Hike with Geoff

Spent a nice day hiking on Red Hill with friend, Geoff. We climbed to the summit and then looped around to the east to take shelter from a cold wind in the woods. The hike takes about two and a half hours and is less than six miles.

We’ve been friends and neighbors a long time and spent a couple of hours catching up before I head back to Philadelphia.

Red Hill is one of the best hikes in Sonoma County. When I get back from my trip east, I’ll take him out in Willow Creek where there’s more good hiking.

Here’s a map of our hike.

Three Outings in December

In the past week I have immersed myself, alone, in nature three times. I want to drink in as much of California’s natural beauty as I can before heading back east to the urban landscapes where my adult children live.

Last Friday I hiked early in the morning along the western shore of San Pablo Bay at China Camp State Park. I saw many deer and wild turkeys and a coyote.

Tuesday I paddled across Tomales Bay to enjoy a lunch on a beach I had all to myself. I enjoyed the company of several harbor seals.

Today I took a hike in Willowcreek State Park. In seven miles and about two and three quarters hours I encountered one mountain bike rider and another solo hiker. I hiked down Willowcreek Road to Old Barn Road.

The sun was warm, too warm for December, making it feel almost like April.

At a mouldering out building I enjoyed the lunch I carried in my backpack: kipper snacks, a pear, string cheese, a crust of a sourdough loaf, and a thermos of hot black tea.

For company, I brought a book to read while my lunch settled.

Maps of the outings:

China Camp:

Tomales Bay:



I see plastic polluting every estuary I visit.

Here in Philadelphia—unlike in California where I live most of the time—single use plastic bags are still in widespread use in retail. If Pennsylvania were to impose a 10-cent charge for plastic shopping bags I’m sure Pennsylvanians would remember to bring reusable canvas bags whilst shopping. It has become so habitual for me that it just seems weird to be in a place where this stupid and needless form of litter is still so common.

Here is a video on the plastics in the oceans produced by the BBC. It is worth the five minutes it takes to watch it. You may find it a bit depressing.

That said, it made me feel good about the efforts I have made over the years to reduce my use of plastic and to pick up the estuaries I visit.


Philadelphia Water

While visiting my grandson in Philadelphia I’ve had time to wonder about the water that comes through the plumbing here.

Philadelphia’s water is taken from (and returned to) the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. The  Philadelphia Water Department cleans the water before it enters the system and after it’s been used by the city residents. The average Philadelphian uses 87 gallons of water per day. The city as a whole can treat and distribute more than 540 million gallons of water each day.

The City maintains an attractive and informative interpretive center at Fairmount Waterworks, pictured below.