Monday, May 30, 2011

Montgomery Woods

I went for a hike in Montgomery Woods today. It's been a few months since I was last here, and it was good to be amongst the real big trees.

I'm kind of amazed how these Redwood Groves are almost like swamps. All of the ones I've been to are so saturated with water. I'm not sure if that's common, but it's been my experience so far.

I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary today. Just took it nice and slow.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mendocino (south)

I spent the night in Ft. Bragg last night in the hopes of exploring the coast a bit today, but I awoke to rain as a storm came in from the Pacific this morning. I was able to walk a bit more around Mendocino yesterday evening after work.

I saw a snake that quickly disappeared into the grass. Otherwise, just an enjoyable evening for walking...

Point Arena

It was a surprisingly nice day on the coast yesterday. Usually when it's cloudy inland, it's cloudy on the coast. Not this time, Once I reached the Pacific in my car, the skies opened up and blue skies and warm temperatures prevailed.

I took a hike along the bluffs in Point Arena near the lighthouse.

There was a lot of noise near the bluffs. It almost sounded like people yelling. I kept looking for signs of humans but did not see any.

As the yelling progressed, I continued walking and wondered what the people were so fired up about.

There were a few new wildflowers growing in the grass.

Eventually, I started to feel extremely hungry so I decided to turn around.

I never did find out what was making all that noise down below. There were a bunch of sea lions basking in the sun, and I think they may have been the culprits. Anyhow, it felt real good to get out and stretch the legs. On a side note, there were several bicyclists on the Pacific Coast Highway. May is bicycle month and there are many folks touring the western coastline this time of year it seems...

Friday, May 27, 2011


I took a short hike up the Valley View Trail today under cool overcast skies. I had some flashbacks of some of those cold misty Washington days on the PCT, when the only thing to do to stay warm was to keep hiking. There were a lot of ticks on the trail today, and I picked several off my pants.

Larkspur making its appearance this week (above)

I saw many ticks just hanging out on the tips of the tall grasses, hooks outstretched, just waiting to grab a hold of some unfortunate passerby.

I took this picture a couple of days ago. They were growing alongside the road in Jackson State Forest (above).

I thought a lot about the AT today, and wondered if it would be possible for a 2012 attempt. It's been very hard to stay in the moment again the last few days, always wishing I was somewhere else.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I took a walk along the bluffs outside the town of Mendocino for the first time yesterday evening. It was a very pleasant walk, temperatures were nice. Lots of flowers and ocean. There were many people out and about, the town was packed with cars. Made me wonder if the town will be able to hold onto its charm in the decades to come. I saw a sea lion scratching its back while laid out on a rock ledge. He was the only one there, and he could not stop scratching himself. Reminded me of a cat or a dog with fleas. I was planning on camping out last night but a two hour Bob Dylan special was playing on the radio and it provided an excellent soundtrack for the drive home. I was able to catch the sunset from one of the higher points along the 20 as well, just before Willits.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monkey Flower

I had the afternoon off today and I had one goal in mind. To take a picture of the monkey flower. I haven't hiked past one yet this year, although I've seen them blooming along many of the roads around town. I hit the Valley View Trail once again, and it became a flower fest. The first interesting flower I saw was some Chinese Houses. It was rare that I'd ever see this flower while hiking around the LA area. Not because they weren't there, I just don't think I was at the right place at the right time I'm convinced. Anyhow, my mood was continually brightened as I saw several flowers I've never seen or rarely seen before.

Monkey flower (above)

Poison oak was abundant along the trail. I had to catch myself as I often took a picture with the poison oak inches from my face. Being mesmerized by the flowers, I often didn't see the poison oak until after I took a picture. I had to remind myself to be more careful. Anyways, it was good to see the monkey flower making its appearance on the trail.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


While drinking coffee this morning before work, I was parked in a lot in town that borders a large farm field. I had some time to kill, so I was listening to NPR and watching birds fly around from tree to tree.

After finishing my coffee, I was pleased to see that I left my binoculars on the passenger seat. I decided to see if I could spot any of the birds in the field. It was actually quite fun. Wearing glasses, it was a challenge to spot an interesting bird, remove my glasses, bring the binoculars to my eyes, and then hit the correct location. I think I saw an American goldfinch.

Anyhow, after work, I decided to head to the Deerwood trail and try again. It was a new experience, as I had to rely on my ears this time. Once I could locate a bird, again, I had to spot it before it flew away. It was more fun than I imagined. I was a nutty birder today.

Overall, a nice day to be out and about...

Northwest Branch

I flew home to Maryland for a few days to spend time with my family. It's been a year and a half since I was home last, and I was long overdue. One of the things I did while home, was go for a hike along the Northwest Branch with my brother Brian.

I was curious to see if any wildflowers were similar to ones I've become familiar with here in California. However, I didn't study the ground as much this time around, as my brother and I were talking about various things.

We did come across this flower which looks very similar to the Redwood Sorrel. Perhaps it's a smaller cousin or something as they both bloom from clovers.

The air was warm and thick with moisture. It brought back pleasant memories of hot, humid summers in Maryland.

We saw a garter snake slithering across the path, into the underbrush.

There also were a lot of birds chirping away under the green canopy. It had a resonating effect, almost like in a tunnel.

After hiking along the Northwest Branch to the dam, my brother and I decided to turn around and retrace our steps rather than walk home through the neighborhood.

It was good to be home...