Walking on the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge

Hi Everyone, Here’s a bit of background on “Al Zampa” who was a true icon of San Francisco Bay Area history and a description of the bridge named for him.
Sounds like you all had a fun walk as the rains relented, good timing! I looked up Al Zampa and found some remarkable history.

38°03’43.0”N 122°13’32.3”W – Google Maps – an aerial view of the bridges and the Carquinez Strait

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carquinez_Bridge – Differentiates the two bridges, the suspension bridge carries westbound traffic on Interstate 80 from Vallejo to Crockett opened in 2003 is named for Al Zampa. The older eastbound cantilever bridge next to it routing I-80 traffic the other way was built in 1958. This entry details some of the rich history of this crossing

http://alzampabridge.com/the-man/ – Engaging human history of Al Zampa and his family

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Zampa – Brief vignette of Mr. Zampa and a classic photo

We can add any photos you may have taken of this hike if you wish. Thanks, Z


We hiked with Michael in the hills above Crockett and the Al Zampa bridge just about two years ago on March 20, 2017.

Here are a few photos of the bridge(s) from that time. You may recall the fresh greens of that hike in the hills and the impending rain which finally came down “just in time” for lunch.

The ship is the Golden Bear at the California State University Maritime Academy in Vallejo. CSUMAV is one of 23 campuses in the state university system.

Zipping up with the storm approaching

Las Gallinas Sewer Ponds with Michael – 12/10/18JW

The Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District is a low profile place fun to hike and a stellar place to observe birds at the end of Smith Ranch Road. The land was obtained by the district in 1956 to replace a failing waste water plant in Santa Venetia to serve the northern San Rafael area. The district is well know for The Sewer Band, LGVST Non-Marching Band, celebrating 60 years of performance and community service.
http://www.lgvsd.org/wp-content/uploads/LGVSD-Fight-Song.pdf https://www.thesewerband.com/about-the-band/

This area was an original Mexican land grant of 21,679 acres given in 1844 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Timothy Murphy and called Rancho San Pedro, Santa Margarita y Las Gallinas. Las Gallinas means “the hens” so at last we have gotten to the birds. Michael observed a flock of starlings in a tree by the parking lot and shared with us the daunting and amazing history of this bird in America with Shakespeare named as a co-conspirator. The European Starling was one of numerous birds that were transported to the United States and beyond by 19th century enthusiasts who wanted to bring familiar birds and plants to their new world homes.
One particularly dedicated devotee of this “migration” was Eugene Schieffelin, “a 19th-century drug manufacturer and Shakespeare fanatic . . who had not properly
understood the law of unintended consequences when he unveiled his master plan.” Just 32 of the original 100 starlings survived after being set free in Central Park in New York City in the 1890s to become a population of about 200 million in North America today. Amazingly the small gene pool did not seem to get in the way.

From the BBC News magazine: “Ironically, starlings are only mentioned once by Shakespeare – in Henry IV Part 1 Hotspur is in rebellion against the King and is thinking of ways to torment him. In Act1 Scene 3 he fantasizes about teaching a starling to say “Mortimer” – one of the king’s enemies. “Nay, I’ll have a starling shall be taught to speak nothing but Mortimer, and give it to him to keep his anger still in motion,” Shakespeare wrote. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27055030

https://psmag.com/environment/shakespeare-fanatic-introduced-bards-birds-america-82279 This link is from a newsletter of the Social Justice Foundation which I just discovered. Their website is well worth exploring. The Social Justice Fund Northwest awards grants for progressive social change.



And don’t miss this remarkable video of murmuration included in the All About Birds article.

I also discovered a superb blog about Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress by Peter Armenti. He invited a guest poster, AbbyYochelson, who is a reference specialist at the Library’s Main Reading Room, to write “Shakespeare Is For the Birds”. She has done remarkable research with some challenging conclusions.
“ . . I could not prove the link between Mr. Schieffelen or the American Acclimatization Society and Shakespeare with any primary sources. I’m still wondering where all those article authors got their source as no citations were provided, but my imagination conjures a scene of Mr. Schieffelen arguing eloquently for the importance of William Shakespeare—with or without birds.”

