Climbing Mt. Burdell with Michael – 12 September 2016

Come with us for tales of yesteryear or perhaps better, yesterweek and welcome – it’s fun to share. This time the descriptions and links are above the photos, in other editions they have been below. Do you have a preference – what works best for you? Let me know if you’d rather not receive these.
Best thoughts, Lew

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It is the time of Turkey Mullein and Tar Weed. We know for sure that Autumn is on its way and
even a bit early with these cool evenings
and a Harvest Moon.
Wakened by the clarion calls of Canada geese
v’d overhead in ever larger formations,
we sense they too have the restlessness of
a changing season.

The first hike of the fall is a time of renewal after a summer of exploring. Perhaps it was in the nearby with hikes in the San Francisco area and maybe beyond to Washington’s Lake Chelan, Vancouver or Newfoundland. Further afield Michael was leading a trip to Brazil’s Pantanal near the equator. Others in the group were far above the equator heading into arctic waters. We are definitely a group of travelers and that adventurous spirit continues as we head into the discoveries of Footloose Fall Hikes 2016.

Gathering at the San Andreas gate in good spirits, it’s a sol n sombra crowd.

Just up the hill we circle the wagons to share our summer adventures, just a “group of friends”. We also get to relate to some four footed hikers

Stopping at the top of the first rise to group-up at two path choices – a V in the trail, remembering Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” or perhaps the trail not taken. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost – Poetry Foundation

Every autumn we walk along different dry trails and are amazed by the robust qualities of these two plants coming into their own. Inge also added that turkey mullein is called doveweed and we speculated on that description. Why do you think?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croton_setigerus http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/WEEDS/turkey_mullein.html
http://www.yosemitehikes.com/wildflowers/turkey-mullein/turkey-mullein.htm – This one done with a swell sense of humor, who would have thought a botanist could break out!

I recall talking with Judith Lowry one time and hearing her enthusiasm for tarweed (as well as the rest in the array of California natives). After this, I began to look & sniff again appreciating them spread out along the way, out in the fields and into the hills. Their distinctive tarry odor – she describes its “clean pungent aroma” is a definitive. She points out that they are not limited to autumn which is when we usually notice them.

http://www.larnerseeds.com/search/node/tarweed http://www.larnerseeds.com

The explication of turkey mullein is somehow clearer with the hands.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/your-hand-gestures-are-speaking-you
The Fascinating Science Behind ‘Talking’ With Your Hands | Huffington Post

http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/08/how-to-speak-with-your-hands/

Inge spotted this hawk in a California buckeye tree. She thought that it was perhaps a Northern Harrier but we wished for a scope to clarify the siting.
David Lukas writes in his BAY AREA BIRDS, “Flying mere feet above the ground, harriers patrol grasslands and marshes searching for voles, birds, reptiles and other small animals hidden in tall grasses, mostly relying on sounds to capture their prey with pinpoint accuracy. These hunting flights can be quite dramatic to watch as harriers systematically crisis-cross fields in grid-like patterns and zero in on their prey with acrobatic pull-ups, cart wheels, drop- pounces, and other fancy wingwork.” p. 70, Bay Area Birds. http://www.lukasguides.com https://orionmagazine.org/2016/02/six-questions-for-david-lukas/

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Harrier/id
http://www.birdinginformation.com/birds/hawks-and-harriers/northern-harrier/

The tree we know, some its distinctive fruit is still hanging on after its typical early leaf drop.
http://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/california-buckeye-a-tree-for-all-seasons/

A juvenile Pacific gopher snake that we spied crossing the trail. Some thought about a young yellow bellied racer but that tale is much longer as Michael wrote in his email. This one seemed comfortable after it warmed up in Michael’s hand. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_gopher_snake

Into the horizon

Dry pond on Mt. Burdell, it’s summer time and the living is grassy. Michael talks about the female frogs sleeping below the grasses (the life below) and asks us to listen to their songs.

https://vimeo.com/183538696?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=29220

A fog bank hangs in on the coastal hills:

Framed with some Buckeye fruit we’re settling down for lunch in the high grass. We were treated to a wonderful flock of ravens soaring on the breezes. All at once a red tailed hawk dove down almost snagging one of them – high drama in the meantime.
Perhaps the hawk regretted his boldness.

