The Road to King City

Last winter and spring I was traveling for work to King City in southern Monterey county. There is a back road that takes you to San Benito county and the Pinnacles National Park, so I took that way once.

Let’s start at this amazing restaurant called Jardines de San Juan, in San Juan Bautista. Great mexican food and a ton of beautiful gardens surrounding it

That was a christmas cactus in bloom

So many cacti and succulents

It was like a demonstration garden or arboretum

They even had a plot for cut flowers and produce, the persimmons were overly ripe on the tree

There is a state park here where the mission and old town are, the town square here is dressed for the holidays

This pepper tree is hundreds of years old

The area hosts many farms, particularly these artichokes

But also lots of barren looking pasture

A few winter wildflowers

With the southern Diablo Range to the east

And Gabilan Range to the west

A good many vineyards

Nice green hills after drought

The area has a diverse array of agriculture

And mud, stay on the road

The pinnacles, sorry for the terrible lighting

BLM manages a good amount of land out here, including the clear creek management area that contains very rare and spectacular minerals and rocks due to unique geology. This is the west end of a road I took with my dad there from the central valley to the east, a post for another time

But these are the San Benito mountains, you can kinda see how interesting the rocks look compared to everything else

Laguna mountain

This view just went on and on….

Desktop material right there! Next up, the many missions of central california

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Snowy Sequoias in Calaveras

I headed out to Calaveras Big Trees, which long-time readers will remember I head out to a couple times a year, in early November to see the dogwood and maple trees in fall color. Timing is always hard with such outings, and we were a week or two late. Also impacting the trip, there had been about three inches of snow the week before.

Just a few hints of snow at the visitor center

Slowly burning off in the sun

One of the pacific dogwood trees we were looking for, stripped pretty bare from the rain and snow

The amphitheater looked pretty

Just a dusting in places

Or none at all due to the warming effect of these giants

Other places were harder to navigate with greater depth

This was my first visit here with snow on the ground in the grove

They are quite spectacular, but even more so with the snow

I’ve seen pictures from winter where you can snowshoe on the trail and see them with billowing mounds of snow all over

But this was a much more comfortable alternative

Tall trees too

A little color on these out-of-focus dogwoods

Tree tops

Dusted on its toes

I liked the afternoon lighting too

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Someone made a little snowman!

The field/meadow was particularly stunning with the light snowcover

So pretty, yikes

I did find one dogwood with great fall color at the end

 

Till next time ­čÖé

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Dark Day Fungus and Camptonville Cemetery

After the limited fall rains in 2015, I headed up for some mushroom hunting to see if I could find some fungus in the dark, wet corners of the national forest land. Bullard’s Bar is a lake in Yuba County at the transition between foothill oak terrain and pines that dominate higher up.

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This is a boat launch and camping area, vibrant winter berries

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These mushrooms were growing on a leaf

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Twins

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This is a cottony type veil I have torn open to reveal the gills

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These are likely honey mushrooms, or armillaria mellea, which are edible but at times can be a risky pick

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Inside it was kind of hollow

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Fun little log-huggers

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Turkey tail and witches butter

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Close-up

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Peek-a-Boo

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Burnt mushroom with little tiny neighbors

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What!!! This is a toothed mushroom, a relatively rare find and beautiful Hydnum species

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At the time, like Folsom, this lake was drained down to its lowest level since filling

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This steep boat ramp is usually at the edge of the water

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But the coast has moved down so low

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That you have to look far off to find water

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Or walk all the way down

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Too steep, heading back up

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The dam was so exposed it looked like it had been abandoned

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Nearby a town called Camptonville is small, mountainy and gruffly friendly to outsiders

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I came for the old gold rush era cemetery, which long-time readers will know are a thing I find interesting. This head stone was blank

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But looks like made of marble

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The carving on the stones is quite interesting, a willow on this one

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Obelisks were quite popular in this cemetery

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This was the most elaborate carving around

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But there were also more modern graves, as this is still an active site

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This oak was hundreds of years old, providing shade and a park-like setting for their eternal rest

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So big!

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The views were quite nice

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This was the oldest grave I could find, 1860, and it is hard to imagine all that time

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Next up, snowy sequoias

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Dry Folsom Lake With Artifacts

Please send your thoughts and prayers to the northern california communities threatened by the dam crisis.

Back in fall of 2015 I went out to the  historic town of Mormon Island that was flooded by Folsom Lake. Due to the drought, the lake was at its lowest level ever and revealed this hidden gem.

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They were finishing off work on a new spillway and reinforcing the side dams like this one and where those cranes are in the distance

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It was a tiny pond of a lake, remember those funny looking lumps for later

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This was the dry lakebed, there were remnants of the old town scattered all over the place

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Lacking context, much of it seemed quite alien

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What was this green depression? Perhaps a creek drainage canal

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A paved road led further into the lake, here is looking back to shore

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And out towards the lake

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I love this shot, sorry for the glare, my lens was acting up

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These trees used to line the street

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An old road sign

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The decay was super cool

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Steps to nowhere

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Back at the spillway project, which is now pretty much finished

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These are tailings from right before the dam went up. They dredged the river and banks for the famous gold and left behind these piles of dirt

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People had found a ton of cool stuff, and because this is a state park they left them here for everyone to enjoy and for the lake to take back

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I loved the old bottles

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And iron

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Even ceramic tile

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Perhaps a former house foundation

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See you next post

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