In this instance, this isn’t a hot-button issue but “received knowledge” needs to be questioned on occasion.


The day started misty and seemed to signal the possibility of rain but we are just re-learning about rain.

One of the pond islands with a lonely palm tree in its profile. The California Fan Palm is the only one native to the state and is found in isolated areas of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts in the southeastern part of the state. It’s foot print extends to southwestern Arizona and northern Baja California. All the other palms have been imported. Another place they’re found is at In-N-Out Burger franchises planted in an “X” shape. Founder Harry Snyder’s favorite movie was the 1963 comedy classic “It’s a Mad,Mad,Mad,Mad World” in which the cast searches for buried treasure hidden beneath crossed palm trees. Maybe hamburgers are the treasures now?

Palms have been used extensively in business and real estate developments in southern and northern California. Canary Island Palms were chosen to line San Francisco’s Embarcadero after the freeway was torn down following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Unfortunately, now many of the trees have contracted a highly contagious fungal disease, Fusarium Wilt, that can ultimately kill them – 34 of the 220 trees had the disease and that was in 2013. To replace them will cost about $35,000 each. A different kind of palm is being used for the replacement, Mexican Fan Palms, less likely to be infected by Fusarium Wilt.

https://www.latimes.com/la-hm-palms8jul08-story.html “Palms in Twilight” article – Poetic and finely descriptive writing by LA Times staff writer Emily Green

A Snowy Egret perch in the morning mist. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Egret/overview For all of his elegance, his call is quite surprising.

Two Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) sketch delicate wakes on the glassy surface. Audubon comments that these birds were brought from in Europe as an ornamental addition to parks and estates in North America. It continues, sadly, that in some places this huge and majestic bird has become common enough to be unpopular and is considered a pest. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/mute-swan https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mute_Swan/id

Some birds in flight grab out attention as we approach a blooming Eucalyptus tree where the search is on for a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes this bird beautifully. “A tiny bird seemingly overflowing with energy, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet forages almost frantically thought lower branches of shrubs and trees. Its habit of constantly flicking its wings is a key identification clue.” https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-crowned_Kinglet/overview

Pat and I came back on Tuesday looking for the kinglet and were treated to an Ana’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) sipping some nectar. “This hardy little bird is a permanent resident along our Pacific Coast, staying through the winter in many areas where no other hummingbirds are present. More vocal than most hummingbirds, males have a buzzy song, often given while perched.” https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/annas-hummingbird

Michael is reading to us from the Birder’s Handbook by Paul Ehrlich and others. Ehrlich you’ll recall is famous for his prescient book, “The Population Bomb”. In line with crossing the “t’s” I wondered if Paul Ehrlich and Paul R. Ehrlich were the same person and was happy to see on Wikipedia that they are indeed.
https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Birders-Handbook/Paul-Ehrlich/9780671659899 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich
Here Michael is reading about the diurnal (daytime) hunting birds who have dark face feathers (like line backers) and brow ridges to aid their hunt in the brightness of sunlight to dissipate the glare. Nocturnal would describe night time activities and crepuscular refers to animals active during the in-between times of dawn and dusk – twilight actors.

Michael also told us about the efficiency of the bird respiratory system which is explained succinctly in this NYT archive
Should you want to get a master’s degree on this subject, you could start with this article:
http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/birdrespiration.html I like the dinosaur connection with breathing in birds and the info-graphic of Eleanor Lutz in “3 Different Ways to Breathe”.

