridge and California sycamores in the canyon. I also walked into a bee swarm, but I didn’t get stung. There were thousands of bees clustered on a small tree. Bees were colliding with me, but they seemed more intent on getting to the tree than bothering me.

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