Posts tagged flowers

Hardy Park, Mansfield, MA 7/23/17

Hardy Park is a nice local area of conservation land, off of Maple St.

It’s a typical New England woodland trail, except for the chain link fence and towers of rail-car shipping containers. But you pass that bit of civilization and you’re immersed in nature, with a trail marker or two. We took the yellow trail to the green one, which goes by the ponds.

You get peeks at a small pond through the trees:

then come to the larger pond which has more open access:

Hmmm… that looks like a cistern and chairs across the way…

We had the entire trail to ourselves, except for the wildlife – that’s a pretty big toad.

Lavender flowers growing out of the water:

And a couple of nice resting spots:

We kept walking around to the far side. Lovely stroll, perfect day…

and reached those chairs…

Don’t know what this cement tube is, but it’s not a cistern.

Past this spot, the trail forks and we headed out onto the red trail, hoping we’d get some good views of the Canoe River…

Well, it’s the red trail, but no skittles in sight.

A butterfly:

and the trail out… but it’s too high above and away from the River, or the river’s too small, to see it. But there was interesting graffiti on a tree.

Great spot for nature, solitude, and easy 1 1/2 hour outing, including the sitting and admiring time.

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San Francisco final day – 6/5/17

From Sequoia National Park back to San Francisco, to see the sights we missed before the parks.

Like the Hidden Garden Steps– a volunteer and community-based public art project to create mosaic steps, a public garden and a wall mural on 16th Avenue extending uphill from Kirkham to Lawton.

From art on the steps to art on the walls – the Mission District murals. Throughout the neighborhood, hundreds of walls and fences are covered with colorful works of art featuring themes ranging from cultural heritage to social political statements. It would take hours to walk and see them all! But here are some beauties:

Balmy Alley has some of the earliest murals from mid-1980s. A local museum has paint supplies and walking tour maps to the murals.

A local playground is walled in by murals, with a colorful dragon for climbing.

We drove through the Castro district, during Pride Month:

and walked to the historic Ferry Building:

And finished with a great dinner at Sam’s Grill – the 5th oldest restaurant in the country, from 1867:

 

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Bodega Bay, CA – 5/29/17

Drove through rolling landscape towards Bodega Bay. Doubleclick any photo to enlarge.

Spent the windswept afternoon, exploring the cliff-bottom beaches overlooking an assortment of sea stacks – those weird  pillarlike masses of erosion-resistant “rock detached by wave action from a cliff-lined shore and surrounded by water.”

Arch Rock

Goat Rock is huge – connected to the coast by land turned into a parking lot.  This whole Sonoma Coast area has lots of beaches, but not for swimming due to the dangerous rip currents.

Goat Rock

Never saw the seals nesting – too windy to walk all the way. There’s a great Kortum Trail on the cliff-top meadow above the beaches, but the wind was wild. And the views were spectacular:

Next stop, Bodega Head, where there were reportedly pods of whales. I swear wildlife hides when they hear us coming. But more ridiculously windy views:

Drove down around to Hole in the Head, a beautiful beach area where Pacific Gas & Electric began excavations in 1958 to build a nuclear power plant – next to the San Andreas fault. Public protest and opposition to this is considered the birth of the anti-nuclear movement. In ’64, the Atomic Energy Commission gave a negative review, and the project was abandoned – leaving a nice little pond and an apt nickname for this stupid plan:

Ended the night with dinner at Lucas Wharf, where we would have had a sunset view if it weren’t so overcast:

 

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Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Park, Cliff House + 5/29/17

Stopped to enjoy the sights on the way to Golden Gate Park. Look, a cable car! (never rode one – the wait to board was insane, and the bus prices were much better!)

Rode past Japan Town, and waited for a bus by a tree-stump chair (doubleclick any photo for full size):

Victorian homes along the way were impressive, especially the one with giant tree festooned in wind chimes:

Reached Alamo Square, a hilltop park that looks out on the famed Painted Ladies Victorians, built 1892-1896 – well known from the opening credits to Full House.

Another bus, and we reached Golden Gate Park, 20% larger than NYC’s Central Park, at over 1,000 acres – and 3 miles long! Hiked a short way through fuscias to the Conservatory of Flowers:

Inside were all kinds of tropical plants, plus a butterfly den:

Interesting sculptures in the dell outside the Conservatory. Segway tours of the Park are popular:

Golden Gate Park is home to so much:

We walked past the crowds at the Academy of Sciences, and into the DeYoung art museum, which is hosting an exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love 1967.