http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/ca/facts/birds/common_raven.html
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Common_Raven/id

https://cindyknoke.com/tag/aerial-battles-red-tailed-hawks-and-ravens/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPAa7aXGQNg

Heading back down we’re able to pick up on some of the views we missed. Here is one of the rock quarry atop Mt. Burdell. From the California Journal of Mines and Geology you can scroll down to, “Mt. Burdell was the source of hundreds of thousands of hand shaped andesite paving blocks. Since paving blocks were often used for ballast on sailing ships, when next you admire a cobblestone street in Europe, check to see if there is a country origin stamp crediting Novato as the source of the materials.” Cf. this article ‎www.novatohistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Novato-Underground-Mining-Vol32-No2.pdf

And a view of the former Fireman’s Fund Insurance complex and our transportation backbone, Highway 101 at the Atherton/San Marin overcrossing, with surprisingly few cars at this time of day.

On the downslope making our way through some scree and gaining momentum

Back at the San Andreas Gate, “The beginning is the end is the beginning” (Thanks to Smashing Pumpkins.)

Billy Collins has a great poem, “Aristotle”, about beginnings, middles and ends from his collection PICNIC, LIGHTNING, 1998 University of Pittsburg Press.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46706

Footloose Spring 2016 – Finale Potluck at Michael’s Casa – 6/13/16

Hi Everyone,

Many thanks for your warm welcome back which Pat and I much cherished and appreciated. It was amazing to be back on the inside looking out rather than the other way round. Your kindness and caring from Michael through the group of our Footloose friends was felt throughout my recovery time like a helping hand up through a rough place on the trail. It’s been like a protracted trip with lots of holds and downtime at the airport.

Last Monday’s hike/walk to Luther Burbank’s Home and Garden along with the delicious potluck with so many tasty choices was great finale. I know you’re always supposed to “leave them hungry” so they come back but we all left full and happy especially with the fresh peach ice cream dessert ala Scott and Barbara Now we really want to come back! Lew & Pat

Here’s a short Vimeo slide show remembering some of these moments we all enjoyed. The music called “Jersey Bounce” is by the Warren Greig Trio. http://www.warrengreig.com/bio.php

https://vimeo.com/171010545

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We’re gathering in Michael’s expansive, new backyard complete with snooker table and frisky cacti. His great new house on Slater Avenue is in a Santa Rosa Historic District full of unique homes safely before the ranch style – from the 19th and early 20th century. We walked by the nearby Cherry Street Historic district on our hike to Luther Burbank Gardens:
http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/doclib/Documents/CherryStreetWalkingTour.pdf
http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/communitydev/development/Pages/HistoricPreservation.aspx

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One of the Dol hareubang volcanic rock statues from Jeju Island on the southern tip of Korea where Santa Rosa’s sister city of Bukjeju is located.
The carved basalt figures were a gift to Santa Rosa in 2003. The “Stone Grandfathers” are 8 feet tall and specialize in protection from danger and by rubbing their noses, fertility. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/2209477-181/taking-the-chill-off-santa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dol_hareubang

http://www.antiquealive.com/Blogs/Dol_hareubang_Stone_Statue_Jeju_Island.html
http://www.mapsofworld.com/travel/destinations/south-korea/jeju-island
http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/1854282-181/smith-exhibit-a-glimpse-into?ref=related

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Just down from the Dol hareubang statues is the Luther Burbank House, greenhouse and garden. Arriving in Santa Rosa, California in 1875,Burbank was an early enthusiast: “I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.”

http://www.wschsgrf.org/articles/biographylutherburbank1849-1926 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burbank
http://mentalfloss.com/article/57818/10-crazy-creations-plant-wizard-luther-burbank
http://fruitguys.com/almanac/2012/06/04/hybrids-vs-gmos
http://www.c-span.org/video/?328272-1/luther-burbank-home-gardens
https://ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/back/burbank.php

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A stop at Porto Bello Hats (or maybe “Persona Nueva Hats”) on the way back was just perfect. Most of us wear practical hats on the hikes but hats can be so much more. When you look at pictures of folks in the early 20th Century there is hardly a bare head to be seen. Here is a scene from the Atlantic City Boardwalk in 1905. http://www.shorpy.com/node/8294?size=_original#caption
http://vintagedancer.com/1940s/1940s-hats/
http://vintagefashionguild.org/fashion-history/the-history-of-womens-hats/
http://www.fashion-era.com/hats-hair/hats_hair_1_wearing_hats_fashion_history.htm
From the stand point of men’s hats, Robert Krulwich wrote an intriguing article for NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2012/05/04/152011840/who-killed-mens-hats-think-of-a-three-letter-word-beginning-with-i

