Tag Archives: Beach

Vacation Album: Ft. Bragg to Sea Ranch

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Looking at the mouth of the Noyo River just south of Ft. Bragg on my morning walk. State Route 1 crosses over above the river.

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Businesses along the wharf have beautiful (and often humorous) signs.

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“No phone, no TV, No WIFI. No problem. You are on vacation.”

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I thought of you, Ariel.

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Hiking up the hill to our motel I looked down at the wharf and harbor it was very peaceful.

After a bit of sunny weather in the Ft. Bragg area, going south to Sea Ranch we found it grey and foggy.

Nearly every day for the rest of our vacation was cool and grey.  Here are some pictures from Sea Ranch where we were joined by first my mom and Molly, and then my sister Kathleen.

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Abalone divers getting ready to go into the water.

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Low Tide on Walk On Beach.

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Gooseneck barnacles and mussels on the rocks.

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Rem and I made a cake to continue his birthday celebration: Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Smitten Kitchen.

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The cake pans were a little smaller than called for, so we made a few cupcakes too.

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I decorated the cake with nasturtiums.

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The sun came out on the day we were leaving.  My mom, Kathleen, Molly and I walked at Gualala Point and down on the beach.

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There was still a little finger of fog over Gualala.

It was time to pack up and get ready for our drive home after a wonderful vacation.

Thanks for your visit.

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Three-Hike Weekend

Tam from Gold Hill Grade

I got in three great hikes over the three-day weekend.  On Friday morning I went up Gold Hill Grade, behind Dominican University in San Rafael.

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This dirt fire road climbs up (and up) to two communication towers on San Pedro Mountain. Looking at the view of Mount Tam with the city of San Rafael (top photo) in the foreground gave me the opportunity to catch my breath as hiked upwards.

Stump in the trail

The first part of the trail is lined with eucalyptus trees and plenty of poison oak. Later I recognized oak, madrone and bay laurels.

Finally, a glimpse of the first tower.

Glimpse of Tower thru fog

I made it!  Time for breakfast.

Made it.

Yogurt, cereal and fruit

The fog is starting to burn off.  You can see the marina by Andy’s Local Market on Point San Pedro Road.

Marina by Andy's Market

More views…

McNears Brickyard

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Tower #2

Tower Two

Looking back at the first tower.

First Tower & Tam

Heading back down the hill I snapped a few pictures of poison oak.  It was all over the place.

Red and Green Poison Oak

And a selfie for the road.

Gold Hill Selfie

On Saturday I went to Fairfax and started a nice loop hike in Deer Park, parking by the Fairfax San Anselmo Children’s Center.  It was a good hike, not as strenuous as the one the day before.

Golden Hillside

Dry Grassy Hillside

Worn Springs Trail sign

The communication towers I hiked to on Friday are barely visible on the upper left in this picture (if you click on the picture, you can see an enlarged version which makes it a bit more clear)..

San Rafael Towers

The buildings in the lower left corner of the photo below, are the school where the Fairfax San Anselmo Children’s Center is located, the start of my hike.

View down to school

Purple Mountain Majesty

Old Oak Tree

Another (different kind of) selfie.

Me & My Shadow

Trail thru trees

Today, Sunday, I chose the easiest hike of the weekend.  I went out to Tennessee Valley Beach.  I haven’t taken this hike in years as dogs are not allowed and I usually hike with a dog.  But Molly is up at Sea Ranch with my mom.

Trail Sign to Tennessee Beach

When I left San Rafael it was in the upper 70’s.  When I got to the parking lot by the trail head, it was 58 and foggy.

Tennessee Beach Trail

The first view of the Pacific Ocean from the trail.

First View of Pacific

Lagoon before beach

Lagoon

Queen Ann's Lace

Sweet Peas

Just before going out on the beach, I climbed uphill to an overlook (I wanted to see some progress on my Fitbit).

View down to beach

Tennessee Valley Beach

My selfie for this hike.

Beach Selfie

Some critters I saw along the walk back up the trail.  I think this one is a Giant’s fan.

Black & Orange

Liz

windswept grasses

Interesting rock formation (just for Dayna).

Rock Formation

Fog Lifting

The fog was lifting a bit as I hiked back to my car and headed home.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Walk

Rodeo Beach

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my sister Kathleen and I take a walk together every Saturday.  I bring my mom’s dog Molly along and Kathleen has her dog, Ruby.  Since Ruby is almost 15 years old we have been going more slowly and Kathleen has a “pup pack” to carry Ruby when she tires out.

