Outdoors and Brahms

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

I flew back from Stockholm Friday, so Saturday was for collecting anti-jetlag daylight and getting a little exercise. No matter that it was raining. Went to Windy Hill with the idea of both hiking and uprooting weeds. Found some purple star thistle on Spring Ridge trail, the carcasses of which must be carried out — it cannot be left where it lies, because it will go ahead and develop seed. I carry a flimsy bag in my backpack for eventualities such as this, so it wasn’t a problem.

Over on the other side of the preserve, I went off trail and attacked broom for almost three hours, a total of about 7 hours outdoors. Thoroughly wet, tired, dirty — a great day. The sun had come out, and I was happy.

Sunday, 23 November

My gloves were still soaked from yesterday, so I just went hiking today. Short hike, because the late afternoon is committed. Parked at Arastradero and went up the hill, through Foothills park and Los Trancos open space preserve, 15 miles total, the Los Trancos part counting as a volunteer trail patrol contribution because it’s a Mid-Pen preserve.

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Looking into the sun in Wildhorse valley, mist rising from the wet grass of yesterday’s rain as the sun hits it. The exposure makes it look like a snowy scene, very pretty if I do say so myself.

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Back in the woods, it was good to find the colourful and interesting fungi getting started, now that the rains have begun.

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Los Trancos, where you would not be well-advised to rely on the mossy side of the tree to determine north.

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More Los Trancos, fallen leaves, a beautiful time of year.

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And speaking of fungi … I have never seen anything like this before.

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Tilt-a-world. No, the camera is not off-vertical; these trees really are growing off to the left, leaning into the open space of the stream valley below. Bay laurel especially does this, sometimes resulting in trunks growing completely horizontal with new trunks sprouting vertically from them. In other cases, the trunk bows over far enough to reach the ground on the other side of the stream and form an arch. But sometimes, the torque is too much and the trunk breaks off. I found such a break during my trail patrol, noted its GPS coordinates, photographed it, and included it in my trail report.

Home in time for a quick nap before we went out again.

For my birthday a few weeks ago, Jacky got us tickets to Brahms’ Requiem, whose performance was today. It had no orchestra, rather four hands of piano, an arrangement done by Brahms himself. Goose bumps, tears in the eyes. More than once. A superb performance of a superb piece of music. Quite possibly the best birthday present I have ever had.

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