Saturday, April 12, 2014

Return to Rocky Ridge

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With the circumannuation just seven weeks from completion, I'm trying to make sure I don't leave anything out -- any part of the mountain, that is. Probably not possible. My biggest disappointment has been going all year without a good bobcat encounter. There's still time to get lucky, but the most likely time of year for sightings has passed.

Today I enjoyed a beautiful spring hike, heading up the Rocky Ridge fire road and turning off at the Stocking Trail to pick up the Kent Trail down to Alpine Lake and closing the loop back where I'd parked at Bon Tempe Lake.

The Douglas iris were still going pretty strong, so I thought I'd create a theme for the day of showing the iris in various beautiful settings, but these first two settings were unmatched the rest of the way.

Hiking up Rocky Ridge, my thoughts kept turning to Magdalena Glinkowski, the young woman who was reported missing a week after she'd come up for a hike. Since so much time had passed before anyone started looking for her, it seemed certain she was either nowhere near the mountain, or was beyond help. According to the Marin IJ, a body was found this morning south of the Bootjack parking area where Magdalena's car had been found, and where she'd been photographed by security cameras.

A trail runner reported having seen Magdalena the day she disappeared, giving searchers a place to focus on. The authorities say there's no obvious sign of foul play. Hopefully they'll be able to figure out what happened. To die in such a beautiful place, a place whose dangers seen so benign -- a touch of poison oak or stinging nettle, or maybe a tick bite. Though the trails are many, it's hardly conceivable that someone could become so lost that they'd never again be found. 

But it sounds like she was found close to where she started. So sad. My prayers go out to Magdalena and her family.

This is Hidden Lake, along the Stocking Trail.

I couldn't resist photographing this gorgeous Amanita right along the Kent Trail. A couple of botanizers passed me here as they were heading uphill and the woman told me I should send the picture to the BioBlitz folks at iNaturalist. I actually knew what she was talking about.

Once upon a time I had more interest in collecting species photos. I put a lot of energy into getting IDs and uploading pictures to Calphotos. But somewhere along the way I lost interest in the enterprise. You never know about these things. The interest could return.

Or I could get sucked into using a 4x5 view camera exclusively and being much more selective about the subjects I photograph. I shot 94 frames today (including frames combined for exposure blending and focus-stacking), which is not a lot, even for me, although I usually shoot less when I'm actually hiking as opposed to just poking around somewhere. But 4x5 shooters sometimes come back from an outing having shot nothing at all. The whole process is so different from 35mm work.

For a project like the circumannuation, a project where exploring the biodiversity of a place is a large part of the work, the relative ease of 35mm is just right.

I was surprisingly tired by the time I reached Alpine Lake. Tough week, I guess. I'd planned to just enjoy the hike back to the Jeep without stopping to set up the camera again, but I couldn't resist when I spotted this red waxy cap mushroom growing at the base of a hollowed-out redwood trunk. In a normal, wet winter, we'd have seen these guys by the dozen already, but this might be the first and only one I've seen this season. People on the trails around Mt. Tam have often approached me when I'm photographing mushrooms. "I saw this bright red mushroom. Do you know what it was?"

Although blue sky was breaking out farther inland, heavy fog was still blowing thick and cold up on Bolinas Ridge. I was going to drive home that way to check up on the trail camera, but I was too tired to make the hike so I headed back the way I came, through Fairfax, San Anselmo, Kentfield and so on. Hopefully the trail camera will keep. I'm still running the same set of batteries I started with back in September.

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  1. Oh, wow, they found her. There are several places I've love to see more, but safety concerns keep me from going by myself. There was a year a few back when you were getting loads of bobcat photographs. What do you think changed? Your schedule? I see you keep switching things up to keep it interesting for you. Are you really going to end this blog in 7 weeks?

    1. I hope we get a fuller report of where she was found and what likely happened. There's nothing inherently risky about hiking anywhere out there that I'm aware of. When I was seeing lots of bobcats, that was in different place just south of Mt. Tam, and I had Fridays off. That place gets crowded on weekends, and since I'm back to a five-day workweek I almost never go there. Yes, I'm definitely going to end the blog at the end of May. I wanted to finish it up with a special project, and a year on Mt. Tam seemed like just the thing.

  2. John, I can't remember if you've been to Hidden Meadow -- that would be a good add.

    1. Thanks, Jane. I wasn't familiar with Hidden Meadow, but I just found it on your Bay Area Hiker site and now see it on my map. I'll check it out.