Ken's Photo Blog

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Ken badge, Oct. 2008 self photo

Dec. 31, 2008

New Years Eve

Gloria Ferrer bubbly, Papai photo, Dec. 31, 2008 Sparkling Rose Wine at Ferrer. PLACEHOLDER for the Eve at Gloria Ferrer ritual & annual champagne picnic in Sonoma...

Dec. 25, 2008

Xmas in Sonoma

Vintners Inn, Papai photo, Dec. 24, 2008 The Vintners Inn on River Road. PLACEHOLDER for Holiday wine & food in Sonoma...

Nov. 22-29, 2008

Thanksgiving Week Vacation

MASH TV site, Malibu Creek state park, Papai photo, Nov. 28, 2008
[Image: M*A*S*H site
in Malibu Creek state park]
On Saturday, 11/22, after driving 325 miles from San Rafael, we visited five winery tasting rooms in the Santa Rita Hills -- between Lompoc and Buellton. They were Fiddlehead, La Vie, Babcock, Melville, and Foley. Later we had some excellent pinot noir and dinner at the Hitching Post II. Their ostrich appetizer is insanely good!
Sunday was a 220 mile drive to meet relatives for brunch in Oceanside, with a return leg back to the Marriott at Dana Point. Dana Point has a very nice harbor and yacht club--barely a 5-minute walk from the Marriott (next to Lantern Park).
Wednesday we drove to the Hilton at Universal City and a late lunch ritual at Art's Deli on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City.
Thursday was a super filling Thanksgiving buffet and the usual spate of NFL games on TV.
Friday included a nice hike at Malibu Creek State Park (the photo at upper left) to the MASH TV site and back on the Crags trail & fire road. The Reagan Ranch is also hikable at this park too -- right along Mulholland drive highway amidst the Santa Monica Mountains.
Finally, Saturday we drove the 390 miles back from L.A. to San Rafael and the auto traffic was pretty good. Driving just 74 mph on I-5 makes you pretty much a turtle but the gas mileage is nice.

Nov. 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Week Plans

Part of our plans include visting this place -- the Hitching Post II (in Buellton) -- for our 3rd or 4th time. I can hardly wait! Plans also include special visits to the Fiddlehead tasting room in Lompoc (Santa Barbara County) Wine Ghetto and a couple other noted Santa Rita Hills Pinot producers. Then it's down for a fews days in Dana Point and then up to Universal City Hilton in L.A.
Besides Fiddlehead, other winery tasting rooms we plan on visiting are La Vie, Palmina, Melville, & Babcock. The Hitching Post is also a tasting room of sorts for the Hartley Ostini wines including their excellent Highliner Pinot. Here is a nice map of the area with the wineries including the Lompoc Ghetto location.

Two Hitching Post photos from back in Nov. 2006
The Hitching Post II - exterior, Ken Papai photo, Nov. 2006 The Hitching Post II - the bar, Ken Papai photo, Nov. 2006.
The Hitching Post II - exterior, Ken Papai photo, Feb. 2008 The Hitching Post II - exterior, Ken Papai photo, Feb. 2008
Above: Hitching Post from Feb. 2008

Nov. 16, 2008

Hiking Cascade Peak

Fire Road with Fall Colors, Cascade Canyon, Ken Papai hiking photo, 11/16/2008.
Fall Colors
-- More PERFECT weather as we got an early 8 a.m. start on this hike out of Fairfax -- roundabout route past Pam's Blue Ridge up to Cascade Peak.
[ Route Map - Cascade Cyn & Peak -- portion of the MCOSD & MMWD Map 2]. We started on the Toyon fire road, winding up and over the Blue Ridge; took the Cul-de-Sac F.R. which turns into the Cul-de-Sac trail through a Madrone forest. We're back on Toyon again, checked out some views over Tamarancho, then took the Creekside F.R. down to the junction with the creek, crossed the water, and hike up the very steep Burnt Tree trail. After taking some photos at the very top of rocky Cascade Peak we took the Blue Ridge F.R. down, again it's pretty steep, then a left onto the Middle F.R., more steep stuff (colorful photo above left is the Middle F.R.), back to the Blue Ridge line summit with the Toyon F.R. back down to where we started. Weather in November cannot get ANY better than what we had today!
Red berries, Cascade Canyon, Ken Papai hiking photo, 11/16/2008.
-- which tree - an ash? They are everywhere.
They are most likely the invasive Brazilian Pepper Tree (Schinus terebinthifolius).

