Lovely abundance of Spring flowers; enjoy! Click on any photo to enlarge; press back button to return to post.
Flowers above are from Mt. Diablo and Foothills Park in Palo Alto.
Along the trail, we’ve seen way too much poison oak. Remember to wash your poles if they come in contact with poison oak. Soap & water or rubbing alcohol. Leave them apart and let them dry overnight. Below is Broomrape and the pods of the hop bush. Hope you’re enjoying your outdoor adventures!
The Bay Area has such abundance. Mt. Diablo has been amazing this year, as you can see. Please – PLEASE click on the Mariposa and the Blow Wives. Use the back button to return to post.
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Above (L to R by row): Mt. Diablo Mariposa Lilly, Mt. Diablo Globe Lilly, Blow Wives, Purple Larkspur, Clymatis, Thistle.
Above (L to R by row): Wind Poppy (Mt. Diablo), Owl’s Clover (Sunol – fields of them this year – astounding), Elegant Clarkia (Mt. Diablo), Bucolic Sunol hillside, Sunol Turtles, Heart Shaped cut on Tam…..and just a few more from my i-phone (yes, I’m dueling cameras OTT – on the trail)
Above more magical globe lilies. Click on the middle one in the first row and see a lovely jewel flower. This one is so small that you can walk right by and not not know it’s there.
Rain (thank goodness) brought us some lovely hillsides full of flowers. Remember to click on any photo to enlarge and press back button to return to post.
Above (clockwise): Pussy Ears compliments of my dear friend Alison (who is passionate about photography – duh), Iris, field of Lupine with some CA Golden Poppies, another iris, Oakland Star Tulip, Cream Cup.
An intrepid and lively group of hikers met up at Glacier National Park. This journey, led by a remarkable hiker (and all-around lovely human bean) named Katy, comes from all over and hits the trails. Katy coordinates hikes every day and this year she had to re-coordinate many of the hikes due to the fires in Montana.
I love to hike, but work gets in the way of my conditioning- BIG TIME. It was HOT – in the 90’s at times and we were at elevation. I’m such a flatlander – we had arrived a day early so we could do a gentle acclimation hike. This really brought home to me how sport-specific training is essential for activities. I was wiped out after 3 days of 12+ miles. Fortunately, I had brought plenty of cheese to have with my whines 🙂
I’ve separated photos into Animal, Vegetable & Mineral. This is the Mineral (scenery) post. Click on any photo to enlarge, click back button to return to post.
The plan was to hike a few days and take a rest day. Our rest day became our longer journey back. We took 2 days to blast to Glacier and 4 days to return at a more leisurely, explorative pace. This was our first road-trip in my “new” car (Camry Hybrid). Bob is a good and steady driver – Yeah Bob! Along the way there and back, we saw many wonderful sights as well as some fires. Smoke in Montana, Oregon and California was uncomfortable (especially for my eyes).
Above are some Glacier scenes. Below are Glacier (Bob and me), fires across the way from Crater Lake in Oregon, Glacier rock color, a cairn (if you’re a fan of this blog, you know how much I LOVE cairns). Following those are a dam (or darn if you don’t like profanity) scene, a wonderful windmill garden in Electric City (enlarge this one for sure) and a description of Newberry Volcanic National Monument (if you’re interested – enlarge and read). Last photo is Crater Lake panoramic.
On the way back from Montana, we went to the Grand Coulee Dam and the Chief Joseph Dam. The tour at the Chief Joseph Dam was very interesting. We went there because Bob read that it was a way better tour than the Grand Coulee. We joined in with a group of 30 from a tribal youth camp. One young camper – in flip flop sway too big for his feet – lost a shoe in the one tiny place in the whole entire dam that could cause a major problem or shut down. Disaster was narrowly averted and a dam executive finally retrieved the silly shoe.
A sponteneous stop – at Newberry Volcanic National Monument – We walked in a mile long, enormous cave (enlarge and read the sign). We also walked along the shore of Crater Lake (above).
When building the Grand Coulee, it was political thinking at the time that this area of the country (the Northwest) would NEVER need that amount of power. (Reminded me of the patent office commissioner in 1899 saying that everything that can be invented has been invented.) Quite the enormous undertaking to tame the mighty Columbia – the Grand Coulee now being one of 14 dams on that river.
Poor Salmon! They’ve still not solved that issue.
Part 2 of 3 – Vegetable-ish (flowers, etc.) It’s impossible (for me) to capture the abundance of hillsides full of color, but here are some close ups 🙂 Remember to click on any photo to enlarge and click the back button to return to the post.
Above are purple penstemon (the photo I worked hardest to take, laying on my tummy on the rocks), pink monkey flowers (in lava rock – technically not Glacier, but Newberry Volanic National Monument in Oregon) but we saw LOTS of monkey flowers at Glacier. I really like how the pink contrasts against the black lava rock. Last photo above of snow berries. Below are are a rare white flower (our leader knew the name, but I forgot), fireweed, painbrush, columbine (my favorite flower photo), buckwheat and cascading corn flowers.
Here are some non-flowers, hence the term vegetable 🙂 lichen on cliff wall and 2 kinds of red berries. If you’re going to enlarge just one or 2 photos, make sure you click on the lichen to see the colors of the rock and the detail.