He also talked about the bird migrations in the northern hemisphere with often phenomenally long flights from colder climates to warm, food rich locations. He pointed out that this is only true in the northern hemisphere where there is a destination in Central and South America as well as in Africa. Here is a fascinating video of the northern hemisphere migratory patterns:

River Otters are resident in the ponds here, we saw a couple of them swimming on a far side. Here Michael pointed out an otter trail through the foliage, there was otter scat at the top of the trail confirming its use. https://www.kqed.org/news/10892643/river-otters-stage-a-comeback-in-bay-area
https://abc7news.com/pets-animals/california-river-otters-making-comeback/3540585/ https://baynature.org/article/welcome-back-otters/
We’ve been fortunate to see River Otters at Pt. Reyes National Seashore off Chimney rock, in a pond on the Estero Trail and where else?

The Black-crowned Night Herons were very happily ensconced on this other small island in the first pond. Michael mentioned that this bird is the most widespread heron in the world . . . “breeding on every continent except Antarctica and Australia, where the genus is represented by the Nankeen(or Rufous) Night-Heron. . . .
“Although widespread and common in North America, its coloration and behavior, as well as its nocturnal and crepuscular feeding habits – – especially outside the breeding season – – render it less noticeable than many diurnal herons.” https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/bcnher/overview/

A Red-winged Blackbird with just a suggestion of his blazing red-orange epaulettes in his favorite environment – cattails.
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/red-winged-blackbird https://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=8178

Canada Geese coming in for a not so graceful landing, usually I recall water landings which are as smooth as a Pan Am Clipper. We saw them here and heard their fine honking often during the day. Michael reminds us occasionally that it isn’t “Canadian Geese”, it’s Canada Geese. “This big “Honker: is among our best-known waterfowl. In many regions flights of Canada Geese passing over in V-formation — northbound in spring, southbound in fall — are universally recognized as signs of the changing seasons.” https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/canada-goose

We’re looping another pond and feeling the flatland of San Pablo Bay. Someone suggested that we might help our much maligned utility, PG&E, by adopting one of their enormous transmission towers. We could pick up around it, mow the the weeds, keep it tidy and the view from the top would be awesome. But then on further thought the possibility of being sued for the “ownership” we’d taken, we thought, “Maybe not.”

Lunch on the rocks, we started out with the fog still hanging on and then on top we relaxed in the arriving sunshine.

As we finished lunch, we were treated to the passing of a delightful dog-walker with a fine affinity group.

Pat and I were lucky to spot a Common Merganser on Tuesday, most uncommon to us. These amazing birds have some remarkable feathering variations. The adult breeding male has completely different presentation compared to the one here which is an adult breeding female. I love the hairdo and it seems particularly apropos when you might see her with enormous numbers of ducklings.
Here’s the latest news from Lake Bemidji, Minnesota dated July 24, 2018: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/24/science/merganser-ducklings-photo.html

I kept waiting for this American Kestrel to turn around but it was not in the program on Tuesday. Even with a bit of fuzziness you can appreciate his markings, those gray feathers are an adult males.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Xw75hAwIc Here’s a beautiful and surreal video of a Kestrel in flight.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/attenboroughs-life-stories-video-revealing-kestrel-flight/8151/ Here’s a brief commentary by the inimitable David Attenborough
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/american-kestrel https://kestrel.peregrinefund.org

Since raptors don’t always accommodate us by flying to a nearby perch, there’s an Audubon quiz that helps us id them in the air. https://www.audubon.org/news/identify-raptors-flight

These Mallards next to the path almost look like decoys in the sunshine, the vivid green of the male’s head is muted in some shadows.
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mallard/id https://www.arkive.org/mallard/anas-platyrhynchos/video-06b.html

The distinctive profile of our totemic mountain in Marin County, Mount Tamalpais. We’ve loved the brilliant and beautiful films of Gary Yost on a number of occasions. Here is a superb one on the mountain: https://vimeo.com/289933681 “Mt. Tamalpais Sunrise to Moonset”

