Saturday, May 13, 2006

An attempt at hiking

I would like to claim that Robb and I start every Saturday at our local farmers' market, but sometimes we just don't get out the door in time. Today, however, we had our act together. Robb had made apple cranberry walnut muffins for breakfast. I slept late. Things were off to a good start.

I still haven't figured out the California growing season, so I'm often surprised by what's at the market. The onions didn't surprise me, but they certainly were pretty!

After a quick lunch, we decided to head out to Mount Diablo, enjoy the tail-end of the spring wildflowers, the glorious sunshine, and try our luck at finding some letterboxes. We saw a coyote as we were parking, which was pretty exciting. He was calmly surveying the parking lot, and then just disappeared when a noisy group of schoolkids came down the path. We also saw a few of my favorite birdies, the Stellar's jay and some California quails. The Stellar's jay is the Punk of the bird world. He wears an outrageous hairdo, and is a general bad-ass. Robb calls him my boyfriend.

What we quickly learned is that Robb is not up for this sort of hiking, yet. I don't think this really surprised either of us. After all, two months ago, all he could do in terms of outdoor walking was push his walker around on smooth sidewalks. Still, we had a beautiful drive up the mountain, and he says that he had a nice time hanging out in the woods while I hiked on ahead of him.

We talked about this at some length last night. Robb feels that until he is more able, I should not put all my outdoorsy activities on hold, nor should I feel guilty if I go hiking without him. I'm working on this. It still feels weird to do things like this, and not have Robb right by my side.

The spring wildflower season was just about over, but I was thrilled to see the extremely rare Mount Diablo Fairy Lantern. This plant is endemic to Mount Diablo; it doesn't grow anywhere else. I had never seen it before. What an honor to get to see this rare plant in bloom!

Also blooming were Mimulus, otherwise known as Sticky Monkey Flower.

The oddly named Blue Dicks.

Some rather tired-looking Star Lillies.

And also on view, my favorite....Rocks With Holes In Them! I believe that these caves were carved by the wind. (How about that California blue sky???)

Some of the caves interconnect, and I saw a number of people crawling around in them. Hopefully, Robb and I will be able to be among the rock-climbers in the not-too-distant future!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing me a little bit of "home" ... I'll be visiting in a couple of weeks!! I'm leaving Baltimore on 6/2 and returning on 6/11. Let's visit!
xo, Isabel

Anonymous said...

Always a pleasure to read your posts but the wildflower photos you included in this one made it all the more special. We always learn something with you, Lisascenic! Imagine, a flower that only grows on Mt. Diablo! I take it you weren't able to get any letterboxes? Soon, you guys, soon.

~~Doublesaj & Old Blue~~

Anonymous said...

What magnificent photographs; they make me very nostalgic. The caves in your last photo are the very ones we would sleep in when I was a young lad...long before the area was a park. I remember seeing the mimulus and the blue dickies, and of course the yellow lanterns. I did not know they were unique to Mt Diablo. Thank you for the wonderful blog.

Your Servant,

Arttreker said...

Hi Lisa,

Love those fairy lanterns! Saw some white ones in the Placerville area last year (had never seen them before), during one of the most abundant wildflower years I've seen.

This year will probably be right in there with all the rain we've had.

Thought you might like to know that your pine cone is from a digger pine.

The trees are very gray and tend to be multi-trunked. The cones are large and unusual.

Happy Spring!


Robb said...

Oh, Isabel!
We miss you. How can we get together when you're out here? Is Derek coming?

terri said...

I love the flower pictures. If it wasn't pouring rain I'd run out and take pictures of the glorious Central Park Yellow Dandelions to send you! Fester is a little confused about the rain -- he keeps running out and running in with muddy paws. sitting on the couch next to me cleaning them, and then running out again. Why do cats do these things?

big kisses

mimulus said...

what a wonderful post...and teh fairy lanterns are great as are the rocks and gigantanourmous pine cones. GLad to here you guys are gettign out and taking on some challenging turf, it all comes with time and a hiking staff/walking stick.

isabel said...

I'll have to take a drive out to visit. I told my sister, she is going to tag along. Derek will not be coming. :( He'll be in Florida that week for work...he's going to be grading AP Test papers on the beach. Ha!

I'll be arriving in Sacramento on 6/2, and will be flying (it's cheaper than driving with these gas prices!) to San Diego on that Monday but returning on Wednesday. I'll pick a day and drive out.

- Isabel


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