Monday, May 31, 2010

On The Trail @ Alhambra Valley Creek in Briones

 

The Alhambra Valley Creek Trail is located on Reliz Valley Road in the hills between Laffayette and Martinez ... This trail is a unique hiking trail for East Bay Parks as it not only allows Dogs but you are also hiking with livestock...
Which can get interesting when the Cows stand stubbornly  in the middle of the trail ... The first wooded sections of the  trail start to look  a bit like the terrain in some parts of the Donner Canyon trail ...
Briones however has a bit more of an enchanted forest feel to it and as you get deeper into the woods it starts to look and feel  more like  Morgan Territory  than Donner ...The Briones Preserve is a cross between all of the foothills terrains ... Having a bit of everything in its hills and valleys that lead all the way to the mountain ...
.Eventually the trail disappears  underneath the canopy of trees completely  swallowing you up into the forest wood ...

Though it is a fact that there are often sightings of Mountain lions and Bobcats throughout  the Briones trails  I did not see any evidence of them myself on this hike , other than the usual abundance of Ground Squirrels and also these Blacktailed Deer ...

As I always say though , Where there are Blacktailed Deer there are also their predators ... This  environment here along the Alhambra Valley Creek Trail is prime habitat for both ...   As I said before though this trail does allow Dogs which is always cool on a trail where predators are known to be  ...
  My Dog loves it out there and tries to go with me every time I go ...  Somehow he knows ...

The Contra Loma Sunset

The other night my wife and I took the kids out to Contra Loma with a bunch of cousins to Barbecue some hot dogs and played some football... It was a great time... It was last Friday night and there was no one there but a couple of fishermen... The nice weather this weekend really started to begin on Friday night ...Eight of us, four girls and four guys  played four on four  football on the grass next to the waters edge till about 9pm ...Boy was I sore , but what great fun ! ... The sunset on the lake was beautiful as you can see below here ...
This  Mallard Duck and her  ducklings were cruising the shore line doing some supper time feeding  while watching us play ball ... Contra Loma Reservoir is also a great place to take the kids fishing... There are many very  large Rainbow Trout stocked regularly at this lake as well as a variety of other types of fish including the occasional Sturgeon and even Salmon...
When my son was smaller he won a trophy at the Compys Kids Fishing Derby that is held in the fall  there at Contra Loma ...We sure enjoyed our family picnic at this place last Friday night and we plan to do it again soon ... What a great resource to have so close to home ...

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Grandsons Are A Couple Of Good Ole Boys

My daughter lives down in Georgia ...These are my grandsons ...The selection of activities for young boys out in the country there is endless ... From what I understand they were on their way over to their pond to go catch some Crawdads ...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baby Black Tailed Deer in Briones

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Yesterday while hiking in Briones along the Alhambra Creek Trail on Reliz Valley road I came across this family of deer ... A Doe and two Fawns... The two babies were covered with white spots and looked to be very healthy and happy living in the Briones hills of Martinez ...

A Message From The Lindsay Museum

We need your help.
You may be surprised to learn that Lindsay Wildlife Museum used to be a city program. For many years the City of Walnut Creek operated what was then called the Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum. In 1986, the city turned over control and responsibility for the museum to a non-profit board; but in recognition of our important role in the life and identity of the city, continued to provide funding support. Over the years that funding has been reduced from $150,000 per year to $100,000 for the last several years, and to just $75,000 this year. Each year the museum has sought to replace that funding with donations from outside sources and from the generosity of people like you.

The city council will soon vote on its two year budget for 2010-12. Among the city staff’s recommendations are additional cuts that would bring Lindsay Wildlife Museum’s funding to $50,000 this coming year and just $25,000 the following year.

These drastic cuts, combined with the current downturn in donations caused by the weak economy, could have a severe impact on the museum’s ability to continue all of our important programs and services.

We urge you to write to the city council this week to implore them to cancel the planned cuts. We provide a vital link to wildlife, science and nature for many in our community.  We have been an important and contributing member of our community for 55 years and look forward to many more years of connecting people with wildlife.

Your letter can make a difference.

Thank you.