Carl Nolte, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter who has worked there since 1961- a phenomenon in himself, writes of Mt. Tam in an article from Sept. 29, 2018:
“Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County is not impressive as mountains go. It’s no Mount Rainier, the centerpiece of the Pacific Northwest, no Mount Shasta, ‘as lonely as God and as white as the winter moon,’ as poet Joaquin Miller called it. The east peak of Tamalpais is only 2,571 feet above sea level. It would not be much of a hill in the Sierra Nevada.
But Tamalpais has something else, It looms over the rolling Marin hills, just north of the Golden Gate, easily visible from most parts of San Francisco. It has a unique
curving profile that romantics claim resembles a sleeping maiden. Tamalpais is swept with wispy fog on summer days and fierce winter winds. It has redwood forests and small towns at its feet.” Here’s the rest of the article with some good background on Gary Yost. https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/nativeson/article/A-day-in-the-life-of-Mount-Tamalpais-in-5-minutes-13267083.php

There’s a small airport on Smith Ranch Road. Another bird overhead, this beautiful Pilatus PC-12 NG just took off from there heading east. European Business Air News calls this plane: “PC-12 — The ultimate aerial SUV” https://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/en/fly/pc-12

Mute Swan saluting the sunshine

Wind power overtaken by a solar array.

Double-crested Cormorant and gull. Sibley writes that the cormorant’s voice is usually silent away from the nest site. But then when he’s home there’s, “Hoarse bullfroglike grunting; and clear spoken yaaa yah ya.” https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Double-crested_Cormorant/id

We pass a Chinese Pistache tree full of berries much enjoyed by the birds and Inge. https://wateruseitwisely.com/plant-of-the-month-chinese-pistache/

Next time to try for the bird but I like the blur, shall we call it soft focus, too.

We could reconsider adopting a transmission tower and then have the fun of this long walk to get there.

From Tuesday, you weren’t forgetting. This ambidextrous Great Egret was perching and balancing in a little dance on a fence overlooking the tules with just
maybe some ulterior motives in mind.

Michael relayed that these magnificent birds were almost exterminated because of the plume trade in the late 1800s, thankfully they recovered rapidly with protection a little into the 20th century. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/great-egret




A Great Egret, Ardea alba, is the symbol of the National Audubon Society. From the Wikipedia entry notes: “The name of venerable Shariputra, one of Buddha’s followers, signifies “the son of the egret” (among other possibilities), his mother is said to have had eyes like a great egret.”

The back of Michael’s car when we returned – thanks to Michael for another great hike and the birds add their seal of approval.

Lyrical Day at Land’s End with Michael – 10/15/18

If the weather was any indicator, Monday was a day for calm seas and a prosperous voyage with just a garnish of sea breeze. The Cliff House area of San Francisco offers stellar views all the way to the horizon and maybe beyond. We met at the Visitor Center for the Golden Gate Recreational Area which greeted us with a stunning aerial photo of the area and a memorable quotation from the Ohlone Indians who lived here for thousands of years.
“I am dancing, dancing on the edge of the world”, Rumsen Ohlone Song.

http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=THE_OHLONE_WAY with comments by the remarkable Malcom Margolin

We were able to see all the way north to the Point Reyes peninsula, perhaps 35 miles, where we hiked last week. Gathering at the visitor center, Land’s End Lookout, we began with a walk around the historic Sutro Baths, Cliff House area before heading out to the Land’s End Trails. There is an overview of the Sutro Baths area ruins which look like an enormous swimming pool. But in its prime from 1894 a San Francisco mayor said it was the largest indoor swimming facility in the world. It had fallen from grace by the time our family had moved to San Francisco in 1962 but we did enjoy one trip there after it had been turned into an ice skating rink. The memory is of an enormous glass covered building filled with hundreds of lockers used by swimmers of earlier years. It was being demolished in 1966 when it burnt to the ground.
Enjoy the stuff of our history while we can.


And now a VIMEO VIDEO of our whole hike with sounds of the “Age of Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In” by “The Fifth Dimension”.

Many thanks to Michael and to Nancie for some additional photos.

Plenty of parking and buildings that don’t obstruct what’s its all about, the view. The visitor center is in the foreground.


