Category Archives: Hiking

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Forty Miles on the American River

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Today I changed up the routine a bit, took advantage of the beautiful weather and hit the river trail on my bike. Ahh, yes, fresh air, sunshine and solitude. Just what an ailing psyche needs after weeks of putting the needs of others before one’s own. My goal was to surpass the mileage of my previous ride, a milestone attained with far less effort than it had the last time I rode this trail.

Stopping to take a couple of photos on the river, I turned back at the twenty-mile mark and headed home to resume my supportive role of friendship. Then, it happened. Thirty miles into my forty miles on the American River, and still ten miles from home, the hypnotic drone of my dirt tires on the hot asphalt suddenly changed its tone… this could mean only one thing… I had a flat. This likely occurred during one of the three times I launched my mountain bike off the paved trail and onto a single track dirt path for a little off-roading.

In my haste to embark on this journey of self rejuvenation, I neglected to take a spare tube, my multi tool and enough water to sustain me had this unforeseen event occurred. Thankfully, my tire pump was mounted to the frame and after airing up each mile or so, I was able to ride another four miles before the tire would no longer take air.

My forty mile ride ended as a thirty-four mile ride and a six-mile walk… Still, this was a good day.

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GoPro Hero3 Maiden Voyage in Auburn, CA

I took out my new GoPro Hero3 for its maiden voyage today. I loaded up my bike and headed up to Auburn State Recreational Area, one of the best places in the Sacramento region to hike and tear around on a mountain bike. I discovered a few things during this expedition. First and foremost, I am in a lot better shape than I was the last time I ventured out this way for a day of fresh air and insane dirt downhill adrenaline rushing. A lot can be said for running four days a week and a semi regular yoga regimen, I guess. I also learned that It now costs $10 to park my car and ride around for the day. I don’t mind the fee, state parks need to survive and this one ranks among the best in my opinion, I just don’t remember having to pay there before and I wasn’t prepared for the fee. I hope that they don’t mind all of the quarters loaded into their little brown envelope, kept in the car for the intermittent feeding of downtown Sac. parking meters.

So, with that said, I am posting one of the videos I took of one of my downhill runs. Don’t expect a bunch of fancy stunts, and shit people. Lest you forget, I’m 48 years old, my friends. Those days are behind me, but I Will tackle a first gear pulse quickening climb or an adrenaline pumping high-speed descent any day of the week. I did reach some pretty hairy speeds and buried my shocks a few times on some huge rocks and deep ruts on this trip and that’s what I’m talking about! This was a Kick-Ass day trip!

Adrenaline… It’s all I have left, ya know?

Enjoy.

The Birds of Cosumnes River Preserve

I tend to find my photography subjects everywhere.  I am never without my camera and I will photograph whatever i find interesting from the dilapidated abandoned buildings of downtown Sacramento with their resident bats, rodents and homeless to the ornate architectural elements of the turn of the century buildings that pepper the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley.

Lately, though, I have had really good luck finding cooperative subjects among the wildlife at Cosumnes River Preserve.  Located just off of I-5 and Twin Cities Road in the town of Galt, Cosumnes Preserve encompasses several hundred acres of wetlands with walking trails that meander through wooded areas and meadows where one may encounter a beaver busy putting together its hut, muskrats scurrying along the banks of the river on a quest for food or even the occasional mountain lion coming down to the water’s edge to check meal prospects that may include the aforementioned river inhabitants.  

The variety of water birds and raptors is also pretty phenomenal.  Here is a slide-show that I put together of some of the wildlife that I have encountered within two days of shooting last month.

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If you’re ever traveling in the area on I-5 on your way north or south between Lodi and Sacramento, Cosumnes Preserve is a worthwhile side trip.

New Year Resolutions 2011

A new year is upon us and with the new year comes more resolutions that, lets face it, most of us, while making a valiant effort to keep seem to fall short or are all too eager to abandon altogether.  A guy I know at work I think said it best when he said that for him there will be no resolutions for the new year, just results. 

I have to admit that I have never been one to make New Year resolutions because it seems that once one voices their aspirations of positive changes in their lives and obligate themselves to initiate this change on a specific date they are doomed to failure.  With that said, I am taking a proactive role in making positive changes in my life, and yes, I am embarking on my quest for enlightenment on the first day of 2011 (today).  This blog post is part of that venture which will include more of the same.  I am keeping it simple though.  No major hurdles.  Just keeping a firm grasp on personal passions and wellness.  It’s all about me and what keeps me being me.

I know, my blog posts are supposed to include some photography to associate to the topic, but I didn’t get out last night to photograph any New Years festivities or fireworks, so you’ll have to settle for these photos depicting what I did last summer.  And you say I never take you anywhere. 

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Wishing us all a New Year full of Health, Happiness and new opportunities!

Photowalking territory

Some photographers feel that in order to take really good photos of stuff with a pretty background or find wildlife going about its business in its natural environment, one must travel to far away lands.  There are those who fly to other continents or drive across country in search of the ever elusive perfect photo; the proverbial “money shot.”  I too have fallen prey to this misconception and I admit that I have also traveled far and wide purely for the purpose of capturing images to bring home to my hum drum life back in the city.

Living in California, we are fortunate, blessed, if you will, to have a wide range of subject matter at our fingertips, a plethera of diverse environments and habitats at our disposal, and while some of my favorite, if not best, images have been taken at least a day’s drive away from my Central Valley home, one need only step outside their back door to find nature at its finest.  It’s all around us, and with a little patience, anyone can capture some pretty cool images of this wonderous world that we share.

Over the past several days I have been pestering my wife to take a trip back up to Auburn with me to hike around and take some more photos like our last trip I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.  I had the idea to start a tradition of going on a hike (with the camera, of course) on the day after ThanksGiving to justify, and then work off the over consumption of the holiday.  What I didn’t take into consideration, was that after spending two days preparing for and then hosting the ThanksGiving meal for a house of ten to fifteen people, my wife might be a little less than enthusiastic about embarking on a hike first thing the next morning.  Yes, for those of you saying to yourselves, “what was he thinking?  Obviously, he wasn’t”, I now see the error of my ways.

I have to hand it to my wife, though.  She is a real trouper.  Knowing how important this whole hiking thing after ThanksGiving was to me, she agreed to accompany me on a hike/walk a couple of days later, but a little closer to home.  Which brings me back to the misconception that you have to go far away from home to find nice scenery in which to hike in, walk through or photograph.

This photo was taken in Lodi yesterday and probably no more than a ten minute drive from our home.  Lodi Lake is a park that encompasses a rather large open space area with walking and biking trails that meander along the Cosumnes River, and, of course, a lake.  Not only is the area beautiful, and right in town, it also boasts a broad range of wildlife.  We were lucky enough yesterday to see this family of six deer just strolling through and meer feet away from us, grazing on grass and low tree branches.  Yes, that is the roof of a residential home in the background just beyond the deer.

      

We even got to see this crazy goose acting like a fool in the middle of the lake.

At the end of the day, we got in a walk to work off our (my) excesses of the holiday meal, got in some nature sights, had my wife at my side, now that she had a couple of days to recoup from all of her hard work preparing the meal and hosting a house full of people.  We also saved a bunch of dough in gas and travel time. 

So, when you’re thinking that geographical globe hopping is the only way to get out and take some pretty cool photos, or just escape the city, stop and take a look around.  You just might not have to travel any futher than your own back yard.