Memories of Dr. Seuss’s doffed tributes in “The Cat in the Hat” and “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_500_Hats_of_Bartholomew_Cubbins

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Michael avec des chapeaux – http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english-french/hat
http://www.villagehatshop.com/content/40/hat-isms-hat-sayings-and-phrases.html

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A Porch with a View

California likes the lichen

Hi Everyone,

Last week the Marin Independent Journal had an article about the lace lichen (Ramalina menziesii) becoming California’s official state lichen. Michael had told us about this on our September 2015 hike at Marshall Beach so he’d already put us in the loop back then – thanks for the head’s up! Even though we can usually read the IJ with dispatch each day, this was a sweet article to linger over. Bravo to the California Lichen Society and Assemblyman Marc Levin for sponsoring this bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last summer going into effect this January 1st. It was fun at a time when mycologists again celebrate the mushroom world to give some of the spot light to the “lowly lichens” – finally getting the respect they deserve.

http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20160216/levine-sponsors-bill-to-laud-lace-lichen-as-state-symbol

Monterey Pine with lace lichens and Footloose hikers with Michael

Lace lichen catching some sunlight, blowing in the breeze. We’ve enjoyed them as well artfully dangling from many oaks at Audubon’s Bouverie Preserve.

There are a number of fascinating links about lichens, here are a few for your perusal.

http://californialichens.org/state-lichen/ The California Lichen Society has an address in Fairfax, California. Be sure to check out their Facebook insert with the link awaytogarden.com with a fascinating conversation with Dr. James Lendemer, Assistant Curator in the New York Botanical Garden.

http://www.hastingsreserve.org/oakstory/LaceLichen2.html “Hastings is a Biological Field Station of the University of California . . . in the Santa Lucia mountain range in Monterey County, California.” Here it describes the lace lichen being a combination of fungus and algae. “Often called ’Spanish Moss’, lace lichen is not a moss. In fact, the ’Spanish Moss’ of the south-eastern states is not a moss either.” Excellent summary of the role of lace lichens from nesting material for hummingbirds to their role in capturing wind-borne nutrients.

https://baynature.org/articles/identifying-with-lichen/ This splendid article not only describes lace lichen but also gives us more detail on some of the other members of the lichen family. Their history goes back 400 hundred million years but from their architecture they are “likely latecomers, evolutionarily speaking”. Some nice forays into Greek philosophy and a surprising interaction with some Ramalina completes the short account.
The author, Elizabeth Lopatto, writes “It frustrates and saddens me that our humbler parks are relatively barren of the weird dangling nonsense.”

http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2016/01/29/move-over-california-poppy-this-state-has-a-new-symbol/ “In the mid-19th century, it was misclassified in the moss and liverwort family. Beatrix Potter, of Peter Rabbit fame, was an unlikely lichen champion. . . . She produced many wonderful, detailed drawings of fungus and lichen species. Since she was a woman, though, a male scientist had to present her scientific paper and research to the Linnean Society of London.”

http://www.pointlobos.org/blog/anna-patterson/lace-lichen-trail-now-open Some of you may know and remember this beautiful trail at Pt. Lobos State Natural Reserve.

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Progress on the patient front though I still have the wound vac for a few more weeks (cf. that black strap in the last picture). Energy is improving each day and while I may not see you on the first hikes hopefully down the line sooner rather than later. Thanks for your outpouring of love and caring, you’re the very best campaneros of the trail. Pat & Lew

Blackstone Canyon with Michael – 23 November 2015

We drove through some sweet autumn colors in suburban Marinwood on our way to the trailhead, the deep reds of the Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum), the brighteorange reds of the Chinese Pistache and the vibrant yellows of the Ginko biloba in full tilt. Michael had just returned from his trip to New York City to visit his son, Hunter, and to explore that urban “forest”. He was very pleased that he was able to add a new hooping location to his growing portfolio. This time is was in front of a favorite touchstone, the Apollo theater, and done with his usual style but in the rain – he loved the sign above that said “Amateur Night”.

