Tag Archives: Hike

Hidden Meadows Hike

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My sister Kathleen and I took a hike we haven’t been on for quite awhile – we call it Hidden Meadows. We start by looping part way around Phoenix  Lake than head up Shaver Grade Fire Road and take the Hidden Meadows trail. This connects to the Yolanda Trail and eventually comes back down to Phoenix Lake Road.

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Stella, Kathleen’s dachshund, is turning one. It wasn’t easy getting pictures of her standing still.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of Molly, but she had a good hike too.

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Mt. Tam was hidden in fog, but it was still a beautiful hike with the green hills and wildflowers.

Thanks for the visit.

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Walking Sea Ranch & Turning 55

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I’ve celebrated another birthday at Sea Ranch and so far 55 agrees with me. Yes, I’m falling apart…

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…but slowly.

I managed a zipline course just days before my birthday which included both fear and fun in exhilarating measures.

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I decided to walk the length of the Sea Ranch bluff trail while on vacation, something Rem suggested and reminded me I’d done a few years ago. With my Fitbit I could log my steps and mileage and Rem agreed to drop me off and pick me so I wouldn’t have to backtrack. It is a beautiful way to experience the coast.

Sunday, March 1

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Walking north from the Sea Ranch Lodge on the first day I soaked in the gorgeous ocean views, the soothing sound of the waves, and the familiar smell of salt air and sage-like plants along the trail.

The trails here often seem like something out of a fairy tale, with bridges crossing small creeks, tunnels formed from wild hedges and seals barking on the rocks and in the water below the bluff.

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Rem and I weren’t sure our cellphones would work so I’d picked a spot to meet about 4 miles up the coast, where a short trail linked the bluff and the end of the aptly named (and currently blooming) Wild Iris street, near the White Barn.

Distance: 4.21 miles. Steps: 8,600.

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That afternoon, Rem and I baked my birthday cake, using the recipe I’d previously made as cupcakes: Chocolate Cake with Guinness. I remembered it being a delicious, moist cupcake, not too sweet, with a deep chocolate flavor and a slight earthy quality from the stout.

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Monday, March 2

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We started my birthday by driving down to Shell Beach (the beach closest to the house) to watch the sunrise. Low clouds thwarted that idea but once up and out, I decided to walk south from Shell Beach to meet up with where I’d ended the day before, Wild Iris. There are numbered trail posts that help to match your location with the map, though they don’t indicate distance, which is too bad.

Rem headed back up to the house and I headed down the coast for the first of two walks that day.

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Walking along I enjoyed some of the Sea Ranch architecture. Houses are in shades of grey and brown, like driftwood. From the street side, this one is tucked down into a berm and the grassy roof helps it to blend into the surrounding landscape.

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From the side you see skylights and the grass roof.

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From the ocean side it looks more conventional, with more skylights and plenty of windows to enjoy the view.

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Another house reminded me of photos I’ve seen of African rondavels.

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This house has a wall that is almost all glass. A little greenhouse-type structure in the corner protects the hot tub from chilly coastal winds while retaining the view.

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Once again, Rem and I met at Wild Iris. Back at the house I made one of my favorite breakfasts: a fried egg sandwich with bacon on a toasted English muffin, and Rem gave me the birthday card he’d made.

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Cheeky. But he can get away with it since 1. I love that he makes me laugh and 2. He gave me a spa day at Imperial Spa  in San Francisco for my gift.

Sitting in the window seat reading and crocheting on my very-slow-growing scarf was an important part of my morning.

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…as was putting together my birthday cake. I split the two cake layers to make four thin ones and layered them together with semi-sweet chocolate ganache.

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Buttercream frosting with instant espresso powder was the finishing touch. I did a crumb coat (thin layer of frosting to keep the crumbs in place), let it sit in the fridge a bit before swirling on a ridiculous amount of frosting. The leftovers went into the fridge to eat sandwiched between graham crackers.

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After lunch (open faced tuna melt with Swiss cheese), I went on the next bit of my walk. I started at the trail head by Shell Beach and headed north again.

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Rem and I met at the corner of Tide Pool and Sea Drift, not far from the Del Mar Center.

Distance: 4.73 miles. Steps: 10,728.

I brought The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman along on the trip and picked out “Flat Roasted Chicken” for my birthday dinner but instead of the tiny potatoes she fixed with it, I’d been wanting to make hand cut pasta for ages. So we did! I’ll write another post soon with more details on the spatchcocked chicken and fresh herb pasta. Suffice to say, it was a red-letter day dinner.

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It was ambitious and we were both tired after the busy day, but it was fun cooking together and both dinner and dessert were delicious. Rem surprised me with another gift certificate (for art supplies) and we finished the day with a soak in the hot tub.

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Tuesday, March 3

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Walking north from the spot I reached on Monday, I noticed the different textures of the landscape I was passing through.

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The views are often breathtaking and the path continued to unfurl like a story, hiding then revealing portions as I walked.

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I passed one of my favorite Sea Ranch homes, one whose interior I’d love to see, as well as others that caught my eye for their charm or quirky design.

