Santa Barbara and thereabouts

Hi everyone,

After a long drive from Monterey yesterday I’m back in Sonoma County today, at the home of my brother Tim and his wife Anne-Marie. It’s raining this morning, to the great relief of everyone. We hope this is the beginning of the end of a three-year drought. We shall see.

Here’s Tim and Anne-Marie on their front porch:

October 15-19 San Antonio to Rhonert Park 048

 

Article I’m correcting at the momentSurface dynamics along the shores of Tunis Gulf (North-eastern Mediterranean Sea)

 

October 12 – 14th

I leave Malibu and drive up the coast stopping here and there to shop and work on my computer in a café. In the afternoon I settle in at Carpinteria State Park, but I take no pictures as my camera is no longer working. I’ll get that taken care of in Santa Barbara tomorrow. Carpinteria, though, is very pretty beach resort town.  You can read about it and see pictures here and here.

In Santa Barbara the next day I get myself a new camera. I take only a few pictures in town, just to try out the camera…

1_Santa Barbar-1_just a few... 2_...photos suffice

…but Santa Barbara needs no publicity.

 

I make my way north again to El Capitan State Park and find a nice campsite…

3_El Capitan campsite

…and I then rush to the beach to take some more pictures with my new camera.

4_I rush to the beach...

 

I can’t help but notice the sorry condition of the stairs leading down to the beach…

4b_stairs

…which leads me to say that our state parks in California are generally in a sorry condition: underfunded, defunded, unfunded…

 

But the beach is beautiful, both to the south…

6_the beach to the south

…and to the north:

7_beach to the north

 

I take a lot of pictures of the beachlife, both terrestrial…

8b_beachlife tree

…and aquatic, though I suspect this specimen no longer qualifies as “life”:

5_...to try out my new camera...

 

I like the shadows they produce in the late afternoon light.

8_...on the beach life...

9b_more beachlife 11_beachlife 2

12_beachlife 3 13_beachlife 4

 

Especially this one:

15_my shadow

 

That evening I take some pictures from the bluff above the beach:

17_that evening from the bluff

 

Those specks you can just barely make out in the distance, they’re offshore drilling platforms:

16_due west, the oil rigs

 

A platform, with the zoom:

17b_platform with zoom

The sky is grey this evening. The forecast for tomorrow is grey and cooler. Autumn is coming.

 

The next day I take a long walk a few miles along the coast to the next state park, El Refugio:

19_to El Refugio campground

It doesn’t look bad from here, but when I walk around the campground I see that it, too, is rather run down. The palm trees give it a nice appearence from this bluff.

 

The day is grey but warm…

20_day is grey but warm 20b_beach warm grey day

 

The Pacific Ocean is a great swimming hole:

20c_beach warm grey 2

 

I take an interest in the plant life along the way. I’ve seen this one many a time, but I still don’t know what it’s called:

October 13 - 14 Santa Barbara 022 October 13 - 14 Santa Barbara 023

This one is new to me:

18_next day - walk - plants

 

I’ve been told by Captain that these are called “prickly poppies”, though I called them “datura” in another blogpost. I’ll have to look them up again. It seems to me that I found the name “datura” either online or in a book that I bought about Zion Park. Maybe someone else out there can help me?

22a_prickly poppy 22b_prickly polly

 

And of course there are the palm trees, starting to be less numerous along this part of the coast:

21b_palms

 

I haven’t had much success as a wildlife photographer on this trip. I long ago gave up on the ubiquitous deer and squirrels. But his pelican is too good to pass up. I decide to approach step by step, to see just how close I can get. Not too close yet…

23_pelican 1

 

Closer…

23_pelican 2

 

…closer still…

23_pelican 3

 

…the closest I’ll ever get. The seagull has already taken flight…

23_pelican 4

 

And then I take one step too many:

24_pelican flies away

Shasta County Days

August 16th, 2014

I leave Fort Bragg just after breakfast and drive north along the coast on California’s famous Highway 1:

