Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sugarloaf Mountain



Last weekend for my daughter's birthday we took a trip to Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park off Highway 12 in Kenwood,Ca. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as the weather was just right! Hiking, picnicking, stargazing at the Robert Ferguson Observatory, and camping are fun activities available at the park. I noticed some campers braved the still, chilly nights and pitched their tents along the stream, but the best reason to visit the park in spring is to catch the wildflowers in bloom! The tall, willowy grasses are green this time of year, blanketing the hills and splashed with colorful wild flowers lining the trails that meander throughout the park. Deep shades of purple lupin, pale yellow lilies and pretty white faces of yarrow and California poppies are throughout the park, to name a few. Dogs are not allowed on the trails so my dog and I had fun moseying along the road, photographing the wildflowers while the teenagers hung out at the picnic table chatting; too cool to walk with me I guess! The road leads to the Robert Ferguson Observatory where you can stargaze. I could see the California Mule Deer grazing on the grassy mountains in the distance while I was enjoying the view. When you visit here, you are lower on the food chain, so be aware of your surroundings as mountain lions could be lurking! This is a perfect place to start your summer "hot bod" by hiking straight up the trail to the top of Bald Mountain! If you are super fit then park your car before the park entrance at the trail head that leads to a gorgeous waterfall. (I can never find the parking turnout and trail head so just drive up and ask the ranger). Once you find the pullout and trail head, hike down the mountain to the waterfall which takes you to a magical place lush with green ferns, moss and a beautiful canopy of trees. I think I just saw a leprechaun...moment. Bring your camera and take your family's next Christmas photo here to send to your friends! Pack your lunch as you will want to hang out awhile before you make the steep climb back up. (I suggest you have your heart checked out first with your doctor before you do this hike!) Also, In the summer there might not be a waterfall, as the creek that feeds it gets low, so ask the ranger first before you go! This is a State Park and has a fee. Click for more information. Have fun!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Trip to Italy and France

Hi, Thank you Sonoma Harvest, aka Lynda for letting me blog today about our trip. My family and I spent ten days in Europe. The first stop was to Rome and Frascati, Italy. Then we spent time in Paris, France. Here are pictures from our journey. Bb

Roman Ruins:

Our trip to Rome was primarily for a sporting event, however getting the chance to visit the Coliseum, the Pantheon and the Forum and other ruins were but a few of the sites we gazed upon while contemplating what great people built them and what tragic events led to the fall of the Roman Empire. That said, it is still unbelievably beautiful and lends great thought to the imagination of who could create such colossal architecture and what will become of all that we know now around us in our great civilization today.
In the end, what remains are stories told by historians, paintings left in the Vatican, and ruins and relics of yesteryear. As you look upon these photos think of what you see around you today, be thankful, and realize that all that is green is not here to stay...and soon it too will fade away...leaving only memories.

Frascati Fresh:

Frascati is a village of gastronomic delight, more than what feeds the appetite and not less than what feeds the soul. Walking around the courtyard in front of the church in the city center or along the promenade that over looks Rome one gets the sense of walking back in time where three generations of Italian families have found a way to stave off the fast-paced fury of life that consumes most of us on a daily basis-no multimedia, iPod, iPad, computer, laptop, notebook, cell phone or television is needed here. Certainly there is no need for texting either. No, all you need in Frascati are a few euros, a fresh crepe with Nutella from the midnight vendor, or a gelato and a smile, and the time to watch their elders smoke cigars, while the teenagers move around the square sizing each other up, a first glance, a first kiss, or just hanging around, eyeing one another, all the while the young children scurry about making up games to play while the tourists meander around them obliviously disconnected from the bond that allows this to happen all at once...

Yes-spending time in Frascati will help you remember, or not if you never experienced it, what it used to be like when people enjoyed spending time with each other, three generations, all in the same house, and in this case the same village, in a warm winter night with laughter in the air....