Shot with his iPhone. You can spot Michael hooping, of course, you can.

Having a gather as we get together

A friend of Michael’s just coming back from her hike, she knits while she hikes and was making this for Syrian refugees.
http://thetwistedyarn.com/2015/10/06/knitting-and-walking/ This site from another knitter develops the idea.
https://hfrank007.wordpress.com/about/ This blog is done by a nurse on the Olympic Peninsula.

Maybe this was the time when Michael was talking about the Pistachio (Pistacia) which is in the Anacardiaceae family – quite a gathering around that table including cashews, mangos, poison sumac, poison ivy, poison oak, the smoke tree and many more cousins. The wiki article speaks of these flowering plants “bearing fruits that are drupes and in some cases producing urushiol, an irritant.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacardiaceae https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urushiol
A sidebar was remembering pistachios when they were red: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/30/what-are-red-pistachios_n_6570944.html

A Giant Chain Fern, Woodwardia fimbriata – http://www.theodorepayne.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Woodwardia_fimbriata
http://www.rainyside.com/plant_gallery/natives/Woodwardia_fimbriata.html

This hike wasn’t just meandering by a stream, it also had some chunky uphill (and downhill – they always seem to go together). Slow and steady made it. Big Bravo to everyone!

We’ve been celebrating a bumper year of Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) berries, here you can see them going all the way to the crest of this hillside. http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_arme.pdf http://www.rainyside.com/plant_gallery/natives/Arbutus_menziesii.html

Todays’s lunch spot arrived at by the best of intentions.

Michael mentioned at the start of the hike that he was thinking about the difference between INTENTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS. Intentions free you up to be yourself and focus on the things in life that really matter to you. Expectations on the other hand can be delimiting, filled with guilt (not living up to someone or something) and frustrating.
Here’s more of an explanation by Jack Elias: http://talentdevelop.com/articles/IntentExp.html
This link relates to using the idea in teaching: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/willow-dea/habit-5-intention-and-exp_b_1172870.html

What a fine conclave of hiking friends and companions!

Plenty of room for conversations of all kinds

A dam on Blackstone Canyon Creek that an earlier farmer erected, we saw the rusty piping of this water project a number of times along our trail.
Michael mentioned that all dams eventually fill up and become less functional to non-functional demanding alternative planning.

http://www.marinwatersheds.org/miller_creek.html Here are some clear and informative maps of the Miller Creek Watershed. Blackstone Canyon Creek is in the top middle of each map. A number of other watershed areas are detailed with similar care and quality – nicely done!

http://www.nbwatershed.org/millercreek/ Here’s another excellent resource for the Miller Creek Watershed in which our hike is located – The Historical Ecology of Miller Creek.

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Carmel-River-diverted-to-demolish-San-Clemente-Dam-5956979.php Here’s an example from further south of a dam’s removal in the Carmel River Valley.

John wears a tag with his medical history on his shoe, he said it had been more urgent earlier in his life but that he thought he’d put it on his hiking shoe for future reference.

Heidi shared that just after she’d take a first aid course including the Heimlich Maneuver. She was in a restaurant when a stranger at another table began to choke. She had things fresh in mind and was able to perform it and help the person to breath again. On another occasion someone mentioned actually plucking out a piece of lobster that was causing the choking from someone’s mouth. While the results may be smelly and messy, the saving of someone’s life far outweighs any temporary discomfort, concerns for propriety or embarrassment.
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000047.htm http://www.wikihow.com/Perform-the-Heimlich-Maneuver
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/14/what-comes-after-the-heimlich-maneuver/?_r=0

Spider sheet web across the grass capturing the dew drops

Here’s a VIMEO walkabout of our hike in Blackstone Canyon:

Blackstone Canyon with Michael – 23 November 2015 (1)

P.S. I’ll be taking a break from the last three hikes because of my surgery this next Thursday, December 3rd. Thanks for all of your loving care, prayers, meditations, emails, cards and continuing kindnesses. See you all on the trail with Michael in the Spring of 2016 or hopefully BEFORE. Hugs, Lew

Pilot Knobbing with Michael – 16 November 2015

We’ve always enjoyed the oases provided by the reservoir lakes of MMWD – the Marin Municipal Water District. Their bright blues, the sunlight reflecting off the water and the changing wave patterns have always attracted us – water based creatures that we are. Monday’s hike was no exception with the sparkling of Lake Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lakes filling our views to the west and San Francisco and San Pablo Bays lighting up our water world to the east.

