Thursday, August 30, 2018

Point Reyes July 2018

One of more and more uncharacteristically warm summer days in Point Reyes. Bear Valley to Mt. Wittenberg and down Sky Trail to the coast, then back on Bear Valley. I think this is the first time I was back that Arch Rock is gone. The trail down to the beach where it was has been cleverly covered with really annoying vegetation - to be honest if there were just a sign I would have gone down anyway, but all the sticks kept me out. Good job rangers....Note, as of July 2018 the lower reaches of Sky Trail were quite overgrown.

The Bay Bridge Pedestrian Path

I finally got out there on a nice sunny day, hoping to get some bay fog but it receded before me as I ran. You can get from Emeryville to Yerba Buena Island now, but still not from there to the city. Amazingly, originally you couldn't even get all the way from the East Bay to the island. What was the point of that!?!? But I'm glad there's a trail now, even if I'll never approve of the new bridge. Because it's not the old bridge. Get off my lawn kids. First shot is view to the west, climbing the incline approaching the island. It's kind of strange finally being on foot somewhere that you think you know and you've been in a car over a thousand times.

Above: the weird bridge up close. It looks like a squid that's going to get you. I don't like it. Next two below, views back to the East Bay. In the distance you can make out the freight cranes that supposedly inspired the AT-ATs in Star Wars though apparently that's an urban myth.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Redwood Regional Preserve, Oakland Hills

I started in Sibley Volcanic Preserve, then went through Huckleberry and Redwood (on French Trail of course) to Lake Chabot. By early evening the fog came rolling in with a vengeance and I actually got quite cold waiting for the wife to pick me up. I realized that for all the time I've spent in this park, I have very few pictures of it, although the first one below (from early morning run another day, many years ago) remains one of my favorite that I've ever taken.

I originally had some cool close-up images of fern spires here, but my wife hates spores and sporey-looking things and said she'd never read my blog again if I left those images in the post. So I just have a link (below). It's too bad because ferns are cool. They're one of the few plants that can survive on the forest floor, since redwoods are actually quite hostile to most understory plants (block out the light; constantly bombing them with material falling from the tree.) This is why they are NOT good trees to plant at your house - you're guaranteeing lots of expensive tree maintenance and/or house damage 20 years in the future. I have one at home but it's in a pot and when it's big enough I'll plant it away from buildings where it will be happy. I took this picture of the spores under a fern leaf 100% entirely to upset my wife. As you can see it worked. I am a great husband.

Originally here I had a picture of the Narcisse snake dens in Manitoba, Canada, which can now be seen here. Granted this has nothing to do with Redwood Preserve, but my wife is afraid of snakes too, and I'm an unpleasant fellow. Hence my choices.

Above: it's August, and the poison oak is red. Poison oak is worst when it's red; also, when it's every other color. Below: Poisson oak! ZING, HEY-O! Amirite? That's for you statisticians out there, thanks I'm here all week take care of your waitress. Below that, some dummies running around muttering to themselves.

The next three are from Lake Chabot, a) where I once ran a solid trail marathon that kicked off this blog, b) is the closest I've ever come to being bitten by a rattlesnake and c) where I received my hash name in days of yore my liege! Although the air quality improved dramatically this weekend as the onshore flow returned and pushed the forest fire smoke inland, in the last picture you can make out the distant smoke layer.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Tahoe Rim Trail - Kingsbury North to Spooner Summit

Poor planning. When I jumped in the car to go up to Tahoe I threw my filter bottle in the back and (effectively) said to myself "Of COURSE there will be flowing creeks at elevation on the Nevada side at this time of year!" There aren't. Plus, I didn't hydrate effectively beforehand. It was sunny and 80 with only smoke clouds visible in the distant northwest, but no air quality problems at the lake - much different than when I was there in April and had to turn around due to snow.

Of course there were the usual friendly people (about a dozen in 4 hours, one of them a through hiker.) But due to my own stupidity, what should have been an enjoyable 11-mile jaunt turned into a death march. 2 miles from the end I encountered a van parked in the woods, inhabited by a guy who had thought things through much better. Lucky for me he was generous and topped me off, and his dog didn't eat me. Thanks Jason and Hershey! But I'd already lost so much water that I was probably hyponatremic after drinking a full bottle, and got back to my car and slept on and off for an hour. I was in such bad shape (shaky, could tell my reaction time was off) I delayed driving home for another hour - it is not unheard of for people to survive long runs and then die in car accidents afterward due to fatigue. (Lesson: be like Jason. Not like MDK10.)

Of course the views were sublime. It was right around here I saw a hawk carry off a struggling chipmunk, chirping and fighting all the way, likely in futility. This made me sad, but what makes me saddest is that we live in a world where this is the only way hawks can survive, and they have babies to feed too.

I only saw one snow plant the whole time. Not surprising - a little late for them.

Now that's a good-lookin' trail marker. Thanks TRT creators and maintainers!

You can't really make it out, but from this angle I was looking straight across at the mouth of Emerald Bay and could even make out Fannette Island.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Running and Depression or Anxiety

A patch of eucalyptus above Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands on an August afternoon

Great Runners World article on the benefits of running on depression and anxiety here; also see this article on forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. I've been staying inside due to the forest fire smoke hanging over the northern half of the state, and no wonder I feel like I'm in withdrawal!

Above: picture of current air quality in northern California