A variety of exhibits frame the views.

Some high school classes visiting the park head up “how many” steps as they explore the area. The Monterey Cypresses add a dramatic, windblown quality to the scene. And just a suggestion of Marin’s Mt. Tamalpais in that diagonal on the far left. I know, that last is like having to identify something on “I am not a robot.”

Michael gifts some Coyote brush seeds to the area. You may recall all this but here’s a short review. The female coyote brush is the “snowy” covered bush while the male is the adjacent greener appearing bush to the left. “Coyote brush is dioecious meaning that it produces male and female flowers on different plants. Blooming between August and December, the while fluffy female flowers and the yellowish male flowers grow on separate shrubs. The male flowers are stubbier, short, flattish with a creamy white color. … smelling like shaving soap.
The female flowers are long, whitish green and glistening. … Seeds are small black nuts and hang off a fluffy tuft of hair called a pappus. From October to January the pappus catches the wind and blows away, like dandelions, helping Coyote brush spread its seeds.”
I don’t recall ever seeing such “snow drifts” of Coyote brushes blooming along our trails obviously delighted with their location. Recently, when they build the visitor center they also paid great attention to putting in native plants.

Solitary sail boat with Pt. Reyes Peninsula in the sunlight perhaps 35 miles away on the horizon.

Another very happy plant along the trail was the Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) which Michael was talking about, “Arguably the all-star of edible flowers, with a somewhat spicy, peppery tang similar to watercress. Flower colors range from a moonlit yellow to bright yellow, orange, scarlet and red”.
https://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2012/06/10_of_the_best_edible_flowers.html Brought back to Spain from Peru by the conquistadors in the 1500s they have a rich history.
Michael loves words – their meanings and origins. He spoke here that nasturtium combination comes from the Latin for “nas” for nose and “tortum” for twist from a person’s reaction tasting the spicy leaves. Wikipedia notes that the name literally means “nose-twister or nose-tweaker”. The leaves were thought to resemble shields and the flowers, helmets. The tropaeolum name was given by Linneaus in 1753 from a Latin word meaning trophy. The wiki entry gives more detail about it being a trophy pole on which the Romans put the vanquished foe’s armour and weapons (we hope not with the vanquished foe inside). After sharing this information, Michael ate his visual aid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropaeolum

Lots of stairs on the way down, maybe more stairs in this area than any of the other parts of the GGNRA, that’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Lots of rocky shoals and lots of ship wrecks along the Golden Gate. https://www.cnn.com/2014/12/11/us/san-francisco-shipwreck-rio-de-janeiro/index.html

Mile Rock Light House was completed in 1905 to warn mariners about these brutally rocky shallows near the San Francisco coast at Land’s End.

We arrive at The Labyrinth overlooking the channel to the San Francisco Bay and passage beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Labyrinths and Mazes have flown together for many years (into the centuries) but they are being discovered again for their distinct differences. The maze has more than one entry and exit point and “involves a network of paths, passages, dead ends and even traps through which one has to find a way. The maze is defined as MULTICURSAL or as having more than one route between the center and the outside. The Labyrinth on the other hand is referred to as UNICURSAL meaning there is only one path from which one enters and exits. It may make twists and turns or follow a circular pattern but finally exits back through the same entry point.

Michael then went beyond the physical trail that leads to the center of the labyrinth and back, a symbol of the path our lives take from birth to death. In a TEDx talk by Kristen Keyes on 11/21/17 in CoeurdAlene she echoed the idea that walking the labyrinth is to quiet the mind, guide healing, deepen self knowledge and is a metaphor of our life’s journey. In another helpful blog, titaworks below, the writer adds that a labyrinth is a form of moving meditation whereas a maze is meant to be disorienting, an analytical puzzle to be solved.

https://labyrinthsociety.org/about-labyrinths This gives an excellent introduction and also provides access to some helpful youtube videos among other things.

