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Archive for the ‘walks’ Category
New Photo Galleries: Goldeneye Fall Foliage Redux and more!
Mendocino Mushroom Madness is upon us!
Monday, October 29th, 2007
November is just about here, and the Mendocino Mushroom Madness events are about to start. More importantly, the mushrooms themselves are off to a great start — check out the latest forecast from local mushroom expert Eric Schramm). We took Peet and Gilmour out for a walk on Sunday in the Jackson Forest, and saw mushrooms everywhere. I don’t know how to identify them, so I just take pictures and move on. There are some mushroom identification walks at the Botanical Gardens in December and January if you want to know more. Pretty much anyplace you take a walk or hike now, you will see mushrooms. Now we’re also starting to see vehicles parked along the roads where people go out to gather mushrooms. It’s time!
Fall Colors at Goldeneye in the Anderson Valley
Friday, October 19th, 2007
If you’re driving on Highway 128 through the Anderson Valley on your way to or from Mendocino this weekend, plan on taking some time to stop at some of the many tasting rooms to enjoy the fall foliage in the vineyards. Bob Nye, Operations Manager at Goldeneye Winery, called me the other day to remind me about coming down to see the fall colors on the grapevines, so I made it down on Wednesday. Although the weather guys had predicted showers that day, it turned into a warm day with clouds racing through — perfect for walking through the vineyard. I’ve always admired the colors on the vine-covered hills, but this is the first time I’ve had the chance to walk through the middle of it.
As you can see, the colors ranged from green to yellow to orange to deep red from one plant to the next, making for swaths of color below the hill. You can still find the occasional bunch of grapes that was missed in the picking. These were pinot noir grapes, and while the resulting pinot is excellent, they weren’t particularly tasty in the raw. I love the deep almost-indigo blue in contrast to the wild yellows and reds around the grapes.
The Goldeneye tasting room is a charming building nestled between several restored apple-drying sheds. They host group events on the patio outside, with its barbecue grill and Dutch oven and fabulous view. Out in the middle of the vineyard on a manicured path, they’ve placed a pavilion with picnic tables. What a spectacular place to enjoy a picnic or some cheese with a fine wine!
Stornetta Falls and the Missing Lighthouse
Friday, August 24th, 2007
Our weather has been spectacular lately, and so Bruce and I decided to go check out the Stornetta Ranch Preserve near Point Arena yesterday. It’s a good thing, too, because the fog was back today. The Preserve was donated to the BLM only two years ago, and you can even still find the, uh, remnants of the dairy cattle along the way. It’s easy to get there, since it’s just a couple of miles north of the city of Point Arena. Turn off Highway One onto Lighthouse Road, and go west for 1.4 miles. As the road approaches the ocean, it veers around to the right. At this point, there’s a turnout on the left for the Preserve. Pass through the turnstile, and head off to the south. You’re about at the middle of the 1200-acre preserve when you enter it of Lighthouse Road. You’ll find coastal headlands with scrub pines, and a beautiful coastline with islands and sea stacks. The coastline is very interesting, too, with many patterns in the sandstone. (It’s less than ten miles to the geological oddities of Bowling Ball Beach.)
The big island just off the coast has a wonderful arch, and it’s covered with black cormorants. As you continue to the south, you’ll find wide rocky beaches that are perfect for abalone divers. We even passed by a sinkhole, about 30 feet across and 15 feet deep, set a hundred feet back from the edge of the cliff. We continued on to the south, because we had a goal in mind: the waterfall that drops into the ocean. The waterfall is at the south end of the preserve, next to the old Coast Guard LORAN station.
When you first pass through the turnstile, you can see the buildings off in the distance, about a mile away. This is an easy walk, since it’s flat the entire way except where you cross a small creek.
The waterfall comes from a simple year-round creek that drops about 25 feet into the water. When we stood at the top, it didn’t seem that high. Once I walked around to the opposite point, I could get a better sense of the size with Bruce there.
After returning from the waterfall, we followed Lighthouse Road to the end — but the Point Arena Lighthouse was missing. I must have missed the demolition of the lighthouse in the newspaper, or maybe it was just the fog that draped the point (but nothing else around) obscuring it. It’s really a beautiful lighthouse, and it has a first-order Fresnel lens.
Since we couldn’t see anything, we headed back to Highway One, and went north a few more miles to Miner Hole Road. This dirt road leads out to the ocean, and there are trails leading over to Manchester Beach. The trail was marked Closed, so we left. This road runs along the big open field where the Arctic Tundra Swans hang out during their migration. I don’t know if you could see them any better here than from Highway One, but it’s possible. I’ll let you know when the swans return.
An Explosion of Dahlias at the Botanical Gardens!
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
Regardless of how busy I am, I always find the time during August to go admire the Dahlia Garden out at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. They have dozens of different varieties of dahlias, some of which you will not believe actually are dahlias. If you at all find them interesting, go see these – they are at their peak now!