Out in the dry riverbed I wander through corridors of corroding rocky soil. Randomly halting, I gaze at the clean colored stones under my feet. Pale-shaded, ochre, vermilion and mauve―what was the poet’s phrase? Ah yes, "The infinite sum of particular things."
Just a few simple elements: sky, rocks, mountains, the steaming cup in my hand. Can moments like these ever be fully realized? I pause . . . I hesitate. A revelation is just at the edge of things, borne on that dry breeze caressing my skin. I smile and dismiss the half-formed notion of a desert satori.
And yet. The slanting sunbeams pick out discrete objects; boulders and plants glow in the desert splendor. The wind shakes a dried shrub, creating a slight, subliminal rattle.
Hali & I pulled into our Eugene motel parking lot in the late afternoon to observe two very odd creatures nibbling on the grass.
The larger one scurried away upon my approach, but the smaller one continued munching unconcernedly. I upped the ISO on my Canon G9 to the max and took a few snaps. (Yes, awful noise.) Another motel guest opined that maybe they were muskrats.
But no. They were nutrias (confirmed by the motel staff) . . . my first sighting!
There were a lot of movie shoots going on in New York, certainly more than I’ve seen taking place in Los Angeles. We didn’t pay that much attention to them (to foster the illusion that we were cool) but I liked the incredible messiness of this scene.
During last year’s backpack I took along a selection of Mountain House’s "one-man" meals. Open them up, pour boiling water in, stir and seal, wait 8 minutes and then . . . ummmmm, good.
The problem was the quantity: as it says on the package, "Makes 16 ounce serving." Yikes! That’s a pound of food! Too much food . . . too much for me, anyway, especially in the appetite-diminishing mountain altitude.
So I’m experimenting with opening the package up and dividing the contents in half. The main question remaining is whether a vacuum-sealing device should be used or whether I could just go with quart freezer bags.
Mike spent the night at Coast Camp at a site adjacent to the wilderness. He fussed with the tent’s location, having to move it after noticing some overlooked small patches of poison oak.
Tent set up, he walked down towards the ocean. The beach was virtually deserted: a man, woman and little girl . . . and Mike. The view stretched southwards to the horizon. Walking back to camp he passed by some reeds waving in the wind.
Once back, it was easily observed that the sun had definitely passed the yardarm: time to break out the plastic liter bottle of syrah!
During the night the fitful ocean breeze kept flapping the tent fabric; when the wind paused the booming of the surf could be heard. Actually very restful.
Photos: Ocean from Coast Camp, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009; Reeds & Clouds—Marin County, 2009; Tent at Coast Camp, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009
Sky Trail in Point Reyes National Seashore winds through a Douglas Fir forest, with colorful scatterings of Montbretia (South African lily) here and there along the trail. An import, as I guess the name would suggest.
Turning onto the Woodward Valley Trail, one eventually comes to the Coast Trail, with panoramic vistas of the Pacific.
Photos: Montbretia, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009; Grass & Ocean, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009
Mike did a short two-day backpack last week, hiking 6 miles to Coast Camp from the Bear Valley trailhead and 6 miles back the next day. He was trying out a new backpack (the Osprey "Atmos 65." )
The verdict is still out on the backpack: Mike needs to consult with the experts at REI on a few points, and then we’ll see.
He carried the Olympus E-510 with the 12-60 lens over his shoulder. It didn’t seem so heavy going out, but coming back . . . too much! From now on, he’ll be taking the much smaller and lighter 14-42 kit lens.
Talk about your aches and pains! But the scenery was nice.
Photos: Ocean & Clouds, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009; Backpack, Point Reyes—Marin County, 2009
When it comes to the extremely important task of searching for the "mikereport" Bing fails miserably.
Whereas Google, at least, has the mikereport listed at the top. Google persists, however, in its infuriating habit of asking, "did you mean mike report?" without giving you the option of saying, um, no, I DIDN’T mean " mike report." I meant mikereport!
This tree sat in front of my parents’ house on Ogden Drive in Los Angeles for quite a number of years, from the 1940’s until a few years ago when one morning they awoke to find the branches of the tree in their front yard.
I can’t remember, or never knew, what kind of tree it was. Now there's a big stump and some severely cracked sidewalk.
We had lunch a few weeks ago on Robertson Boulevard—an extremely trendy street—in Los Angeles. A few, but not too many, vacant storefronts. Can’t remember the name of the place, just that the service was very problematical.
Up the street there was a line of cars waiting for the valet service at The Ivy, a hypertrendy L.A. restaurant. My daughter and I had breakfast there a few years back. We showed up all unawares and were promptly seated at the patio in front. (!???!!—I mean, yes of course we always look trendy, but still . . . )
The memory of the grossly inflated prices on the menu is still fresh. After a hasty whispered conference we decided to stay: after all, how many times were we going to come back? I remember polishing up the complimentary scones while the scones on the tables around us were going untouched. As we left, I wandered over to the roses growing against the wall and took a commemorative photo.
Photos: Robertson—Los Angeles, 2009; Roses (The Ivy)—Los Angeles, 1998