It’s my birthday week and I have to cram 2 weeks of vacation into one week since I lost last week to the fly, therefore I will do my favorite things. Today I did one of the best things to do in San Francisco: went to the botanical garden and had lunch at Nopalito. By the way, if you go there order the Caldo Tlalpeño con Pollo, it is divine.
It was drier and warmer at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve today than it was last time I went, in September. We haven’t had much rain. A few showers last month, nothing recently. Last year at this time everything was soaking wet and muddy. I hope the rain is just later this year, not absent. Things looked a little dry and dusty, which is something I associate with August, not December. Also, it was warm! In the sunny places I was hot.
I really liked the light yesterday at San Mateo Central Park. Too bad I only caught the tail end of it. Short days are here.
Another old haunt I haven’t been to in years, dating back to before I started dslr photography. Edgewood Park is across the street from my usual Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. My main complaint about this park is the traffic noise from 280. It’s audible from parts of Pulgas too, but it’s just really loud on the whole northern side of Edgewood. However, I seem to be in a mood for variety in hiking, so I decided to give it another chance. It does have its charms. The twisty creepy branches of Pulgas seem to have multiplied here, on the other side of Edgewood Road. I saw a lot of deer and several bunnies. I also noticed that they have really added a lot to the educational center and they now have a labeled wildflower garden. I need to check this out when wildflower season comes.
I took these pictures yesterday, on Halloween, and seem to have captured a bit of a Halloween spirit with the long shadows and twisty tree silhouettes.
Finally, after 5 months of dry, it rained this week. Here where I live, in Burlingame, it poured for about an hour on Thursday night. The first rain is an exciting thing for a hiker, it means everything is about to spring into life. At the same time, it is fall and leaves are turning yellow and crunching on the trail. I made it to the trail at 7:15, just before sunrise, so it was lovely and dark. Everything smelled fantastic. I had a strong desire to hug a tree.
A few more pictures from yesterday’s hike in Wunderlich park. That fall morning light is just so nice. For these photos I decided not to edit them aside from a tiny bit of cropping. Usually I do edit my photos in Camera Raw, just adjusting the contrast, color correction, etc. Sometimes they look so nice straight out of the camera, I don’t feel it’s needed.
A little more than a year ago I posted photos from a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern art. I took a completely different approach to photographing the museum this time, with an eye toward my current obsession with black and white photo-editing. Last year I took only a 100 mm lens, meaning I took a lot of close shots. Today, I brought only my 10-18 mm ultra wide lens, resulting in expansive shots. I brought a similar philosophy about taking photos at a museum however- rather than taking pictures of artwork, I try to compose shots that are interesting on their own, which may contain artwork but are also about the building itself, or a compelling juxtaposition between multiple elements. Or the crazy color of the completely red bathrooms. Couldn’t resist.
I have an order of difficulty ranking in my head for the hikes near me. Pulgas Ridge is the easiest. This I can do pretty much any time even if I feel out of shape. But it will be tiring if I am actually out of shape.
Next on the list is Wunderlich, which is a much bigger park with longer hike options, but still nicely graded trails so it’s pretty much the easiest 10 mile hike with 2000 ft of elevation change you’ll find anywhere. Or so it was. Apparently after last winter’s crazy rain, there was a landslide that cut off one of the usual trails. The current work-around is a (thankfully brief) steep slog that cuts off one of the switchbacks. Which wasn’t exactly what I signed up for today, but it was fine. I disliked going back down it more than up.
So, that tells me I am ready for my third level hike- Purisima Creek. I will check the trail conditions before I go. Live and learn.
Somehow during all of my many walks at Seal Point Park, I never found this little salt marsh flat viewing platform slightly to the south of where I usually walk. At a certain point the bay trail splits and the left portion has a sign for “bikes” so I always chose the right portion instead, figuring it lessens my chance of getting run into by a biker. However by doing this, I missed that there was another path off the left of that that takes you to a viewing platform (where, coincidentally no bikes are allowed.)
I’m going to have to go out there at sunrise one of these days.
Still on the black and white kick, by the way.
I guess other places, people prefer hiking in the summer but to me,here in the bay area, summer is the worst time. I do not enjoy the heat or the dry. I like a nice cool temperature. Maybe some fog. A very light drizzle of rain even. California sun is different than sun other places I’ve lived. It feels like that sun is trying to cook me, especially in the summer.
I planned to get in shape so I could go hiking more this fall/winter/spring and I did it and it seems to have paid off. I’ve been going to the gym 3-4 times a week for 2 months. Today was my first hike since spring and it was nice. 5 miles was no challenge and I am ready for the longer ones and already planning next weekend. Ah, so nice when the plans work out at the weather converges with the motivation. The stars have aligned. I have high hopes for this coming season. Despite a big pile of work nonsense, I’ve still made it to work out. I wish motivation could be bottled up because I can’t seem to call it forth at will. The best I can do is wait for it to arrive then ride it.
I woke up without an alarm at 6:00 am today so I was able to have some coffee and breakfast by the bay watching the sunrise at Coyote Point.
Then I went to Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, my regular hiking spot. It’s still so charming to me, even after going there for years. I like the feeling of knowing it. I know what is going to be around each bend. I like the twisty trees. I saw bunnies and hummingbirds out in droves. And it’s usually so nice and quiet early in the morning. Only a few people with their dogs or out for an early run.
Then I went to the farmers market and bought some peaches and strawberries, so you know. Pretty much the perfect morning.