Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Wunderlich County Park, Apr 2022

with one comment

Salamander Flat

An approximately 5 mile hike in Wunderlich County Park, starting at the Alambique Nature Trail, going clockwise via Meadow Trail, Bear Gulch Trail, Redwood Trail, and back to the parking lot via Madrone Trail. The Meadow Trail is unshaded in large parts. Alambique is dappled shade. Bear Gulch, Redwood Trail and Madrone are well shaded. Going clockwise, both Alambique and Meadow are mostly uphill. The trail starts going down on Bear Gulch and continues downhill all the way to the parking lot. At the top of Meadow Trail, there is a clear view of the Bay including Stanford campus and the dish. On a hot day, it may be easier going counter-clockwise where the uphill is cool and shaded. Jane Huber of BAHiker likes this trail in the autumn when she says that the ground is dry and the foliage is gorgeous.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

May 1, 2022 at 2:03 am

Posted in California, USA

Tagged with ,

Jean Lauer Trail, April 2022

leave a comment »

The artifacts of US Air Force base visible from much of the trail

Jean Lauer trail is short coastal hike in Pillar Point Bluff County Park. It is a flat and mostly accessible trail. We went walkabout a bit beyond the main trail. Wildflowers from mustard family were in bloom.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 9:23 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Walk in the woods, Apr 2022

leave a comment »

Somewhere near Little Basin Road off of CA Route 236

We had intended to do the Eagle Rock trail. When we reached the designated parking, we found it closed. We walked about a bit, for a mile or so, searching for the trail, and eventually realized we were on someone’s private land. We were puzzled and decided to head out. Once we got out, we noticed a sign saying that the campground was closed due to hazardous conditions from 2020 fires. Silly us, it took us a while to realize we weren’t getting a prize here – a trail all to our ourselves!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 5:30 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Thornewood Open Space Preserve, Apr 2022

leave a comment »

Looking up on Bridle trail

First, we did the Schilling Lake trail recommended by POST. The parking lot on La Honda only has space for six cars and is often overcrowded on weekends, it helped us that this was the Tax weekend as well as the Easter weekend. On our way back, we decided to explore the Bridle trail. This trail is almost entirely shaded by Redwoods. Overall, approximately 3.5 miles and elevation change of approximately 400 ft. The trails go along streams and small waterfalls and could be nice, albeit cold, in winter. It had rained yesterday and portions of the trail were a little muddy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 18, 2022 at 6:46 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Calero Park from Rancho Cañada del Oro, April 2022

leave a comment »

Field of vetch under an oak tree

From the same parking spot as Rancho Cañada del Oro, this 4 mile hike is through the neighboring Calero Park, following Longwall Canyon to Needlegrass to Bald Peaks trail to Little Llagas Creek trail. This is part of the POST recommended Rancho Cañada del Oro hike, with the climb going up the wrong way, on the shorter and exposed Needlegrass trail. The only shaded portion of the hike is the Little Llagas Creek trail. Top of Needlegrass has stunning views of the mountains and if one knows where to look, the view of Loma Prieta, the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Although we were too winded to appreciate. Note to self – pay attention to trail markers next time. This time again, after the hike, we took our lunch on one of the benches on Whole Access Llagas Creek Loop Trail looking at the field of lupines and vetches and poppies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 10, 2022 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Windy Hill Hike, April 2022

with one comment

On the way down from the summit

We followed the recommended POST hike, from Spring Ridge Trail to the Hamm’s Gulch Trail, to Bay Area Ridge Trail, and the Anniversary Trail to reach the summit and a descent via the Spring Ridge trail to the Betsy Crowder Trail. We saw a number of new flower species on Hamm’s Gulch. The trail was all shaded until we reached the end of Hamm’s Gulch and then it is almost entirely exposed until Betsy Crowder trail. This direction is a whole lot more pleasant than going up Spring Ridge and coming down Hamm’s Gulch.

It is not common to have a trail named Betsy, it is named after local conservation activist Elizabeth “Betsy” Swann Crowder.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 8, 2022 at 12:00 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, March 2022

leave a comment »

What a beauty! This is on the Ancient Oaks Trail near Bo Gimbal Trail intersection.