Nov. 15, 2008

Rosenblum (winery) Open House

Rosenblum wine tasting, Ken Papai photo, 11/15/2008.
Pouring Wine
-- Perfect weather today, 80-degrees in November! Excellent for a massize wine tasting outing at Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda. They were pouring and tasting WELL OVER 30 wines -- our group of five was David, Heather, Ralph, Barb, and I. Rosenblum wine tasting, Ken Papai photo, 11/15/2008. The event served a lot of grilled tri-tip steak, sausages, cheeses, and bread -- pretty much the usual Rosenblum fare. I didn't taste any whites -- limited myself to Zins and others -- I especially loved the Kick Ranch Petite Sirah and the Maggie's Reserve Zin.

Nov. 13, 2008

Various Topics

Veterans Day originated with 11 AM on 11/11 - Armistice Day for World War One - The "Great War" to "end all wars." World War I in color Trench Warfare in color -- WWI from Der Spiegel magazine online. "The majority of soldiers killed in World War I were never identified or found because they were blown apart by shellfire, sucked into the mud or buried under tons of falling earth." And here: More - French POV.

Friday and Saturday are supposed to be heat, record-breaking good weather days in the Bay Area. Several of us will be at the Rosenblum Wine Open House event in Alameda on Saturday. It's QUITE a gig and with awesome, top weather should be doing well, even at $40 tix/per.

Nov. 11, 2008

Veterans Day, Mendocino County

Hendy Redwoods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 1992
At the left: Hendy Woods
state park, old photo from 1992.
Happy Veterans Day and thank you! to all you Vets out there.
Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008
Right: photo from today

This morning -- traveled to Mendocino County -- the heart of it on Hwy 128 from Cloverdale to Boonville to Hendy Woods, including Anderson Valley wine country. After doing my photo shoot at Hendy I stopped off at three wineries -- Navarro, Goldeneye, and Meyer Cellars.
"Hendy Woods was sold to the people of California in August of 1958" which makes it the same age as me! ;-)

More photos from Hendy Woods
Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008 Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008 Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008
Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008 Hendy Woods State Park, Ken Papai photo, 11/11/2008 Hendy Woods State Park, self, frame 21, Papai slide photo scanned, 11/11/2008
Bottom row right: A slide (Fujichrome Velvia 100) I shot and scanned.
"The two groves of redwood and the park which was constructed around them bear the name of Joshua P. Hendy who, in the late 1800's, first claimed this beautiful area as his own.

"He found something within the peace and quiet of these moss encrusted groves that made him vow that neither saw nor ax would ever lay bare the inner bark of these giants, and true to his word he was, for as long as the land was his the trees were never harmed.

"California was growing and the need for lumber was great. After Joshua P. Hendy died the groves were sold. Down came the giant trees in the outlying areas and off to the mills they were hauled. Timber was cut and removed from all sides of the big groves, but never was an order given to attack the giants standing there."

My film lab (film supply, negative processing, color print proofs, slides, & film scanning) is Marin Filmworks, on 3rd Street in San Rafael.

Nov. 8, 2008

Hiking Mt. Tam

View of West Point Inn from Rock Spring Trail, Ken Papai hiking photo, 11/08/2008.
West Point Inn
-- looking back today from the Rock Spring trail -- lens Canon EF 16-35 2.8L at 29mm, ISO 400, -1/3 EC, 1/800, f/8. In the background is Richardson Bay (an arm of S.F. Bay) and the Hwy 101 bridge over it -- you can also easily see the Tiburon Peninsula in the distance there.
Hiking fire road near Potrero Meadow, Ken Papai hiking photo, 11/08/2008. (This hike is a repeat of our 6/15/08 hike.) I took my 16-35 f/2.8 and 85 f/1.8 lenses along. Here's a route map of the hike. We started out from the Rock Spring parking lot at Mt. Tamalpais State park (no fee there) and were above the fog layer. A little more than an hour after we started the fog layer rose to above 2,000' and got wetter and we missed the rain by a couple hours.

