Monday, October 5, 2015

New Boots, Scat from a Mountain Lion?

When I got up this morning I wanted to take my new hiking boots out for their first real hike. I'd already taken them out for two short walks, one on the walking path in the Laguna Park east of town and the second on an easy hike on the Kortum Trail from Shell Beach to Peaked Hill.

Annadel Park would give me my first real test of how the boots work on trails that can be rocky.

My new Keen Light Hiking Boots
I chose to hike Annadel's Cobblestone Trail up to Rough Go Trail. They make four and a half mile loop with Orchard Trail, just about right for an two hour hike to try out new boots.

At the entrance to Cobblestone Trail the Park Service posted a sign warning hikers that they may encounter a mountain lion on the trail.

I've never seen a mountain lion in Annadel Park
Like many others, I don't worry about encountering a lion. I hike alone and I hike very quietly. I suppose there is a small chance that someday I might stumble upon a mountain lion. But I'd say it's unlikely. If anything, the slim chance of seeing a mountain lion adds a little interest to the walk. (Yesterday's paddle out to the mouth of Tomales is similarly enhanced by the knowledge that Great White Sharks swim in those waters.)

I saw this large scat on the trail near the place where Cobblestone Trail meets Rough Go Trail.

The key is for size reference. Furry scat, from an animal about as big as an adult human.

I thought that this scat may have been left by a mountain lion. Someone with more experience with large carnivorous mammals might be able to say with more authority what I saw.

A break about halfway through at the trail junction

Here's a map of the route I hiked today.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mouth of Tomales Bay

I was among fourteen friends paddling on Tomales Bay this morning. We left Miller Park (a.k.a. Nick's Cove) at about 9:15.

Starting off

We paddled northwest, up the bay towards Tom's Point where we stopped briefly before crossing to the Point Reyes shore, the better the catch the waning ebbtide current running out the bay.

North of Tom's Point, looking northwest towards the mouth

 We paddled until we got just outside the mouth of Tomales Bay where it empties into Bodega Bay. The last beach with an easy protected shoreline is Avila's Beach where we pulled our boats out of the water and took a walk further up Tomales Point.

Looking back into the bay from Avila's Beach
Having paddled four miles and walked maybe a third of a mile, we decided it was time for lunch (though I think it was still before 11:00) and spread out a sumptuous potluck meal we all enjoyed into the early afternoon hours.

The paddle back was aided by a flooding current that carried us back to Nick's Cove.

The Never Too Late docked at our PP "clubhouse."
Some stayed on to enjoy an IPA at the clubhouse on the end of the pier at Nick's.

The route as mapped by my iPhone:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Paddling the River

Since getting back from Cycle Oregon 2015, I've been interested in striking a better balance between my outdoor activities which are primarily bicycling, hiking, and kayaking. (Training for Cycle Oregon decidedly tilted my activities towards cycling.)

In fact, I've been on a bike only once since getting back from Oregon about two weeks ago. I've done quite a bit more paddling. The first two days of October I've paddled at the mouth of the Russian River which for the present is closed. The river level is high, about 6.5 ft above sea level at the Jenner launch ramp, which makes for a full river and good views from the boat.

I met an interesting kindred spirit out there, a fellow named Bob Noble, who paddles out there very regularly and keeps a blog about his outings at his blog called Bob's Eyes. He takes good photos of the things he sees.

Bob inspired me to go out there two days in a row, something I don't often do. Here's a photo that I took while out there yesterday.

Bob also got me thinking about blogging again. I thought it might be fun to keep a log of the things I'm doing now that I'm retired.

Hence this post.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

41 Years!

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary.

We rode our tandem bicycle 58 miles along the American River (near Sacramento, California) on the well-maintained Jedediah Smith Memorial Bicycle Trail used by 5 million people annually. The weather was warm and sunny. We really enjoyed riding so many miles without ever having to worry about automobile traffic.

When we got home, we showered and went out to our favorite cafe for dinner. Here's a picture of us at dessert.

Gingerbread at the Willow Wood

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Enjoying Life

Two weeks ago, on the nine month anniversary of my heart surgery my wife and I took a 70 mile bicycle tour of local organic farms on a sunny summer's day.

We enjoyed a great ride. We're training for a tour of Oregon next month.

Besides riding bicycles, I've also been paddling a lot recently. Here's a photo a friend took of me  during a recent Tuesday evening paddle.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Unintended Result of Testing

School reformers who want to improve schools through testing probably do not intend to add stress on the lives of students. But it's possible that their emphasis on accountability and standards will have that effect.

Here's an article about Singapore's school system, which as you may already know, is one of the top-performing school systems anywhere on earth—as measured by high test scores.

But besides high test scores, the rigor of Singapore schooling seems to produce an unintended result: a suicide problem among its youth.

Read more here:

Monday, March 11, 2013

We're ALL in this together!

Not too long ago I read a book by Chrystia Freeland called The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

After reading it, I have had the very strong and very agreeable feeling that we can come together in this country of ours, all of us, the reds, the blues, and the greens and everyone who picks out their own hue.

When 1% of the population has 40% of all the wealth we're all of us ALL OF US!!! in the same boat and on the same side. (With the exception of about 1% of the population, and believe me, I don't know any of them.) Like you, probably, I am in the bottom 80% in terms of wealth. Among us 80% we have less than 1/6 of what that top 1% has!  The top 1% have a lot of us hoodwinked into going along. Their media outlets see to that.

Call yourself a Libertarian, call yourself a Republican, call yourself a Democrat, an Independent, or even a Green Party member.  We are pretty likely to agree that we need to redistribute wealth in the United States.

Well, maybe you don't agree. Maybe you like the way wealth is distributed in America today. I wonder if your mind would change if you knew more.

The video below will help you see clearly how wealth is "shared" in the US today.

I hope you will see this video and to share it with everyone you know. It's WELL worth the 7 minutes it takes to see it.

Links: The Plutocrats