Followed the POST recommended 3.6 mile trail from the Ridge Trail, to the Ancient Oaks Trail to the Charquin Trail back to the Ridge Trail. The parking lot was full and we parked by Highway 35. The wildflower season was at its peak.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Rancho Cañada del Oro, March 2022

leave a comment »

An exceptionally beautiful park in spring.

While we had intended to do the 5.8 mile Bald Peaks trail recommended by POST, we accidentally ended up on the 4.3 mile Mayfair-Longwall canyon loop trail. The climb took us through Blue Oak woodlands. It was stunningly beautiful. Occasionally we would see signs for cattle grazing. We found ourselves discussing how the land might have been before the settlers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Hiking Edgewood Park, March 2022

leave a comment »

Near Clarkia Trailhead

This is one of the best places to see wildflowers and it is in our neighborhood park too. We have walked this park dozens of times, from the main park entrance or Sunset trailhead, but this time we started from Clarkia trailhead. We followed Clarkia to Sunset to Ridgeview to Franciscan to Live Oak to Serpentine back to Sunset and Clarkia (23, 22, 14, 13, 15, 12, 17, 20, 22).

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Hiking Huddart Park, March 2022

leave a comment »

Huddart Park is a lovely park for picnic and the wooded trails are great on a summer day. The trails are uneven dirt trails, but in Redwood forests, trails are always easy on your feet. At this time of the year, the streams carry water and delicate green ferns grow by the trails. We did a short hike around the Zwierlein picnic area following Crystal Spring Trails, Canyon Trail, Campground Trail and Dean Trail (from marker 21 to 17 to 13 to 15 to 24 to 19 to 17 and back to 21).

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 10:04 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail, March 2022

leave a comment »

Quintessential view from this trail. There is no beach access.

We ended up going all the way from one end to another and coming back. That made is a nearly 7 mile hike, near all flat and nearly all exposed. We started on the north end. There is perhaps more place is sit at the northern end, so if doing a picnic lunch in the middle, it might make more sense to start at the south end.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:58 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Hiking Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, March 2022

leave a comment »

A beautiful oak on the Paseo del Roble trail near Arastradero lake

Our intent was to do the recommended 3.7 mile scenic loop recommended by POST, but we ended up going a little longer. We first did the Redcap loop trail. Then we went on to Juan Bautista de Anza Trail to Meadowlark Trail to Acorn trail to Arastradero creek trail to Paseo del Roble to Wild Rye trail before descending back to the de Anza Trail. The parking lot appeared quite busy on the weekend!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:42 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with ,

Sequoia Audubon Trail, Feb 2022

leave a comment »

At the start of the trail

It was a delightful 1.5 to 2 miles roundtrip trail along the marshes. It was an absolutely gorgeous day by the beach when the inland was cloudy and cold. We took our binoculars to watch the birdlife and found some common Canadian geese. January and February had not seen much rain this year after a lot of rain the previous two months and as a result, some of the vegetation had started to dry out already. There were a lot of cattail. A few of the yarrows were in bloom, but plenty were getting ready. There was not much shade along the way, and it was surprisingly warm.

There is parking right at the start of the trail, but south Pescadero beach is perhaps a better spot to park if combining with picnic lunch. At the beach, you will see people fishing and there are a number of benches to enjoy the ocean view.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Visiting Ano Nuevo SP, Feb 2022

leave a comment »

An elephant seal family with a male, eight females and eight pups (seven seen).
A lone seal hanging out, they often use their flippers to move wet sand on themselves.

Año Nuevo State Park is one of the largest elephant seal rookery. It is a short walk, about 1.5 miles roundtrip, but set aside 2 hrs because it is really fun to watch these seals when they do decide to move. As per the docent, the best time to come here between December and January, especially the days where it is wet and clammy. There is a lovely picnic area right at the entrance and plenty parking.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

Tagged with

Hiking in Uvas Canyon, Feb 2022

leave a comment »

At the start of the waterfall loop

We had intended to do the 3.5 mile waterfall hike as per POST recommendation but ended up taking the detour up to Knobcone Point which added an additional 0.8 miles to the total. When they say steep, they mean steep. We practically crawled up to Knobcone, but the reward was a lovely picnic table where we had our lunch. I enjoyed the flatter contour trail part of the hike where the air smelled of California/mountain laurel. Much of the hike is shaded, the ground is packed dirt and also steep downhill on Alec Canyon.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 12:45 am

