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

Library

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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Return to Table Mountain

One of my favorite places is Table Mountain outside of Oroville in the spring as it bursts with waterfalls and flowers. However, it is being loved to death and I will no longer be heading up. Please also consider going to another of the north valley wildflower spots to find these great ones.

The snow on the Snow Mountains was brilliant with the valley farmwork in between. I think that is a snow covered goat mountain below

This meadowfoam flower is endemic to this mountain, a volcanic mesa, and often grows right in and next to the water

This is a seep monkey flower, it only grows in wet areas too, but not in the water like the meadowfoam

Blue sky lupline was good at clustering that year (2016)

A close-up

And this was the best shot of the day of it

Hairypink flower

Yellow carpet flowers weren’t so carpety anymore

The creek heading down to the main falls

I’ve seen these hills in a multi-colored riot with zero green, so this year wasn’t as impressive

And neither was the waterfall, 2017 was much better

See the toad?

It was about the size of a 12 year old’s fist

I’m not finding a name for this beauty with blue stamens

Of this tiny one

One of the five violets that can be found here, I’ve only ever seen three at one time

Another highlight was this beautiful yellow garden spider

 

A vert rare white larkspur. There is only one patch of it on the main trail to the falls that I have found, and it usually is all blue

Next time hopefully sooner!

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Clear Creek – Contrasting Beauty

I went hunting for minerals on some BLM land with my dad last year in the late spring in San Benito County. It was a dreary day, but we found some really cool rocks (apologies that I was not able to get good shots of those).

It is a pretty stark landscape (especially during the summer)

The ground is mostly crumbling serpentine and other rare rocks and minerals, it has been mined for many things for over 100 years, but I still found some pretty, it had rained and the rocks were all clean and dazzling

Lots of interesting formations

They have closed off a large part of the area to ATVs

A shame really, those would have made our mineral hunt much, much more successful

Lots of erosion

On the way out, there were tons of great scenes, including this red barn

And even some flowers

Lots of yellow and orange

But some purple too

My second favorite shot of the day

California lilac in bloom, or Ceanothus

Interesting pink lupine

Goodbye

 

We also stopped at a fossil site up the highway

Didn’t find too much besides great views, but the fossils are in that white band of sedimentary rocks, this used to be a seabed

Next up, lots of wildflowers!

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