Phoenix Lake (411 acre feet) starts the MMWD chain of reservoirs. Then taking giant steps we come to Lake Lagunitas (350 AF), Bon Tempe Lake (4,017), Alpine Lake (8.891), Kent Lake (32,895) and then at a remove comes Nicasio Reservoir (22,430) and even further afield Soulajule Reservoir – 10.572 (“Soo-la-Hoo-lee”). Have we ever hiked here? We are fortunate in this time of drought that the MMWD reservoirs have 65.97% capacity when many lakes and reservoirs in California have half this or less.

Pilot Knob reflects in Bon Tempe Lake, 11-17-08, making the reflection a lot more substantial than the real thing. Wikipedia defines Pilot Knob as “a prominent elevated landmark that was useful navigational aid for hunters and travelers.” sounding very 19th Century. There are many Pilot Knobs across the United States (Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and Minnesota to name a few), maybe you grew up with one nearby. Mine was on Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. How this particular hill got its name still bears some inquiry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_Knob

We start with an extra layer this morning with temperatures dipping into the high 40s and 50s giving us a nice, crisp edge to begin our hike – layer up, layer down. Hardly worth commenting on when you live on the east coast, Spokane or Bodie – our record maker. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodie,_California
http://thestormking.com/Sierra_Stories/Bodie/bodie.html
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ca/bodie.html

We pause to read the map, Michael’s hat seems to have some tribal significance perhaps?

Beginning to warm up in the sunlight, Mt. Tamalpais one of our totems emerges in the distance.

Michael spots a bobcat in the brush. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU2mfWhTbJM Just 20 seconds but a relaxed moment. http://ww2.kqed.org/quest/2012/07/11/tracking-big-cats-to-learn-their-secrets/

We pass a pair of “small” Redwoods in the forest, always evoking a sense of majesty if not grandeur. Redwood trees have a way of quieting the trail and leading to meditative moments.

Pilot Knob has some remarkable views from its open western side. Here on arrival we again feel like we are in the palm of Mt. Tamalpais. Lots of view for the 1,187’ of altitude or an alternate measure is 1,115’.
http://www.summitpost.org/marin-county-mountains-ridges-and-hills/826882#chapter_23 This adds photos to the summit numbers helping to make associations and bringing back our recall.

Dense cover on the north side of Mt. Tam with the Fire Lookout prominent on the top left. We’ve enjoyed it before but perhaps this is a good moment to recall Gary Yost’s splendid “A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout”.
A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout. 3 years ago

Michael gave us a 360 degree tour of our view.

Looking east toward Mt. Diablo with the most northerly piece of San Francisco County, the island on the right side toward the bottom. Red Rock Island is the place where the boundaries of three counties come together. In addition to San Francisco, Marin and Contra Costa . .”also converge on this high rock.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Rock_Island As we learned before, it was and is available for private purchase for only $5M. I wonder if you would need to pay taxes to all three counties? http://seakayaker.tripod.com/redrock.htm
The swarm you see on the slopes of Mt. Diablo is actually a souvenir from our first hike in the Tennessee Valley rain.

Moving back we gain some context and some rocks and lose the swarm. Often this water is called San Francisco Bay but here we are moving into San Pablo Bay, a huge northern reach of more shallow water.
http://www2.epa.gov/sfbay-delta/about-watershed
Michael mentioned a unique B & B on an island in the Bay on East Brother Light Station: http://www.ebls.org https://www.facebook.com/EastBrotherLightStation/videos?ref=page_internal

Moving north through San Pablo Bay we find the Carquinez Bridge over the strait of the same name connecting Crockett and Vallejo – the route of Interstate 80 to and from Sacramento. Perhaps we see the Benicia-Martinez Bridge showing just above the saddle of the hills and the overarching whiteness which seems like a suggestion of clouds is actually snow in the Sierra, now becoming truly the Sierra Nevada. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carquinez_Bridge

The West Peak of Mt. Tamalpais formerly the highest part of the mountain until it was bulldozed during the Cold War to make a radar station. http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20140214/mt-tam-documentary-the-invisible-peak-posted-online

Looking west across Bon Tempe Lake and Dam with Azalea Hill as a backdrop with a serpentine cut exposed. Pine Mountain is top right.

