Monthly Archives: April 2015

Marathons and Picnics and Round-ups…Oh, my!

Even though our blog generally focuses on the Outdoor Education program here at Pathfinder Ranch, we have lots of opportunities during the year for many different people to visit our beautiful mountain location. Here are a few of our recent and up-coming events:

In our minds, everyone who ran in these ultras is a winner!

In our minds, everyone who ran in these ultras is a winner!

Runners in the Beyond Limits Running Ultra Marathon enjoyed some beautiful scenery for their runs!

Runners in the Beyond Limits Running Ultra Marathon enjoyed some beautiful scenery!

The end of March saw two great events: the Beyond Limits Run and the Pathfinder Picnic. This was the third year that the Beyond Limits Running group joined us for an ultra-marathon through our retreats/conferences program. Runners were able to participate in several running events throughout the weekend, including 100 mile, 50 mile, 50K, and 24 hour marathons. Everyone who witnessed these amazing athletes’ feats of strength and endurance were in awe! Think you have what it takes to run this ultra-marathon? Check their website to learn more! Or, visit our retreats/conferences page to find out how you can schedule a weekend event for your group.

The Pathfinder Picnic was a bit more of an exclusive event that was held to show appreciation to the Palm Springs Pathfinders, a non-profit women’s group that has helped to support Pathfinder Ranch since its founding in 1964. Visiting Pathfinders were treated to tours of the program areas and facilities, as well as a celebratory bar-b-que. It was an idyllic spring day, and the event was a great success. Our thanks to everyone who participated!

Staff and climbers ready to go at our climbing tower

Staff and climbers ready to go at our climbing tower

Coming soon in May, we will begin hosting new weekend events that are open to the public! Called Round-ups, these day programs have been created specifically with families in mind, and will provide opportunities for families, neighbors, and former campers to join us for a day of fun activities. Our first Round-up, scheduled for May 16th, will include climbing and ascent programs facilitated by our fantastic staff and volunteers. Pre-registration is open now! Round-up your adventurers and check it out!

Hope to see you soon!

Participating on our Pamper Pole is a little bit like pretending you're Superman...

Participating on our Pamper Pole is a little bit like pretending you’re Superman…

Climbers of all ages love challenging themselves on our Alpine Tower!

Climbers of all ages love challenging themselves on our Alpine Tower!

CSA’s and Spring Garden Time

Hello again from Pathfinder Ranch! Now that spring has sprung on the mountain, we wanted to take a moment to tell you all about some ways to get involved with your local community and get some great food while you’re at it. While Farmers Markets have risen in popularity the past few years, most people don’t know there is another way to get farm fresh produce and meat.

Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a perfect way to get to know and directly support your local farmers. Farms that offer a CSA will usually have a “box” filled with that week’s harvest. Depending on the farm, there may be produce, meat, or even processed products. Buying directly from the farm is cheaper for both you and the farmers as products sold at farmers markets have to be priced up to cover the cost of staffing the stall and renting the space.

Here is a list of some of our local farms that offer a CSA. If these are not convenient to you, look for a CSA in your area!

When students visit the garden in the spring, they havee the opportunity to help out by planting seeds or transplanting seedlings.

When students visit the garden in the spring, they have the opportunity to help out by planting seeds or transplanting seedlings.

Every summer brings a bountiful crop of tomatillos at Pathfinder Ranch.

Every summer brings a bountiful crop of tomatillos at Pathfinder Ranch.

 

Inland Empire CSA – a partnership between Sage Mountain Farm and De Luz Farms

Sage Mountain Farm – produce and beef

Primal Pastures – lamb, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish, and honey

Da-Le Ranch – many different types of meat

 

Meanwhile at Pathfinder we are connecting with our food by planting it for ourselves! The garden is currently producing Brussel’s sprouts, lettuce and carrots from the winter, but in the high tunnel we are gearing up for a delicious and colorful summer. The students are helping us by seeding and transplanting melons, beans, and California Poppies among many other things. We hope a little time here in our garden will inspire our guests to go home and grow food and flowers for themselves!!

Capture the Sun

We only utilize a small fraction of the sun’s energy for human purposes. A larger amount of sunlight is used in photosynthesis and warms the planet, but much of the light from the sun simply goes unused. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find ways to harness more of the sun’s energy?

Students gathered around to witness the cooking power of the sun.

Students gathered around to witness the cooking power of the sun.

One simple way people can harness the sun’s unused light energy is to use a solar oven. Here at Pathfinder, we have a professionally built solar oven that we bring out for students. On a warm January day, it will reach over 250 degrees Fahrenheit! In summer, our oven can easily top the 300 degree Fahrenheit thermometer in the oven. We’ve made many the tasty treat for our students using this great piece of technology.

Solar Salsa, cooked in our solar oven

Solar Salsa, cooked in our solar oven.

There are also plans on the internet about how to build your own solar oven out of simple supplies like a pizza box and aluminum foil. Follow this link to one such project, courtesy of Scientific American. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sunny-science-build-a-pizza-box-solar-oven/) Your pizza box oven can get up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s warm enough to melt cheese and chocolate!

There are also many kits that can be purchased to help students learn about how solar energy can be transformed into electrical energy. These kits utilize small solar panels so that students can experience solar engineering first hand.  To find the right kit for you, try using the search terms solar energy kit or renewable energy kit.

Students used their engineering skills to construct a solar windmill.

Students used their engineering skills to construct a solar windmill.

 

Solar energy is a growing field of energy production. Who knows? Perhaps a student of today will innovate the next great leap in harnessing the sun’s rays for human use.

The sun is shining and waiting for us to use it!