Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walking With The Giants

12 miles north of San Francisco lies Muir Woods, 559 acres of protected land of which 240 acres are Coast Redwoods (Sequoia Sempervirens). It is close enough to be visited regularly, but for some reason I haven't. So one rainy day in January - MLK day to be exact, we thought we'd pay the giant trees a visit.

And so with a drop of the hat, we got into the car and crossed the bridge to get to Muir Woods. It was rainy but the parking lot was full. We had to park away from the park and walk a few yards to the entrance.
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And when I saw this sign, I knew why the park was full. I appreciate businesses who sponsor free days at the museums and parks. I don't actually know which corporation shouldered this day's fees, but in behalf of everyone who got in free, I thank thee.
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Come with me as I take a walk with the Giants. I hope you all can experience walking under these gems.
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And because of the storms and all the rains, some of the paths, especially the one where it loops back to the entrance was closed and I found myself entering a new territory. I went in for a few yards, but the road was too muddy and the rain was coming down so I turned around and finished my communing with nature.
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This is my entry for this week's MY WORLD #121.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Kind of Nature Watching

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A few miles north of San Simeon is a rookery for Northern Elephant Seal. That was where we went following the Hearst Castle tour. However, I am not sure this is the same rookery.  But it is close to it.  This beach has viewing area and elephant seals lounging about and it was the closest to San Simeon.

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The northern elephant seal spends 8 to 10 months a year in the open ocean. From mid March to mid September they come to the beach to molt - where they grow old skin and hair and shed the old. They molt on the rookery because molting on the open ocean requires enormous energy.

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While on the rookery, they fast, no food or water. Fasting necessitates quiet life, lots of sleeping not much moving around.

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"The young males, however, do use this time as an opportunity to joust with each other, playfully developing skills that are vital to them as adults. Much of this sparring takes place in the tide pool areas just off shore at times determined more by tide than sun."

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We were planning on visiting the lighthouse, but it was closed. I didn't make a thorough research. But being locked out (lol) of the lighthouse was a blessing in disguise as I was able to observe these elephant seals. I have visited another beach on Ano Nuevo State Park where they also visit and it also along this coast.

Click here for more information about this rookery.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hearst Castle - A Photographic Tour Part 4

Details, details, details. Just look.
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Shoot, shoot, shoot. While photography is allowed, only nonflash is okay and no to tripod use :)
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The library.
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More ceiling shot.
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We passed thru the hallway where you can see the guestroom, but we weren't allowed to enter.
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Another ceiling.
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Yet another one.
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I passed by a shut door that intrigued me.
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I vaguely remember this as the honeymoon room. There is an icon of a saint, (St. Anthony, if I remember correctly) inside. If I were a guest here this would be the room I would request to stay.
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This is the ceiling of the above room.
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The dresser.
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This is the door to that honeymoon room, quite narrow.
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But very ornate as you see the details are from floor to ceiling on this door.
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We passed through this very narrow hallway - I almost couldn't get thru - (j/k)
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I believe the kitchen is part of every tour.
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I am fascinated by the faucet handles.
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Nope they are not edible :)
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Ice box - their version of refrigerator.
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We concluded our tour by visiting the indoor pool called Roman Pool. Here's what I gather about this pool: his indoor pool, underneath two tennis courts, is lighted by skylights between the two tennis courts, tall arched windows at each end, and tall standing marble lamps. The main pool is 81' x 31' and 10' deep. All the surfaces are covered with blue and gold mosaic tile--gold leaf is fused in the glass. Decorative and marine motifs and copies of Greco-Roman sculpture add to the sumptuous effects. Curvilinear marble ladders indicate Morgan's consistent attention to detail. [source]
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That little balcony right there I'm guessing is the diving board.
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In its heyday in the 1920s and 30s William Randolph Hearst's (the newspaper magnate) A-list guests include Hollywood figures like Charlie Chaplin and political figures including FDR.

Thank you for keeping me company as I reminisce this visit to the Hearst's Castle.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hearst Castle - A Photographic Tour Part 3

I must confess something. The fact that I am posting this trip nearly 6 months after the fact has proven to be an arduous task. I simply have a tough time recalling the names of the rooms we have seen and the other details that the guide had shared with us.

Hence, I'd let the photos just speak. I'll give you as much information as my feeble brain had retained and of course there's always google to the rescue as well.

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This is how we got in around the back.

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The dining room.
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Across the dining room I fancied this lighting fixture.
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The Doge's suite.
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Hearst's office.
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Marion Davies' bedroom. Marion was the companion and the hostess at the ranch. She was also a movie star - haven't seen old movies so I wouldn't recognize her.
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Hearst's bedroom - opposite Marion Davies' bedroom in the upper floor.
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Detailing on the ceiling of Hearst's bedroom.

TO BE CONTINUED.............