I’ve been gone for a week, visiting my old haunts in California. And what gorgeous weather for enjoying old friends! First there was Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco, one of my favorite spots on the face of the earth. The day was warm—too warm for a jacket. I can’t remember that happening but once or twice in twenty years of frequent visits to Point Reyes. Here was the view of the Pacific from the Tomales Point Trail:
I bent to say hello to one of the few remaining summer holdouts, the California poppy. At Point Reyes the poppies are lighter yellow with a darker orange center. One petal of this one had been nibbled on:
North Beach was equally stunning, just miles of warm sand (warm sand? at Point Reyes?!) and surf. We lay down on our backs and dozed. I couldn’t believe on a Friday afternoon there weren’t more people taking a sick day:
I dipped my fingers in the water: yep, still freezing cold. The North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands a couple months ago was a lot warmer!
On the drive out of the park, I spotted a gorgeous tree hung with moss. I wasn’t going to stop, but an instant later a young coyote sashayed across the road directly in front of us. We took the hint, stopped the car, backed up, and enjoyed the tree for a moment:
The next morning I joined old friends and neighbors in Butters Canyon for Creek to Bay Day in Oakland, part of the California Coastal Commission’s annual Coastal Cleanup. Nearly a decade ago at our first canyon cleanup day, we pulled out enough appliances to fill a small apartment. (Click here for photos of that day.) Now, after nine years of people caring for the creek, the trash is scarce. Neighbors now work on creek restoration—clearing out invasives, like ivy, and planting native plants and flowers along the creek banks.
Later I took a hike through Joaquin Miller Park, where I revisited the special hush found under redwoods. The Big Trees Trail lies close to my former home in Oakland, and for a decade I hiked it often. The logs lining the trail are new—to keep the trampling of humans, dogs, and bikes to a limited area. These redwoods are second growth, after the original enormous trees, which in nineteenth-century shipping days were used to guide ships around lethal rocks in the San Francisco Bay, were cut down for construction.
A view of downtown Oakland and the bay capped a splendid weekend of sunshine and clear skies: