Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | November 19, 2022

Hello again! Palomar Mountain News is back!

It’s long story. ‘Operator error’ locked me out of one of my favorite hobbies; editor of PMNews. Trying to resolve it myself was not working. A few weeks ago I got a notice from WordPress about updating my charge card to pay the annual fee. Finally I had a source to get into their customer service and walk me through how to be up and running again. They wanted their $$$ and there is so much waiting to share. All is well! We have a lot of catching up to do since my last posting about 5 weeks ago.

For those of you off the mountain, our neighbor, Jim Hamerly reported 10 inches of rain last week! We had a lot of wind too, but still enough leaves on the trees yesterday for beautiful fall color photos.

This SD Union Tribune article popped up recently. The Mountain News had it’s beginnings in 1998 and then way back in 2003, it was a fun day to have Cheryl Walker come up to interview me for her story, below. Soon after, it was getting more and more complicated to email to over 2000 subscribers. Finally in 2009 I got shut down as a spammer and set up on wordpress. This post today will be number 2586, sharing the news about our favorite mountain.

Cheryl tells some of the back story with comments by a few of you that were subscribers a couple decades ago:

The San Diego Union-Tribune

Town Focus Palomar Mountain – Wired Wilderness

E-mail broadcast keeps cabin owners up on Mountain News

Bonnie Phelps started an e-mail broadcast of Palomar Mountain News that goes to more than

500 property owners and residents.     By Cheryl Walker, January 2003,  Community News Writer

Palomar Mountain — Bonnie Phelps enjoys a slower–paced life on Palomar Mountain. But when it comes to communicating with her neighbors, it’s fast and easy with e-mail.

In 1998, Phelps casually started an e-mail broadcast that could be viewed as an electronic newspaper. It allows her to let cabin owners on and off the mountain know about Palomar’s news.

I thought it would be fun to do,” she said. “I thought I’d probably end up with 30 e-mail addresses, but to my amazement, it goes out to more than 500 property owners and residents. We have cabin owners around the United States as well as other places in the world. One owner currently lives in Saudi Arabia (Bobby Dahl), and there’s another family in Antigua (Curt and Barbara Waite).”

Phelps and her husband, Don, bought a house on the mountain in the 1970’s. Don Phelps was the last Resident Deputy Sheriff in that area. Later they sold the house and moved to Escondido. In 1998, they decided to move back to the mountain, buying back their previous house. Now, she works out of her home as a real estate agent.

“We love the mountain,” she said. “It’s a life that’s a step back in time. I love the four seasons, the smell of a wood fire burning, and I can see deer or turkeys from my window usually several hours a day.”

Phelps as well as other people living on the mountain found communicating by e-mail especially helpful during trying times such as bad weather or an emergency.

“It was the LA Jolla Indian Reservation fire in 1998 that really expanded my e-mail address book,” she said of the 1999 fire that burned several thousand acres. “I’m thankful it was in place as it was a wonderful way to let people know evacuation information.”

Electric broadcast has also helped residents if they’ve needed a handyman, baby-sitter, tree trimmer or contractor. It’s even helped residents sell their homes.

“We had a resident who had a serious illness and had to be hospitalized. He had to sell his lifetime dream home, and it had been on the market for over three years. I wrote a story about it on e-mail, and it sold immediately.”

Phelps has received many appreciative responses to her broadcasts. The majority of cabins here were built in the ’20s and ’30s and have been passed down from generation to generation. It’s like a family, and even if people no longer live here, they still remember families who do.”

Phelps loves being able to get the word out on mountain happenings, especially when it’s good news. She didn’t have to worry about missing anyone on the list when she celebrated her 50th birthday at the Palomar Mountain Lodge. And it was especially nice when the mountain received it’s first snowfall this season, and residents gathered at the lodge for an impromptu celebration.

“After I sent out the notice about the first snowfall, I got a response from a couple in Oregon who no longer have a cabin. She wrote that her heart raced when we celebrated the first snow and told us to have a cup of hot chocolate for them. All these little things really brings us closer together as a mountain family.” 

By Cheryl Walker, Community News Writer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Saturday, January 11, 2003

You do such a good job with the Palomar Mountain News.  I do truly enjoy your articles.  I don’t know you well, but I appreciate you much.  Betty Birdsell, Julian 

** *

All of us here on Rancho Palomar thank you for your constant and diligent reporting of the mountain news, especially during, and following, the firestorm events.  Your energy and enthusiasm for all things “Palomar Mountain” is awesome.  You have so many talents and use them in caring, loving, beneficial ways. . .thanks!  Bruce Druliner

* * *

Subject: Re: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!   Thank you for the photos – us “off mountain” folks love to see the snow when it comes – We appreciate all you do for our community – Throw a snowball for me, Karen 

* * *

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for all you do for all of us Palomar Mountain people who love it as you do.  We spend most of our time here in Oceanside because it’s so close to Mary’s work, but we do come up for an afternoon or an overnight as often as we can.  I just wanted to put in my two cents to let you know how much we enjoy the feeling of community that you give “our” mountain.  You are a true friend to all of us,  Dave ‘n Mary Deckert, Nate Harrison Grade

* * *

Subject: Thanks and have a great Thanksgiving 

Bonnie, if I haven’t said it enough, I really appreciate all you and Don do for all of us … and wish your family a great Thanksgiving… Do enjoy your lives and the sudden rains!  All best – Mike Pique  Wednesday, November 26, 2008