West Point Inn rest stop, Ken Papai photo, 11/08/2008.
We two, taking a break
at the West Point Inn (handed my camera to a tourist to snap us).

Nov. 7, 2008


Lunch to-go from Mehfil Indian -- corner of 2nd and Folsom in SF. Excellent sunny weather for the 5 block walk there from the office. I had a chickpea/rice bowl "PUNJABI KADHI PAKORA" with naan (and Peets coffee on the way there as an 'appetizer' [am addicted to strong coffee, for sure]). Yum! I met David there briefly and we then went off our separate ways -- myself to the Bar and he to Wells. I kid him a lot about his needing to update his blog. Here's hoping he gets some good photos at Yosemite this weekend. Today is excellent, superb cycling weather for the bike commute.

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Nov. 5, 2008

A New President-Elect

Click each for hi-res shot from the TV
McCain's concession speech, Ken Papai photo from TV, 11/04/2008. McCain in AZ, Ken Papai photo from TV, 11/04/2008.
Obama's speech, Ken Papai photo from TV, 11/04/2008.
The 44th President to-be

Nov. 4, 2008

Election Day USA

Today's One of the biggest Election days in many a four-year cycle--please vote if you haven't already. The sugar high of the campaign season has ended with one side popping the Champagne and the other side drinking whisky tonight. Barry H. Obama has a giant party scheduled for Chicago and McCain's rocking the fancy Ritz in Arizona where he and Cindy Lu got married. Who's gonna be drinking the whisky and who the bubbly? By 6 PM PST we'll already know -- Virginia, N. Carolina, and Indiana will have reported the winning trend--just five hours away as I type. The weather in the Bay Area is crisp and perfect. No excuses to get out and vote (unless you are extremely lazy or don't give a shit about anything -- if so I don't want to hear about it).
This just in, 11/4/2008 - 6:30 p.m. pst, Obama wins Ohio and therefore he wins the Electoral College, nothing McCain can do (no states he can upset win), and Barack will be our next President.

Ralph Hipps Fiddlehead photo
Rained a lot in Marin, finally. Nearly 3 inches of soaking in San Rafael -- our first accumulated precipitation in nearly 7 months. Saturday, Nov. 1 was a complete wash-out thus Cindy & I did a modest 90-minute hike on Sunday afternoon -- a roundabout trip to Santa Venetia Market and back home.
From the Marin IJ: "The Marin Municipal Water District reported 6.25 inches of rain fell Thursday through Monday at Lake Lagunitas. Overall, 7.11 inches have fallen at the site since July 1. The average through Nov. 3 is 3.87 inches.
Through Monday, 11/03, 4.48 inches of rain fell in San Rafael [!], 4.37 inches in Woodacre, 3.35 inches in Novato and 4.95 inches in Kentfield. Monday's rains caused minor flooding around the county, including along Miller Avenue in Mill Valley."

Meanwhile I am awaiting a decent Fiddlehead winery photo I can post here.
Above, at the left, fellow blogger Ralph Hipps' photo of Fiddlehead and his brother from the Lompoc wine ghetto taken just this past Nov. 1 weekend. Lucky! I have plans to visit Fiddlehead on Nov. 22. Ralph is a Nikon DSLR guy.

NFL mid-season and the Giants and Titans are the two best teams, my Colts are just 4-4. The Raiders are a huge joke, again, due to the idiotic, clueless, out-of-touch Al Davis still running the show. LOL Ha ha! to all you Raiders fans. It's also close to mid season with SURVIVOR: GABON (in HD). I have two favorites -- the resident doctor (Marcus, voted out Nov. 6) and the very pretty brunette, Corinne.

Oct. 29, 2008

MAD MEN and other thoughts

MAD MEN promo image AMC's "MAD MEN" is the best adult show and drama on TV now. But it just ended, season two ended this week with the timeline ending with the 'Missiles of October' / Cuba, Kennedy, and the Soviets, October 1962. This is the best show MAD MEN promo photo since either THE WIRE or THE SOPRANOS, of that I have no doubt. Jon Hamm is the star, playing Don Draper/Dick Whitman. He's really Dick but assumed Don's identity during a war tragedy (Korea). He is a creative talent head (sells products) and full partner at the Sterling Cooper ad agency on Madison ("Mad") Avenue in Manhattan. [Here's their Official Site with downloads] ...more to come...