Maybe just a little skeptical . . .

Time for a sunny lunch

Sue tells us about an exhibition of photos of seven Jewish Gold Rush Cemeteries in various towns of the Sierra whose history she has been researching, writing and speaking about for a number of years. The exhibition is in San Francisco at the Sinai Memorial Chapel. Michael plans to have one of our urban walks include this display of photos by the award winning photographer, Ira Nowinski. And, we’ll have the rare pleasure of having Sue share some history and stories of Jewish Gold Rush Pioneers.

We check out the return trails from a local group of home-schoolers and Michael points the way down . . . the way we came up.

The trail goes through a number of stands of Madrone trees. We sometimes see them more singly on our trails but here there are hillsides of the Pacific madrone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbutus_menziesii

We find the fallen Madrone Matriarch which we visited with Armando in 2008.

November 17, 2008, closer to the time of the tree’s collapse.

November 17, 2008 – Mando and friends

Fall among the ferns. Western Bracken Fern giving its gray surround a splash of color. Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens, “A common fern in many habitats, but particularly moist areas in open meadows. Sometimes an indicator species for archaeologists as it
grows in disturbed areas and old building sites are outlined by these ferns. . . . The core of the long creeping underground black rhizomes were used by California Indians in basket design. The juice extracted from young fronds was used as a body deodorant.” Page 196
Wildflowers of Northern California’s Wine Country and North Coast Ranges by Reny Parker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracken

Meanwhile back at Lake Lagunitas

Is that Armando down by the shore? You’ll recall that he is a catch and release fisherman who knows these waters.

Michael speaks of the two types: the Dabbling Ducks and the Diving Ducks.
http://blogs.sandiegozoo.org/2012/07/18/dabbling-vs-diving-ducks/
An Original DUCKumentary ~ Infographic: Meet the Ducks | Nature | PBS

We were treated to a busy Acorn Woodpecker “Fly About” as we approached the parking lot. Here with acorn in its beak one finds just the right hole for storing in their granary tree, an old snag that has a robust new mission in life. They have a masters in engineering fitting the acorns in so perfectly tight that the hungry competition can’t get at them.

Michael is reading to us about the decades long Walt Koenig study of Acorn Woodpeckers at the Hastings Natural History Reserve in Carmel Valley. http://www.hastingsreserve.org/Resident%20Web%20Pages/Koenig%20Web%20Pages/AWIntroPoster/AWposter.html
http://www.nbb.cornell.edu/wkoenig/
http://nrs.ucop.edu/media/videos/index_3.htm The first video, “Avid for Acorns”, talks about Acorn Woodpeckers at Hastings with a number of others following on a variety of natural history subjects.

Next week: Blackstone Canyon in Marinwood/Terra Linda

Update and . . . visitor at the birdbath

Hello everyone,

Many, many thanks for all of your good wishes and sharing those high energy healing thoughts.

As you may recall, I had a CT scan in late September which discovered a growth outside the pelvis behind my rectal area. Then on September 30 they did a biopsy on the tumor finding it to be a rare carcinoma. They have been working on the source of the cancer in order to develop the best treatment strategy. It has been described as slow-growing and CT & MRI scans have found no spreading in my chest or head area. Last week we worked through that it was not a urologic cancer which had been one suggested source. I have an appointment next week with a colorectal surgeon at Kaiser San Francisco to determine the next steps to be taken.

I’ll be needing to take a few hikes off to get all of this taken care of but hopefully will be back on the trail with all of you soon.

Love and hugs all around, Lew

+ = + = + =

Meanwhile on Monday in the garden, we had a beautiful, breath-taking moment. I checked with Michael and he said that it was difficult to be sure whether it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) or a Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooper) but which ever it was, it was wild and wonderful!
It seemed to be a juvenile without the more distinctive adult markings.

https://www.audubon.org/news/a-beginners-guide-iding-coopers-and-sharp-shinned-hawks

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/sharp-shinned-hawk

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/coopers-hawk

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Sharp-shinned_Hawk/id

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/sounds Color me quizzical.

