Years ago I went to Safari West on a photography trip where I took some of my favorite photos. Since having my son traveling to this location with him has been high on my list. Kids have to be four to take the trip on the Jeeps. After a brief pause during COVID and two massive forest fires that ravaged the area we finally made it. It decided to rain for the first time in eight months but we made it! We saw baby giraffes and baby zebras (not pictured sadly), gorgeous birds, lemurs, cheetahs, tortoises, and lots of other African animals. My son got to run free and play in the mud puddles. It was a wonderful trip and seeing a five day old giraffe was worth every penny.
Mumm Vineyards – Napa
Heading home from Calistoga I headed towards Lake Berryessa and stopped at Mumm because the Napa Valley was showing off. For me it is easy to get turned off by the glamour and money and tourism of the Napa area. But, on days like this, it reminds me why this area is a world-class location for people to visit from around the world no matter the traffic. Behind me for probably fifty plus miles the earth is scarred from the last fire. But ahead of me is fall, crush, clear sky from the recent rain, and a glorious vista. Cheers.
Petrified Forest – Santa Rosa
My son and I took a trip to the Santa Rosa Mountains outside of Calistoga to visit Safari West. On our way there we took a pitstop at the Petrified Forest. The site has a quick little mile loop where you can read and learn about the petrified forest and the history of the location. We learned about these trees being knocked over 3 millions years ago when Mount Saint Helena erupted burying these trees in ash and thereby petrifying them for posterity. It’s a very interesting little spot which folks can’t see just anywhere. It’s a great way to be outside particularly as COVID lingers on. It’s a lovely drive there and through the mountains or a quick side trip from the beautiful Napa area.
Wide Open Walls 916 – Sacramento Fire Deparment
It was wonderful to see first responders represented this year in a few different Wide Open Walls 916 events. This mural along with a part time twin towers painted out of Conex boxes and put on end along with another temporary art exhibit was a breath of fresh air for the event. As everyone is well aware our great State of California continues to get hammered with devastating fires so I support this cheerful way to recognize our first responders in the event.
It’s fire season in California again. I can only remember a handful of big fires growing up in this state as a kid. Now this is the new norm every year from probably about June-December. The Forest Service has even taken the monumental position of closing the Forests because if another fire kicks off they don’t have the resources to evacuate people and put out the fire. (Everyone is ok!) It’s crazy times. It’s devastating and dangerous for many; my family being impacted this time by the Caldor Fire. This photo was taken at a reservoir called Stumpy Meadows when the smoke from the Dixie fire was wafting over. If you glance quickly it looks like cool fog…
It’s been a while since I posted. I hope all of my friends out there are well. It seems many of us aren’t traveling much for many reasons COVID likely being one of them. Take care everyone. Happy Travels.
Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens at Golden Gate Park is arguably one of the best places to visit in San Francisco and maybe the state. These world class gardens never disappoint as a alternative to the traffic and tourism of the City. One can visit frequently throughout the year and see something different each time. In COVID times its a wonderful way to get outside and keep your distance from other folks while breathing sweet salty fresh air. I have visited here many many times over the years and will be forever grateful for my best friend going to college here and introducing me to this magnificent place. The enormous and aged coastal trees are stunning, the detail of the flowers from all over the world are magnificent, and the trails are fun. There is also nothing wrong with bringing a blanket and popping a top of something and just enjoying the sunshine amongst acres and acres of beautiful picnic location options in the gardens.
Golden Gate Park Conservatory of Flowers
Spring has sprung in San Francisco so we decided to check out the Conservatory of Flowers located in San Francisco’s glorious Golden Gate Park. This is my second visit and well worth it to see what was different to entertain my Macro lens. The front lawn of the Conservatory is reminiscent of European Victorian gardens with locals basking in the warm sunshine. The building was purchased by a wealthy connoisseur of flowers in the late 1800’s and was gifted after his death. The building has survived fire, earthquake, and wind damage over the years. The building itself is unusual and a work of art and the perfect container for an award worthy garden of exotic plants.
The Tulips Are Blooming, Queen Wilhelmina’s Garden
Queen Wilhelmina’s Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco was in full bloom showing off its Tulip Magic. The tulips were planted in the shadow of the impressive and iconic windmill which overlooks the underrated Ocean Beach. As is usual for San Francisco the crowds and parking were frustrating yet it was still a nice visit and a great excuse to exercise my Macro lens. No visit to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Golden Gate Park. But please, whatever you do, go in the morning on a weekday or it might ruin the fun for you.
North Table Mountain Spring Flowers
Instagram introduced me to a local phenomenon I had never heard of, Table Mountain near Oroville, California. Table Mountain is an interesting geological feature in and of itself. There are even tall waterfalls for goodness sake! Who knew? Well, throw a blanket of wildflowers all over it and I am game for a road trip. The lack of a trail made it a little confusing and the wind got tiresome after a few hours. But, there is no denying Mother Nature was showing off her Spring Powers here today and I was fortunate to have experienced it. I met some lovely people on the trail which made for a nice morning trip with my camera. Sending you spring sunshine from Northern California.
I have to imagine the average garden this year is far better off than normal with so many people quarantining and staying closer to home. I can certainly say this is true for me. Cheerful flowers abound and Dahlias are one of my favorites. Sending Sunshine and light from California.