I have a weird feeling that Obama will probably win the election next week -- too many states that McCain is contesting that he must win -- therefore, based on that I don't see how John McCain can win. Since I get 80% of my news from the SF Chronicle (leans quite a bit to the left) and Fox News (leans a little to the right but is the most balanced news network by far), Obama winning the POTUS seems somewhat inevitable. Sure I'll be disappointed, I would look forward to a McCain/Palin administration and what sort of Cabinet they'd install, but still, you never know, at least not until Nov. 5! I am a small minority here in Marin County with these political views, still, it's all FTW.

Oct. 25, 2008

Saturday - Cascade/Repack to White Hill Loop - Hike 2008 #22

View of White Hill from Repack, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008. White Hill as seen from the Repack fire road climb.
Route: Start on Cascade fire road (AKA "Repack") out of Fairfax, with a stiff two-mile climb of Repack, then a right on San Geronimo Ridge, then White Hill fire road (the Blue Ridge fire road) and back via Wagon Wheel single track trail. [trail map 1] [trail map 2] At the right, View of Repack from White Hill, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008. View of Repack fire road climbing its ridge towards San Geronimo from White Hill.
After you reach the San Geronimo F.R. and turn right (after the 2 mile climb up Repack) you go through a pretty cool (and rare) grove of Sargent Cypress trees. This grove's location is noted on my trail maps above. [Seed Cones photo of the Cupressus sargentii] "Sargent cypress is a native, evergreen tree with a slender main trunk. On exposed sites, it assumes a shrubby growth form. ...Sargent cypress most often occupies rocky outcrops or formations, usually in serpentine soils." -- describes the exposed S. G. ridge perfectly, including the prodominate serpentine rock.
Sargent Cypress &* Cindy, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008.
Cindy taking a break
under the Sargent Cypress trees at the intersection of Repack and San Geronimo.
Time: 11:03 a.m.
We did not see any other hikers on this loop, only a few people sitting around at the trailhead. However, we saw more (serious) mountain bikers on the various trails than ever -- motivates me to saddle up my MTB and try these exact trails via pedal power. The last time (YEARS ago) I did the Pine Mtn loop on the bike I broke a finger crashing in one of the fast, rolling dips -- I'm a lot better than that now! LOL.

At the left: View from White Hill to Wagon Wheel single track, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008. View from White Hill down to the Wagon Wheel Trail (several mtn bikers are gathered). Time is now: 12:29 p.m.

At the right: Wagon Wheel trail, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008.
Wagon Wheel junction
with Blue Ridge fire road from White Hill. Wagon Wheel is a tricky (and RARE legal) single track for mountain bikes that connects the White Hill/Blue Ridge fire rode down to the second section of the Blue Ridge F.R. deeper in Cascade Canyon. Parts of it are highly advanced (meaning rocky/steep and you need to be a MTBR Expert if you think you can do this entire section without putting your foot down once).

Mountain Bikers on Wagon Wheel single track, Ken Papai hiking photo, 10/25/2008.
Those same mountain bikers
getting the jump on us starting out the Wagon Wheel single track.
Time: 12:33 p.m.

[Image: The Cut Trail] - very short trail, only 10 minutes from being done with this 7.5 mile hiking loop.
Time: 1:40 p.m. starting the short (500 ft. only) Cut Trail.

Time: 4:01 p.m. starting on the 2003 Goldeneye (pinot noir). after washing off the sweat and trail dust from this long hike. Sweet!

Oct. 23, 2008

Upcoming and Current Events

The Day the Earth Stood Still - this 1951 Robert Wise movie starring Michael Rennie has been redone, now starring Keanu Reeves as Klaatu. Movie to be in the theaters 12/12/2008. I AM WAY looking forward to this!

I now have 24 Facebook friends, acquired in 11 days: nieces, nephews, old & new friends, and of course several relatives.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale '2008' hit this stores in the last week. This brewery releases this special Fall beer, in limited release, every October. I've been a fan (drinker) and advocate (beer snob) of this beer for well over 15 years -- it was Billy Head of New Orleans and Dallas fame who first found this beer and turned us on to it. It's a highly hopped, malty, well-balanced IPA. If your regular beer is Budweiser or similar then you have no idea what I am writing about here -- it's too late to "convert" you to real beer.

