|April 16, 2017||Filed under California, Gallery, Landscapes, Sonoma Valley|
My San Francisco friends often ask me how I can leave the city to live in the country. My answer is simple: “I wake up happy here.” And I easily find joy and beauty by simply walking in the woods. Thanks to the abundant rains of this winter and spring, the California drought is now officially over, and Sonoma Valley is draped in verdancy not seen in years. Near my home is a corner of Trione-Annadel State Park, where a 2-hour walk yielded these happy snapshots. Enjoy!
|March 25, 2017||Filed under California, Palm Springs|
I was not a big fan of Palm Springs, California, where the pool-cocktails-pool-cocktails amusement cycle seemed stuck on repeat with few other diversions. But then, I have not visited in springtime until recently, when I enjoyed amazing hikes in a natural wonderland of high contrasts: palm trees and Joshua trees; arid boulders and lush oases; desert heat and alpine snow.
Less than an hour drive from downtown Palm Springs is the almost 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park, encompassing parts of both the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. The namesake tree — allegedly named by migrating Mormons after the biblical character Joshua, due to the plant’s outstretched “arms” to the heavens — is found only in the higher elevation Mojave Desert in the Park’s northwest section. Just as iconic are the Park’s incredible rock formations, created some 100 million years ago, some seemingly ready to come alive like the Galaxy Quest rock monster. Many Joshua trees and boulder stacks can be viewed from the road, but it’s definitely better to get out and wander among them.
At 5,185 feet, the Keys View lookout presents a sweeping vista past the Indio Hills — under which the San Andreas fault lies — down to the Coachella Valley, then back up to the still snow-capped Mount San Jacinto range. “Hmm, I’m glad we came,” I overheard a teenager mused, as she stared at the incredible view. “What was that?” her dad asked smugly, highly pleased with himself for dragging his kids to this spot. Ah, family holidays! To get away from the gathering sightseers, I hiked further up on a faint trail behind the parking area, soaking up the sun, breeze and panorama in peace and quiet.
“If you want to see some wildflowers, head to the area around Cottonwood Spring,” the helpful Park Ranger told me when I first entered at the opposite end of the park. So after the heights of Keys View, I took the road down some 2,000 feet in elevation into the Colorado Desert part of the Park. Perhaps still a week too early, I did not spot many flowers, but then “BOOM!” the lower valley opened into a lovely carpet of white and yellow dotted with purple and blue, framed by the dark foothills. Although I hit the highlights of Joshua Tree National Park in just one day, I must return another time to hike further and linger longer. (more…)
|November 24, 2016||Filed under California, Gallery, Landscapes|
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful to live in California.
From the Pacific Ocean to the Sierra Nevada mountains, from big cities to rural towns, from northern redwoods to southern deserts, California grew and continues to prosper from its natural and cultural diversity. Since becoming a state in 1850, California today is the most populous state in the USA, and has one of the largest economies in the world. Below is a small gallery of photographs that I have made during my travels around the state.
On November 9, 2016, California Legislative leaders said in a joint statement: “California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.” For this and much more, thank you California!
|January 26, 2014||Filed under California, Eureka, Humboldt County, Lost Coast, Redwood Empire|
I’ve always wanted to shout “Eureka!” But since I have yet to discover a vein of gold or some great invention, at least I can now say, “I’ve finally been to Eureka!” It’s the largest town in Humboldt County, California, 270 miles north of San Francisco.
As my friend and I drove up U.S. Highway 101, the road transformed from a busy multi-lane freeway to a scenic byway through the Redwood Empire. As charming as Humboldt County’s historic lumber towns were, I was much more taken by the natural wonders of the area – the magnificent sequoia forests and the miles of foggy coastline. (more…)