Here we all walk the walk in our labyrinth overlooking San Francisco Bay. VIMEO VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/295427414

Thanks to Michael for this great shot of Roz and Anne’s successful arrival at the center of things.

Michael also captured the group on this gloriously clear day in which it seemed we could see forever.

After all of these ruminations, it was definitely time for lunch and watching the waves.

Mile Rock Lighthouse in the center and another light house all the way across to the other side a little to the left, Point Bonita Lighthouse.

An artist with his easel on our way back to the visitor’s center.

The stellar view continues all the way back.

Michael found the CAMERA OBSCURA on our return. It had been closed when we passed earlier in the day. Some of the group joined him there and he shared this remarkable photo with all of us. It has been at the Cliff House since its construction in 1946. http://brightbytes.com/cosite/sanfran.html

McClure’s Beach and Tule Elk with Michael – 1st October 2018

We were greeted along our path down to McClure’s beach by a Banded Woolly Bear Cat (erpillar) munching on some plantain leaves. We’ve seen these furry cats a number of times along our trails and they never disappoint. At the end of the description in this link there’s a Fun Fact: “Farmers used to think the amount of orange on the caterpillar predicted the length of the coming winter. Legend has it that a wide band indicated a mild winter, whereas a narrow band predicted a harsh one.”

Here’s a short vimeo video of our hike on October 1st.


The music is from Claude Debussy’s “Children’s Corner Suite, Golliwog’s Cakewalk” played by the pianist Francois-Joel Thiollier. It was first published and performed in 1908. The suite for solo piano “is dedicated to his daughter, Claude-Emma (known as “Chou-Chou”), who was three years old at the time”. – from the YouTube description

David McClure’s mother was Margaret who donated McClure’s Beach to Marin County in 1946 in exchange for the county maintaining the road to their ranch on Pierce Point. David and his brother John operated the Pierce Point Ranch with Jim becoming a partner. The beach became a part of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in 1962. Jim McClure purchased “I Ranch” just down the road in 1939 and Ron partnered with him in this venture. Ron’s son Bob now runs the ranch and became a Clover Dairy producer in 1999 operating it as an organic farm today. https://cloversonoma.com/clover-producer-spotlight-mcclure-family-dairy/
The McClure history on the Pt. Reyes peninsula is substantial starting with the arrival of James McClure, a carpenter who came over from Ireland in 1889. Anyone wanting to sort out the McClure’s genealogy would find a challenge as they went back to the “old sod” since the name has a variety of spellin i.e. McClure, McCluer, McClewer, Maclure, McLewer, McLure and McLuir.

The Pierce Point Ranch in the hills above McClure’s Beach. http://www.ptreyes.org/sites/default/files/Thiing%20to%20Do%20and%20See%20Science%20and%20History%20Pierce%20Point%20Ranch%20PDF.pdf

Michael talked about our bipedal lives, “How come we stood up on two feet?” https://vimeo.com/294717708

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish – https://vimeo.com/294719375

Some of us climbed the hill at the end of the beach to check out the ocean view. Underlaying the Laird Sandstone is Salinian granite. Often you just get a snatch of this foundational material peeking out at the base of the sandstone cliffs at Pt. Reyes but at McClure’s and Kehoe Beaches the granitic broadcasting is loud and clear. We had the feeling that this was the very edge of the material that has been grinding between the two plates. For eons as the Pacific Plate passed the North American Plate going north, they have pounded and pulverized each other – rough stuff.

The venerable Jules Evans walked this area on his quest to hike and write about every trail at Point Reyes National Seashore in 2013.

