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2022 September 3

Secret Walks: Kalkar Quarry

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On Thursday 1 Sept 2022, a friend of mine and I took a short (3.2 miles) but slightly hilly walk to Kalkar Quarry, which is where the spring is that gives Spring Street its name. This is a somewhat easier walk than the one described in Secret Walks: Harvey West-Quarry loop, but still has a couple of steep uphill segments (on Laurent and on Limestone Lane).

(Click map for higher resolution) The route was a fairly simple loop—up Laurent to Major, around Westlake, up Spring to High, then up Kalkar and Limestone Lane to the stairs at the end leading down into the quarry. We went around as much of the quarry as possible, then exited through Rockridge And Spring Street, taking the pedestrian walkway at the end of Quarry Court back to Limestone Lane. From High Street, we headed down Moore Street, and back down the Laurent Street hill.

The pond in the quarry is still choked with tule.

But there is a little open water by the houses, here seen from the east end of the quarry.

2022 August 31

Secret Walks: West Cliff—River

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On Sunday 2022 August 28, my wife and I  did a combination West Cliff and Riverwalk walk.

We started out taking King to Miramar, then Rankin and Surfside to Delaware, jogging over half a block to take Bethany Curve out to West Cliff.  We walked along West Cliff to Beach Street, where we had lunch at the Picnic Basket, then took Beach over to the San Lorenzo River, where we hoped to see lots of birds in the lagoon formed by the construction work on the culverts.  We saw the construction site, but there was not much water backed up behind it and very few birds.  We walked along the river levee to Spruce Street, then took a one block detour to walk the length of Sycamore, before heading home along Laurel.

The morning was very cool and foggy, which made for pleasant walking, though it did get sunny for the last part of our walk.  The whole walk was between 5½ and 6 miles.

Parts of West Cliff are eroded back to the sidewalk—I think that the city will need to close one lane of West Cliff to cars in a few years (when we get some big storms).

The tide seemed to be high, with most of the rocks of the coast submerged.

The cormorants and pelicans were sharing this island, but not mixing.

This small natural bridge looks almost as if someone had Photoshopped a gap in the outcropping. The bridge will probably collapse in a few years also.

I think that these concrete objects by Steamer Lane are footings for a staircase that washed away (there is a newer staircase nearby).

The cormorants like to hang out on this very steep rock.

At the river, we saw this bird that we did not recognize. After I got home and could look at the photo and do some searches, I identified it as a female common merganser. There were about seven mergansers (all female), but most of them were sleeping with their beaks tucked under their wings, making them very hard to identify.

Here is the merganser preening.

My wife wanted this plant identified—it seems to be California mugwort (Artemisia douglasiana). I don’t know whether it was planted as part of the river levee rewilding or if it seeded itself there.

We regard a walk along the water as well formed if, and only if, we see an egret. This walk was well formed.

In fact, we saw two snowy egrets fairly close together.

2022 August 30

Secret Walks: Pogonip walks

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On 2022 August 9 and 2022 August 16, I went for walks with a friend in the Pogonip. The first time, we drove to Golf Club Drive and walked up around the old clubhouse up to the spring box (the official name for the little koi pond). The second time, we drove to the end of Spring Street and walked up Spring Trail to Rincon Trail, then came back past the spring box again. Although I’m not fond of riding in cars, my friend is not up for more than a few miles of walking, so driving to the starting point makes the walks more pleasant—and they have an electric car, so the environmental damage is not so big.

My friend is fond of lizards, and so I photographed some that we stopped to look at.

The koi are hard to photograph, unless you want an impressionistic view.

Another lizard.

The view across the meadow as you leave the trees is quite nice.

On the second walk, I only took a few photos of the koi.

The reflections off the pond again make for a rather impressionistic image.

2022 August 7

Secret Walks: Corpse flower

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I did not really do a walk in the “secret walks” series this week, but I did go for a stroll in the UCSC Arboretum on Tuesday 2 August 2022, because UCSC’s corpse flower had bloomed and was on display. I went with a friend, who parked at the Hay Barn and we walked up Ranch View Road, past the faculty housing—a road I’ve never walked before.

I rather like this old gate closing off the fire road.

I could not get very close to the corpse flower, as there were a lot of spectators, but it seemed to be a fine specimen. I was not close enough to smell the flower through my mask, but my friend said it had an unpleasant, but not very strong odor.

They had cut away part of the flower in order to either pollinate or access the pollen (I didn’t hear whether this was a male or female corpse flower).

After viewing the corpse flower, we strolled around the arboretum. Not much is in bloom this time of year, but the red-flowering gum was very attractive to the bees.

My friend was fond of the fan aloes, so I took a picture of them. I understand that they are now classified in a different genus: Kumara plicatilis, rather than Aloe plicatilis.

2022 July 31

Secret Walks: Moore Creek encore

This week was a bit of an odd one in the “secret walks” series.  On Thursday (28 July 2022), I did part of the Moore Creek Reserve walk with a friend, but took very few pictures:

We saw a fairly large lizard on a log, which I managed to get an OK picture of, though the lighting was not ideal.

One difference from the walk I did with my wife is that we walked up the east fork from the Terrace Loop Trail to the swing at the edge of the ravine, then back to the Terrace Loop. We also did not do the Prairie Loop Trail, because my friend was feeling a little tired. There were no cattle on the meadows at this time of year—but the cow patties were not completely dried out yet, so I suspect that they were only moved out in the past month.

We saw a few raptors high up (probably turkey vultures), but they were not photographable (by me anyway). All I got a photo of were these turkeys, who stayed conveniently on the ground (though I could not get very close to them, as they ran away as we approached).

On Friday, my wife and I walked downtown for dinner in Abbott Square (grilled cheese sandwiches from Central Coast Creamery) then over to Broadway Playhouse for the first public performance by WEST Performing Arts in a couple of years.  They were doing Puffs, a very funny play that satirizes Harry Potter.  Since Harry-Potter-based plays are a staple at WEST, this play was a good one to come back with.  The kids were all pretty good (though I had trouble with some of the quieter, higher-pitched voices, even with my hearing aids), and the play is quite funny.  My wife and I kept feeling like we ought to recognize the actors, even though our son’s last performance with WEST was in 2016, and even the youngest actors he performed with are now mostly out of college (some of them working as staff for WEST).  Several of the actors looked familiar, though none of the names in the program rang any bells.

On Sunday, my wife and I walked to the Colligan Theater to see Jewel Theatre’s final performance of Deathtrap, a very funny thriller-comedy.  We almost didn’t get in, though we had bought season tickets, because they had supposedly emailed a request for people to confirm their tickets. I checked when I got home, and I had no record in my email of any such request.  Luckily there had been a cancellation, so we were still able to get in (in seats as good as the ones we had reserved). The play was worth seeing, though it was clear that the set designer had had the most fun of anyone.

So I got in a moderate amount of walking this week, but not one very productive of photographs (it was still a bit weird going to a WEST play without taking a video or hundreds of photos, but I’m getting used to it now). I had taken about a hundred photos on July 16 of our son in a small role in Fortinbras produce by Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, so I’m maintaining the tradition. I put a few of the photos I took on a web page for my son.

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