Friday, December 25, 2020

North Bay Autumn Roundup

(Update: we restarted the Winers H3 hash house harriers! Except now it's called the Valley of the Moon hash house harriers. Come on out! You can also see us along with the other hashes on this calendar. If you live in the Bay Area/Northern California, what are you waiting for?)

The Great Redwood Trail - in preparation for another of my Stupid Projects(tm), I've run to Windsor. Why? Because the old rail line that ran to Arcata will at some point in the not too distant future be converted into a rail trail. I will be ready to spend a month or so getting to Oregon on foot.

Above: running in the backcountry around Lake Sonoma on a rainy day, you’d think you would have the place to yourself. Nope! In 2 hours I saw like 5 other people! What’s up with that! In the rain, the western end of the lake looks very Pacific Northwest and even a bit Transylvanian with the fog. Lest I get too spooked, some friendly California newts were out to greet me. Also included: a sunnier day, and yet another inappropriately named trail, a sad testament to the number of damn hippies tolerated in the trail-naming department of the Army Corp of Engineers. (See here for other such travesties.)

Above: Mt. St. Helena - I remember this from about 15 years ago as having a much longer and more annoying slog up the fire trail than I encountered this time. Above you can see a few inside the “crater” (don’t know if that’s really what formed the bowl-ish shape at the top) and the redness of the post-harvest vineyards down in Napa Valley whose soil the volcano long ago fertilized. Also yellow leaves passes for “fall color” on the West Coast (one of the things I miss about back East.)

Above: the Confluence Area, Sierra Foothills - after a year and a half finally got back there. There isn’t a bad season to be up there. Besides summer.

Above: burn areas are still turning green with winter rains.

Above, BONUS! Western PA winter - Two nice ones from the PA subreddit, my apologies for losing the usernames of the creators - comment below and I will give you credit.

Above, Salt Point - the trails up to and including the Pygmy Forest, not just the (also awesome) coastal section which was my only exposure before.

Above, Orion, taken with the night feature on an old Pixel. Dammit Betelgeuse going supernova would have been a nice accent for 2020 but it wasn’t to be.

Above, the very last pepper I harvested was the only hot one. After producing only peppers with a heat reminiscent of two-day old oatmeal, the plant gave me ONE hot one, just to prove that it could. Experiment over. For their taunting I’m letting the frost kill them slowly. I will now move on to planting a small gentleman’s vineyard, and a neighbor was kind enough to give me a single professional-grade vine (not pictured – dormant bare-root – looks like a stick in a cup right now.) Gardening is a relaxing, peaceful endeavor and it’s important to have a positive attitude and show love to the Earth and all beings, and if the grapevine doesn’t grow I will find its grape family and hurt them.

Above, Ignacio Valley/Marinwood Open Space/Lucas Valley. It had been years since I was up on this ridge. Views of Tam, the northern Bay shoreline, and the city were to be had. Really nice, and my first time coming down Ponte Fire Road, which I will definitely return to.

Above, China Camp. Similarly, it had been years, and the last time I was there I had set just a wonderful, delightful, not at all mind-and-body torturing trail foR the Marin Hash and ended up getting my bare a** sat on a block of ice in public for all my trouble. Sniff! New to me - the open space on the east side of the hill there has some fun, stupid-steep social trails which I must admit I could not resist. As of early November the holly was out. Despite its best efforts to succumb to entropy as seen here, the bench persists.

Not pictured, Shiloh Ranch, which for some reason I thought it would be flat and lame but it's big and hilly enough to be interesting. Had a great late fall run there.