Posts Tagged ‘dragonfly’

Boise

July 16, 2016

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Boise lies in the flat country just west of the mountains. A little online exploration reveals that there are no end of trails nearby, most of them in the mountains. The Table Rock loop sorted to the top of the list, and seems to be pretty interesting, so that’s where we went today. Parking at the old Penitentiary.

Which reminds me … what a misnomer that is! Had this truly been a home for penitents, it would not have needed guards or locks. It might have been called a monastery. The current equivalent is correctional institute, equally a misnomer.

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There were no paper maps, but the kiosk at the trailhead showed the options. Pretty simple; we took trail 15A up, went around the hill on 16, and came back down 15.

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There was a volunteer crew busy uprooting weeds. I thanked them for the effort. Always makes me feel good when I’m in their shoes and someone thanks me.

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The whole area burned recently. Long enough ago that it only weakly smells of smoke, but not very attractive.

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It was great to see the vegetation beginning to come back. For example, this green grass shooting out from the lump of burned grass.

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The photo above came from the non-burned area, just to show what the single orphan flower further up will look like if it has a chance to mature.

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Once we finally topped out and had a wide view further east, we could see the extent of the burn area, looking for all the world like cloud shadow.

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It’s called table rock because it was once the sedimentary solid floor of a lake, now elevated a couple thousand feet above the surroundings.

Up here at the top, a man with a dog. The dog running around, full of energy, full of life, full of joy. It had three legs.

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There are communications antennas up here, consequently a road. But only a few cars; most people walked up and back down.

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One of the bikies was a woman, who walked most of the way down, not confident in her brakes. The other bikie was a guy who rode the whole way. Not far from the bottom, and just ahead of us, he hit a rock the wrong way and took a spectacular fall. Not hurt beyond the usual scrapes, which is good.

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We found a shady picnic table outside the walls of the old penitentiary and enjoyed the views of the warden’s house and the bishop’s house while we munched our apples. Didn’t sign up for the penitentiary tour itself; we’d rather spend the time at the botanical garden.

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And so we did. It’s just outside the penitentiary walls itself, so we saw some of the outside.

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I loosed off a raft of shots at this dragonfly, and am delighted that a couple of them turned out well. They clearly show that the leading edges of the wings are open.

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Well, the botanical garden was very much worth the time, and I have a boatload of photos. But I won’t bore you with more than just a few.

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There was a little creek, possibly with pumped recirculating water, covered with water striders. Cool!

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Back to the B&B for naps, then laundry, then a cool beer in the back yard, then to a middle eastern restaurant for goodies.

Nice day. Tomorrow, Logan, Utah.

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YST and Coal Creek

July 26, 2014

Saturday, 26 July 2014

It was supposed to be a very hot day, so I set the alarm an hour early. Arrived at a side gate of Los Trancos just after 6, and spent 3 1/2 hours attacking yellow star thistle. Hard to get my work gloves on, especially the right hand, because it’s swollen and puffy from last week’s poison oak.

Dumped my bucket of spoils at the tarp-covered compost heap. The way this works is that the flower heads will continue to develop seed even after they are plucked, so they can’t be left where they lie. To keep them from germinating, the compost heap is covered with an open mesh dark green plastic tarp. Mice and voles love to eat the fluffy seed as it develops, which is fine. A high population density of mice and voles attracts rattlesnakes, which is also fine, except that, when you’re popping the top off the compost heap, it’s advisable to be prepared. Being prepared: I had my camera turned on, lens cap off, ready to go, but there was no snake for me.

Having finished the hard work for the day, I went off on trail patrol. Cut across the top of Montebello open space preserve, toward Alpine road, with a detour down to the little pond here.

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Just below the pond, a garter snake. Cool!

Today’s objective is to hike all of the trails in the Coal Creek open space preserve. The main trail here is old Alpine road, which was a complete road up-and-down, albeit unpaved, when I first started mountain biking these hills, lo those many years ago. One wet winter, the road collapsed, and because it was just a fire road, not the essential access to anyone’s home, there was no way to justify the expense of repairing it. So they built a mountain bike trail around the washout, and there it has remained ever since.

I hadn’t realized it, but the trail, and the old road, descend all the way into Portola Valley before finally crossing the boundary out of the Coal Creek preserve. I had taken extra water, to replace the water I had consumed during my thistle-pulling hours, but didn’t have enough for that much additional work.

Reluctantly, I returned to the car, having hiked only old Alpine road, none of the side trails. Drove to Alpine pond, where there is a supply of drinking water, and tanked up, two bottles and the belly. While I was there, I went down to the pond to see if anything interesting was posing for photographs.

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Interesting, indeed. I always like these little guys. How many insects have necks?

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And how many airfoils are open on the leading edge?

Drove to the Russian Ridge Vista Point on Skyline, whence I hiked the remaining trails at Coal Creek. One of the trails is old Coal Road, which does in fact go past a black embankment, but the black really just looks like mudstone. If it’s indeed coal, I bet it’s pretty low grade. The most interesting name, of course, is Crazy Pete’s road, which is a trail. It runs into Crazy Pete’s trail, which is a road. Crazy!

A really seriously hot day, and my ass was dragging by the time I finished, ten hours after the morning’s events had started. I count it as a killer hike, even though it turned out to be only 17 miles, 2800 vertical feet.

Home to plunge the swollen arms into ice water — which didn’t help much, if at all. Well past the time when I ought to be developing an immunity to poison oak, but it doesn’t seem to be happening.