The 2008 Presidential Election is now just 12 days away -- momentum seems to be swaying Obama's way which means McCain needs to pick up most of the Swing States if he wants to win. There are more Swing States this year than ever before.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 2008 IPA, 10/19/2008 Ken Papai beer photo
Tasty Brew!

Oct. 18, 2008

Saturday - Muir Woods - Dipsea, Hike 2008 - 21

Muir Woods - hiking, 10/18/2008 photo
Hiking along
Redwood Creek, starting out easy in Muir Woods.
At the right: [Muir Woods trail map - Dipsea TrailToday's Trail Map]
This turned out to be an excellent hike in superb weather. We parked at Muir Woods just after 9 a.m. We drove through some thick fog but were lucky there was none of it at Muir Woods. We paid our $5/person entry fee (never have I had to pay before) and quickly cruised through the tourist part of the Woods. We came across an interesting scene with a pro wedding/portrait photographer on location shooting a bride. I got a couple good snaps of this on-location shoot (image at right). We left the Woods via the Bootjack Trail which climbs and parallels Redwood Creek (photo at left below) - this put us in State Park land (see the map image I posted at the right). Parts of Bootjack are washed away and include some rickety old bridges. There are some pretty steep sections going up that provide for some excellent views. Lots of deciduous trees (maples mostly) leaves are turning yellow in this great October Fall weather. Bootjack interesects the TCC Trail at Van Wyck Meadow, so Muir Woods - hiking and Bride, 10/18/2008 photo Muir Woods - hiking and Bride, 10/18/2008 photo we took a left onto TCC which is sculpted out of many ravines and creek canyons -- pretty awesome trail work. Finally, We took the world-famous (to runners & hikers) Dipsea Trail back (and detoured a little to the right to first climb Cardiac Hill, see photo below) and the final, steep 1/2 mile descent to the Muir Woods lot after crossing the flat log bridge over the creek (open only when creek runs low).


Cardiac Hill of the Dipsea Trail, 10/18/2008 photo Cardiac Hill - the most famous aspect of the Dipsea Trail - the summit of the annual June running race (between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach) of about 7.2 miles.

Muir Woods boardwalk Redwood trail, 10/18/2008 Ken Papai photo Muir Woods boardwalk - nice, easy boardwalk trail hike -- this place is crowded with tourists on the weekends, even in October. There is a free shuttle bus that runs in the summer to bring in the visitors from Sausalito and Mill Valley. [Collection of Redwood (large ones especially) tree photos on]

Muir Woods boardwalk Redwood trail w/tourists, 10/18/2008 Ken Papai photo Muir Woods trail - getting deeper into the national monument park. Muir woods was founded in 1908 with land donated from the Kent family and thus turned 100 years old earlier this year. The Woods is run by the National Park Service.
Text from the NPS: "Muir Woods was designated the 10th National Monument for the United States of America. Although it was the 10th National Monument, it was the first in three very important ways. It was the first time a private individual (William and Elizabeth Kent) donated land to the federal government to create a National Monument. It was the first time a National Monument was created in an urban setting, just 12 miles north of San Francisco. And it was the first time the Antiquities Act of 1906 was used to preserve a living species, the Coast Redwood tree." [Wikipedia entry on Muir Woods]

Bootjack trail begins, 10/18/2008 Ken Papai photo Bootjack Trail begins at the border between Muir Woods and Mt. Tam state park...

Trees along Redwood Creek - Bootjack, 10/18/2008 Ken Papai photo Leaning trees along the Redwood Creek help make Bootjack a beautiful nature hike.

Colorful Trees along Redwood Creek - Bootjack, 10/18/2008 Ken Papai photo Colorful trees of the autumn (maples most likely) dot the climb along Bootjack Trail.

Oct. 16, 2008

Movies and Other Thoughts for Thursday

I watched two movies on DVD this week, Coppola's Youth Without Youth and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening . Guess which one I think sucked awfully, and which one I thought rather good? I was surprised by my picks! Have you seen these yet?

It's been a beautiful October weather week here -- rather typical -- no fog, warm temperatures, like an Indian Summer. It makes for good times on the bike, both mornings and early evenings when I ride.

Angel Island, one mile off the Tiburon coast in the middle of SF Bay, burned down on Monday. Some errant, careless campers likely started the fire on Sunday night, 9 PM. Now the island is burnt toast.

The final Presidential Debate occurred last night between McCain and Obama. It's obvious McCain won the debate but perhaps too little too late. I still think the election is going to be close -- the polls always overstate the Democrats' numbers.

Back to the two movies... M. Night's THE HAPPENING came out to major movie release only back in June, while Coppola's YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH had a tiny release to theaters in late December 2007. YOUTH is about a 70-year-old Romanian linguistics professor (Tim Roth) who gets struck by lightening and nearly dies; however, he gains strength miraculously and leaves the hospital only 40 years old. He learns modern and ancient languages at a rapid pace soon becoming the smartest man in the world. The film is also highly philosophical about the transmigration of souls and the sadness of growing old while knowing everything (and also, just the opposite). Is this film a mess? Or is the mess M. Night's HAPPENING?
Poster for YOUTH This latest hogwash from M. Night is poorly written, poorly acted, poorly executed, juvenile (it's rated R even), bad lines, bad character development, and normal folk trying to outrun the wind (it's ludicrous!). Skip it (even though the pretty Zooey Deschanel stars in it).
Coppola's YOUTH is transformational -- as long as you "get it." Rent it!
More: Tony Scott's NY Times article on Coppola's YOUTH ('making of' and producing).

* McCain/Palin 2008 * Please Vote *

Oct. 11, 2008

Saturday - Olompali State Preserve, Hike 2008 - 20

Olompali trail map [map] This is our 20th official weekend hike of the year and it was the longest, 3.5 hours. Weather was fairly cool (though warm sunshine) with gusty winds. Olompali zig-zags up the north face of Mt. Burdell -- there are five major switchbacks on the new route (built in 1999) to the top.
From the Olompali sign: "The Coast Miwok [native Americans] word 'Olompali' may mean 'south village' or 'south people' or 'south well'. The Coast Miwok inhabited parts of what is now called Olompali State Historic Park. It is believed that this site was used by humans as early as 6000 BC." [Link to a very good Open Space (PDF) Map of Burdell and Olompali]
Olompali - Ken chugging power tea, OCT/11/2008 photo [chugging] - hydrating. I'm wearing a 2000 vintage West Coast Cycling Team shell (slight windbreaker). One of our larger sponsors that year was Glen Ellen winery.
Yosemite - record breaking climb of El Capitan, 10/12/2008 [El Capitan collage]Significant News: Florine and Hirayama break their own record climbing the Nose of El Capitan (Yosemite). I previously blogged this here.

Oct. 5, 2008

Sunday - Pacheco Valle Open Space, Hike 2008 - 19

Hiking write-up here... Chicken Shack fire road to Ponti F.R.
This is a darned steep start to a hike! Up, up, and up! Pacheco Valley trail map Today's hiking trail map outlined in yellow -- this map is a portion from the PDF version of the Marin County Open Space District map. The hike starts quickly very steep, the first mile is up, up, and up! I've mtn-biked this fire road a couple times and it is a Monster (for those of you who have ridden RR Grade to top of Mt. Tam, the RR Grade is a Bunny Hill in comparison).
Hiking the steep Chicken Shack fire road, OCT/05/2008 Papai photo As usual I took a lot of photos on this hike -- admittedly one of the shortest hikes we've done this year, just 2 hours! We reached the high point at the Chicken Shack/Ponti fire roads intersection. We took Ponti back down and home (to the car). There is one section late in Ponti that is easily the steepest bit I've done all year. See this photo of that section, and this one too. Ken - Hiking the steep Chicken Shack fire road, 10/05/2008 Papai SELF photo

Sept. 28, 2008

Sunday - Mt. Burdell climb, San Andreas trailhead, Hike 2008 - 18

Steep Ravine trail, Mt. Burdell, 9/28/08 Ken Papai photo.
Climbing the steep ravine
'Old Quarry' trail between the ridge lines, this photo is at the end of the trail where it hits Burdell Mountain Ridge road.
Hiking write-up here... excellent views!
[Link to a very good county Open Space (PDF) Map of Mt. Burdell]

Sept. 20, 2008

Saturday - Bear Valley, Meadow Trail/Wittenberg, Hike 2008 - 17

Welcome to Pt. Reyes national seashore sign, 9/20/08 Ken Papai photo.
Pt. Reyes entrance sign
- Hiking write-up to be here... At the end we got a little lost leaving the Kule Loklo Miwok Indian Village--a friendly motorist helped us out.
Trail, 9/20/08 Ken Papai photo.
The Meadow Trail
winding through a few Douglas Firs and ferns below.

Meadow Trail, tech specs, 9/20/08 Ken Papai photo. Meadow Trail and its photo tech specs.

Sept. 13, 2008

Saturday - Bear Valley - Mt. Wittenberg, Hike 2008 - 16

Hiking the foggy trail, 9/13/08 Ken Papai photo. Foggy Trail at left -- Hiking write-up here... foggy, eerie. Trail Signs, 9/13/08 Ken Papai photo. Trail Signs photo at the right. Pt. Reyes National Seashore -- what a wonderful place to hike! We took the Old Pine Trail to the Sky Trail, then to top of Mt. Wittenberg.
Map of the area (of Bear Valley Visitor Center region including Wildcat and Limantour Beaches) paralleling the San Andreas fault zone as it leaves Marin and heads out the Pacific Ocean.

The foggy trail, 9/13/08 Ken Papai photo.
Foggy "Sky Trail"
heading towards Wittenberg--this places rocks in these photo-friendly conditions.

Sept. 6, 2008

Saturday - Deer Camp/Big trees, Hike 2008 - 15

Husband and Wife - Ken & Cindy, 9/06/08 Ken Papai photo. Photo at left -- we're getting ready to start our hike at the fire road gate. A hiking write-up will be here... hot, large trees... please be patient! Thanks, Ken.

Aug. 31, 2008

Sunday - Kent Lake, Hike 2008 - 14

Kent Lake view, 8/31/08 Ken Papai photo. Lower & Upper Peters Dam fire roads and San Geronimo Valley fire road with some spectacular views. You have to park on a dirt side pullover on Sir Francis Drake Blvd... hiking write-up text coming shortly (10/17/08). Rest spot above Kent Lake, 8/31/08 Ken Papai photo.
Kent Lake is one of the major water reservoirs used for the Marin County fresh water supply. Dependable winter rains fill this lake up by early March every year. Most of the lands surrounding are (owned? and) maintained by the MMWD (Marin Municipal Water District). Marin is a self-contained county as far as its water supply is concerned. The city and county of San Francisco gets its water from far away east in the Sierra Nevada - Hetch Hetchy Valley is dammed (the O'Shaughnessy Dam of the Tuolumne River) in Yosemite, [Wiki on Hetch Hetchy] then a 140 mile canal transports the water to SF (deposited to a large reservoir resting locale on the San Andreas fault in San Mateo County!).

Aug. 30, 2008

Sonoma Wine Tasting

Sonoma Enoteca interior wine tasting, 8/30/2008 Papai photo On the Sonoma town square -- Castle wine tasting room, Sonoma Enoteca (various, photo at the left), and lunch at The Girl and the Fig...

Aug. 24, 2008

Sunday - Mt. Barnabe, Hike 2008 - 13

Bill's trail, Taylor state park, 8/24/08 Ken Papai photo. Today's Sunday hike starts - Samuel P. Taylor State Park trailhead, climb up to the top of Mt. Barnabe and the Marin County fire lookout station there...
Next week is a long-sought-after hike at Kent Lake -- here's a faraway photo of Kent (dam & overflow highlighted) from Barnabe summit.
View west and south from Barnabe, Taylor state park, 8/24/08 Ken Papai landscape photo.

Aug. 14 - 17, 2008

Squaw Valley, USA

Squaw Valley cable car, 8/16/08 Ken Papai photo. Cable Car to High Camp (1960 Winter Olympics locale)
Celebrating a most memorable birthday at the Resort at Squaw Creek, near Tahoe City...