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This huge play fort is carved out of trees and hedges and is large enough for me to stand in without stooping.

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For the 50th Anniversary of The Sea Ranch, historical trail markers such as this one have been added alongside the path.

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Although it isn’t part of The Sea Ranch, I wouldn’t consider this bluff-trail walk complete without a coda: the portion in Gualala Point County Park. I gave a small mental cheer when I passed the last numbered trail post, but continued on.

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I thought of my dad along this last section, remembering one summer when we both had our bikes at the house. We rode at different times of day, and would leave small offerings for each other at the last sign on the path just before reaching the beach. A pine cone or two stacked pebbles would be arranged for the other person to find on their next ride.

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I looked for pebbles to leave and thought about all the feathers I’ve found since he died. I hadn’t seen any feathers on the bluff, although until then I hadn’t been looking for them, and thought it would be nice to find at least one small feather.

Sure enough, I found just that: a tiny white bit of down, about the size of my thumbnail. I kept looking and found a second and then third itty bitty little feather. It made me laugh because if you asked my dad for a small portion at a meal, he would dish up about a teaspoon of lasagna or a single strand of spaghetti. Somehow, those three tiny feathers made me think he was saying, “One small feather? Here you go, is this small enough?”

Coming to the last curve, I took in the last gorgeous views.

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I found several small pebbles and left them at the sign by the beach.

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Walking back to where I was meeting Rem I saw several clusters of daffodils I’d missed before. We have daffodils blooming at home in San Rafael in two planter boxes on our patio. There are also daffodils in bloom in front of the Sea Ranch house and many other homes here, which makes me happy because they always remind me of my birthday.

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Distance: 4.66 miles. Steps: 10,323. (The extra part, in Gualala Point County Park, was 1.46 miles and 7,011 steps, which is reflected in my total distance).

This walk felt like a gift to myself that I unwrapped as I walked along.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Thank you for your visit.

 

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Day 17: Niche with Wings

Niche with Wings

Day 17: Niche with Wings.  Here is another feather from my collection.  It is set in a little niche or shallow recess that I cut into about 8 pages all glued together.

I started this page on Saturday, worked on it a bit yesterday and finished it today.

Feather in Niche

After work I took another challenging hike with my sister Sarah and a few other hiking buddies. I’m tuckered out, so I’m just going to share some more pictures and call it a day!  We combined the last two hikes, going up one hill and coming down the other side instead of looping back down the same way we’d come.  It took a little logistics with cars, but it really felt like an achievement.

Here is our view coming back down.  It isn’t the best quality photo, but it shows the view.  The Richmond San Rafael Bridge is in the foreground, Larkspur Ferry is a little dot in the middle and the Bay Bridge is in the background.

Bridges & Ferry

Now back to my page.

Bird and Leaves

Leaf Detail

Feather Close Up

More views from the hike: Bay Bridge and SF Skyline.

SF Skyline

Richmond San Rafael Bridge with Oakland in the background.

Richmond SRafael Bridge

And one last look at the Niche with Wings.

Niche at an angle

Day 17 in 2012 was my big Chocolate Bowl Fail – what a mess!  I found splatters of chocolate on the ceiling.

In 2011, Rem and I went into the city on Day 17 and so I did Friday Photos in San Francisco.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 10: Collaged Coffee Cup Sleeve

Beautiful Java Jacket

Day 10: Collaged Coffee Cup Sleeve.  You know those little cardboard sleeves you can pick up to protect your hand from the hot cup of coffee or tea? They’re so disposable.

Plain Sleeve

I picked up a few the other day.  I don’t even drink coffee but I saw the stack of them and remembered seeing some that had been collaged.  I love collage and this was a small scale project.

A hike after work meant I did some crafting during breaks at work today and finished it up after the hike, dinner and a shower.

Java Jacket Collage

I used  Golden Fluid Matte Medium, but I think Mod Podge would also work.

Matte Medium & Collage

Thin paper, magazine pages, printed napkins, origami paper are all good choices for this project.  I included some used postage stamps and security envelope linings.  I even used some card stock scraps.  By running it over a bone folder or the dull side of a scissor blade repeatedly, the card stock can be distressed and the paper peeled into two, thinner layers.  Thinner paper worked better for this small project.

After the little sleeve is covered, let it dry. Glue any corners that may need a little extra help adhering.  Then trim down the paper around the edge.  I was going to fold it over the edge and glue to the inside, but realized it might not slide onto the cup.

Plain Cup

You want it to go on the cup!  The cup is too hot.

Caution

I’m going to give my decorative Java Jackets to friends.  I think they might keep them and reuse them.

A little water-soluble oil crayon finished the edge.  I added a few little sparkly stickers.

Two Sleeves

Perhaps they would work as big cuff bracelets.  I didn’t want to put my big hand all the way through – I thought I might break one.

Red Sleeve

Views from the hike:

SR Hike View

Richmond SR Bridge

Tam

And that tower at the top of the hill.

