12-May: Big Sur? No sir.

Most hiking blogs are incredibly positive. The photos they upload to Instagram are carefully curated, maybe they have aspirations on selling you gear. Whatever the motivation, they never have a bad review of anywhere, and as such the information they provide is of limited utility. I do not own an Instagram account, and the only redeeming quality of this blog is honesty. So for the three of you who read this, here is an honest opinion:

Fly Dive Bomb
This photo pretty well sums up our day: my wife and I, running away from the flies in a beautiful location.

This past weekend, I hiked from the Boronda trailhead to Mocho falls and it sucked. All of this was my fault, of course. May is late to be hiking in the Ventana Wilderness. But the Sierra Nevada is snowbound after a big winter, and my wife was tired of skiing, so I decided to give a shoulder season Ventana hike a try. The flies, heat, and rattlesnakes couldn’t be that bad, right?

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Shorties: Spring Hikes 2019

The average hiking blog is a little intense, and I certainly fall into this category. People who like hiking enough to write about it tend to want to go all day. However, given welcome conflicts with ski trips & family and unwelcome conflicts from work, I’ve recently had to spend my time outdoors in bite sized chunks. These hikes are good for when family comes over, you want to have a picnic with friends, or you’ve just got a few hours.

March 31st – San Bruno Mountain, South Face: 2 miles

I was on call for work most of March, so I decided to hit up all the local wildflower spots. The wildflower season in the Bay Area was pretty late & muted, but the best spot was the southern face of San Bruno mountain. The sunny south aspect, rocky soil, and volunteer efforts made for a great wildflower hike.

 

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3-Apr: Garden Notes

So my one reader (hi Mom!) may have noticed that I have about twice as many hiking posts as I do gardening. The obvious reason for this is that gardening is harder. I’ve hiked maybe 100 times in my life, but I’ve gardened half-seriously for maybe 6 growing seasons. There’s a reason the best gardeners are old ladies.

img_0859.jpg
Marigolds self-seed prolifically. This pot had two marigolds that I started from seed last year. I never watered this pot, just let the rain do the work.

Self seeding plants might be my new favorite thing. I got lazy and only planted about half my containers during the winter. And in the other containers, flowers I had grown in a previous season decided to pop up (alyssum, marigolds, and violas). The one downside is that it’s hard to sort out what’s a weed and what’s a flower with so many plants popping up.

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24-Feb: Last Chance & Jeff Falls

Much like last year, a beautiful February day lead us back to the Ventana Wilderness. Hiking in the Ventana is much harder than the Sierra, as ticks, poison oak, encroaching brush, and erosion are all trying to ruin your trip. But the waterfalls were great, and the views of snow capped Santa Lucia mountains while enjoying warm weather were worth it.

Jeff Falls
Jeff Falls (seen from 36.2188, -121.4836) is the first waterfall you encounter, after walking about a quarter mile off trail.

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21-Jan: Grizzly Gulch Falls at the Coe

I have a love/hate relationship with Henry Coe State Park. The most fulfilling hikes I’ve done have often been there. The park is a huge swath of former ranch land that’s been left to be reclaimed by nature, and nature’s doing a fine job of that. My first ever backpacking trip was there, and it’s quite scenic in winter & spring.

However, almost every trip I make there manages to cause me some sort of physical pain. On my first backpacking trip, it was hauling so much gear (up the infamous shortcut & climb out of poverty) with my high school backpack that the straps ripped. Items hauled include a glass bottle of wine and canned tuna, I was not ultralight back then. There was also the previously documented, salt deficient hike to Pacheco Falls. Grizzly Gulch Falls had long been a goal of mine, and the park made me pay for it in it’s usual way.

Grizzly Gulch Falls
The bushwhack to this falls was totally worth it at the time. Little did I know, Coe would have his revenge.

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The dirt on free compost

The Shoreway “Environmental Center” (read: dump) in San Carlos gives away free compost to residents (and they’ve never checked my ID, so they give it away to anyone). It has become a staple of my garden routine, before I start planting the next crop. They have shovels & bags there, just tell the guy you’re there for compost and start shoveling.

Compost Detritus
White plastic, green broken glass, bits of wood, and some black rubbery stuff. This junk only hurts cosmetically though, plants do just fine.

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