Hidden Los Padres Pt. 2

This next post focuses on wildflowers and the Encinales ranch.

I think this is Chinese Houses again


Yellow lupine

And purple, apologies for the lack of focus

A cool red one that didn’t show up very well

There was a pond with nice clear water from the springs

The creek was quite refreshing since it was a hot spring day and everything else was pretty dry

So lush! A few cows were chilling out in the area

You could really see the drought’s effects on the trees

But the rocks were unaffected

These were really cool sandy hills that were reminiscent of the wind-shaped stone from the previous post

It really felt like an amphitheater, each of the ledges were sitting-distance apart and the bowl-shape had nice acoustics

A little closer

There was a spring near here as well, where the old Encinales ranch was built

Their landscaping is largely gone, these plantings are from later residents

But the old adobe house is still here, although it has much modern construction and repair

The old pools are drained and fenced-off

But can you imagine the views and relaxing summer nights out here

This is an ancient oak shading the old house

There was a plum tree and a few other stone fruit struggling to still survive, along with the redwoods and other landscaping. I’m not sure if anyone comes out to maintain any of it, but it looked very well preserved for being in the middle of nowhere

You can see inside it has lots of materials that are at least from the 1960’s, so this property was probably added to the forest service late last century

One side exposes the adobe

But hard to tell what is original here

This old room was very bare, look at the rocks on top of the door frame

Likely under restoration, the ceiling was not happy, but I think the tin roof is keeping things OK for now

An old well

This side barn is definitely newer, and I think used to keep things up around here, like mowing the grass

Lots of historical artifacts on display. Please respect these items and leave them for others. If they start disappearing, they will be taken in so no one can view them anymore

Generations of hikers have found bits and pieces of the past

I really liked that pottery, wish I knew what the spike was for

The ranch includes an old, very sparsely populated cemetery

You can just make out the gate and cross at the top of the hill. The former owners and a few others are up there, but not much of a destination with few monuments

Next up, a spectacular cave with ancient art

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Hidden los Padres National Forest – Pt. 1

In the few weeks of spring time, when the creeks recede but the heat of summer has yet to kiss and kill the grasses, you can visit a magical place in central California. The memorial park area (also called The Indians, but I think we can find a more appropriate name) of the Los Padres National Forest outside of King City.

There is a nice campground where you can have some facilities, as well as large areas to group camp. There are also campsites along the road

The area has spectacular geography

As well as lots of wildflowers, these are blue dicks

In some areas, they covered the ground

Many ancient oaks stood sentry, their gnarled wood of no use to prior ranchers

I don’t have names for them all, feel free to add in the comments

These stone formations were I think sandstone

Because the winds have carved out nooks, crannies and caves

You can almost see the winds swirling around in here

Some lupine

Owl’s Clover


A really showy monkeyflower

These formations were what I saw from the satellite and decided to visit this area for

I couldn’t tell what these were formed from, either mortars used by native americans or from lightning

On top of some of these rocks were nice views

The area is a valley surrounded by the ventana wilderness

Hey little guy!

A potato/tomato relative



Maybe Chinese Houses?

More from the next day in the next post

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Flowers and Fungus

Hello, a few shots from the spring for ya.

Out in the foothills outside of Roseville

There were a ton of wildflowers from the very early spring plants

Like these California Buckeye

The early blooming tree is heavily perfumed

These looked like little snow drops along the trail

They were super cool inside

This golden flower was metallic-reflective, really surreal

A wild pea

My favorite shot

Now uphill to the mountains in the spring. While I didn’t find any delicious morels, I found a few of their cousins

unlike other mushrooms, these release spores from flat surfaces

This one was quite hidden

Turned out it was a beautiful Bolete with the spongy underside

Can’t remember what these were, other than pretty

More ascomycetes (the surface spore ones)

They really liked this charred landscape

A lovely little violet

Pano of the burn

Bleeding heart flowers were doing well in the aftermath as well

Next time, amazing shots of a secret forest service property beyond a military base.