Night sky in Joshua Tree NP

leave a comment »

We started the year 2022 with trip to an old favorite, Joshua Tree National Park. If there is a national park, that feels personal and accessible, this is it. You can stop anywhere, walk anywhere and scramble up any rock. So it feels. It is perfect in the winter when it rains elsewhere. Best night sky is perhaps the month of September when JT hosts night sky festival, however, for those of us who live amidst light pollution, a sky where you can see stars is perfect anytime of the year. The photos below are from a small stretch between Quail Springs and Hemingway between 9 and 10 pm. We didn’t really have appropriate winter attire, so we were rather cold, but the photos were well worth it.

From Quail Springs Parking Lot. This is a single long exposure, otherwise unprocessed.
On a dirt trail right before Hemingway, coming from the West Entrance. This is a different night compared to the previous image. Night sky was cloudless. This is a single short exposure but otherwise unprocessed photo. The glowing tip of the rocks is from a car passing by on the Park Boulevard.
From the same dirt trail and the same night as the previous photo. This is stacked but otherwise unprocessed. You can see the linear trails from flights.

Written by Som

March 19, 2022 at 8:51 pm

Posted in California, USA

Tagged with ,

Ojai, an escape from the humdrum

with one comment

Ojai exists to charm the suburbia and city dwellers. It is picture perfect everywhere, from its cute little homes to its expansive meadows. And the food here is a mecca for those of us on any type of fringe diet.

Our designer built cottage

A perfect town to experience California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle

Ojai Meadow Preserve, a delightful and easy hiking trail where it is easy to get a bit lost

A lovely brook where the trail becomes particularly directionless

Meditate, ponder, rest

Written by locomotoring

February 24, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Posted in California

Tagged with

Falling in love with Sequoia National Park

leave a comment »

Last 4th of July, we drove down south, a circuit tour from Bay Area to Pismo Beach to Ojai to Sequoia National Park and back up. While all three destinations are delightful in their own right, I simply fell in love with Sequoia Park. At the root of the deep affinity was my realization that for the last 3 years, I had been putting together Dogwoods, Manzanitas, Cercis and Ribes that grow abundantly in Sequoia NP. Inadvertently, I have been trying to mimic the Sequoia landscape in my backyard!

Ribes in bloom

Manzanita in bloom

Dogwood in bloom in the backyard

Kaweah River

Dogwoods of Sequoia National Park

Crescent Meadow

Bear at Crescent Meadow

View from Moro Rock Trail at Sequoia NP

Top of Moro Rock at Sequoia National Park

Written by locomotoring

February 24, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Posted in California, USA

Tagged with

Atelier Crenn from an year ago

leave a comment »

Third time is the charm for the photos, with the latest renovation, there is now a hint of light for the lens. Not that photos matter or even the menu matters. A dinner at Crenn is like a series of short adventure trips for the uninitiated. No baby steps, you jump straight into it – sky diving, canoeing the rapids, zip lining, bungee jumping and so forth. Imagine you have been handed a schedule that looked like the following,

Sky, gravity & wind
River, foam & paddles
Canopy & pines

Frankly, even if the schedule came with a video of the activity, you will only know the motions and not the sensations.

Here was what the menu said on Nov 22, 2017,

Plum kambucha
Kir Breton
Fish & Chips
Geoduck, Sea Urchin & Citrus
Seeds & Grains
Caviar, Monkfish & Koji
Brioche & Housemade butter
Abalone, Cabbage & Smoked Creme
Matcha Tea Service
A-5 Wagyu, Porcini & Bearnaise
Harbison, Buckwheat & Truffle

Nopal Elixir
White chocolate avocado cremeux
Mesa Crisp
Sapote Ice Cream & Maracuya
Vanilla Bean Guanabana & Crystallized Tobacco Leaf
Recreation of Agave, Coconut & Iced Pulque
Mignardises

Think of the elixirs and tea services as brief rest stops in between the adventure courses. I had been experimenting with home brewing kambucha last year, but that only made me wonder how did Dominique manage to get kambucha to taste good, let alone great. Thanks to a recent trip to Mexico City, at least the dessert menu ingredients like Sapote and Guanabana were familiar. Harbison? Your Googling is as good as mine. Her pastry Chef Juan Contreras, a Los Angeles native, has been with her for a while but this was the first time we noticed an influence from south of the border.