Sweet Hike with Michael at Sugarloaf – 5 October 2015

Hello, You can access this hike as well as many previous ones at the WordPress site: https://zulupeacekeeper.wordpress.com

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Michael was back from Hula Hoop Camp to lead us up the mountain. He took hooping up a number of years ago and has developed impressive skills and aplomb. Sometimes he will be hooping before one of our hikes lending to a meditation before the day begins. He takes the hoops on his more distant Footloose Forays, to many destinations around the world. It provides an incredible opening with the people he meets and an opportunity to communicate in a playful, joyful way between cultures. Once you see grade school children in Africa or Bhutan monks in the shadows of the Himalayas hooping with Michael, you know he is our roving Ambassador of Hooping. http://hoopcampretreats.com/about

Sugarloaf was closed in December of 2011”for the first time in its 48-year history due to state of California budget problems. Eager to reopen the precious 3,900-acre gem, Team Sugarloaf worked with the State Parks to develop an operating plan that would enable it to become fully functional to the public. Under the agreement, the state maintains ownership of the park while Team Sugarloaf manages operations.” A group of five organizations headed by the Sonoma Ecology Center now maintains and operates the park. http://www.sugarloafpark.org/about/reopening/
http://www.kcet.org/living/travel/socal_wanderer/state-park/california-state-park-closures-may-be-avoided-with-budget-proposal.html from January 10, 2014 http://www.sonomaecologycenter.org BAY NATURE MAGAZINE had chronicled and continues write about the California State Park closure saga with great care. Dipping into any of their articles would be edifying. https://baynature.org/articles/the-parks-and-the-people/

The park looked terrific on last Monday’s hike and their website is far and away one of the best I’ve seen for history of a state park. The park history docent, Larry Maniscalco, has done a splendid job describing Sugarloaf history from times of the Wappo Indians who lived along the “headwaters of Sonoma Creek before the first Spanish settlers came to California”, the charring of Sugarloaf with the rampant production of charcoal in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, the state’s purchase of the property in 1920 becoming a part of the State Park System in 1964, the “colorful characters” of the Hippie history in the 1960’s and in time for Halloween – a section on the “Ghosts of Sugarloaf”. All of these links are found in the following web address: http://www.sugarloafpark.org/about/history/

Larry Maniscalco writes of the Sugarloaf name at the beginning of the history section of the website: “Sugar wasn’t always sold in the neat paper packages that we buy in the supermarket these days. Before the turn of the century, in came in loaves that looked something like oversized, upside-down ice cream cones; the grocer just broke off pieces for his customers. So, many western mountains and hills including the ridge at the southern edge of the park were named after the familiar ‘Sugarloaf’.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf The sugarloaf required a special category of hardware to break off a portion of the loaf for use, woe be to the sweet tooth who forgot his nippers.
http://www.oldandinteresting.com/sugar-nippers.aspx
In a splendid and fascinating 2005 history of sugar refining, “How Sweet it Is” by Virginia Mescher she beautifully describes sugar’s sometimes ugly pathway to the present. She writes about the use of slaves in sugar cane production. The Spanish used native peoples as slaves in the sugar processing and began to import slaves from Africa in 1512. The Portuguese did the same in Brazil in 1583. She writes, “In two hundred years, millions of slaves had been imported from Africa into the New World just to work on the sugar plantations.”
She continues, “By the nineteenth century, few changes had been made in the refining process since the Venetians began processing sugar in the fourteenth century. . . (then) The Boston Sugar Refinery introduced granulated sugar in 1853.” This sugar was packed in barrels but that too required a sugar auger or “sugar devil” to bore into the barrel and crack the hardened sugar. “Sugar was not sold in individual containers until the late 1890’s.” Probably even then it would have been wise to keep your nippers and augers at the ready. http://www.raggedsoldier.com/sugar_history.pdf

Heading up the Bald Mountain Trail, after our hike with Jennie last week and this one with Michael, there are only 48 other Bald Mountains for us to climb in California.

