I've moved. I'm leaving this blog in place but after today there will be no new entries here. A new blog, Romancing the NorthWest is beginning to take shape. Washington state is home. Now it is time to explore wonders of that State.
While driving through the foothills tonight, I came across several dying orchards.
Some young trees seem to be holding on but even some of those young trees have already turned gray.
Did the orchard suffer from some sort of blight? Did the farmer fail and therefore his orchard did as well? Was this left fallow because of the draught. It is somehow sad and the scene was a bit ghostly. The road between the orchards is deserted in the evening and the only sound - the clanking of a metal gate blowing in the wind.
This is a different shade of the flower in the last post. I find myself humbled by the simplicity of the bud and the complexity and organization of the entire blossom. Allowing oneself to be amazed and then remembering to be humble in the face of the Magnificent is a powerful experience.
It does not have to be the newest and biggest that man kind can produce. Gardens hold endless surprise. Even in the arid land of the Central Valley in June.
Looking at the organization of the flower from the underside ~
Traveled about 25 miles south west of Bakersfield off of Interstate 5 to see this man-made lakes area. There are three small lakes with recreational facilities including over-night camping. I was told to make reservations if I was planning to camp as this time of year the sites are often full. It is very pleasant and many families were there to celebrate Father's Day. Picnic tables, BBQ pits, some shade trees and swimming is allowed on one of the small and quiet lakes. During the less warm time of the year many birds migrate through here. I noticed the sound of many bird calls as well as bull frogs croaking. Their sounds add to the sense of being away from the urban areas.
Part of the experience of recreation in stopping to observe the world at a small level. This lake with it's busy water activities and bustling BBQ areas also has some other small wonders of the natural kind. The arid climate contributes to a variety of environmental colors and textures that's a visual delight.
The State Forest areas offer places to relax and have fun with family and friends - a small escape from the city. For dog lovers, unlike the National Forest system which is dog hateful - dogs are welcome here - but on a leash, please or you will run a foul of the agents who work here. Pyramid Lake has covered shelters, BBQ pits, a life guarded beach and lots of room for boats.
On Sunday I watched two groups of young men learn to manage a canoe. One group swamped their boat twice. A person with jet skis finally got them right side up and the duo turned the canoe over again. The jet ski fellow helped once again and lastly towed the pair to safety. No one was hurt. Well, pride maybe but that always heals with time.
Canoes resting after a hard day of beginners at work.
On the trip to L.A. last week-end I noticed a couple of lakes in the mountains. Decided today to visit one - Pyramid Lake. This is another man-made lake. It lies on the border of the Angeles National Forest and the Los Padres National Forest. I found out today that the lake is 20 miles north of Magic Mountain (an amusement park - so that may have to be another trip in the near future).
Up to 150 boats are allowed at one time. I did not see any one doing much in the way of fishing but my view was limited to the small bit of shoreline accessible to cars. There are several day camping areas that are accessible only with a boat so the lake is larger that it appears in these photos. I think this would be a fun place to bring a pontoon boat. Enjoy the sunshine at 4000 feet elevation, chat with friends, have a picnic on board and, for those so inclined, get some fishing done!
More about this lake and the services available to visitors - later this week.
Over the mountains, through the Angeles National Forest and down the 405 to Manhattan Beach in the South Bay of L.A. I felt as though I has traveled to another planet. The weather was sunny and the ocean breeze was brisk and refreshing. The Central Valley has palm trees. But when the palms are the landscaping for the ocean the effect is sublime - tropical not desert! The beach is lined with volley ball poles but the few were playing today. Folks down here call this season "June Gloom" and it feels chilly to many. I thought, after 90+ degree heat, it felt heavenly. Children were in the ocean water in spite of the breeze and surfers bobbed atop their boards waiting for the perfect wave. If you can navigate the traffic, the South Bay area is a must. Beaches are pretty, fun shops and places to eat and the people watching is interesting. This day was a treat in spite of the LA freeways!
The Yucca plants were in when during this most recent visit to the Sequoia National Park.The Yucca is found in dry arid places so it was not unusual to find it in the desert but it was surprising to find it in abundance in the Sequoia.It was a small lesson in eco-systems.The plant itself has tough sword like leafs.The spike that brings forth the flower is also tough, thick and tall.I stood under one plant to take some of the pictures.I’m just about 5’6” and the flower towered above me!The Yucca plant came up to my knees.The blossoms on the species in the Park are large, white and stand in beautiful contrast to its parent plant.