Thanks to my friend Alison for helping me select a new camera for this journey. I think the close ups are reasonable and you’ll see in the animals post why I wanted the ZOOM.
Here’s the 3rd Glacier post – Animals. We did not see moose or bear, but others did and we had some other great sightings of animals during our journey to Glacier National Park.
- a female goldeneye,
- a future flutterby,
- a mountain goat that dislodged a huge rock that came rolling down the hill almost hitting someone in our group,
- a bee on a flower,
- a baby quail about 1.5″ long,
- sheep (goats?) strolling by the lodge,
- a ptarmigan (or grouse?) with her chick,
- a Clark’s nutcracker and
- a marmot.
- Below is another photo of the Goldeneye and her brood as they were being blown down the lake. She had 6 “kids” and they were swimming up, being blown down, swimming up, being blown down – it was very funny and quite a challenge to get them into frame at high zoom. Enlarge the one below – it’s really cute! Click the back button to return to post.
I was MORTIFIED the other day when hiking with a regular hiking group.
We started at Muir Woods and I wanted to go ahead to warm up before our climb. Plus, the quiet of Muir Woods early in the morning is magical. I passed a gentleman and his son experiencing the wonder of this national monument. I overheard the tourist quietly challenging his son to find a more wondrous experience. He said it’s better than being in church. I stopped to point out a few of the natural wonders with them. We found ourselves whispering because the silence of the woods was serene and profound. There’s even a sign asking people to respect the quiet of the woods.
Towards the end of the woods, I heard a cacophony of sound resonating thru the forest. I knew immediately that it was “my” hiking group approaching. I felt embarrassed. The man and his son pulled to the side so the group could pass and I told him to go along because – thankfully – we were heading up a trail out of Muir Woods.
This hike was on the small side for this group – maybe 10 people, vs. the usual 15 to 20. Imagine what that kind of noise an even larger group would have made. This is a nature experience people go to early so they can enjoy the serenity and majesty of the big trees.
Large groups often have multiple conversations going on and people have to speak more loudly as they compete to be heard. Long ago a woman, standing on a bridge over the stream at Muir Woods, asked our small group of 4 to be quiet. I thanked her for reminding me. I have a friend who hikes behind just so he can hear the sounds of nature. Many times, I’ve had to remind our hiking group to please be quiet as we approach and are near water. I wish I did not have to remind people that part of the experience of hiking – in addition to the EXERCISE and the socialization – is being able to hear the birds and the water and the wind.
I am going to request RADIO SILENCE the next time I lead an early morning group through Muir Woods. Good luck to me.
Does this post resonate with you? Or tick you off? Either way, thanks for reading!
Utah was COLD this journey. We arrived just in time for the Polar Vortex. 18 degrees at night, hiking during the day between 30 and 40. BRRR and Bundled Up! Below photos show what happens when you’re in the right place at the right time. Be sure to click on the 2nd (upside down split) for a close up – she’s magical and on SOLID rock. Use back button to return to post.
Even the bunnies and jack rabbits were not moving.
We went from Bryce to Moab and back to Bryce. We escaped Bryce as the snow and sleet arrived. Weather manages hiking journeys!
It’s like visiting another planet. Stunning scenery, great hiking, colors, layers…a grand adventure! The drive from Moab thru Capitol Reef to Bryce, thru Zion and back to the freeway is the most spectacular drive imaginable. But we had to watch for deer leaping into the road at sunset. Bob is a great driver!
My favorite hike on the planet is a “little” 3 mile loop in Bryce called Peekaboo. You’re IN the hoodoos. Bryce windows photos was taken on this hike. Click on any photo to enlarge; click back button to return to post.
Cairns are our friends. You can search cairn and see lots of other great cairn photos on this blog.
Rubber tips grip the rocks. We ALWAYS carry our rubber tips with us. Wide leg stance saves the back and stabilizes for looking at views.
Besides bunnies, we saw a golden eagle on land, a golden eagle flying, magpies and buffalo! One morning I got up early to try to photograph the sunrise at Bryce. Clearly I need to take Cousin Howard’s course on sunrise photography!
Happy Holidays! Safe Journeys!
This is a 17 minute audio file – a Science Friday segment – that puts some of our global problems in perspective.
In response to my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide Newsletter, I got this nice response from Victor – Harmonica Joy Health Club International, California:
This serendipitous response came on the same day as my Guest Post about what to pack where author Stratton suggests a harmonica. One day, during a practice hike at the Tilden Botanic Gardens (Berkeley, CA), we enjoyed the lovely, melodic, even poignant sounds of a lone nature-lover soulfully playing his harmonica. It was magical, musical and inspiring.
The Tilden Botanic Gardens is free and is like visiting the entire state of CA (botanically) in about 2 hours. It’s quite a gem in the East Bay Regional Park District system. I lead practice pole hikes there year-round. Excerpt from EB Parks’ website:
CA is a vast region of many floral areas, such as seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and two kinds of desert. California embraces nearly 160,000 square miles – imagine 160,000 square miles of California set in a garden that can be walked in a day.