Tarweed, Holozonia (Green’s white crown) highlights the edge of the trail. I hadn’t appreciated the numbers of Tarplants in our area mostly coming upon Deinandra (fragrant tarplant) on our trails. The current issue of the Marin Native Plant Society Newsletter has a fine page of Tarplants if you scroll down to page 6. Don’t miss along the way on page 5 that Lace Lichen (Ramalina menziesii) becomes at the official California state lichen going into effect on January 1st, 2016. We are the first state to “recognize a lichen as a state symbol”. You’ll recall stopping under some Monterey Pines on our Marshall Beach Hike and enjoying the lace lichen there.
‎www.cnpsmarin.org/images/newsletters/MarinCnps2015OctDec.pdf http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/tarweeds.html
http://californialichens.org/state-lichen/lace-lichen/

Michael with a bemused smile has some Coyote brush for our attention. He pointed out that it is dioecious, meaning “that it produces male and female flowers on DIFFERENT plants. Here in this specimen it seems like the same plant has both but he showed us that, no, there were two distinct plants growing together. http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/coyote_brush.htm gives a lovely, clear description.
http://sanhedrin.cnps.org/attachments/article/9/23_fall__2014.pdf The Ukiah chapter of the Native Plant Society describes the Coyote brush succinctly as well a piece on Tarweed.

We saw a flock of Bushtits in the Coyote bushes which took off in a puff of feathers, Michael said that they can live their entire lives most happily in the Coyote brush. They are wonderfully energetic – always in motion right side up, upside down – true acrobats and always “all together now”. I’m borrowing a photo of them enjoying our birdbath from earlier in the year. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/bushtit
http://www.colintalcroft.com/Sonoma_County_Bird_Watching_Spots/Sugarloaf_Ridge_State_Park,_Kenwood.html

Michael is illustrating the angling of Manzanita leaves (and his book) to the sun, one for sun exposure, the other for shade.
http://www.plantsofcalifornia.com/manzanita-arctostaphylos/ http://www.arthurleej.com/p-o-m-Mar08.html Even though Seattle would be an atypical area for most Manzanitas and a landscaping tree, Arthur Lee Jacobson gives a wonderful description with many succulent details.
http://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/manzanita/

Here some Manzanitas have been shaded out by trees and having lost their light for photosynthesis are dead or dying. Michael talked about the fuel this provides in a California fire cycle. http://www.coastal.ca.gov/fire/ucsbfire.html While focusing on Southern California in this link, the basic message is ours as well. http://www.wildcalifornia.org/action-issues/fire/ The 10% high severity fires that this link speaks of may well be increasing with giant steps due to the continuing drought as suggested in the feedback of fire crews in the recent Valley Fire.
BAY NATURE has an excellent, current article on the destructive Morgan Fire on Mt. Diablo in September of 2013 and the recovery that is in progress.
https://baynature.org/articles/harvest-of-fire/

Chamise along our trail, we saw it in great profusion on our Mitchell Canyon hike on Mt. Diablo. Here’s an insightful article about it from Bay Nature: https://baynature.org/articles/like-chamise-like-hot/

Having passed through the chaparral and Manzanita dominated areas we pause in the shade as our trail becomes a paved road that leads through an oak forest to the top of Bald Mountain. The road is for maintenance of a cellular tower atop the mountain. Recall that odd fake tree atop Mt. Barnaby?

A closer view with hats, that’s Sonoma Mountain dominating on the other side of Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon.
http://sonomamountain.org/the-mountain/history/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Valley_of_the_Moon_(novel)

Closing in on the summit and lunch, Michael points out the the blue sign for the Bay Area Ridge Trail, well, he mentioned it earlier. He mused it would be fun to see how many links of the developing trail we have hiked. http://www.ridgetrail.org/the-trail
http://www.presidio.gov/explore/trails/Pages/bay-area-ridge-trail.aspx https://www.facebook.com/ridgetrail

Moving down smartly toward the parking area past the high grass, you think any Festuca Californica?

Back with our memories.

P.S. Hopefully not too revolutionary. . . .

Dear Footloose Amigas and Amigos, I had a CT scan on Sept. 25 which discovered a 4.8 cm growth outside my pelvis, on the 30th of September a biopsy with an intervention radiologist (using the CT to take the biopsy) found the growth to be possibly related to my urinary tract. Good news is that it is not a return of my colon cancer from 2008. Also my blood tests seem in all the normal parameters. A CT scan of my chest (the earlier one was specific to the pelvis) to see if there was any spreading was also negative, phew. I have doctors’ appointments this coming Monday with a urologist and my oncologist (who was so terrific at the time of my colon surgery) so will have to sadly miss the hike up Mt. Wittenberg with all of you. I’ll keep you all up to date.

Hugs, Lew