Marin County

Small Wonders.17

Admit it: your first thought is this is part of some crumbling old building’s brick wall, right? Wrong! You’ve already seen another angle on this item, in a post last month, here:


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Olompali – Views & History

Olompali State Historic Park fits into northerneasternmost Marin County where it meets Sonoma County, along Rte 101. North of the town of Novato, it’s a place I’ve driven past often whether in public buses or in private cars, but hadn’t ever explored until last month, when I and a friend in SF chose it as our park-in-the-middle to explore, so as to both see each other and remain relatively covid-safe through outdoor socializing. We went again earlier this week, along with a beloved member of the next generation, and I’m putting a lot of the larger-vista photos in this post. (You’ve already been seeing some close up shots from both trips in various other series.) Olompali is a place where California’s layers of history are present: farthest back, as an important local hub for the Coast Miwok, who were the indigenous first humans to settle in this region. Later on, it became the only place we know of in California where a Miwok received from the Spanish colonial government a land grand to stay on and work the land. Later still, it was the only place recorded where a Mexican solider died during the Bear-Republic conflict that was a local manifestation of the war that took control of modern-day California (plus a whole lot more of the current American west) away from Mexico. Later still – hey, the Grateful Dead hung out there for a while in the late 60s or early 70s.

Fascinating place, and good to be reminded of the complex layers of human-habitation history that surround us here. For the moment though, enjoy the photos from one trip in late December, another in mid-January. Mid-January photos, though taken on a scary-warm day, are generally greener because at least some inches of rain fell between the two visits. From the heights, one can see several regionally-important peaks: Mt Diablo in the east bay; Mt Tamalpais in Marin (which you saw from the south, in the Hill 88 post recently); Mt St Helena peaking over a ridge in at least one of the shots. You can also catch a few of the highest towers in SF peeking over the Marin headlands behind the town of Novato in one or two shots, if you know where to look. Enjoy – and may all our vistas be clear, but with enough clouds to bring the rain we need to grow…



Small Wonders.10

OK, so yes, these little guys sit in a very protected, sunny part of one of the warmest parts of the north bay…but still, even for us, this is unseasonal. Since I can’t much control climate change, though, might as well enjoy these beauties before the next wave of wildfires rolls around, eh?


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Beauty & The Burn.8

Small Wonders.1

A new series for a new year: little things that bring to mind how beautiful and remarkable is this interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. To start, a few close-up views of succulents and moss that are hanging out on the sedimentary hillside whose large-scale photo I put in yesterday’s “Golden Gate Vistas” post. In case you’re curious, their home is on this hillside: 🙂

The View from Hill 88

In the midst of those beautiful hills & vistas I showcased to start our year yesterday sits Hill 88. On which sit these abandoned buildings from some past military radar or other installation about whose purpose I know nothing more. These buildings, while being slowly eaten by natural processes, for now provide ample canvases for graffiti artists. The first photo above, I must say, makes me think of Keith Haring and what things were like in NYC in the 1980s… (If his name is new to you, look him up.) To orient you, in the panorama just above you see – from left to right – the east bay with Mt Diablo (two bumps just to the right of the graffitied building), running to the SF skyline (including tops of the towers of the GGB, if you look closely enough) then the hills and Pacific Coastline along the peninsula.

Errant Masks.11

Yes, today’s errant mask was also photographed during the same hike from which came the photos for this morning’s post. And yes, we all know we’ll clearly still be dealing with covid, masks and all that they imply for quite some time to come. Ugh. Welcome again to 2021 :-).

Golden Gate Vistas

What to post at the start of a new year in which so many of us place such hopes for health and happiness? Down my street there was a lit-up holiday display that spelled out “Peace on Earth,” which was my initial plan: just that photo. But the photo I took initially was too blurry. When I went back yesterday, it had already been taken down. So we’ll have to envision and create Peace on Earth in our hearts, without the visual aid. Herewith, instead, the first of several posts displaying photos from my most recent hike in the the portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area that occupies most of the Marin Headlands at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge – the very tops of whose two support beams you can just see poking above the mountain in two of the photos above, if you know where to look. Hikes in nature with such vistas help me put my own worries in perspective. Finding perspective feels like a good goal as we enter 2021. Health – hope – happiness for us all in the year ahead.


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On & Around Muir Beach for a Day

smw, slt has accumulated so very many photos in my now 4+ months back home that I simply must return to long format. It’s great fun to set up a daily photo, trying to mix up what I’m showing you each day – and I plan to keep doing that because, well, covid home restrictions, no social life to speak of, fill in your own personal reason for wanting specific tasks to frame your days 😊. But some locations and topics are just so photogenic that they require a longer post. And even some explanatory text.

Fear not, there’s little text because each photo, if you click on it or hover your cursor over it, will tell you pretty precisely what you are seeing. But, by way of explanation: I rarely get out by car, mainly because I rarely have a car, since I don’t own one. That means most of what I show you when I’m here at home is within about a ten-mile radius of my home since, well, ten miles out and ten miles back makes for a reasonable day’s exercise and exploration of this wonderful world I’ve been born to. BUT I do have wonderful friends who let me borrow a car sometimes – even more so during covid because, well, covid. And thus I’ve begun to range further afield as the days get shorter and colder, making bicycling a bit less appealing compared to farther-ranging hiking exploration with more clothing layers and a carbon-emissions compromise at the start and end of said activities.

What you’re seeing here are shots all taken one day last week when I explored some of the trails and roads branching out from Muir Beach, which is (I believe) a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Although it’s a bit north of the hills you see immediately as you exit the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, the area has at least one ridge high enough to get a view of the western parts of SF, though downtown and the bay bridge, Alcatraz etc. are all behind a higher ridge on the left in the shots I’ll be showing you today. But fear not: I plan to get back to explore those and other trails in my lovely region again in coming months, so stay tuned for future installments.