The deYoung, and its special exhibit, were very expensive (and time consuming), so we checked out the lobby, and took the free elevator to the tower’s observation deck. Also experienced our first “All Genders simultaneously” public restroom – no urinals, all private stalls, all genders sharing the mirrors/sinks. And the universe did not implode.

Next stop – the Park’s Japanese Tea Garden – gorgeous!

More sculpture by the deYoung, on our way to the next bus:

Headed towards the Pacific side of San Francisco, walking up the hill along the ocean.

… towards the Cliff House, an historic (1858) restaurant with ocean views.

Next to the Cliff House are the ruins of the Sutro Baths (1894-1964), a massive public bath house, and freshwater swimming facility. It included 6 saltwater swimming tanks of varying sizes, shapes, and water temperatures, tiers of bleachers seating thousands of spectators under glass and steel. This is all that’s left:

There are delightful hiking trails from this Lands End visitor center, down to the ruins or along the cliff:

Then you round a bend in the trail, and get this:

Next bus – past another interesting church:

Back downtown to Union Square :

… and the historic St. Francis Hotel, which was badly damaged in the fire following the 1906 earthquake. The staff provided meals to the people displaced by the 1906 catastrophes right in Union Square, bottom photo on right:

Classy lobby, bar, and a famous grandfather clock, admired by Shirley Temple in the photo. The plaque describes the hotel’s history of washing guests’ coins so they wouldn’t soil their elegant gloves. And they still provide that service. Really.

Finally, found Maiden Lane, which houses the only San Francisco building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It had been an art gallery, shop, many things, but is currently unoccupied. It has a curved stairway/ramp, similar to his design for NYC’s Guggenheim Museum:

I think that’s enough ground covered for one day.

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San Fran’s Beat Neighborhood and Coit Tower 5/28/17

Where it all began – visited North Beach to see City Lights Bookstore, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, who published Alan Ginsburg’s Howl which led to the landmark obscenity trial (poetry = not obscene). Scenes from City Lights:

Scenes from the neighborhood:

Then off to Coit Tower, with its impressive WPA-era murals and even more impressive views. The hills, the stairs, even some streets are just named staircases!

View from the hill – Golden Gate Bridge:

Coit Tower and its murals:

And the views:

From here, you can see how squiggly Lombard Street is:

Walked down from Coit Tower through hanging gardens:

And we found ourselves in Levi Strauss Square – went in to see their little history display in the headquarters, including Albert Einstein’s leather Levi’s jacket:

Then we walked along the waterfront to Pier 39 – a crazy crowded outdoor kitchy mall, plus sea lions!!

I think the sea lions come to watch the crowds of tourists:

Dinner was clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. Loved the chowder, not a huge fan of sourdough. It’s sour!

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Denver Botanical Gardens – 10/15/16

Spent a few hours strolling through the Denver Botanical Gardens, 24 acres of varied gardens – water, woodlands, Japanese, South African, ornamental, southwestern, Bonsai, cutting. Gorgeous sunny fall day, illuminating the autumn yellow aspen trees. doubleclick to enlarge any photo.

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They’re currently holding a month long Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit featuring  colorful and elaborate ofrendas (offerings) created by members of the Denver community as tributes to loved ones.

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Even though it’s past peak floral season, the plantings are gorgeously colorful.

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Plus orchids indoors:

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Lots of water features and fountains, and koi:

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fountain towers

fountain towers

These are in the cutting garden:

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The Rose garden has a elipse with Dale Chihuly’s towering work named “Colorado:”

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Note the fall-colors in the ivy covering the building, behind the Chihuly:

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Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, near Ft. Devens, MA – 8/26/16

Took a short hike along the Nashua River in Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge. We entered from Harvard, off Route 110, and parked near the boat launch area. The refuge covers over 1,600 acres and straddles about 6 miles of the river, so we saw just a tiny but lovely corner.

That sign with all those things you can do there? We did hear a lot of gunfire, but the shooting may have been coming from Ft. Devens, just across the river.

Stretches of the trail had boardwalks, but with this drought, they spanned crumbly dry dirt or weeds. The trail had a few informative markers, too, and views of the river from a high bank.

Love the way the pines reflect in the water:

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steep river banks, built up by silt deposits:

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The only wildlife we saw in this refuge was a toad who jumped in the river, and some mushrooms.

Nice hiking, flat, easy, a little buggy, and hardly anyone else on a Friday morning, just ferns in the woods.

ferns

ferns

 

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