Loren Behr
Executive Director, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

You can write to the mayor and city council at the following addresses:
Mayor Sue Rainey: mayor@walnut-creek.org
City of Walnut Creek / PO Box 8039 / 1666 North Main Street / Walnut Creek CA  94596

Ardenwood - Free Day Open House on Memorial Day, May 31, 2010

Free Day Open House on Memorial Day
Ardenwood Historic Farm
10am-4pm, Monday, May 31, 2010
Celebrate the holiday with an admission free day of fun! Enjoy a picnic on the lawn, while your children roll up their sleeves and help with the morning chores (11am – noon). Ride the train, tour the Victorian farmhouse and watch the blacksmith at work. Taste some “farm baked” cookies from our outdoor Country Kitchen (11am -1pm) and try your skills at some old-time games (noon–1pm). Take a stroll with an interpreter and learn what life was like long ago (2-3pm) and give the animals their afternoon meal (3pm). Download > Free Day Open House Flyer - 2010 [PDF]

11th Annual Butterfly & Bird Festival

11th Annual Butterfly & Bird Festival
10:00 am to 3:30 pm ~ June 13, 2010
Join East Bay Parks for the 11th Annual Butterfly & Bird Festival. The special event is dedicated to increasing the numbers and species of butterflies and birds in Bay Area landscapes. The festival offers a day of adventure and learning that allows you to get close to nature’s flying critters. Learn how to bring your backyard to life by creating wildlife friendly habitats! Enjoy garden tours, family hands-on activities, educational speakers, slide presentations and music.
No registration, drop-in, for info call 1-888-327-2757, option 3, ext. 3220.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road
Fremont, CA 94555-3502

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Hills Are Turning Color

I am sure that you may have already noticed by now but the hills around us are no longer green like they have been for quite a while now... Though we are still enjoying these spring showers that water our vegetables at home so well the hills seem to be ignoring the extra innings and throwing in the towel... As you can see from the above picture taken in Castle Rock just a couple of months ago when it was lush and green compared to the other day in Donner Canyon shown below here... There are still patches of some green grass  and a few  tall yellow mustard fields mixed with the thick patches of glowing orange poppies ,
coloring up the now tanning land scape of the foothills but  ready or not here comes the changing of the seasons once again ... The older you get the quicker they come !

Sonic The Hedgehog

This is an interesting little critter that we don't see  in our front yards here around Mt. Diablo ... It is the New Zeland  Hedgehog ... Winter is about to begin in New Zeland and yes that is a french fry in his mouth  as well as  a New Zeland  fresh frosty to go with it on the ground all around him ...When I spoke to my cousin the other night temperatures were around three degrees there...  New Zeland is the closest land mass to Antarctica ...  This picture was sent by my cousin Steve in New Zeland who simply said this:  Here is a pic of A Hedgehog in my front yard so I was feeding him french fries...     

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memorial Day -Hazel-Atlas Silica-Sand Mine Tours @ Black Diamond



                   MEMORIAL DAY MINE TOURS

Explore the underground via a guided tour and learn its history, geology, and the methods used to mine the sandstone. Participants must be age 7 or older; minors must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring a jacket - you will be underground for 60-90 minutes where the temperature averages 57 degrees F. year-round. Tours go 950 ft. into the mountain and are limited to 15 people at at time. Parking fee of $5 may be charged. This program is not wheelchair accessible.                                                                            Noon-4:30 pm, Monday, May 31
Memorial Day  tours through the Hazel-Atlas silica sand mine will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Purchase tickets in the visitor center located at the park headquarters. Again participants must be age 7 or older; parent participation required..
Fee: $3...All Weekends as well , March through November ~ Black Diamond Mines Regional Park..* SCHEDULE: March through November WEEKENDS ONLY. REGISTER: Select a 90-minute tour starting at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., or 2:00 p.m. Call to register, or Register Online.  .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