We stopped by a Gumplant as we came back up the hill. Also called Gumweed perhaps the Gumplant title is less disparaging – a weed being anything that is planted in the wrong place. Reny Parker writes of the Gumplant (Grindelia stricta) of the Sunflower Family: ” . . this native is found on windswept coastal bluffs, dunes and scrub.
The immature ‘bud’ found atop the stem is covered in a distinct white gummy liquid that discourages the bud from being eaten. . . The gummy substance was used as
a topical skin lotion for poison oak by California Indians.” (Wildflowers of Californias North Coast Range, 2015)

The picnic at the Pierce Point Ranch had a kind of Thanksgiving quality.
After lunch, Michael talked about galls referring to a book he’d been given by the author, Ron Russo. https://vimeo.com/294854900

Michael giving us some history about the Tule Elk of Pt. Reyes with occasional bugling in the background: https://vimeo.com/294884454
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SR2OTFtlUM Bugling at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

Bugling here at Pt. Reyes Pierce Ranch – Tomales Point Tule Elk Preserve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlOticG4xRU From 2009
Dr. Natalie Gates who is interviewed in this video was selected as the new superintendent of Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui in 2013. Haleakala National Park is one of the oldest in the National Park System, established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden with Michael – 17 September 2018

Our second Footloose hike this fall was at the UC Botanical Garden in the Strawberry Canyon area of Berkeley. Here we’re doing a second circle-gather because a fair number of new hikers came on board that week. This time for a change of pace Michael had us guess where each one of us lives now and where we lived, what we were doing when we were sweet or just maybe not so sweet 16.

It’s a round the world tour without any jet lag looking at plants from almost every continent with an emphasis on the mediterranean climates – California, Mediterranean Basin, Australia, South Africa, and Chile. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/collections

Additions, corrections and life lines are always welcome!

http://berkeleyheritage.com/berkeley_landmarks/strawbcanyon.html Janice Thomas writes lyrically for BAHA Berkeley Landmarks about this part of Berkeley using ear photos and quotations from early writers about this “mountain gorge” as described by Frederick Law Olmstead.

Could it be our “footloose” name that has a number of us experiencing the “slings and arrows” of some broken toes? Michael broke his metatarsal and has needed to enjoy flip-flops on the first two hikes, Jeannie who broke her little toe a number of weeks ago has only recently has been able to get back into her hiking boots and Marjory writes that she broke her big toe and fifth metatarsal last April – “Ouch”! Recalling Pub names we might start meeting at the “Sign of the Broken Toe”.

Strange bedfellows and odd juxtapositions:
Looking over Strawberry hill from the entry of UC Botanical Garden we see that it is sharing the area with Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In between is the beautiful Stephen T. Mather Redwood Grove with trees that were planted in the 1930s. Interesting placement, a wall of Redwoods envisioned?
http://berkeleyplaques.org/e-plaque/stephen-t-mather/ An amazing site detailing plaques and e-plaques from David Brower to Richard Pryor. Don’t miss Hillary and Bill.
The national lab was established in 1931 and just prior to this the garden had been relocated from the UC Campus between 1925 and 1928 to the Such Farm location in the hills above campus. Director Thomas Harper Goodspeed and landscape architect John William Gregg directed this plant migration to the Strawberry Canyon site. . http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/timeline/1934
http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/the-garden Shows an impressive timeline of the garden with brief descriptions and old photos by years and periods.

While the garden was developing and taking shape, Earnest Lawrence was nearby building his first model for an “atom smasher”, a cyclotron with Stanley Livingston. “Lawrence would receive the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics for developing the cyclotron. https://www.atomicheritage.org/location/university-california-berkeley
http://www2.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/history-of-lbl.html Describes both the beginnings, the development of the bombs and the transition to peaceful uses
of atomic energy in Berkeley as well as its many other areas of scientific research. Nuclear weapons development was transferred to Lawrence Livermore National Lab starting in 1952 with independent administration there in 1971.

From the info by these plants: Pitcher plants of the genus Sarracenia are native to boggy areas of the southeastern United States, with one species extending north to Canada. Insects are attracted to nectar-like secretions on the lip of the pitchers. Slippery, waxy compounds inside the pitchers coupled with downward-pointing hairs make it difficult for the insects to escape. The tubular, pitcher-shaped leaves are filled with fluid containing digestive enzymes. In spring, they produce large red or yellow flowers to attract insects for pollination (instead of dinner).

