Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back to Nature

Wild Flower

Another week has passed and it’s time again to sit down and write a blog post, which also includes editing some of my favorite photos from the past week! I look forward to these days for an entire week, thinking about possible ideas to write about, and always keeping an eye out for the beauty that is all around us. 

The upcoming weeks are so full of excitement that sometimes it is a bit hard to think about what is behind me as I keep focusing on what’s to come. But, with a long weekend behind us, thinking about fun events should be a breeze!

By far, my favorite part of the weekend was how in touch with the world I feel I was. This involves both nature and people. After all, we are all an important part of our world, even if sometimes we fail to realize it, or choose not to think about it. Nature and people are very interconnected, I think. We are all part of the same cycle of birth, death and living.

More wild flowers
Anyway, after a few crazy weeks and weekends, Joe and I finally got to go out of the city for a long hike. When we lived in Santa Barbara, we would hike the Santa Ynez Mountains once or twice a week. The trails there were not only amazing, but they were so well connected that you could choose between going on a 4-mile hike or a 20-mile hike without having to really do much research. On top of that, all trails in Santa Barbara are dog friendly, which is probably why we didn’t think about checking if the trails in San Francisco were dog-friendly or not before adopting Bomber.

It is true that San Francisco does have amazing trails, but very few of them are dog friendly. Yes, you can find a 4 miler no problem, but if you want to set out for the day on an 8+ mile hike, you have to look really hard to find trails that allow dogs.  The reason for this is that many of the trails traverse critical habitat where many bird species nest. When a dog walks on the trails, he leaves his predator’s smell on the trail, a smell that could potentially discourage birds from coming back, affecting their habits and putting the species at risk.

amazing wild flower
Talk about us humans being interconnected with nature, or having an impact on it!

So, we looked hard for a new dog-friendly trail, and we found a trail south of the city, by the city of Pacifica. The 8-mile trail went up Montara Mountain and back with an elevation change of 1,800 feet.

We reached the trailhead early on Saturday, on a cold and cloudy morning. Bomber was pumped when he realized that he was in a new territory and he set off to explore the path.

red in nature
Along the way up to the peak, we saw an incredible variety of wild flowers and we enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Pacific for as long as we could before entering the clouds. Yes, about two thirds of the way up, we reached the clouds and were walking in them. We could hardly see what was in front of us, or below us, which made it all the more fun!

About 2 hours into our hike we reached the top, where we looked for shelter from the gusty winds and sat down to eat our lunch. Joe and I had chicken sandwiches (my mom’s recipe!), and Bomber had a peanut butter treat. Once we were all refueled, we started our descent back to the parking lot and into our warm car.

Walking on Clouds
We got back home feeling totally reenergized and happy to have been out in nature, smelling the flowers, feeling the moisture of the clouds touch our skin, and the soil cover our legs with every step we took on the dusty path.

Only nature can make you feel cleansed while getting down and dirty with you!

That was the first part of our weekend, the one involving nature’s beauty. Sadly, I do not have photos that document the second part of my weekend, the part that involved people, but I still thought I could talk about it a bit.

My loves going in the clouds
As a little bit of background, Joe and I left Minnesota a couple of years ago when we both completed graduate school, and we moved to Santa Barbara for one year. Because we knew we were going to be there for a limited amount of time, we did not put much effort into meeting people or making friends. We all know that making friends takes energy, at least if you are trying to form relationships and bonds, right? Well, once in San Francisco, we were looking forward to developing a community and, happily, we are starting to form one.

On Sunday we attended a BBQ at a friend’s house. I met my friend at the park, when we were both sitting there, watching our dogs play.  After several weeks of many park encounters, I finally decided I was “ready” to make a move and suggest grabbing a drink together at some other time.

A Fabulous sunset in SF
Even though we are still due for a drink, we see each other every week now, and we take our dogs to the park to run and play while we hang out with each other and with other people. And this past Sunday we were invited to her home to celebrate her birthday along with some of her fabulously fun friends! After 6 hours of lovely chatting and hanging out, we left her house feeling happy to have shared such wonderful time with a group of people.

Police force for the Turkish President
Now that I think about it, it’s funny how Bomber, who has sort of become an obstacle when it comes to choosing good hikes in the area, has also become a great way to meet lovely people around the city. I mean, I know at least 4 people on my block (I’m proud to say that I know both the person’s name as well as the dog’s name!) and it’s all because of my cute 12-pound bundle of energy. To some it may sound silly to say that my dog has brought a sense of community and neighborhood to my life, but the reality is that he has, and I love him all the more for that!

Montara Mountain
Other than that, this past week we witnessed a great police display when the Turkish President, who was in San Francisco, stayed about 2 blocks away from our apartment! Sometimes, when I see all 40+ police motorcycles, officers and patrols, I want to ask them if they don’t have any real crime to work on… oh well…

Tomorrow we go to Chicago for 2 days and then to Iowa for the rest of the week to attend a wedding. I have big plans for Chicago, in terms of photography, and I’m hoping to be able to realize them. As for Iowa, I know it will surprise me with its simple beauty.
Lovely fog and clouds

Flowers and Colors along the path
Poppies on the path

1 comment:

  1. The trail looks so wonderfully invigorating. I love the colors you've captured! I miss you and our little city walks. SF is a kind hostess, so glad you are finding a community there.