Archive for November, 2015

Rancho, again

November 29, 2015

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Jacky and I went to Rancho a couple days ago, but I thought it would be a good place to go for a killer day. And it was. I hiked the perimeter trails; usually I do the route clockwise, but I reversed the order today and added a few frills, including the side trip into Hidden Villa. I decided to omit the built-up part of the area, bypassed it by taking Grapevine trail, which I had not previously hiked. It turned out to be a steep descent to Adobe creek (so this is where the Palo Alto Adobe creek comes from!), then the steep ascent back to Black Mountain trail.


The rock field at the top of Black Mountain road is a popular destination. Probably met twenty hikers coming or going during the time I was on this particular stretch of trail.


Moffett field down there, soon to be home to an expansion of the Google campus, which is presently off to the left of the picture.


And seriously bad news for someone, probably in Sunnyvale. Half an hour later, the black smoke had settled into a horizontal cloud, and there was a plume of white coming up from the ground, indicating condensed steam from the fire-fighters’ attack. Half an hour later still, I got a slight whiff of the smoke myself.

Nice day, chilly. A round dozen deer early in the day, another ten mid-afternoon. The mountain lion seen here a week ago should be texting all his buddies that the pickins are pretty good here!

Only 19 miles, but 4100 vertical feet, where 4k feet of climb qualifies it as a killer hike.


November 28, 2015

Saturday, 28 November 2015

I haven’t been to Shoreline for a long time, so I spent an hour or two today wandering around there.


A nice day for a little stroll.


Of course, there’s still the little matter of making a living, and it can get pretty dirty at times.



Enough egrets for you?


It looks chilly, and it is.


Drying off his armpits …


And checking his deodorant.



Fun to watch half a dozen pelicans wheeling around over the pond, watching for fish, diving and catching them.






Yep, seriously spoiled, living in a place like this.

Autumn hiking

November 22, 2015

Sunday, 22 Nov 2015

Although I went for a run Friday, there have been enough other recent claims to my time and attention that I have had very little exercise for the last two weeks. So I was motivated to get out and do something strenuous today. 21.7 miles, 3700 vertical feet. Strenuous enough.

Parked at Los Trancos, near a place that has llamas. Usually they are some distance away from the road, but they had come down to the fence today to hobnob — or maybe sneer — at four deer on the Free side of the fence.

When I do these trails, I usually go around clockwise, but I reversed the order today. Makes a difference; not only to the trails have a fresh look as seen from the other side, but I have energy to hike a couple of the frill detours that I always skip when they’re at the end of the hike, rather than the beginning.


Sunny, mostly, but cool. Beautiful day. Peters creek bridge here, not long before I turned uphill and hiked to a calorie stop at a stone bench in memory of Wallace Stegner.


Peters creek runs into the ocean. Two or three hours later, here we are at Stevens creek, at the bottom of Table Mountain on the other side, draining into the bay. And from here, we climb back to the ridge where the car was parked. Nice day, hard work.

Time for a beer.

Puerto Vallarta

November 15, 2015

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Hot and sticky when I arrived in Puerto Vallarta a few minutes after 3. After checking into the hotel (seaside resort), the first thing I did was change into shorts. Then out for a stroll. Being thoroughly a tourist area, I’m not expecting a whole lot, but it wasn’t too bad. (And no, the photo below is not the hotel. It’s far fancier than that!)


There’s a marina, lined with restaurants of various types. Not likely to starve this week.


I was not expecting that sign!


Looking for crocs, but the only one I saw was bronze.


However, along the water’s edge in the marina, lots of crabs. We see some around our area, but not this many, and I think our cold-water crabs are not this colourful.


The hotel is on the beach, so I wandered down there later, and found the really, really, really best crabs.


I never would have seen these little guys at all if they hadn’t moved. Amazingly fast, they look like little puffs of lint blowing along the sand. Of course, we know they can’t possibly be little puffs of lint…


Indeed! Wow!



Tourist area. People happy to take your money for whatever you might fancy. I guess the local industry is turning sunlight into cash.


Wandered the hotel to see if there were any old friends I wanted to dine with. Didn’t see any, so I went to Mikado, a Japanese restaurant in the hotel.


Started with hot/sour shrimp soup, then a sashimi plate, then a teriyaki appetizer. (I hadn’t eaten on the plane and was pretty hungry.) About that time, my friend Marta came in, so I ordered a set of rainbow sushi to keep her company while she ordered and ate. Good conversation.

And tomorrow, we work.

Albino redwoods

November 8, 2015

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Prompted by a comment from last week’s post, I hiked the perimeter of El Corte de Madera open space preserve today, hoping to find another giant salamander.


No luck, but the cool autumn day was wonderful, no matter what. I would have been happier with fewer crazy mountain bikies, but you take what you can get.

Sunday, 8 November

Ellen had very nicely organized a short hike for open space volunteers, into an area that’s completely closed off from public access, to visit a couple of groves of albino redwoods. There were about ten or a dozen of us.


It was a little rainy, but beautiful.


Even without albinos, this would be worth a visit. Very nice.


Here is the larger of the two albino groves. The trees in the background are not albinos; the albinos have no chlorophyll, and cannot photosynthesize, so they grow as much as they can, and die off. We see lots of the dead earlier growth here.


The group looking and talking.


This is what they look like close up. Full redwood foliage structure, just no color.


We went on to the second albino observation. This one is actually a burl on the side of a tree. Someone said this might be caused by a virus, and the idea of having an anomalous structure on an otherwise normal tree would tend to reinforce that idea.



More beautiful views, these along the creek.


There were at least two newts at the bottom of those little ponds. Don’t see them?


Here’s one.


Later, we found a couple more, out hiking along the trail.

Great place, great day! Thanks, Ellen.