On The Trail in New Zeland @ Lake Manapori

I have a cousin  who is employed in the country of New Zeland as a youth pastor... His work takes him to many interesting and exotic far off places like the last posting  a few entries back with pictures from their  hike up to Green Lake ...
This entry is from an incredible journey to a beautiful lake in New Zeland  called Manapori ... Here are some shots of the beautiful vistas along the way ...
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Here is a short account of  my cousins latest adventures in his own words ... I took a group of 20 people on a 3 days kayaking adventure to Lake Manapori in Firodlin. We kayaked a total of 32 miles coming across some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see. Majestic mountains, Wonderful waterfalls.
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We climbed up to the highest point overlooking Lake Manapori, Using a chain due to the fact it is almost exactly vertical for the last quarter mile only about half the group were able to make it all the way up to the point called " The Sanctuary".
It is more then worth it for the Awe inspiring view you get from there. at night we would tie up our kayaks and pitch our tents. sit by the warm fire in the freezing cold telling stories and reminiscing on how Amazing God is.
This trip was a true testament that God is the greatest painter this world has ever seen, he truly did paint better than Michelangelo.Wow what a great trip !  I really enjoy these entries from my cousin Steve ...

Friday, May 21, 2010

On The Trail in Pacifica Ca.

  Yesterday while working in Pacifica I finished my work early so I was able to do some hiking out on some trails that I usually dont get to explore ...
The San Mateo County Park is a beautiful old park ... There  used to be an old trout farm there ... There are still big metal tanks buried in the ground along the trail at the site where they were used  as holding tanks many years ago ... Steel Head still use the creek to come up from the ocean and spawn .... This picture below shows the sign alerting you to their presence here...

There are many animals living in this park ... This young deer wandered into my picnic while I was relaxing and didn't seem to mind me being there at all...
  ... As you know , where there are deer there are predators that eat deer as well ...
San Mateo County Park is also home to many Mountain Lions ...For years I have called this tree pictured below here the scratching post because it is used often by the local Cougars for a good scratch...
Mountain Lions are seen often here and have even been seen walking in the street in the middle of the day ...  The lush green foliage that envelopes the small stream beside the trail is very beautiful... Reminds me of  a rainforest ...
 

Perfect terrain for Cougars ... Later that day on my way home I went up the cliffs and got a few shots of the Pacifica coast ...

Pedro Point pictured above here is a famous landmark for surfers ... As a matter of fact the Nor-Cal surf shop uses its image on their logo ...
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Above here is a short video clip of the Pacifica Coast shot from above the cove at Pedro Point  from the cliffs above it ... What a great day I had   at work yesterday ... It is not everyday that I get to earn a living while enjoying famous coastal places like this ...One of the things I have always loved about living near Mt. Diablo is that this beautiful mountain shown below here;
Is only an hour and a half's ride away from a  completely different world like the cliffs of the Pacifica shoreline...Not to mention the legendary bridges and world famous big cities that connect it all in between ...Say what you will about this states politicians  and I will probably agree with you , but this land we call the California Bay Area truly  is some of the most beautiful countryside in the world ...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Critters On The Trail While Hiking

This past  week while hiking along the Mary Bowerman trail up on Mt.Diablo  I ran into some interesting creatures... Here are just a few examples of the types of creatures that you may encounter this time of the  year if you venture out onto the trails of our beautiful Mt.Diablo ... This fella above here was slowly crossing the trail right in front of me just before the Mary Bowerman overlook...He was in a bit of a hurry too...You see, this large Red Tailed Hawk pictured below here was soaring back and forth  above the trail  there looking for just such a snack...
Mt. Diablo is home to many different raptors and I always enjoy watching them work the hillsides and meadows ... Often perched high atop of a big pine like this one here ...As I walked along the Mary Bowerman trail  I did see quite a few different lizards , but this one here had an interesting personality on him and didnt seem to mind the camera one bit ...Probably cousins with the Geico Lizard ...
If you are a quiet hiker you may even stumble across some of the larger wild animals that live in the park such as these two baby Blacktailed Deer  ...It always amazes me , All the different wild life that is to be seen in just a short walk on our mountain ...The Coyote  that I saw while walking this trail  last week shown below  here  is a perfect example of what I am saying ...
What a great place to live ! Such Beautiful wildlife right here in our own back yards ! Get out there this spring and enjoy your beautiful mountain and its foothill trails ... Sincerely Smokey !