As summer approaches and the daytime temperatures in the Sacramento Valley start to soar, it’s time for me to practice some serious discipline — rolling out of bed while it’s still dark outside, downing a quick protein shake and a piece of fruit, and heading outdoors while the air is still cool enough to make me shiver. It’s much easier said than done — although I’m pretty sure that delivery of a new camera will soon add motivation!
This week I was lucky to have a cool, overcast morning, so I returned to Mississippi Bar. I tend to avoid it in the warmest weather; there’s just too many rocks and high weeds where rattlesnakes like to hide. At the same time, the rehabilitated landscape is so diverse that there’s always something new waiting to be discovered.
It’s been awhile since I hiked here, and I’d forgotten how much I love this place. I foresee some early mornings in my future!
Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: May 28, 2017
Crack in the universe? Nope, just a memento of the drought
Another view of the cross
Normally I would dread to see an ambulance anywhere near the water at Lake Natoma — but finding this one sitting on a large rock made me smile.
Judging from the rust and the wear, I think this ambulance has spent some time doing underwater rescue.
Sign in Botanical Gardens, San Francisco
The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for the week of May 24, 2017.
This week, show us a moment in time that holds meaning for you.
On this morning’s hike I wandered off my regular route to a small side trail that I usually skip. The path is all but obscured by high weeds and crowded by poison oak and thistle plants; you can just see Lake Natoma below through the trees, but reaching the water means clambering over a boulder-strewn drop. Still, it’s a secluded and pretty spot, and after enjoying it I was just turning to leave when I glimpsed a spot of bright red among the weeds.
These familiar little caterpillars usually show up in the warm summer months, inching their way across the bike trail’s asphalt — and frequently getting squashed for their efforts. Here, there’s nothing to disturb them. The more I looked, the more caterpillars I saw all around me, on both sides of the trail. I had stumbled into the lair of the Battus philenor!
Caterpillar haven just ahead
The pipevine caterpillar’s life cycle lasts for a brief 33 days, from egg to its emergence as an adult butterfly. The pipevine swallowtails emerge between April and October, so I’m not sure how much longer these guys are going to be caterpillars; but this quiet little area is clearly very popular with them as they hang out waiting to begin the final stage of metamorphosis. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse before the transformation.
It may sound odd, but as I stood on the passenger deck of the ferry Eureka, docked near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, I kept thinking about Jack London. What came specifically to mind was the first part of the novel The Sea Wolf (1904), where the narrator vividly describes being aboard the ferry Martinez, which collides with another ship and quickly sinks in the middle of a thick San Francisco Bay fog.
Of course, Jack London wrote plenty of other wonderful books, including The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906). And this episode of California’s Gold isn’t really about San Francisco — but Jack London truly was an important literary figure in California during his lifetime, and his estate in Sonoma County was one part of his story I’d never heard before. Beauty Ranch has now been added to my list of places I hope to visit one day!
Explore Beauty Ranch, once the home of one of California’s most famous authors, Jack London. Now the estate is part of the Jack London State Historical Park in the Valley of the Moon in Sonoma. It is at this home that London wrote many of his most famous books, including Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.
(Click on the linked image below to see the video.)
Until a few weeks ago, I’d never even heard of a sharp-tailed snake, and I’m pretty sure I had never seen one. Turns out they’re quite common in my area. These are fairly small, secretive creatures, completely harmless to humans.
Unfortunately, the only one I’ve actually seen was most likely run over by a mountain bike on a dirt hiking trail. The poor little thing– no more than 10 inches long — probably never knew what hit it.