“If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnette
It’s here! That time each year when the high country is covered in wildflowers. Time to grab your hiking boots and sun hat and get out among all the wonderful wildflower frenzy.
These photos were all taken in an area south of Highway 88 at Hope Valley called Blue Lakes. This cluster of lakes provides a perfect day trip destination just right for fishing, swimming, playing on the beach or hiking. And while you’re out there having all that summer fun, just open your eyes and take in the stunning beauty of all the wildflowers. You won’t be disappointed!Colorful, eye-catching and lush, Lupine, Meadow Penstemon, Phlox, Indian Paintbrush, Mule’s Ear, and more vibrant lovelies cover hillsides and meadows along the lakes. Knowing that these brilliant jewels have withstood storms without any tender loving care, and that they’re able to not only persevere through harsh weather but to actually flourish, is quite a lesson in resilience and an inspiration from nature.
Don’t forget your camera!
“…I waded out into the midst of the glorious field of gold. All the ground was covered, not with grass and green leaves, but with radiant corollas, about ankle-deep next to the foothills, knee-deep or more five or six miles out…Sauntering in any direction, hundreds of these happy sun plants brushed against my feet at every step, and closed over them as if I were wading in liquid gold. ~John Muir
A sure sign of spring here in the golden state is the brilliant show of our native California poppy (Eschscholzia, californica) blooms brightening hillsides, meadows, roadways and landscapes of all kinds. With delicate cup-like blossoms and feathery foliage, these colorful beauties start adding vibrance to our days in February or March and often last into June.
Glorious fields of gold, indeed!
Even though I know many folks are counting down the days until spring, I’m not quite ready for that yet. I’m still enjoying taking morning walks bundled up with a thick coat, gloves, hat, and scarf on. I’m making a cozy fire in the wood stove each evening and cooking hearty dinners. There’s more time to curl up on the couch under a soft throw blanket with a good book and a hot cup of English Breakfast tea or work on an indoor project.
Our winter has been mild so far and its highly likely that if we were having severe winter weather I very well would be wishing for the color and warmth of spring, but instead, I’m seeing gifts.
This month I’ve been appreciating the delicate beauty and peace that winter brings: intricate shapes of bare branches, patterns and colors of foliage, and the interesting elements of the various barks of trees. I don’t tend to notice these things so much in other seasons. I’m smiling over the winter blossoms of narcissus, cyclamen, snowdrops, pansies, primroses, and… in my book, the queen of winter blooms, daphne.
And if that’s not enough, just drop what you’re doing and go outside to take in the splendid sight of the full, blue moon tonight. Two full moons this month! Ahh yes, nature in any season is full of beauty and gifts. We just have to open our eyes.
“Summer’s loss seems little, dear, on days like these.”
On Sunday my husband and I took a break from our outdoor autumn chores and drove the one hour up to the Tahoe area to view the fall foliage. Leaves on our trees at home in the foothills are just starting to put on a show but we had heard that if we wanted to catch the foliage performance in the high sierras we’d better go sooner rather than later. Hiking boots and layers of clothing, a cooler filled with snacks and drinks, our beloved furry companion, check, check, check, and off we went. We chose to hike the new-to-us Cathedral Meadow, near Taylor Creek and a favorite area of ours, Fallen Leaf Lake.
We encountered a perfect fall day with blue skies and warm temps and a whole lotta golden groves of aspens glistening in the sunlight. Beautiful scenery and fabulous views of Mount Tallac all along the trail were free for the taking! I honestly can’t imagine that we could have timed it any better! If you’re in the area, go now!
A short and sweet little break in nature was just what we were looking for. We had the joy of taking care of our eleven month grand daughter this weekend and were looking for a short hike to take her on in a new back pack. We figured we could take turns holding her if she got fussy or didn’t want to sit in the back pack, and decided to go to the Dave Moore Nature Trail near Coloma. We found it to be ideal for our needs. It’s an easy 1.1 mile trail loop, very well maintained, with a canopy of oaks to provide ample shade.
The trail took up past this beautiful madrone tree,blackberry bushes, wild grape vines, some interesting rock formations, and lots of colorful wildflowers.
And on we hiked, right to the south fork of The American River. Here we found a small beach to enjoy for awhile, before carrying on with the trail. In no time at all, we were back at the parking lot, just in time to give our sweetie a bottle and a snack. What a great hike for families with little ones, or anyone who wants a quick dose of nature.I’ll leave you with a little lichen heart along the way that brought a smile to my face. Hope it does the same for you too.
Have you heard of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku)? Forest bathing was formalized in Japan in 1982, and now is recognized as a cornerstone of their preventive health care and natural healing medicine. Lately, the idea has been spreading around the world.
It’s not about hiking through the forest or counting steps on a Fitbit; the objective is to slow down, be present with all of your senses, and relax among the trees. It’s about de-stressing. Let the trees soothe your spirit.Spending time in natural environments has been linked to lower stress levels, improved working memory, and feeling more alive. Forest bathing has been proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of well-being.
I don’t know anyone who couldn’t benefit from that. C’mon, I’ll meet you in the forest!