Monday, June 17, 2019

Winter Hiking

November 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Nature, Pole Tips

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday we did our first hike on Mt. Tamalpais since the rain last week.  The Fungus is AMONG US, the newts are crawling and the colors are RICH

As always, click on any photo to enlarge, click the back button to return to post.  The black mushrooms were a stunning discovery and a first for us.  The newt’s eyes are visible on a larger version.  Notice the pole tip for scale on the Chantrelle photo.  Enjoy and we hope to see you OTT (on the trail).


This lovely forest scene was taken

after we did our big climb.  There

are several trails on The Mountain

that I call “Just Show Up” trails.

It does not matter how fast we go,

we just DO IT.    Small steps, poles

pushing.  I estimate 25 to 35% assist

with my poles.  When I don’t hike with

poles, my legs COMPLAIN – a LOT.

Happy Trails!

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Hiking and enjoying nature’s bounty in the Springtime

May 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Gallery, Nature

Lovely abundance of Spring flowers; enjoy!  Click on any photo to enlarge; press back button to return to post.

Flutterby2 Globe Lilies Foothills Butterfly Mariposa plus bee
Wind Poppy Red Ribbon Clarkia Globe Lilly plus red ribbon clardias

Flowers above are from Mt. Diablo and Foothills Park in Palo Alto.

Mariposa Foothills Butterfly Mariposa P1000876

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!

P1000907 P1000918


Spring in the Bay Area – Flowers & Such

May 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Nature

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.

Yes, I know some photos temporarily disappear behind the banner.  The banners pay for the blog – Please remember to shop Amazon & REI from this blog.  Support your outdoors pole-using blogger 🙂

Diablo Mariposa Lilly Diablo Globe Lilly Blow Wives
Diablo Purple Larkspur Diablo Clymatis Diablo Thistle

Above (L to R by row): Mt. Diablo Mariposa Lilly, Mt. Diablo Globe Lilly, Blow Wives, Purple Larkspur, Clymatis, Thistle.

Diablo-Wind-Poppy-20160428-IMG_2481 Sunol Owl Clover Ribbon Clarkia
Sunol Bucolic Hillside P1000673 Heart Shaped Wood

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)

Globe Lilly Jewel iphone blow wives iphone
Globe Lilly Bob Diablo Globe Lilly 2 Milkweed

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.

Mt. Tam & Coastal Wildflowers – Spring 2016

May 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Nature

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.

Pussy Ears Tam Iris Tam Lupine Hillside
Tam Cream Cup Tam Oakland Star Tulip Tam Iris Lavendar

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.

Glacier National Park Hiking Adventure 1 of 3

August 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Nature, Travel

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.

ice in lake fireweed scene  sunset
 cracker lake lunch spot  Glacial waterfall  drying lake early cracker

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.

bob on wah back cracker jayah fires from crater lake
rock color cairn

rocks in crack

Rocks in a crack

grand coulee windmill garden  Newberry Volcano sign
crater lake pano

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.

Glacier National Park – 2 of 3

August 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Nature, Travel

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.

penstemmon monkey in lava snowberries

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.

rare white flower fireweed paintbrush
columbine buckwheat cornflower

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.

lichen on argolyte red berries solomon berries

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.

Glacier National Park Animals – 3 of 3

August 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Nature

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.

goldeneye in front of rock caterpillar goat dislodging rocks
bee baby quail Goats at lodge
ptarmigan and baby clark's nutcracker marmot from bob
  •  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.
golden eye family tight


Hiking Etiquette – Listening to nature

June 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Nature, Trail Tips, Uncommon Sense

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 Adventure 2014

November 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Nature, Travel

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 timeBe 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.

Right Place, Right Time

Right Place, Right Time!

Upside down split at Delicate Arch

Upside down split at Delicate Arch

Even the bunnies and jack rabbits were not moving.


Chilled-out bunny rabbit

Cold Jack rabbit

Chilled-out jack rabbit

We went from Bryce to Moab and back to Bryce.  We escaped Bryce as the snow and sleet arrived.   Weather manages hiking journeys!


Bryce Hoodoos

Fiery Furnace

Fiery Furnace Arches National Park

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!

Bryce Windows

Bryce Windows

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

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.

Bob and Cairn

Bob and Cairn

Bryce Sky

Bryce Sky

Cairns are our friends.  You can search cairn and see lots of other great cairn photos on this blog.

Using POLES on downhill

Using POLES on downhill

Binocular Biomechanics

Binocular Biomechanics, Dead Horse State Park

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!

Bryce Sunrise

Bryce Sunrise

Last Journey with more snow, Peekaboo

Last Journey with more snow, Peekaboo

Happy Holidays!  Safe Journeys!


Our World

November 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Nature, Our World

This is a 17 minute audio file – a Science Friday segment – that puts some of our global problems in perspective.

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