Just over a week ago, I was in Northern California and spent a couple of days in the Napa and Russian River valleys. I was staying north of Sonoma, and departed about 24 hours before the area was evacuated due to the Kincade Fire near Geyser Peak. Certain areas had a lot of smoke and ash, but I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend there.
One afternoon, I drove along the Russian River towards the coast, and took some photos near the Sonoma Coast State Park. There were a few fall colors. The Pampas Grass (an invasive species in California) was striking in the light of the setting sun.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)
I went to a handful of wineries. Here are a couple of photos from Palmaz Vineyards, which has an interesting process flow that uses only gravity to move the grapes and juice around.
Here’s one of the iconic Napa Valley signs.
I also visited Truchard Vineyards, which is just west of Napa. Tony Truchard was one of the first grape growers in the Carneros District. They were rushing to crush the last of the grapes before potential power outages due to the high fire danger in Northern California.
I just got back from hanging out with bears in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, in southern Alaska about 125 miles southwest of Anchorage.
These are coastal brown bears, ursus arctos horribilis. They’re genetically the same as grizzly bears—“grizzly” generally refers to inland bears. A couple of hundred bears spend time along the coast here.
Living along Silver Salmon Creek, the bears have access to a varied diet of salmon in the creek, clams on the beach, and sedges in the tidal marshes.
(Click any of the images to enlarge.)
The focus of this trip was bears, but we saw a few birds, too—bald eagles, puffins, plenty of seagulls, a couple of harriers, and red-winged blackbirds, to name a few. Here’s a bald eagle on the beach, thinking about fish.
Here’s a greater yellowlegs, tringa melanoleuca, wading at the edge of Silver Salmon Creek.
In upcoming posts, I’ll share a few more bear photos, talk about the lodge that served as home base, and discuss my photo gear choices.
Please comment if you have questions you’d like me to answer in upcoming posts.
Today’s word is “mystery”.
Thanks to the Na Pali Riders, we enjoyed a Zodiac tour of the Na Pali coast. The Na Pali coast is gorgeous. Because of the rugged mountains and the highland swamps, Kaua’i is the only major Hawaiian island that doesn’t have a road that goes all the way around. They tried, but abandoned the road machinery in the swamps. Don’t forget that Kaua’i is one of the wettest places on earth, with the Wai’ale’ale crater receiving an average of about 450” of rain a year.
Much of the land is sacred to the native Hawaiians. It’s rough topography, it’s inaccessibility, and it’s incredible beauty combine to make the Na Pali coast mysterious and alluring.
One of the highlights was to get to see the sunbeam near the waterfall of the Waiahuakua Sea Cave.