The menu also showed a hand-drawn Ocotillo, a desert cactus. We had seen Ocotillo in bloom earlier that year during the trip to Joshua Tree National Park. From a distance, they look like red tipped 20 ft tall grass. When the earth is dry, the stems are leafless, grey and thorny. The leaves sprout whenever the earth is a little moist. I took that to be the representation for the dessert menu.

Some of the photos …

Kir Breton, this is the only repeat adventure from last two times. Champagne cocktail served in a white chocolate shell with creme de cassis on top.

Fish and chips

White chocolate avocado cremeux

Sapote Ice cream & Maracuya

Vanilla bean guanabana & crystallized tobacco leaf

Recreation of agave, coconut & iced pulque. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. It has the color of milk, somewhat viscous consistency and a sour yeast-like taste.

Written by locomotoring

December 30, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Noah Purifoy’s outdoor museum

with one comment

Assemblage sculpture from Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

Noah Purifoy was an accidental find. During last visit to Joshua Tree National Park, we ended up staying close to his museum of assemblage sculpture. Since then, I learned many things, a) media describes him as an artist forged by fire, his earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from LA’s 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country, b) he was exhibited at LACMA in 2015, “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada“, 50th anniversary of the Watts riots  when several of these large-scale sculptures from Joshua Tree museum were brought in along with some of his early works, and  finally, c) something provocative even by today’s standards, his 1971 solo show.

A 1971 solo show at the Brockman gallery in Los Angeles—for which he converted gallery space into a squalid, crowded inner-city apartment shared by an extended black family, complete with a stinky refrigerator, roaches, and figures getting busy under bedcovers—was an even more provocative exploration of racial and social injustice (the title of the show: “N* Ain’t Gonna Never Ever Be Nothin’—All They Want to Do Is Drink and Fuck”). – Julia Felsenthal for Vogue in 2015

One of the pieces, that stuck me most was an assembled home.

View 1: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

View 2: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

View 3: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

 

I didn’t know anything about Noah when we stumbled upon his open museum. I had seen assemblage sculpture in closed museum spaces before, a piece here or a piece there, and they never quite made much sense. But out there in the bright desert sun, in a seemingly middle of nowhere little (albeit destination) town, on a vacation from the humdrum of life, and seeing them all together, a narrative has started to form.

I am beginning to realize that the museum spaces are as important as the pieces themselves. I remember feeling sorry for the magnificent creatures of Theo Jansen when they were exhibited indoors at the San Francisco Exploratorium. They felt broken and powerless in the cavernously large and poorly lit exploratorium. I am sure they would have been wonderful on the beach, howling in the wind.

The disappointment at the Exploratorium was similar when seeing sunflower seeds of Ai Weiwei at the Tate Gallery in London. The original intention was a design where visitors could walk or roll on an infinite carpet of porcelain sunflower seeds in the vastness of the turbine hall. Juliet Bingham, Curator of Tate Modern had said, “Each piece is a part of the whole, a commentary on the relationship between the individual and the masses. The work continues to pose challenging questions: What does it mean to be an individual in today’s society? Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together? What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?” But shortly after its opening, this interactive display was declared a health hazard due to porcelain dust. So, Tate had to put the seeds in a conical pile  in the center of a featureless bright room, cordoned off with a security guard watching over.

So if a museum piece doesn’t make sense, I just have to remind myself that perhaps it is in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Written by locomotoring

May 7, 2018 at 6:30 am

Posted in California, USA

Tagged with ,

Joshua Tree in Bloom

with one comment

You go for a blast of flowers and colors and stay for the details.

