Monday, May 31, 2010

Yesterday India and I hiked up to Lake Ilsanjo in Annadel State Park. It's a pretty steep climb through a redwood grove. The path is paved with little pieces of obsidian in places.
It was the first really warm, sunny day we've had for quite awhile (all year?) and we might have gone swimming in the lake if we'd brought swimming togs and towels. There were too many folks about for us to skinny dip.
Instead we just ate our lunch and fed the little ducks who swam over to see what we had for sharing.
At some point India pointed across the lake to a dead pine tree and said "Look at that bird with the white head over there. Is that a bald eagle?".
It was! I had no idea there were eagles in our area, but when it took off from the tree and dove down to catch a fish in the lake, there was no doubt. It was huge! Turns out there's a nesting pair in the park. I guess our bird was bringing home lunch.
We also saw a little black snake, lizards, two tom turkeys gobbling like crazy, all kinds of butterflies, ducks, a goose and the biggest egret I've ever seen. It was snow white and huge and flew right across our path, with those long long white wings and folded up neck. As it crossed our path it let out a long stream of pure white poo!
Some sort of sign?
India was very good company on the hike, although it was hot for her. I don't mind the heat so much. In fact, I was remembering my first summer in Santa Rosa. I'd hike up to swim in the lake every week, getting baked in the searing heat. That was back before the hole in the ozone layer, or global warming were much known about.
Sadly many of the pine trees up near the lake were dead or dying. The redwoods and oaks seem okay, but something has pretty much wiped out the pines.
There were so many horses on the trails. When we got back to the car I found a shopping bag and filled it up with fresh manure to use in our earthen plaster! Score!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Awkward Family Photos

I've been enjoying this website today. Makes me feel just a little bit better about my own family.
Sometimes the captions really make the shot. For this one:
"Thanks Mom, for always knowing what's best for us."

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Amazing World of Art Moura

Check out the fantastic art of my friend Art Moura. This little tour is amazing and funny and may just blow your mind.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Krista's Yosemite

Being married to a great artist has its perks sometimes. Take a look at Krista's photos from our trip. Despite a certain amount of camera malfunction (some of the shots are sadly blurry) she captures a deeper level of beauty, currents of ambient feeling and the steady elegance Nature offers the unhurried eye.
I remember the kids and I waiting over and over, on our bikes: "Where's Krista? Where's mom?". She was busy capturing glimmers of ethereal loveliness! Here's a link to her Flickr set.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Just got back yesterday from four days camping in Yosemite valley. It was wonderful to be in that magical place in the spring time. The waterfalls were roaring and there were so many smaller ones I'd never seen before. The dogwood trees were in bloom, as were the ancient apple trees scattered around the valley. The meadows had little ponds reflecting the gorgeous peaks above, and all the mosses were glowing green on the rocks.

My neck is still sore from looking up so much. We camped in the Upper Pines campground and brought our bikes. In fact once we parked in our campsite we never drove again until we headed home, stopping for a time at El Capitan and the Tunnel View lookout.

We were blessed with beautiful weather--warm sunny days in the 70's and starlit evenings that got down to the low 40's. We were just cozy enough in our tent (it was almost too cold one night) and in the morning we'd stamp around until the sun cleared the valley rim and flooded our campsite with warmth. There's something delectable about greeting the sun with so much gratitude and welcome.

At night we'd have a campfire, burning almond wood we'd bought at a fruit stand on the way. We burned part of our Christmas tree I'd cut up, and the last bit of a packing case from having stuff shipped from Bali five years ago. There were privet and olive branches and a broken oak chair leg. Quite an eclectic campfire.

Of course our diet went to hell. Forget the raw food, we had french toast every morning, cheese sandwiches, potato chips and cookies for lunch and quesedillas or tofu hotdogs for dinner. Krista bought the kids marshmallows to roast on the fire and I toasted a few myself (first time in thirty years!).

We never did see any bears, which suited me just fine. The huge Yosemite ravens were there, and the cute ground squirrels that Eden loves so much. And other people, of course, but not very many. It was not crowded at all, although the campground was full. The folks right next to us played music every night, quietly with a saxophone and guitar. That was very nice!

One of the things I love about Yosemite is not knowing where the other folks came from until the open their mouths to speak. Are they from San Francisco or Amsterdam? The realization that people come from all over the planet to be in our magical Yosemite valley just makes me appreciate it that much more.

I also love the simple act of offering to take someone's picture, so that a couple or family can all be in it together. I did this about four or five times and several folks offered this for us.

On Wednesday we set out early and tackled the "mist trail" up to the top of Vernal Falls. It's a pretty steep climb and aptly named. When I'd done it back in October last year there wasn't much water coming over the falls. In May its a torrent and the spray blows right over the trail, which is mostly steps made from granite that climb along a steep drop down to the river.
We were not prepared at all and got thoroughly soaked! Luckily we were able to bake in the sun up on the huge granite slab up above the fall. This was one of the real high points of our trip, but it cost us sore knees and calf muscles!

A longer stay would have suited me. We were just starting to relax and let go of the busy doing things mode when it was time to pack up and drive home. But even our short stay left me feeling inspired and happier to be alive.