Cataract Falls

Meg at one of the lower waterfalls on the Cataract Fall Trail.

Meg at one of the lower waterfalls on the Cataract Falls Trail.

Life is busy. Crazy busy. Luckily, Jake and I love exploring, and we had the perfect day last week to go on a little adventure. For our anniversary, Jake took the day off and we went for a hike up around Mt. Tam. Finding the trailhead to Cataract Falls was no easy feat, but we managed to find it just off a hairpin turn in the road. With just enough space along the side to park the jeep, we headed off for the ~3 mile hike, which was nearly straight up the whole way out.

After passing a small lake, the trail comes to the bottom of the first of seven waterfalls. We hiked a little ways up, and then we just couldn’t help but to scale the moss-covered rocks along the sides of one of the falls. Though we quickly discovered our need for better hiking/climbing shoes, it was definitely an exciting adventure. We’ll be back soon, I’m sure!

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HP: From Meg’s Point of View

With Mum visiting for a few days from Kansas City, I wanted to show her some of my favorite places to run and hike. Helen Putnam Regional Park is one of those places. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we parked the Jeep and headed out with our cameras.

Helen Putnam Regional Park

Looking through the trees at the trails beyond, Mum thought this trail looked like an old path for the wagons venturing into the west during the California Gold Rush.

Tree at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This was such a funky tree. Its branches dipped all the way down to the ground, and its knotty trunk had a whole family of geckos. Such an interesting site.

Trails at Helen Putnam Regional Park

This is a great shot of the trails at HP. I love running here, or walking with the kids, or just going up and taking in the views. It is such an amazing treasure here in Petaluma. One of the many reasons I love living in beautiful California.

Walking In Helen Putnam Park, Mom’s Camera

Family travel always involves exploring the environment around us. Northern California is a perfect destination for discovering new and wonderful places.  On a recent visit to see Meg, we put on our walking shoes and, with cameras in hand, hiked and drove through the wonderful countryside in Sonoma County.

Our first hike focused on Helen Putnam Park, located just west of Petaluma.  The park includes 216 acres of grasslands and forests.  In late April, the wildflowers were in bloom throughout the park.  The well-worn walking paths and old wagon roads could easily have been formed during the years of the California 1849 gold rush, when pioneers flocked into Petaluma from the Northeast.

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We watched this woman happily make her way over the hill and around the bend in the path.

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Home to geckos and birds, this gnarled old tree seemed timeless.

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This old barn can be seen from the entry way to Helen Putnam Park.

Worth Avenue, Palm Beach

Palm Springs is among the most affluent communities in Florida. The homes, both old and new, are reminders that the “gilded age”, the age remembered for the accumulation of great wealth by a small number of individuals, has never entirely vanished.

Where do the wealthy residents–and tourists–shop? Worth Avenue. Shoppers will find retail stores comparable to those on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Do you want something special from Tiffany, Gucci, Giorgio Armani or Hermes?  Worth Avenue is the place to be.  It is elegant.  It is expensive.  The architecture itself is a great reason for a visit.  Oh, and it oozes old money, and new money, inherited money, earned money, all kinds of money.

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Terry and I enjoyed our visit.  We walked the avenue and stopped for lunch at Charlie’s Crab.  We’ll leave the heavy shopping to others.

Another visit to Bodega Bay…my favorite place to watch the sunset

Life is pretty amazing here in California. Sure, there are the same stressors and time-consumers here as there are anywhere else, but the beauty of living in California is in enjoying the outdoors and natural wonders of the region. I love exploring this place, finding all the nooks and crannies that don’t show up on the “Top 10 Things to Do” list, and discovering what it is that gives this area the pulse of life that it exudes. While I’ve discovered many a nook, I have also found that some of the most amazing places are those visited by both local and tourist alike. In this case, I point to Bodega Bay and the Bodega Headlands as a perfect example of both locally and “touristically” admired beauty, where I frequently go to find peace and revel at the unmatched awe of the ocean.

You all know I love to take pictures of the ocean, and especially of sunset. Here, I’m trying a few newly discovered features on my E-PL1, including “pop art” and “diorama.” Enjoy.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking north along the coast, from the north side of the trailhead.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.

Looking south along the coast, toward the Bodega Head parking lot and whale watching area.