Near the Cottonwood region of Joshua Tree – purple chia and yellow desert sunflowers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by locomotoring

April 17, 2017 at 2:10 am

Strandbeest and Theo

with one comment

My first experience with Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest, aside from youtube videos and his TED talk, was a model kit. This is a 3d printed kit of Animaris Ordis Parvus that we bought from his website. It’s very sight gives joy. Yesterday, I noticed that the elastic holding the backbone had disintegrated, my poor strandbeest with a broken back and in captivity and it made me a touch sad.

In Theo’s words:

“Since 1990, I have been engaged in creating new forms of life. These forms are not made of protein like the existing life-forms. Theirs is another basic stuff: yellow plastic tubing. Skeletons made from these tubes are able to walk and get their energy from the wind, so they don’t have to eat. Their habitat is the beach where I was born. They evolved gradually, over several generations. As they developed, they became more adept at weathering storms and coping with the sea. My ultimate wish is to release herds of these beach animals on the shore to make their own way through life. By redoing the Creation, so to speak, I hope to become wiser in my dealings with nature that is already there. It presents me with the same problems the Real Creator must have come up against. Strandbeest is a testimonial to my experiences as God. I can assure you that it’s not easy being God, there are plenty of disappointments along the way. But, on the few occasions that things work out, being God is the most wonderful thing in the world.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sachin

October 5, 2016 at 1:40 am

A breakfast and a lunch in San Francisco’s Little Italy

leave a comment »

Mama’s on Washington Square. Even for a mid week breakfast, there was a long queue outside.

Mama’s screwdriver is made with grapefruit juice and soju. On yeah, a morning screwdriver is the best way to celebrate middle of the week time off from work. This is completely no-nonsense drink that would provide a buzz long enough to last the trek up to Coit tower.

Mama’s Benedicts. Tasty! Enough energy to last the trip to Coit tower and back and then slump on the luncheon chair at Tony’s Napoletana.

Menu at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. When pizza appears on the menu along with the oven temperature, one has to take it seriously, right?

The gluten free. You could ask, why one even bothers. There is something in the aroma of bread and cheese that is simply put, irresistible. Overall verdict, the dough is not as good as Mariposa’s.

Written by locomotoring

August 15, 2015 at 8:51 am

Chantal Guillon – land of macroon wonder

leave a comment »

Chantal Guillon in Palo Alto Downtown Store front
Blood orange macaroons Guava macaroons

Written by locomotoring

June 29, 2015 at 3:41 am

Posted in Bay Area

Tagged with

Freedom Wings

leave a comment »

Osmanthus in Oakland was our pick for lunch after the naturalization ceremony in Oakland’s Paramount Theater. Pizza is what we would have celebrated with but with the gluten intolerant microbiota, we decided on Asian cuisine instead. And a modern pan Asian restaurant to celebrate the occasion was perhaps even apt. Of the 1097 fellow Americans who took the oath representing 55% of world’s nations (yes, a whopping total of 109 nations!) over two third were formerly asian.

Oakland, thank you for supporting restaurants like Osmanthas (and Juhu Beach Club and Asmara and …) . And thank you for restoring the Paramount theater and hosting this celebration there. It is an important milestone in our lives and it is extraordinary to share the experience with 1000 others in this stunning old Art Deco theater. It was a solemn occasion with speeches and presidential videos (w/ camera flashes and twittering and cheering!).  Throw in 15 minutes of Charlie Chaplin on the big screen next time or even Walt Disney cartoons and lets us feel the true glory of this beautiful venue, Might even lull the crying babies!

Chicken wings lunch plate with honey ginger glaze.

Dry-fried chicken wings lunch plate with sichuan peppercorns

“Ms Grant” – a gin, ginger, lime and castilian bitters cocktail and “Plum Manhattan” – a rye, vermouth, umeshu, sour cherry bitter cocktail.

Also the basa fish with fermented black beans and “kiang ton” spareribs. Every dish was done expertly with the usual play of textures. Dishes were served with this delicious Japanese style pickled cabbage that elevated this simple vegetable to fine cuisine. The flavors in their fermented beans and sichuan peppers were memorable enough that my taste buds can recall with clarity after 24 hours!

Thinking about the wings now, I would say that only thing that could have made the chicken wings better is if they were Pok-Pok’s. But at the time, after a wonderful glass of Plummy Manhattan, I was happy.

Written by locomotoring

June 25, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Posted in Bay Area

Tagged with ,