Sonora and Celtic Festival

I recently visited my best friend down in Sonora, a very old gold rush town in the foothills east of Stockton. I attended their Celtic Festival, which was a surprisingly good time. But first, I saw this cemetery from her balcony and wanted to check it out

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This is the odd fellows cemetery with many very old graves

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Some of the monuments are really striking, like this obelisk

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This mausoleum had been defaced, apparently homeless were camping here until a local group started cleaning it up

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You can see how old this place is by this grave from 1877

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Then we headed to the festival, with lots of stuff for sale, cultural displays, performances, history and fun

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There was an area with the different clan groups that have formed here in the US based on our history back in the british ilses

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This dragon was super cool, the flames went out a couple feet

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They had a medieval games at the arena

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I was rooting for blue

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The black knight, boo!

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Jousting

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And a fight

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Lots of action, it was very exciting

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He wins (doesn’t help that he is smiling, at least he’s having as much fun as the rest of us)

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Lots of bagpipes and kilts

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Here is one of the nobility and her tent

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A catapult, ready, aim

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Launch!

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Some nice ladies

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I really wanted to eat this bread

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Natural dying materials

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Which produce these colors in wool

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Even foods and spices were used for dying

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Real sword fight with armor, they got beat up underneath it though

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The queen’s royal guard

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Would you want to take them on?

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They had lots of fair style food

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One of the bands

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And another, who incorporated fire into their act

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It was pretty awesome, you could feel the heat as they went off with the music

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Up next: Carpets of Wildflowers on Table Mountain

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Random Stuff – Mushrooms and Sunsets

These are some pics from the drive to/from Calaveras in the last post, along with all the mushrooms I found while there.

 

This is the remnants of the bubble before the recession. On highway 99 south of the Sacramento area is a development miles from anywhere. The speculative investors started building, expecting the sprawl to continue and surround this new mall. Then the sprawl stopped… ten miles away. So they lost tenants and couldn’t finish construction, leaving a decaying relic of our bad development decisions.

 

 

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I really want to know what that tower thing was going to be

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Up in the mountains even without much rain, mushrooms abounded. Here are oysters, not very fresh though

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Not sure what this is, but check out the rust colored spores that have fallen onto its stem

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These honey mushrooms have white spores

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The mycelium here is the actual organism, the mushroom is just a fruit

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An edible bolete

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Fuzzy

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Umbronate, inwardly concave

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Some sierra quartz, see any gold veins?

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Matsutake, very valuable in Asia

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Sulfur mushrooms, young

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And old

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Dirty mushroom

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Bolete hiding

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There they are

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Sunsets! My favorite

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Bye bye

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And end

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On the Way and Giant Sequoia’s

Back in the fall I went out to Calaveras Big Trees state park, where they have the northernmost grove of the giant redwood trees.

To get there, you have to go through the great central valley, east of Stockton, with many farms and fields

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This vineyard was just turning, and the one below was nearly brown

 

 

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Then you hit the rolling hills, studded with native oaks

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These eventually give way to steep, winding hills of the foothills/gold country, but that is for another post

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This is a vista from the park looking east, into the Sierra Nevada

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The lush forest literally falls over the trails. Thankfully maintenance crews clear them out

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Here is what we came for, the giant redwood, one of the oldest living things

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A panorama to better understand the hight

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These two perfectly framed a view of the canopy of their neighbor

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Note the more rounded tops of these trees, most conifers have much more pointed peaks

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These are twins growing together, check out the fire scar at the bottom, these trees have to withstand relatively frequent forest fires

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See the undergrowth here, not a very healthy forest. Other areas have been treated with fire and are much safer and healthy

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And those areas allow redwood seedlings to sprout and thrive, this tree is about 5-8 years old

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Their leaves are rounded and heavily branched, quite distinct

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These redwoods in a new grove are about 30 years old, notice the more open forest here

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And here with these giants. The fire scar at the bottom shows they have withstood a lot over the centuries (at least 500 years on the right)

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An incense cedar and fir tree grow together in an unusual way

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This is a snag, or standing dead tree. They provide a unique habitat for many different animals, often enndangered

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Next up, fungus and vistas from this trip

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Folsom Pond

Before some rains in February, we hadn’t had real precipitation for months. This led to Folsom Lake draining to its lowest levels since the 1970′s and briefly in 1992. The lake receded so much I was calling it a pond, you had to walk a half mile to reach the shore.

This is a panorama from the parking lot, water usually comes up to those trees this time of year

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Here is the dam, see how much lower it is than the spillway on top

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This is a new spillway under construciton to protect Sacramento from floods

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The sierra’s should be very bright with snow, but it is instead dirty and melted

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Just so desolate

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Are these 1 inch rocks, or 10-foot boulders?

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How about now?

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There was this sandy beach, in the middle of nowhere 500 feet up from the shore

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The old towns and other infrastructure buried under the lake had come out, this is a drainage culvert

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Made of concrete from the 1920′s

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Even the sewage/runoff system was poking through

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sidewalks and roads

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An old glass bottle

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The old street was breaking up

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The other end of the culvert

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Much of the ground recently vacated by the lake was starting to dry and crack up

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These trees were cut down before they flooded the area, but the stumps were really surreal

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See the elephant?

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I don’t think they need to worry about anyone drowning here

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But maybe way down there

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I did eventually get to the lake

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And now it is much more full and all that cool stuff is under water again. Let’s hope we don’t see it anytime soon.

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