Monday, November 27, 2006

San Francisco

This Thanksgiving we went to San Francisco to visit Russell's family. It was a good trip. I was able to go on a very nice hike the morning of Thanksgiving where I could see some spectacular views! On the last day of our trip, Russell, Ben, and I took a bay cruise and enjoyed more great views of the city. We didn't do many of the touristy things we did last year, but instead hung out with family. I was happy to keep it low key and I think Russell was too.
Wintery trees with bay in background
Some Kind of Succulent (this grows wild everywhere in SF)
Pickle Weed (this grows wild in the marsh lands and is another succulent)
Shore Birds
Pine Cones
Different View of Wintery Trees (with bay in background)

More SceneryOn Top of a Big Hill Overlooking Mountain Town

Redwood Hike
Muir Woods (Redwood Forest)
On the Way to the RedwoodsLooking up into the trees... My camera doesn't do this place justice.
Very Old Remnant of a Redwood
Mountain Creek in Muir Woods
Fern growing on trunk It's very dark under the canopy

A little perspective on the size of a Coastal Redwood. The ancient trees are massive in size and I felt dwarfed by them. In the park there is a trunk section cut and mounted to show the historical timeline of events going on while the tree was growing. The atmosphere was cold and damp. This particular forest is the last of the primordial forests and is precious.

909 A.D. A tree is born
1100 Building of cliff dwellings begins Mesa Verde
1325 Aztecs begin construction of Tenochitlan Mexico
1492 Columbus sails to America
1607 Jamestown Va founded by English colonists
1776 Declaration of Independance
1849 California Gold Rush
1908 Muir Woods Monument established
1930 Tree falls

The Bay Cruise
Ben and Russell play rock/paper/scissors on bay cruise.

Golden Gate From Boat: This is the North end of the bridge and is the route we took each time we left San Fran to go to Russell's grandmother's house. ...Off to granma's we go...In the distance to the right is a mountain with a tunnel cut through it. Everyone in the car liked to hold their breaths until reaching the other side. Ben even got into the act.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lake Somerville Trailway

This weekend Thomas, Matthew, and myself headed out to Lake Somerville Trailway for a little backpacking fun. The trailway runs between two main camping/park areas called Birch Creek and Nails Creek. We walked close to 8 miles the first day, taking a couple of un-intended hikes off the main trail, and almost 7 out the next day. The Trailway is in the middle of Blackland Prarie and the scenery was simply gorgeous.

This was a noisy place. Several Boy Scout troops were in the area and there was the constant drone of some kind of machinery. There were hunters in the area too and we heard gunfire quite a few times, especially around dawn. After those first shots were fired, a few scared ducks went flying over our campsite to get away. Speaking of campsites...we had to stealth camp because the boyscouts dominated all the designated camping areas. So we camped in what we think was a day area at Newman Bottom somewhat close to a creek. It was a nice spot and no one was around. We were far enough away that we didn't hear any of the scouts anymore, and the mechanical sounds were quite faded.

Despite the man made noise, wildlife was abundant and we saw and heard plenty. Ferrel hogs showed up on the scene a couple of times, which was the first time I have ever seen wild hogs while walking about. I was quite thrilled by that! We also encountered deer which we normally do, but one in particular was a large buck right ahead of us on the trail. I got a shot of it, but it didn't turn out well...I'll post it anyway.

Birds of all kinds were in the area and we spotted a huge owl that appeared to be hunting...I think it was chasing a bird, or maybe the bird was chasing the owl...I can't be sure. Towards evening flocks of chatty ducks flew over our camp site to their roosting places. Then at night, many coyotes broke out in yips and howels and could be heard quite clearly in several different areas. I don't think they were too far away from us, and their racket set off the Great Horned Owls calling back and forth to each other in the night. It was quite the auditory treat and lent an air of excitement to the trip. But the best part of all, at least for me, was walking through cloud after cloud of butterflies. We saw thousands of them in the park and to be surrounded by so many at one time was something I've never experienced. It was almost surreal. Unfortunately none of my butterfly pics turned out.

After the sun had set, we turned our attention to the night sky and could see the Milky Way. We were also fortunate enough to see a few meteors streaking across the sky. Then after a while of the temp steadily falling, we grew weary of the cold and retired to our tents for the night. The next morning I woke up a little chilled and damp because of the condensation on the tent walls, but things warmed up quickly after the sun came up and all was well. This was a great trip and I look forward to the next!

Day One
Map Showing Trailway. Birch Camp is where we started(off to the far right of map)and made our way over to Newman Bottom shown on left side of map. Total trip miles almost 15.
Grass almost as tall as me. In this shot I'm looking uphill. The trees in the background are actually tall, but because of the sharp incline I can only see their tops.
A Pond Reflection
Moss Monster
Moss Monster Up Close
Can You See the Deer?
Darkness Falls

Day Two
Sparkling Water
Love Birds(actually these are vultures)
Ferrel Hogs. After these adults passed over the trail, several young followed. You have to click on this picture to see the hogs better.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Leonid Meteor Shower

I'm heading out to back country again this weekend and am really excited that the skies will be clear. There is a meteor shower happening this weekend, so here's hoping for some beautiful night sky watching!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Yesterday's Hike

Found myself going solo yesterday and was crunched for time. I ended up on the Barton Creek Greenbelt again starting at the Gaines/Twin Falls access heading towards the Scottish Woods trail head. It was terribly crowded but I expected it and probably only hiked about three miles this time. It was too easy, but I did take some photos. Twin Falls Dried Up
Downed Tree with Moss
Typical Greenbelt Tunnel
Cliff's Edge
Side of Cliff
Nice Cave
American Beauty Berry
Name that Plant
American Lady
Resting Bee

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another Butterfly Bonanza!

I saw many species today out in the garden and was only able to photograph a few. Enjoy!

White Striped Long Tail, Sub Family: Spread Winged Skippers

Giant Swallotail, Sub Family: Swallowtails

American Snout, Family: Brush Footed Butterflies
Southern Dogface, Sub Family: Sulphers
Bordered Patch