Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Never mind Election Day 2014, consider Fall in Northern California

It's election day, and I'm at a loss for words. Fortunately, Jon Carroll of the SF Chronicle is not. Check out As we face another election day for a little perspective, not that it'll cheer you up any. But instead of bemoaning the state of our corrupt and boughten democracy, I'm going to share pictures. In addition to election day, today is the end of my long mostly-stay-cation.

Just to be contrary, I started my stay-cation by taking a drive up the coast, from Berkeley to Pt Reyes to Pt Arena, then home.

First (out-of-car) glimpse of the Pacific, at McClure's Beach at the south end of Tomales Point:

By the Pierce Ranch, just a short way up the hill, this fence caught my eye:

On Tomales Point the elk were rutting. Here's a small herd near the trail:

The next day was all about the Sonoma Coast, from Goat Rock, to the seals at Gerstle Cove (Salt Point State Park) where I stopped for lunch.

Here's a little video from Gerstle Cove, for a sense of the surf's power and the seals' cute-factor (from a distance anyway):

I met an old friend who lives on the coast just north of Sea Ranch, and he showed me a beach I never would have found on my own: the easement that gives access to it is a narrow path along a fence between properties:

I stayed that night in Pt. Arena, at The Wharfmaster's Inn, where my room had a five-star ocean view from the balcony:

On my way through Fairfax and San Anselmo in Marin County, on the way to Pt Reyes, I passed through a thick, hard rainstorm -- a serious anomaly in the midst of California's drought. Then it rained again, not quite so hard, soon after I returned home. Here's what Berkeley's front yards had to say about this unusual water-from-the-sky phenomenon:

I closed out my stay-cation with another trip, this one to the South Fork of the American River with my friend Bill. I've written about Bill's cabin before, about three years ago. For the first time in over 20 years, I visited the cabin when it was snowing (it was the tail end of a light snow, but there you have it). Here's the view when we arrived in mid-afternoon:

An ice puddle on the road the next morning:

Bill contemplating a plunge in a very cold river:

He did. I didn't, avoidance of freezing to death being the better part of valor.

Here's something strange and pretty wonderful, which I'd never seen before: at several places some yards back from the river, ice had formed in tiny columns that lifted the sandy soil above them, like little ice-mushrooms sprouting after a storm. They kind of reminded me of Devil's Postpile National Monument on the other side of the Sierras, only smaller, colder, and more ephemeral. When we returned to someplace where I had intertube access I Wikipedia'd around to find that this phenomenon is called "needle ice."

By the time we left, yesterday morning, the snow was mostly melted away ... here's (roughly) the same view as the arrival picture above, taken two days earlier:

I'd already mailed in my ballot before Bill and I headed up into the mountains. And I'm not going to watch the returns tonight, I'm going to have dinner with a friend. For election results, I'll wait for all the news at once, in the morning. Then it's back to work I go....

Related posts on One Finger Typing:
Mental Floss
Point Reyes National Seashore at the start of the year
Taking the coast road north from Santa Cruz
An Egon Schiele vision in Berkeley
Flowery front yards in Berkeley

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