Parisian Pleasure:

Paris certainly is busy, and offers many places to visit, but what stands out among the other places to visit is the Rue Mouffetard, in the Latin Quarter, a place for young writers, lovers, artisans, paysans, Parisians, tourists and the like.
What makes Rue Mouffetard special is not the dining pleasure and patisseries on every corner, which are beyond the norm of what culinary delights cross the palate, but a sense of walking into one of Monet's impressionist paintings. Every light, store front, alleyway, bicyclist, and passer-by could be the next impression imbued on your mind which becomes a memory not to be forgotten.

Louvre Love:

If you are a romantic then you must spend some time in the Louvre where you will fall in love with the artists ability to capture every breadth and brush stroke of beauty that crossed their sight.
Art is an imitation of life, and life is present in art!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My friend Bb

Hello Friends, I've been indoors, it seems all month long in Northern California with deluges of heavy rain. I'm happy to say we are officially out of the drought! My surroundings are gorgeous and green like Switzerland or Austria, complete with snow-capped mountains! I haven't been able to travel much, so I thought it would be fun to travel vicariously through my friend Bb. He will be posting soon through my blog on his fantastic trip to Italy and France. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sonoma Harvest: Cal Gal Travels- Moblog

Sonoma Harvest: Cal Gal Travels- Moblog: "My mobile blog on the go. Posting lots of photos while I'm traveling, hiking or on a daily walk. I'm inspired often by nature's beauty and w..."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Lake

On Friday, I decided to walk somewhere else for a change rather than my usual route. I try to walk every day and like to mix up the routine once in a while so I don't get bored. (That way I'll keep exercising to stay healthy!) It had been a long time since I visited Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. After taking the kids to school, getting some coffee, (extra energy boost) and a protein breakfast (Dr.'s orders) my dog, Goldie, and I set off for the lake. Now, mind you, it's early Friday morning, middle of winter, I'm thinking it will be quiet, no one will be there.. Nooo such luck! I was surprised to see so many cars in the parking lot during the wee hours of the morning! There are three different entrances to the park. I chose the Howarth Memorial Park entrance which has free parking. Goldie and I joined the ranks of fellow dog walkers, joggers, bicyclists, mothers pushing strollers- folks of all ages walking. I couldn't believe how many people were there! Don't people work on Fridays anymore? My dog and I took the paved pathway named Kerfoot trail. The pathway route I took winds to the right by the water towers after a small incline, and heads toward the campground and then turns left down to the boat dock, around the loop and back to Howarth Park. In all, it's only about a three mile walk, unless you take a side trail. Please refer to map so you don't get lost! There are lots of dirt trails, so definitely bring a map if you decide to go off the beaten path. I brought my camera, which I had planned, and took tons of pictures of the beautiful lake, landscapes, and wildlife. Years ago I almost got stampeded upon by a herd of deer running through the woods and I didn't have my camera with me so now I am always camera ready! Spring lake is beautiful, the jewel of Santa Rosa. The lake's surface sparkled like silver in the sunlight. I found my peaceful space amongst the other people enjoying the park and took lots of pictures. The trail usually takes about an hour or less, but if you are like me you will want to putts around, enjoy the views, play, meditate and pray! (There is a big white cross on the mountain over looking you to remind you!) I love living in Sonoma County and know how Blessed we are to have this wonderful park in our own backyard. If you go you will want to spend more than an hour. If you are energetic you can fish, boat, catch crawdads, bird watch or swim in the lagoon next to the lake. Camping is also fun at Annadel state park, which is connected to Spring Lake Regional Park.
Bring your family and friends and have a picnic. I try to avoid the crowds so weekdays work best for me! ;) Have fun!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saralee's Vineyard

Last summer we moved close to my old stomping grounds. I happily discovered, that you can walk through the vineyard off an old country lane and you can bring your dog! So part of my walking route usually incorporates the vineyard and it's bounty of wildlife, which my dog loves. This is where the wild turkeys like to hangout, which I talked about in an earlier post last fall. It's a pretty, little area and a good place to calm the mind and ponder life. Thank you, Saralee for letting us enjoy the vineyard!