Tag Archives: walk

Coastal Therapy

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Rem and I went to Sea Ranch the day after the election. It was just lucky timing, but I’m so glad we had time away from our computers and phones due to severely limited cell coverage and v e r y slow internet. We also didn’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper.

Instead of focusing on bad news, I took walks and Rem went on bike rides.

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Crashing surf churned up extra foam which made it look as if someone had used the wrong kind of soap in a dishwasher.

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We sat in front of the fire and watched the flames instead of watching the news.

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I took a good, long walk on most days.

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One afternoon we baked focaccia.

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I spent lots of time crafting too, but I’ll show that in another post.

We also took a long drive one day, going north and then turning inland to follow a road we hadn’t been on before. We ended up in Boonville and visited the Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

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Do what you can to keep your perspective.  Treat yourself and those around you with love and kindness.  Long walks, especially on a beach, were great for me.

Thanks for the visit.

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Autumn Walk: San Anselmo & Ross

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I love this time of year! I took a walk in San Anselmo and a bit of Ross on Saturday, and it was so beautiful. This is on Crescent Road looking towards Mt. Tamalpais.

At the corner of Sunnyside and Austin Avenues – tiny white flowers on a huge green hedge. It made me think of a friend who lived there.

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From Glenwood looking toward Mt. Baldy.

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I turned on Fernwood and walked past Branson School, than passed St. Anselm Church on Shady Lane.

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Susan’s Store Room on San Anselmo Avenue is ready for Thanksgiving. This little window display includes pilgrim candles just like the one’s on our Thanksgiving Table when we were growing up (and mom still has them).

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An old eagle icon high on the wall outside Comforts Cafe, the former site of the post office.

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There are several signs downtown that show the high water line from flooding. They are situated so you can see the same buildings shown on the sign. this one is just before Pine Street, across from the Wells Fargo Bank.

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Sugarfoot, the cast iron deer on the lawn by the City Hall/Police Department and the Library buildings.

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Another flood sign near City Hall.

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Barton’s Bagels – although these looked delicious, I picked up Asiago bagels for the egg-bagels sandwiches my mom and I enjoyed for breakfast.

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The elegant Siren Salon was once the home of Toy Circus, THE place for birthday gift shopping. You knew if one of the packages had been wrapped in the store because they had their one big roll of wrapping paper.

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I saw another flood sign by the fire station. Molly waits patiently when I drop her leash to take photos. The beautiful mosaic obelisk in the background shows scenes from the history of the community.

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Beautiful walkway of yellow leaves on San Rafael Avenue.

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Cutting through Robson-Harrington Park I noticed this decorative plaque on a wall. Maybe it was a fountain years ago.

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I’m getting close to the end of the walk – more beautiful foliage on Crescent Road.

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You can just make out part of the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) through the leaves.

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I let Molly off the leash at the bottom of the driveway to my mom’s house.  She trots right up and I trudge behind her. She’s waiting on the front porch when I make it up the hill.

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Even though I veered off her familiar route, she was happy to come along (or to let me join her).

“Thanks for the walk, now let’s have breakfast!” (I imagine she might be saying)

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Thanks for the visit!

After breakfast, a final picture from the front yard: the seminary and Mt. Tam.

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Morning Walk

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I had a wonderful walk this morning. I’m afraid I didn’t bring my camera along, so all I have to share with you is this picture I took of my muddy boots when I got home.

Parking near the bottom of a small hill adjacent to McInnis Park Golf Course I hiked to top in time to see the sunrise. I also saw dozens of snails all along the trail including a tiny one that would have fit on my pinky fingernail. The sunlight made it look almost translucent.

I started thinking about the sex life of snails (interesting what one thinks about on a solitary walk) and realized how little I know about them. With research I’ve learned they are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs, and when they mate, they each fertilize the others eggs.

Anyway, back to my walk…coming down the trail from the hill, I took a path along a levee through a salt marsh.  I saw many different kinds of birds and enjoyed their songs as I walked.  I recognized mallards, Canadian geese, egrets with their black leggings and bright yellow boots, red-winged blackbirds, quail, and near the end of the walk a beautiful blue heron.

The marsh had patches of mist hovering over it, rising off the small creeks that laced the landscape. The path I was on overlooked a creek and suddenly I noticed three racoons, frozen in place, almost hidden on the steep, plant-covered bank. They looked like images you would find in a children’s “find the hidden animals” picture. Two were at the water line and when I looked back, I could see one swimming away.

The trail turned so I was parallel with San Pablo Bay though it was way across mudflats to the water. The sunlight illuminated silver-beaded spider webs strung on dry red-brown stalks. Even though I could hear some faint traffic noise in the distance, my own footsteps and the constant chatter and song of birds was louder.

My path circled back towards the golf course.  Mt. Tam was ahead and to the left and I could see the distinctive blue roof and gold spire of the Marin County Civic Center, where I was heading next for the Sunday morning Farmer’s Market. When I got back to my car, I checked my Fitbit and saw I’d walked just under 3.5 miles, a good start to the steps for the day.

This walk reminded me of some of the things I really value about getting outdoors early in the morning.  Although I find it convenient to work out at a gym three mornings a week, I like to take a short walk outside before I head home.  This adds steps to my days total but it is also different than walking on the treadmill in front of the TV.

The first thing I really love in the early morning is bird song.  I walk up the stairs in one of two downtown parking garages to get some uphill flights into my workout. The larger garage has several trees right next to it and every morning the branches are full of birds singing away.  Several times I’ve seen a bird singing in the stairwell and it’s song is amplified so it echoes through the whole building.  Once a bird (the same bird?) was singing next to a pipe that came through a hole in the floor and rose up through the ceiling – the hole for the pipe allowed the birdsong to carry though the garage.  I feel sure the bird or birds chose to sing where his or her song was magnified in this way.

When I reach the top floor of the garage, I see the next thing I enjoy early in the day: the sky.  It is getting a little lighter as the days lengthen.  On Friday it was a rich purple blue color.  Other times I’ve enjoyed beautiful clouds. This picture was taken last summer.

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The last thing?  Oh, the last thing is just that it’s good for me!

Thanks for your 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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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Walking the Dogs

Regal Dolly

My brother Beau is sick so Rem and I offered to take his dogs out for a walk.

Dolly decided she want to get above the ruckus and chose the back window shelf.

Her son, Tugboat, had to try the window seat too.

Tugboat in the back

Rem started with the two more energetic dogs, Tugboat and Merle, pulling out in front.  I followed along with the more mellow Dolly and Chet.

4 dogs on a walk

They didn’t always want to go the same direction.

Which way?

Handsome guys.

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I asked for a shot or two with all of them together.

All 4 dogs + Rem

Nice, but let’s see if I can get a good close-up.

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Lickin' their chops

Now I’m pushing it.  I’ve lost my models.

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After a boisterous jaunt around Ferry Point in Richmond, we got back in the car for a ride.

Merle says “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”

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Tug says “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.”

Happy Tug

Chet and Dolly are happy enough, thank you, but they’re not going to sing about it.

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Rear view mirror.

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Chet & I.

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Bye doggies!

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Thank you for your visit.

(Thank you, Rem, for almost all the car interior photos.)

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