The weather was clear and fairly warm, and Kathleen suggested a beach walk.  This is actually a hike that starts by Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and loops up into the hills overlooking the beach.

Overlooking Rodeo Beach

With our brother so ill, the last month has been very stressful.  I’m spending a lot of time at the hospital and this was a lovely respite.

Poppies

I’ve always found salt air to be very restorative.  The views and the wildflowers were beautiful.

Poppies and sour grass

California Golden Poppies and what I always knew as sour grass, but I think is more properly called Yellow Woodsorrel, cover the hillside.

As we walked up the trail, we saw a group of people taking part in a Search and Rescue exercise.

Search and Rescue Exercise

The woman in the blue hard hat on the lower left was rapeling down a cliff.  We learned she was to playing the part of the victim who would be “rescued.”

This is the view looking down from the rocks she was climbing.

little cove

I don’t think I would be a very good volunteer for this exercise!  This team was going to climb down after her and carry her back up in the basket.

Search and Resuce training

We continued up the trail towards Battery Townsley, a World War II concrete gun emplacement, overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  You can see the edge of the battery just above this rocky hillside.

Rocky hillside and Battery

I thought of Beau because he is a real WWII geek.  He would say he is a “military historian” but it’s all the same to me.  In fact, I wrote part of this post while at the hospital and asked Beau about Battery Townsley.  He started rattling off facts and figures about the size of the guns, the fact that they were only shot in practice, that it was a casemate (I had to look it up: a fortified gun emplacement or armored structure from which guns are fired), that volunteers were working to restore the battery to it’s 1940’s condition, etc.

Here’s the view looking towards the beach.  The hills in the background are in San Francisco.

View down towards beach

You can see the Search and Rescue exercise was still going on.

View of Search and Rescue truck

We saw Morning Glories, Blue Eyed Grass and Silver Bush Lupine.

Morning Glory

Blue Eyed Grass

Silver Bush Lupine

Ruby got slower and slower as we went up the hill, so Kathleen let her ride until we headed back downhill.  Molly was full of energy and enjoyed every minute of the walk.

Ruby and Molly

As we followed the loop around, we caught a glimpse of one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

GG Bridge Tower

Lacy white Cow Parsnip was surrounded by Horsetail Ferns.

Cow Parsnip and Horsetail Fern

The combination of exercise, conversation, salt air, beautiful views and wildflowers all worked together to nourish me and help me feel in better shape to face the days and weeks ahead.  I know I need to take care of myself and this was one way to do that.

butterfly

Thank you for your visit.

 

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Long Sea Ranch Weekend

Beach through the Trees

Although we had a few days of really gorgeous weather when we went to Sea Ranch for the long Fourth of July weekend, I kept forgetting my camera when we went on walks.  I only remembered once the weather turned grey.

This mosaic is on a low wall by a gas station in the town of Gualala, just north of Sea Ranch.

Fish Mosaic

Here are some pictures from our weekend… with seals, Molly and Ariel.

Seals at Sea Ranch

Molly & Ariel at driftwood chapel

Shell Beach

Through the Trees

Molly starts a hole

Molly Digging

Whassat?

Silly Doggie

Ariel on the Beach

Ariel on the Rock

Running on the Beach

Thanks for stopping by.

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Sea Ranch Visit

Rem and I went to Sea Ranch last week and celebrated our anniversary and my birthday.

I can’t provide the sound of the surf or the smell of the salt air, but maybe these pictures will give you a feeling for our visit.

Seagulls

Day 1: Seagulls join our impromptu picnic lunch overlooking the mouth of the Russian River.

Mouth of Russian River + Sealls

A pod (herd?) of seals are sunning on the beach.

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27 twisty miles of Route 1 to go.

Sea Ranch 27

We chose to have our anniversary dinner at Saint Orres, a beautiful Russian-style hotel with dining room, cabin, cottages and a spa.

St. Orres back

Pink Flowers

Sign at St Orres

Rem had warm butternut soup with ginger and I chose the chilled coconut and pineapple.  They were both wonderful although the chilled soup would have been better on a warmer day.  Still, I ate every drop.  A roasted pear salad was the second course, served on mixed greens with endive, with blue cheese, dressed with pear vinaigrette and garnished with a candied walnut.  It was delicious in every aspect, beautifully made and arranged.