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Eclipse in Albany, Oregon

Yes, I did make it up to see the total eclipse in Oregon last week! It was an experience of a lifetime, truly moving and awe inspiring in the realest sense of those words. I’ll share photos from the rest of the trip at a later time, but wanted to give you something contemporaneous for once.

I have 40 or so pics of the town and parks if you want to skip to eclipse shots (warning: no super spiffy ones, I don’t have the special filters)

I started my day with a drive up to here from my hotel to the south. There was this lovely park next to the downtown that they offered camping spots at.

The fields had wildflowers in them! They had lots of beautiful trees, like this giant sequoia

The trails next to the Willamette river included a mini BMX park

Some pretty big trees, guess no big floods lately

There were still some wildflowers but it was clearly late summer waiting for the fall rains

I ran into a few too many of these on the trail I took, but the main ones had these just on the sidelines

I found this concrete structure in the middle of the forest/frisbee golf track

I really liked that face on the one column

A calm side channel of the river

Very peaceful morning

This is the main river, I guess it rises and falls throughout the year since the shoreline was inexact

I decided earlier to see the eclipse from that bridge so I could see both the effects on both nature and manmade objects

One of the campers had this device set up to show the sun, and you could see the sunspots that were slowly forming

Then I took a walk through town. This is the old hydroelectric station

This was one of the fist communities in the area with electricity

And they built these very stately brick buildings to house the works

A small wheel out in front has some bearing on things here, but imagine the actual power generation was driven elsewhere

They dug this canal that connects many communities in the mid-Willamette valley

They have planted money puzzle trees (araucaria) in the streets, which I love

Found this cool vine thing

Many of the homes in this part of town are quite stately, I was particularly taken with this one

They were really great with gardens as well, lots of flowers and trees. The victorian architecture is well represented here

A recently added amenity is this covered carousel

But I was more partial to the older buildings of downtown Albany

From the Masonic Temple

To this 1890’s gem

And 1910’s neighbors

It was a very beautiful and varied architectural experience


One of the more recent buildings downtown 😉

They have a few parklets, or informal parks with places to sit and interact

The county courthouse was also quite stately with many nice landscaping features

The eclipse was starting! You could see it mostly in the shadows of trees

The riverfront park looks like a great place for a picnic or concert

They have a little amphitheater

And a pier for fishing, but people were mostly waiting for the eclipse

My bridge, it is starting to get more noticeably less intensely sunny

Under the bridge

Almost there

It really is a great cantilevered bridge

The shadows, close to the source were normal but became more eclipsy the further away they got

Side by side

Looking back onto town. We will now have a series of progression shots of the same place from daylight to total eclipse

So the sky seemed drained, low thin clouds that were not there a few minutes ago appeared

It became dusk

Then darker, the lights are now all on automatic sensors, so they started blinking on

Then darkness, totality swept across the land and swallowed the entire community

It felt as if all the energy had drained from the face of the earth, the air was heavy, all the lights came on

And the SUN! It’s gone, silver wisps of the corona streamed out from all directions of the black disk for what looked like billions of miles. Arcs of red and orange solar flares erupted up from the surface of the black, looped and pulled back to the surface in front of my eyes.

I was the only person on this bridge, but many others were on the more modern one

We all watched the eclipse together, along with millions more across the country. It helps you realize how connected we all are, despite our differences. Connected across the land, across time, across civilizations.

The hooting and cheering was infectious

Looking back to where I started, with hundreds excited to experience something special

And the daylight faded

And the shouts increased

And no one was disappointed, from casual viewers to diehard eclipse chasers, we all experienced something remarkable, something beyond ourselves

I can’t more highly recommend that you make plans to attend the next total eclipse you are able to, it may seem like something silly, but it really will affect you

And then it was over

Back to the light, and a 500+ mile drive home!

See you next time

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