Archive for October, 2012

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized
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My friend Frank, an old high school chum from my Florida years, has been living in Maine for the last few decades. He recently embarked on a transcontinental tour of the United States in his VW camper. We were one of the stops on his travel agenda so naturally (nature-o-lee) I took him to our nearby stellar attraction, Armstrong Woods.

Here is an article from the Chicago Tribune:

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. — The obvious appeal of visiting California’s wine country is, well, the wine. But if you’re near Sonoma County, consider an exhilarating buzz that has nothing to do with fermented grapes: Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

This amazing grove of redwood trees includes some as high as 310 feet and dating as far back as 1,400 years. You can drive through ($8 per car, $7 seniors), but the better option is to take a hike: In addition to the fitness benefits, it’s free.

The 752-acre grove of coast redwoods (technical name, Sequoia sempervirens) is best appreciated in the morning, before crowds arrive and your supernaturally silent walk is marred by other people’s chatter. (We arrived around 9 a.m. at midweek in September.) The 3/4-mile Pioneer Nature Trail is the least rigorous and most desirous, offering a magical stroll through the redwoods. Signs detail the height and age of a few iconic trees and deliver a humbling perspective on the time span of these giants.

Looking for more exercise? Instead of turning back at the Pioneer path’s end (where you’ll find picnic grounds too), we hiked back to the parking lot via the 2.3-mile East Ridge Trail. (Longer trails also are available.) The park sign described it as “moderately rigorous.” What with the vertical ascents, steep descents, rocky switchbacks and nary a railing in sight as you scale the equivalent of 500 feet, well, “insanely intense” is more like it. Be sure you’ve got appropriate shoes and a fitness level to match. Though not nearly as scenic nor awe-inspiring as Pioneer Trail, it will deliver a fabulous workout.

The grove was about 40 minutes from our Healdsburg hotel. A visitor’s center (11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily) is on-site, and free guided walks are available some days. Another option: Armstrong Woods Pack Station horseback riding (707-887-2939, redwoodhorses.com).

The reserve is at 17000 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, Calif., 707-869-2015. Park hours: 8 a.m. to one hour past sunset daily. Go to parks.ca.gov.

Here are a few pics:

Way up there.

The way to the amphitheater.

Frank standing before the gaping cloaca of a gravid redwoodicus maximus.

Frank standing next to a sign indicating the nearby presence of a huge tree named after Parson Jones.

Extra Halloween Special Picture of me impersonating one of my all-time musical heroes, Little Richard, at a Halloween gig in 1979.

 

 

 

 

I can still function at a higher level than some.

Sweeeeep!

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Uncategorized
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We went to the beautiful home of Brother-in-law, Steve, and his sweetheart, Diana, in the hills west of Petaluma. We enjoyed their hospitality and watched the San Francisco Giants finish their sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 World Series.

The view from the deck.

Toasting the Giants retaking the lead after Buster Posey’s home run.

Moonrise

Focusing on the game

Table full of friends.

 

 

 

 

And I didn’t even have to stand in line.

A Proud Zito Zupporter.

To get a truer perspective on life and its genuine beauty before I immerse myself in the nerve-fraying conflict of a World Series opening game, I took a little walk outside and took some pictures in my back yard and around the ‘hood. Hope you see something you like.

Chandelier and Web

I am still eating a delicious strawberry from this bush every day or so even as Halloween approaches.

The Roof above the Redwoods

Wet Web

Clouds Flying High Over the Shed

Neighbor’s Planter