The entrees were very good but had the same flaw.  Both plates had a side that should have been crispy but came out soggy.  I don’t know if it was from sitting too long after being cooked but it was disappointing.  Rem’s wild boar had apple latkes and my roast pheasant had risotto cakes with truffles and mushrooms.  The rest of the entree was lovely with perfectly cooked little spring vegetables.  It wasn’t the stellar meal it could have been but still a very nice evening.

Tower Room St. Orres

Day 2: We headed further up the coast, stopping at Arena Cove in Pt. Arena.

Rem with Dog

We’ve been to the Pt. Arena lighthouse in the past but this was our first time to the cove.

Arena Cove

Waves at Arena Cove

Back in the car and continuing north, we stopped in Mendocino.  Some strolling, some (birthday) shopping and lunch at the Mendocino Hotel.

Mendo Hotel

Mendo Coast

We found a geocache along the bluff trail.

Mendo Shops

Next stop: Ft. Bragg and Glass Beach.

Glass Beach I

On previous visits we’ve taken baggies of beautiful, polished glass but this time we were returning some.

Coral on Sea Glass Beach

Sea Glass Beach II

Than on to the North Coast Brewing Company.  Rem enjoyed his Old Rasputin stout.

Stout

We shared a delicious plate of Calamari Fritto Misto with spicy aioli.  It included thin slices of lemon and green beans that had been dipped in batter and fried along with the calamari and it was wonderful.

Calamari

Heading back down the coast, we stopped at the Noyo River harbor, under the Noyo River bridge.

Noyo River Bridge

Fishing Boat

Day 3: A very low key and relaxing day.  Rem set up his ham radio antenna, I started a giant puzzle.  I think we both took a nap.  It was lovely to unwind and not have any schedule.

Puzzle pieces

One of my favorite things this time of year is a visit to see the new lambs in the Sea Ranch sheep herd.

(More sheep and lamb pictures here).

Lamb by bush

Little Lamb

Baa baa black sheep

Day 4: My birthday!  Another day blissfully reading, crafting (I’ll post about my crafting soon), and working on the puzzle.  Rem contacted Japan, Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Galapagos Islands, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Sweden, Russia, Alaska and Hawaii during a ham radio contest.

I got off my butt long enough to go down to the beach.

Damp sand

Gull over beach

And said hi to the seals.

Seals at Sea Ranch

Surf at Sea Ranch

And visit the lambs again.

LIttle Lamb

I (under)baked some brownies.  It was a perfect day.

Brownie

Day 5: We did 918 pieces of the 1,000 piece puzzle and called it done.

Almost Finished Puzzle

I went into town (Gualala) and browsed through the local bookshop, Four-Eyed Frogs Books. I picked out The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook as a gift from Rem.

This is a view of Gualala Point beach from town.

Gualala Point

Every evening we enjoyed a fire in the wood burning stove or a soak in the hot tub, or both.  The canopy of stars on a clear night is awesome.

Day 6: Our last day of vacation.  Time to pack up. We made a last visit down to the beach.  We repatriated the last of the sea glass on this beach covered with shells.

Shells on the beach

It was a very low tide so we did a little tide pooling.

Tide Pool

Dianne and Rem at Sea Ranch

Locking up the house I say goodbye to one of my dad’s baseball caps hanging on a peg in the entry hall.  I feel close to him in this comfortable home.  I feel sure he would be delighted with every visitor who stays, every fire in the stove, every meal cooked and shared, every walk enjoyed and every soak in the hot tub.

Hat in the hall

Thank you for your visit. It is much appreciated.

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Sea Ranch in the Summer

It’s been over a year since my last trip to Sea Ranch.  My mom and I went up to the vacation home neither of us had been back to since my dad had been diagnosed with cancer last May.  It was an emotional trip but also comforting to be in this soothing, familiar place that is another home.  Mom wanted to return for her first time up there without Dad but she didn’t want to go alone.  My sister would be arriving a day after my mom  and I suggested I go along, following in my own car.  We would provide company for each other and I could help with Molly who, though she loves being at Sea Ranch, hates the ride up the twisty parts of Route 1.

