Dogs and Cats while Potlucking with Michael – 12 June 2017

All good things come to an end so we’ll have some other good things to look forward to. Our hikes started in a rainy Roy’s Redwoods on March 6th which had been buffeted by winter storms closing the trails, needing to opt for plan “B”. This ultimate hike in the hills above Marin City was a very different scene with dried grasses all around and many spring plants now gone to root. The meeting spot was high on the hill with an immediate overlook of the Sausalito waterfront, Strawberry Point, Tiburon, Belvedere, and Angel Island. Since we’d driven most of the way to the top, it didn’t feel like we’d quite earned the view but we decided to enjoy it nonetheless and for the purists, why not enjoy a little guilt along the way as well?

Adding to the scene along the trail were a number of dog owners and dog walkers, we’d found the Bay area mecca for dog walking! Many “four legs good” companions joined us on our walk. They were friendly and inquisitive as we passed by sniffing out the intelligence and sometimes happily mingling with this new
passing pack of “two legs hoping to be good enough.”

Dramatis personae in the parking area

A bit up the trail Michael leads a discussion about the origin of Marin City during WW 2 as a shipbuilding center in the war effort. This enormous internal immigration of workers west mostly from the south began this housing community for shipyard workers. “During a 6 month period in 1942, Marin City went from literally non-existent to a city with more residents than Sausalito itself.” Jeannie also recalled hikes the group has taken in the area, all memorable and some almost immortal. VIMEO video of our free ranging discussion:



Lisa mentioned a book that gave rich detail about the Great Migration. Here is a link about Isabel Wilkerson, author of the award winning book, “The Warmth of Other Suns” which I think is the one she was remembering.
Here’s the Smithsonian article by Ms. Wilkerson summing up the message of the book with particular clarity, eloquence and passion. This is the best account of the Great Migration that I’ve read


Dog walker with a mixed affinity group as we head up a hill.

A tree becomes a chair awaiting the weary hiker

Great Bay views from a shady stand of Monterey Pines and Cypress trees.

We’re looking down on the area where Marinship Corporation was located on the left side of the photo and across the boat filled Richardson Bay are the Tiburon hills and at the point Belvedere “Island”. Across Coyote Straits is Angel Island with Mount Caroline Livermore topping the scene at 788’. You’ll recall that Ms. Livermore is one of the heroines of Marin conservation mentioned in the last hike-log, “Exploring Shoreline Park with Michael”. U.S. Route 101 can be seen in the lower part of the photo making its way up the Waldo Grade toward San Francisco.

This link in the excellent FoundSF details the amazing changes in Sausalito beginning in 1942 with the construction of Marinships. There is a well written summary and the Industrial film “Tanker” is put together professionally well. It’s reminiscent of many films of early 40s with its music & voice over including many photos and films of the time. It’s 47:25 minutes long, so a bit of a commitment but if you want to just dip in for the flavor that’s just fine, they’ll be no exam at the end.

We decided that just sight-seeing was not enough and since we were beginning to feel peckish – where were we heading for the potluck? Look for the sloping roof on the very right of the floating-home series. It has a distinctive triangular shaped and framed front deck. Louise and Eamon volunteered to be our hosts for this potluck most generously since we’re quite a rowdy bunch. References to this area of Sausalito is usually the “houseboat community” rather than floating homes.

At the overlook we tried not to overlook the yellow blooms at our feet. Canyon Dudleya, Dudleya cymosa, is in the Stonecrop Family, Crassulaceae, Reny Parker writes in her “Wildflowers of Northern California’s Wine Country …” “A loose oval cluster of succulent leaves form the base for a fleshy stalk with smaller, intermittent, thick alternate leaves. The bloom, a yellow to red little urn formed by the five narrow, lance like petals, is apparent atop this native found on hot rocky cliffs.” Our location fits. “The species gets its name from Stanford University botany professor William R. Dudley (1849-1911). Another common name is Live Forever.” p. 75.

Lots of yellow along the trail as we’re in the presence of Hairy Cat’s Ears (on the left), Hypochaeris radicata, in the Sunflower Family. Lilian McHoul who loves to reference the meaning of the Latin writes that the generic name means “little Pig”. “Pigs are said to like the roots. The specific name refers to the basal rosette of leaves.” Michael pointed out that the leaves look like bites have been taken out of them or very toothy. “The plant is 18 inches tall; the leaves are basal and hairy. There are several branched stems. The flowers are borne singly at the top of the stems and are twice as large as a similar plant, Smooth Cat’s Ear, Hypocaris glabra.” P.32 in “Wild Flowers of Marin”, 1979.
The Dandelion (on the right), Taraxacum, perhaps needs no introduction but its history and symbolism are intriguing. “The common name dandelion is given to the members of the genus. (from French dent-de-lion, meaning lion’s tooth) Like other members of the Asteraceae family, they have very small flowers collected into a composite flower head.”
We can appreciate that both blooms are in the cat family, both felines at heart.

Las Pilatus Nursery writes that “Blue Flax is a 2-3 foot perennial with delicate leaves and true blue sky flowers from Mar. to Sept. Native to middle to high elevations, Alaska to southern California. (Linum lewisii)–linum-lewisii Barb found this little bloom with some wonderfu colors with itsl delicately etched markings.

Michael is going to be a speaker at a coming “Bay Nature” magazine event. His friend who founded the magazine, David Loeb, mentioned that the last time Michael spoke he seemed a little GLIB. This is how Michael is preparing.




Rod takes a moment to give, Pogo, one of Louise’s dogs a good neck rub.

When the hill is too hard to climb, there are options with this dog walker.

This walker has quite a spread of breeds. With Mt. Tamalpais in the background having the big white Pyranees seems apropos, The Australian Shepard in the middle (I’m sincerely hoping) is calm and attentive in the morning sunshine, The Brindle Greyhound completes the trio

The last remnants of the morning fog have lifted as we return to the parking area and look out to the horizon and heading down to Issaquah Dock . . . and the potluck.

Jeannie always gives us such clear and well-organized descriptions & directions in her Footloose Hikes information write-ups, many thanks for her dedication (read dogged) and excellence!

Issaquah Dock sounds just right. Many thanks to Don McLaurin, who does tours of this area for Road Scholar, for sharing some great information with me about the “pretty little 114’ ferry with twin smokestacks and pilot houses said to be revolutionary for its times.” It was launched in March 1914 with “great fanfare” on Lake Washington only to get stuck in the mud – her 9’ draft was too deep for the launching site. But after that slightly ignominious beginning she served ports on Lake Washington for 4 years and was used in-between schedules as a cruising dance hall and party boat, she had a beautiful maple dance floor. The Washington State Ferry System put this privately owned ferry out of a job. She was then purchased by the Rodeo/Vallejo Line of San Francisco Bay in 1918 at the end of WW 1. Thirty years later in 1948 she was retired from SF Bay service and “mothballed” in Vallejo. How she got to Sausalito is a variegated story: was it a scrap collector or artist Jean Varda but for sure it was Donion Arques who ended up with the ferry and found a slot for her along Gate 6 Road. She gradually sank into dereliction while sinking into the bay but providied a homestead for some of the passing hippies and artists in the meantime. She was eventually dismantled and in 1977 the dock that would bear her name began to be built.

Issaquah is a city located in an area of Washington State southeast of Seattle called the Squak Valley. The name comes from a Native American word for the area “osquowh” meaning “the sound of water birds”. The town was called Gilman from 1892-1899 when the name was changed to Issaquah. Early a coal mining area and later a lumber town in more recent times its proximity to Seattle made it a good address for Boeing and Microsoft who both have been active in its cultural development and diversity. Costco moved its global headquarters from nearby Kirkland to Issaquah in 1996.,_Washington#History

“In approximately 1948 Jean Varda and British-born artist Gordon Onslow Ford acquired an old ferryboat, called the Vallejo. They permanently moored the Vallejo in Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and remodeled it into a studio for Onslow-Ford with a studio & living quarters for Varda, using materials scavenged from the closed-down wartime shipbuilding operation. The writer and Zen Buddhist popularizer Alan Watts took over Onslow-Ford’s space on the ferryboat in 1961.” Film by Agnes Varda, the 1967 “Oncle Yanko”, describes Jean Varda’s artistic life there and captures beautifully the Sausalito houseboat community of the time. Agnes Varda was his cousin. By dipping into this documentary you’ll get a rare view of that time 50 years ago. (18:56)

We enter the gateway to Issaquah Dock – most impressive architecture and a fun nod to the original ferry’ wheel houses.

Keeping in touch with the earth on the water. We were amazed and delighted to see the gardens along the dock with plantings and colors in great variety.

We were all quite taken with the creativity and amazing array of floating homes on the Issaquah Dock. The gorgeous day made it all the better.

Cats rule.

Quirky and eclectic

Perhaps a tribute to Jean Varda’s mosaics.

Our destination at last, you’ll recall the “in the distance” view that we enjoyed from the hills above Marin City as an “appetizer”.

A delicious spread of many dishes awaits us inside including Inge’s Pickleweed Poke, doffing her hat to our previous hike at Pickelweed Park in San Rafael.

Scott readies his ice cream maker on the back deck for his peach/nectarine extravaganza.

In-between we get to tour this lovely floating home. Kit took this great shot of Louise and Eamon, our generous and lively hosts, on their front deck. Many thanks to them for all their generosity of time and place. We all felt so welcome and relaxed in your home – what a great visit and swell potluck!
They also were most generous hosting our spring potluck 2014 in their previous San Rafael home. You’ll remember the chickens. Should you want to take that tour you can go to , then at the top highlight “Browse by Season” for Spring 2014 and 9 June 2014
entitled “Tucker Cutoff Trail with Jim” should be the first to come up. Was Scott’s fabled ice cream first enjoyed by our group on this hike?

On the other end of the deck, Kit also took this great photo of our two Annes.

Cats rule here as well on the deck in the sunshine, thanks Kit!

We see the skyline of San Francisco through the sailboat masts of Sausalito

Sunflowers, Moonflowers and Sea Stars

Here’s a VIMEO video of our Issaquah visit with music done by the Monterey Jazz Quartet in 1963, called “In a Crowd.”


Issaquah Dock Potluck

Thanks very much indeed to Michael, our leader so knowledgeable, creative and full of whimsey for a great Spring Footloose 2017. You stretch our minds and we scratch our heads, “Where is Michael now?” Oh yes, the Brazilian Pantanal, got that email “Greetings from Matto Grosso Brazil” where he was exploring the twin cities of Varzea Grande and Cuiaba and went out on a mountain bike ride at 6 AM. Thanks to Armando Quintero, Jim Coleman and Don McLaurin for seamlessly leading us on four of our hikes in this series while Michael was away, you each brought such special insights and enthusiasm – a bravo grande to you!

P.S. Michael invited a guest, Kyra, who was able to come to the first part of our hike in the Marin City hills. She kindly offered to take my picture on that hewn seat in the hills – thank you very much! Kyra works as Development Specialist for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in San Francisco.

Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm and thanks for “listening”. Hugs, Lew (alias “Z”)

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