Showing posts from 2017

Redwood Springing-into-Summer Song

The cool morning air was a relief after the last few days of temperatures that soared to 90 degrees. After the long, rainy winter, the heat spike engulfed the Bay Area like an environmental hot flash. So Adventure Dog and I set out to check on Spring's progress at Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.

Following Bridle Trail from the Fish Ladder along Redwood Creek, a few muddy patches showed we were on the shady side of the canyon with redwoods just ahead of us. The stream bounded along, burbling and gushing over the rocks and bouncing down the concrete fish ladder. A historical marker commemorates the naming of rainbow trout by Dr. William P. Gibbons, founder of the California Academy of Science, from this creek in 1855. They've since been introduced worldwide. Rainbow trout are anadromous fish, migrating after they hatch and grow in freshwater creeks to spend their lives at sea. They return only to lay eggs in their natal creek. The Redwood Creek trout, though, are no…

Na Pali Coast: West End of the United States

The road ends past Hanalei Bay, where the ocean endlessly whooshes and sucks at the volcanic rock defiantly rising from thousands of feet beneath the surface. Oldest of the larger Hawaiian Islands, Kauai has had time under the sun and rain to develop fertile soils. Soils that support lush tropical forests, cultivated lands, native birds and interlopers from every part of the globe, East and West.

At the top of Waimea Canyon a sign boasts that it's one of the wettest place on earth*, with an average of 450 inches of rain per year. The Tradewinds bring clouds across the sea that meet the mountain, rise up Mount Wai'ale'ale and send rain down the slopes. Between this rainy point overlooking the western Pacific and the end of the road past Hanalei Bay, there is no through-road. You can only access the area by hiking trail, boat, kayak, or a few access roads for locals. They filmed Jurassic Park here. I'm glad this beautiful section of coast hasn't been graded and open…

Kauai: Garden Isle of Bird Life Splendor

Rounding the corner, we could hear the clamor of hundreds of birds. Then the view opened to a hillside covered in white birds, reminding me of an egret colony back home. There was so much activity with birds flying in and out of the area. Some carried sticks in their blue bills, spreading their red feet as they landed in the colony. My first sighting of Red-Footed Boobies! This hillside in Princeville, Kauai is a prime nesting area for the birds to come together in the spring. Next to the Princeville Lighthouse, a popular tourist destination, the area draws many other species of sea birds to nest and rest.

This Laysan Albatross was another wonderful sighting at the Princeville Lighthouse. Docents said it had been hanging out most of the day on a small hill next to the trail. These seabirds spend most of their lives on the wing, rarely visiting land and can live for up to 60 years. I felt very fortunate to have seen one this close, again getting this photo with the camera on my phone.…