We went through fog in Bodega Bay.   I usually visit in the early spring when the hills are green and dotted with cows, sheep and lambs and wild iris and other wild flowers are coming into bloom.  As we neared Sea Ranch, the fog cleared to a warm, sunny afternoon.  The summer landscape is tawny with golden-yellow meadows of dry grasses. Once we get to the house, we take a walk down the path to the bluff and beach.  On closer look I started to notice the different colors.

Soft purple flowers grow almost hidden in the edges of the meadow, lower than the surrounding grass.

These large, lacy clusters remind me of cauliflower but prettier with white and pale purple blossoms.

A wild rose is a spot of pink.

Thistle bloom in a rich magenta.

Unripe blackberries are an eye-catching red.

Deep-orange nasturtium grow up a fence.

A cluster of yellow flowers have a toe-hold in the rocky face of the bluffs.

A large group of harbor seals are resting on a beach. If you look carefully (or click on the photo for a closer look) , you can see a pelican is hanging out with them. This link has some great close-up shots of harbor seals at Sea Ranch.

It’s lovely being by the ocean and breathing in the salt air.

In our walks that afternoon and the following morning we saw several driftwood structures.

Playhouses for kids enjoying the Fourth of July holiday.

Or architectural artwork created by adults.

Seaweed marked the tide line.

Walk On Beach was wide and welcoming.

Molly found a rope of kelp to chew on.

Mom and Molly – a poignant reminder of my dad walking on the beach with Molly.

I love the variety of beautiful if subtle textures and colors the beach offers.

Although the sun is out and we’ve shed our sweatshirts, neither of us is interested in a dip in the ocean but this woman and her dog seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We climb the three flights of stairs from the beach to the bluff trail and head back to the house.  We catch our breath and look back at the beautiful beach and ocean.

A flock of pelicans is going the other direction.

Back at the house, Mom gave Molly a quick rinse and towel dry to get off the sand and salt water.

That afternoon I was back on the road, heading south and home.  I varied the route slightly by going up Meyers Grade – when I pulled off to take this picture of the fog coming off the ocean.  I’m looking down the coast towards the mouth of the Russian River  and Bodega Bay.

Across the road I saw my first ever Pirate Cow. Aaarrr! Moo.

One last shot of the road twisting down the hillside back to Highway One and then I turned my attention to my drive home after a short but satisfying visit to Sea Ranch.

Thanks for coming along.

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Day 17: Chocolate Bowl – Fail!

The theme for today’s 30 Days of Creativity project was “Pop”.  I’d originally planned to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Pops over two days but the weather was too hot for baking a cake, the first step.  I looked at my list of possible creations and saw the chocolate bowls made from dipping small balloons into melted chocolate.  That sounded good and would fit the theme well enough since you use balloons and pop them after making the bowls.

After my Magic Shell Chocolate Sauce wasn’t so magical, I don’t know why I still wanted some kind of chocolate shell, but this looked pretty straightforward…and I do love chocolate.  Which is how I ended up with chocolate in my hair.

The idea is to blow up small, round balloons, spray them with non-stick spray, dip them in melted candy melts and let the chocolate set.  Pop the balloon and gently peel it away from the resulting chocolate bowl.  I saw it on Can’t Stop Making Things and marked it for a future attempt.  Attempt Failed!

Maybe my balloons were of poor quality.  I coated them with nonstick spray after blowing up.  Mine were more pear shaped but I was only going to dip the bottom.  The chocolate candy melts were melted and I’d cooled them off before dipping.  I dipped and pop!

It looked slightly gruesome.  Chocolate splattered across the kitchen, up on the walls, down on the floor.  It was a mess.

Rem and I agreed I was done with my creation for the day.  I had failed at my chocolate bowl making attempt but succeeded at defining the word pop!

He helped me scrape and wipe and sponge chocolate off of the stove, the sink, the floor, the walls, the cupboard doors and off of me.  I changed clothes.  And ate a bowl of mint chip ice cream.  I drizzled some of the remaining melted chocolate over it.

Last year on Day 17 I did a photo montage in San Francisco’s North Beach.

Another definition for the word pop is dad or father.  Today was my first Father’s Day without my dad.  A friend suggested doing something he enjoyed.  I went to Rodeo Beach with Molly.

Now I have to scrub the chocolate off of my clothes and take a shower.

Thank you for your visit.

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