2_up the coast-2

1_Driving up the coast-1

You can see how the fog hangs over us…

…but it’s still a beautiful drive:

3_up the coast-3

 

Soon the road turns inland and joins Highway 101 through the Eel River Valley. Here the road is known as the “Avenue of the Giants”, but I take no pictures. We’ve all had enough redwoods. It’s warm and sunny here and there are plenty of places to stop and swim, but I don’t stop yet. As we approach the coast and the town of Eureka it gets cool and grey again, but I turn east on California Highway 36 through the Van Duzen River Valley. It’s warm here and, lo and behold, I find the perfect place to swim (yet another one):

4_Van Duzen River Valley

5_a place to swim

But I don’t stay long.  I have a long drive ahead of me, over mountain ridges and through river canyons, where it will be increasingly hot.  Thankfully, Van is well air conditioned. I arrive in Redding in the late afternoon and check into a motel I know, take a long nap and then go to a Japanese restaurant that I like.

 

August 17th, 2014

The next morning I get up early and head eastward to the tiny town of Big Bend near which there are some so-called “primitive” hot springs, which is to say undeveloped, not like Orr.

I go to the Kosk Creek hot springs, which are a ten minute walk from the main road, along this dirt road:

6_the road to Kosk Creek

 

Somone has decided to point the way…

7_someone has pointed the way

…down this trail where…

8_now we follow this trail

…blackberries are ripening:

9_blackberries are in season

 

These are primitive hot springs, but nevertheless with some restrictions:

10_primitive springs but some restrictions

I entirely agree .

 

And then, just over a rise…

11_and over a rise

…the first of several pools.

The first pool closer up:

12_the first pool

Notice the convenient platform that someone has built. There are any number of improvements that have been made here over the years, such as the rock and cement soaking pools themselves.

Just above the pool is this convenient bench that someone has built:

17_bench

One of the best things about Kosk Creek is this swimming hole just in front of the first pool:

13_swimming hole

 

Kosk Creek as it flows into the swimming hole:

14_Kosk Creek-upper

 

And now looking downstream where there are two other spring-fed pools along the creek bank:

15_and downstream, other springs

 

Here is the original spring that feeds the soaking pool:

16_original spring

The water is very hot, and the pool is very small. You can’t soak here.

So I soak and swim, and soak and swim, and chat with two other hot springs aficionados who are at the nearby springs downstream. Hot springs fans are a community unto themselves, sometimes rather marginal and eccentric, but ecologically aware and in search of peace and quiet. We exchange information about other springs that we know.

The swimming hole as seen from the pool:

21_swimming hole, seen from pool

My feet, as I soak in the first pool:

22_feet

 

Downstream, near the other pools, someone has built these now-familiar rock structures:

19_in memoriam

But I want to go to another pool that I know, further downstream. These stairs lead the way:

23_stairway

 

And I follow this trail through the forest:

24_trail to lower springs

No redwoods here!  This forest is typical of the interior regions of northern California: pine, spruce, bay and madrone.

 

After a few minutes walk I arrive at the lower pools. I came here last September with my friend Richard, aka “Captain”:

25_lower springs with canopy

Someone has put up this canopy for protection against the afternoon sun. But this is mid morning, there is no escaping the sun.

The lower pool, up close:

26_lower springs pool-1

 

And from a distance:

27_sunscreen

 

I have a soak, a swim and I take some pictures. And then I have a little mishap. I’m walking about, taking pictures. I think to put down my camera, but I forget that I’m wearing my glasses.  I plunge into the water to swim and realize too late that I still have my glasses on. Of course I lose them in the swiftly flowing water.  The water is clear and I try to find the glasses, but it’s no use.

 

This next picture was in fact taken last September by Captain. It’s me swimming, precisely where I lost my glasses.

30_last year bis

 

Some of my friends at home in Besançon will remember that I lost those same glasses last winter. I waited, thinking they would turn up, but I finally had them replaced. Then I found the first pair and so, fortunately, I have an extra pair here with me.

I don’t think my lost glasses will make their way back to me this time.