Aug. 10, 2008

Sunday - Mt. Tam Ridge Crest, Hike 2008 - 12

Old Mine trail on Tamalpais, 8/10/08 Ken Papai photo. Today's Sunday hike (view from Old Mine Trail of SF Bay far east to Mt. Diablo, in the photo at left).
Trailhead: Pan Toll Station lot - out Matt Davis trail, right on Coast Trail paralelling Ridge Crest, then steep up Willow Camp fire road, across Ridge Crest, and down Laurel Dell fire road to the Laurel Dell picnic area; back home via Cataract Trail (Navy Corsair engine in the creek, from a post war, 1945 crash), through Rock Spring lot, and then the Old Mine trail back to Pan toll. Very warm weather; we were entirely above the fog layer, 2 hrs. 45 mins. total hike (with a few brief rests).

Aug. 3, 2008

Sunday - Mt. Tam East Peak, Hike 2008 - 11

Trail Map GIF Image with trail outlined in yellow Today's Sunday Hike from Mt. Tam East Peak Lot

1. Start from the east peak lot and find the trailhead down the Fern Creek Trail (this is located at south side of the lot).
1A. Closed at Fern Creek trailhead, divert a little further down and start on RR Grade.
2. (CLOSED for repair: Take Fern Creek and halfway down it passes the Tavern Pump Trail on the right. Continue straight.)
2A. From RR Grade F.R. turn down and left on Miller Trail, steep down until it hits RR Grade again, and turn left on RR Grade.
3. At RR Grade fire road take the left and head down all the way to start of the Double Bow Knot, about a mile.
Vic Haun/Old Plan trail on Tamalpais, 8/03/08 Ken Papai photo. 4. Take a left on the steps starting the Vic Haun Trail (also know as the Old Plane, or Airplane Trail) from the top of the knot, at the exact intersection of Hoo-Koo-E-Koo and RR Grade. Follow it to the Temelpa Trail and take a right downhill on Temelpa. This is a narrow and steep downhill trail!
5. Within 20 yards on the right on Temelpa you'll see the elaborate tribute to Chief Sitting Bull. Temelpa will intersect with Hoo-Koo-E-Koo Fire Road (HKEK F.R.), take a left on the fire road.
6. Take HKEK FR slightly downhill until the Wheeler Trail leaves it from the left (about 0.8 mi. easy on HKEK only).
7. Take Wheeler, very steep up to Eldridge Grade fire road. This is about 0.7 mile to get there.
8. Take a left on to the Eldridge Grade (at tip of switch back), and climb Eldridge Grade FR (1.8 mi.) all the way back to the East Peak parking lot.
9. At the road take a left and the steep paved road back to the car (0.2 mi.).

Views: 10, Difficulty: 8.5, Length: approx. 6.85 miles.
This hike took just over 2 hrs. 45 mins. Parts of it very steep up and down, but the views were spectacular and we were above the fog layer the entire loop.

Aug. 2, 2008

Two Anderson Valley Wineries

Goldeneye pinot noir tasting, 8/02/08 Ken Papai photo. Pinot Noir at Goldeneye.
Visits (both reserved) to Goldeneye and Navarro (plus we saw BATMAN - THE DARK KNIGHT last night!). Goldeneye tasted a rose and then four Pinot Noirs. Two single vineyard pinots they tasted were the Gowan Creek and Confluence, each rather expensive.
Navarro was hosting their annual members' only barrel tasting open house. They have live music, lots of food, and more than 15 wines to taste and enjoy. Also you can pet farm animals and take a 4x4 tour high up in the hills to the upper vineyards. This is the 3rd one we've attended the past four years (we missed 2006 due to my mom's side family reunion in Nacogdoches, Texas, north of Houston).

My mini DARK KNIGHT review: 2 hrs. 25 mins. in length. This is an excellent film -- 4-stars out of four. It's dark, violent (almost Clockwork Orange violent), macabre, yet a thinking man's film. Heath Ledger deserves the Oscar for his performance as the Joker -- it seems to me to be the method style where he basically wears the Joker persona 24-7 while acting for the film's director Christopher Nolan.

Previous Blog Entries: [Most Current Blog] [May - July (Yosemite!) 2008] [Dec. 2007 - Mar. 2008] [Oct./Nov. 2007] [Aug. 2007] [July 2007] [May 2007] [March - April, 2007] [Jan. 26 - Feb. 4, 2007] [Days of Jan. 13-25, 2007] [Days of Jan. 1-12, 2007]

END - go home to Papai vista

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