Tower

In 2012 for Day 10 I made this: Vegetable Potato Salad.

The year before I took a picture of a Toaster with Neon Flames.

Thank you for your visit and support with this 30 day challenge!

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You Can’t Choose

Friday, 5/24/13,  marked one year from the day my father died.  For about a week or so leading up to that date I felt crabby and out of sorts.  My energy was low and I seemed to drag through each day.  I slept through the alarm and didn’t make it to the gym.

I finally figured out the connection between the upcoming date and my feelings.  Treating myself with love and kindness seemed like a better response than feeling guilty about eating poorly or skipping a workout.  Once I’d acknowledged my feelings I was still sad but it wasn’t wrapped up in shame.  A vigorous evening hike with my sister Sarah and two other friends helped me feel more myself again (pictures at the end of the post).

My dad didn’t have a choice about the way his life ended, other than taking his own life, which I know some people choose to do, but wasn’t ever on the table.  What I’m thinking about is that we are all going to die but we don’t get to pick what is going to be the cause.  We don’t get to choose when it will happen either.

Yesterday morning, as I do almost every Saturday morning, I was taking a hike with my sister.  She brings her dog, Ruby and I pick up my  mom’s dog, Molly.  Kathleen’s little sister, Ariel, joined us.

We were heading for a familiar loop around Phoenix Lake in Ross.  It is a popular spot with lots of hikers, runners and bicyclists.  We walked up the dirt fire road from the parking lot to the lake and had just started around the lake when we came to two men, their bikes on the ground.  One was talking on his cellphone, the other kneeling.

My first impression was that something was wrong with one of the bikes.  But as we walked closer we saw it was much more serious.  A woman was on her back, apparently she’d been walking her dog and had just collapsed.  The man on the phone was speaking to a 911 operator and asked us to go back to find someone to open the gate from the parking lot for an ambulance. Neither of the cyclists or anyone in our group knew CPR.

There was a dog with a leash running around the tense scene and we quickly learned it was the woman’s.  We took the dog with us and went back to where we’d seen park personnel who radioed to someone down at the gate.  Meanwhile other people had come upon the same scene.  Two runners sped past us, seeking a nurse or doctor from the walkers and runners they passed.

A nurse was found and he, along with his young daughter, the runners and the park staffer raced back to the scene in her SUV.  We could already hear sirens and in a very short time emergency vehicles roared past us with lights flashing, raising plumes of dust.

Our peaceful morning walk was interrupted by this sad scene.  Many concerned people reached out to try and help in some way.  We walked back around to the cluster of trucks and paramedics, runners, hikers and cyclists.  We mentioned to a paramedic that the dog had tags with phone numbers in case the woman had no ID, which later proved to be the case.

The nurse was doing chest compressions and later I saw a paramedic take over that effort.  It was quite some time before the woman was loaded into the back of the paramedic truck. Her dog was with a ranger.  The crowds of people on either side of the group of trucks and SUV’s drifted apart as hikes and rides were taken up again.

I tried to find a story with more information this morning in the local paper online. I don’t know what happened to that woman after she left the park.  But I know she was out on a beautiful morning, walking her young dog in a lovely, scenic spot.  I can only guess at her age – perhaps my age (53), certainly not elderly.

She could have been driving her car when what ever caused her to collapse on the trail happened.  She could have been at a desk at work or in her kitchen fixing breakfast.  She didn’t have a choice.

After our hike I went to see my mom and told her about our experience.  We both had emergency numbers in our cellphones but realized we could add a note with our own name and contact which we both did.  A CPR class may be in my future.

My brother came by with his girlfriend for birthday cake (mom baked more of the delicious oatmeal cake).  Mom and I were having lunch (cake followed) and the four of us talked about life and death and how we just don’t get to choose about the death part.

In the afternoon I visited my dad’s grave and talked to him a bit. I sang a few songs and cried some tears. Here are links to previous posts on my dad and his cancer:

Sometimes Life Just Piles Up

On Caring

Be Loving

Keeping Busy

Goodbye, Papa

Just Less Orderly

Papa’s Stone

We do get many choices in our lives and I’m trying to make good ones.  Being outdoors in the beautiful area we live in, spending time with friends and family members, singing with my choir members at bedsides of people on the threshold, and making time and space in my life for my creative endeavors. I believe these choices are ways that celebrate the life and the opportunities I have.

Here are photos from the hike I took earlier in the week with my sister Sarah. We started by Andy’s Local Market on San Pedro Road then hiked uphill, taking in the gorgeous views.

Richmond San Rafael Bridge with Oakland and Bay Bridge in the background.

Richmond San Rafael Bridge

Loch Lomond Marina and the parking lot where we started at Andy’s Market.

Andy's Market & Loch Lomond Marina

Mount Tamalpais.

Mt. Tam

It’s quite a hike up to these swings, but the views are beautiful.

Swings

McNear Brickyard on the front of the peninsula, the quarry is on the back to the left.

Brickyard

The hikers heading back downhill.

Downhill

Thanks for stopping by.

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