A Bouquet of Smiles

Walking through and lingering at the New World Desert. http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/timeline/1932-1935 James West’s (aka Prince Egon von Ratibor) rock garden and cacti collection formed the basis of this remarkable garden. He was a pivotal player along with Goodspeed in establishing the garden on the hill. He had an equally remarkable and colorful history. https://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.person.bm000025272 He’s described as a close friend of Imogen Cunningham and an eccentric “who preferred to inhabit a tent in the garden of his (Berkeley) boarding house rather than a lodging room.”

From our visit on 16 December 2013, a close-up of an Argentine Saguaro, Echinopis terscheckil. It’s native to Catamarca Province in northwest Argentina and to the western slopes of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Heidi takes in a Cycad. Michael mentioned that these plants preceded the dinosaurs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encephalartos http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/collections/cycad-palm-garden
http://www.cycadpalm.com/encephalartos.html This video from the Jurassic Garden website shows a remarkable variety of South African Cycad Encephalartos
(Encephalartae?) set to beautiful native African singing.
https://vimeo.com/292434530 Michael talking about how plants have hedged their bets for reproduction.

From our 2013 visit: SEA-URCHIN CACTUS, Echinopsis chiloensis, Quillota Prov., Chile It was the 75th acquisition in 1998.

A new acquisition in its bed still to be logged in.

The excitement caused by the blooming of the QUEEN OF THE ANDES (Puya Raimondii) was perhaps inspiration for our visit to the Garden (UCBG). This rare and amazing plant, the world’s largest bromeliad, planted from seed in 1990 is now blooming after only 28 years! In its austere native environment at 13,000 feet in the Andes mountains of Bolivia and Peru it usually takes almost a century to bloom.

http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/puya-raimondii This link shows the sequence of rapid growth this past year and has a short video explanation narrated by the current director of UCBG, Eric Siegel.

Looking for all the world as Michael pointed out like a tree from Dr. Seuss “The stalk can be up to 10 m. (30 ft.) tall, have thousands of flowers and set 8-12 million seeds. The Garden distributed seeds of this species in 1988 from (another) plant that bloomed here in 1986. The flowering stalk will last a couple of years, but the plant will die (after that) – it’s monocarpic, which means it flowers and sets seeds once before dying.” http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/puya-raimondii

Aeonium valverdense (Crassulaceae) from the Canary Islands of Spain. The plant was acquired in 2009 and was the 282nd acquisition that year and looking even more Seussian.

Having a picnic in the Canary Islands

We held our breath as Anne snapped a photo in the midst of these giant leaves of the Gunnera tinctoria (“Marching to Tinctoria”) but the plant was well mannered and hospitable. The sign said that it came from the Llanquihue Province of Chile. There are a number of these along a lovely walk in the San Francisco Botanical Garden.


On our way out of the Garden we stopped to see the beautiful Dawn Redwood tree (Metasequoia glyphstroboides) acquired in 1948 on an expedition to China by Ralph Woods Chaney. Dr. Chaney has a remarkable history and was a good friend of E. O. Lawrence. “… due to that acquaintance Cheney was appointed Assistant Director of the Radiation Laboratory in 1944.” http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/history/rwchaney.php This was written from a series of interviews with Chaney in 1958 that is a brief biography (but a long article) of this fascinating man.

http://www.quarryhillbg.org/home/quarryhill/The%20Dawn%20Redwood.pdf William A. McNamara is director of Quarry Hill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, Ca. It’s on Highway 12 next to the Bouverie Preserve where we have gone a number of times and a remarkable visit.
http://www.icogitate.com/~tree/dawn.redwood.timeline.ac10.htm http://www.icogitate.com/~tree/bookreview/review.gittlen.dawn.redwood.htm


Without its leaves on 16 December 2013

Footloose hikers on 16 December 2013. Nearest to Michael in red is Nancy. We had a most cool potluck at her home in the Berkeley hills after our 2013 hike at UCBG.