* * *

I want to thank you for doing what you do. Besides all your Real Estate duties you are the one on Palomar that keeps every one up-to-date on pertinent news, activities, events, mountain history, and so much more. Palomar is such a special place to more people than we will ever know and you keep it all together for everyone.  I never did live on Palomar full time, but did spend every summer and most weekends on the mountain while growing up. Palomar, past and present, will always be part of my life.  Thanks, Steve Bailey, Denver, Colorado since 1972

* * *

Just wanted you to know how interesting I find life to be up there on the Mountain, with all the news reports and whatnot. I’m extremely impressed with your dedication to the Mountain. I know we didn’t know each other all that well, it was all about selling the Palomar property, but I have gotten an insight into the life up there and I never knew how much there was going on, and it’s just been very illuminating. I think Palomar Mountain, and its residents and animals (!) are VERY lucky to have your help with everything, your insight, your updates, information, the newsletter, your commitment and love for your home territory is just incredible. The service you provide people is immeasurable. Just thought I’d let you know, as a bystander looking in……..they’re lucky you’re there. Best regards, good luck to all of you, Stephanie Voss

* * *

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for being the voice of Palomar Mountain. Especially through these challenging times. You truly make a difference in your community and I want you to know how much we all appreciate you. B. J. Williams, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, County Crime Prevention Specialist, San Marcos

* * *

we always enjoy getting your e-mails…especially this one with the good news about the fire…you have one of the best web sites we have ever seen…we have sent some of your “for sales” to our real estate friends to show them what a great job you do…keep up the good work…betty ann and david johnson

* * *

I just want you to know how much we appreciate your dedication in getting the word out to all of us who are so concerned about the fire on Palomar. While there has been some news reporting from the media concerning our beloved mountain your messages are so much more informative. We are totally relying on YOU to provide us with accurate information. So keep up the good work.. Thank you again…Joanne Marugg, President, Palomar Mountain Mutual Water Company.

* * *

My daughter Celena informed me this morning about your website. I just had to take a look and see for myself. It brought back some really good memories of that most beautiful “Mountain”. We used to live there back in the mid 80’s till the mid 90’s. I was employed with the Forest Service (fire) and we lived at the Guard Station for 10 years before moving on with the changes of life (bitter sweet). I could of retired up there, but destiny takes the lead. I see a lot has changed, new faces mixed with some familiar ones.  I do miss the small community life and the atmosphere that the “Mountain” gives to those who embrace and cherish. Oh, I just had a flashback of riding in the back of Dutch’s horse trailer singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve. . . It was pleasure to visit this site and I do plan on visiting again in the future, with a smile on my face.” Robert M. Sanders, Salt Lake-Cache National Forest, Battalion Chief, “old fire dog who doesn’t know when to quit”

* * *

Speaking for everyone up here on the mountain, Bonnie, you really help us out with your news, updates and resources. You and Don are great neighbors and friends. Love, Casey and Kathy Derengowski

* * *

Thank you so much for taking us around the mountain. Your willingness to share your knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated. We look forward to being on your e-mail list and becoming a part of the community.

Sincerely, Suzann & Bill Leininger, Escondido

* * *

Please keep me on the list to receive all the news of Palomar Mountain. Thank you very much for all the effort you put in to keep us informed. You’re a realtor and a journalist and we appreciate you for doing such a good job at both! Dennis Huckabay, Oceanside

* * *

Greetings from Colorado! I’ve been getting your e-news for about a year. I love it! ! Makes me want to come back to my roots.  My sister who lives in the Bay area has been getting forwards from me and I think it is time that she has her own subscription. We had a family cabin at The Bailey place for many years but had to close it out in 1992. It is fun to read about the doings and some of the names are ones we recognize. Keep up the good work! Sincerely, Tom Pogue, Fort Collins, Colorado

* * *

From the Sheriff in “Creator Lake Monster”, filmed on Palomar in the 1970’s:

Just a short note to say “thanks” for keeping me on your list even though I live miles away from the mountain. I always read your emails and the ones I received today are super! Mike Johnson’s photos are excellent! As a photographer, I can really appreciate his composition and the exposure, in such difficult conditions, is right on the money. Kudos on keeping us lovers of Palomar informed! Richard G. Cardella, Hydesville, CA

* * *

Thank you for your splendid and professional efforts to create my web page on your Palomar Mountain News internet site. I’ve received many compliments, several job offers, and CD sales since your announcement. So let me direct the compliments to you . . . nice job! Bruce Druliner, Rancho Palomar  

* * *

aloha bonnie
i want
to thank
you again

for keeping
us posted
down here
in town…

it was
your emails
that kept
me up-to-date

during the
recent firestorm
and since
have given

me a
much greater
sense of
community than

i’ve ever
known up
on the
mountain… since

i was
1 year old (1967)
i’ve only
been going

up to
our cabin
at doc’s
pond with

an occasional
meal at
the lodge
or a

stop at
the store
or mother’s
kitchen… about

the closest
i’ve come
to the
community is

skateboarding down
crestline drive!
your emails
have taught me

that there
is a
whole lot
that i

don’t know
about on
palomar that
i’m looking

forward to
learning about
and experiencing!
anyway today

i’m coming
up the
hill to
winterize our

cabin and
take in
the beauty
of the

mountain and
am wondering
if i
might be

able to
meet you
and say
hello… either

way enjoy
this beautiful
day! much
thanks again


keith anderson

Fabulous Fall to all of you and I’ll keep Palomar Mountain News heading your way!


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