Baylands MarshFest

Baylands MarshFest

Sonoma Land Trust opened the locked gates for MarshFest and Martha and I enjoyed Sonoma County’s only public access to the Bay. We paddled Dickson Ranch, the newly restored tidal marsh along the northern shore of San Pablo Bay, and hiked the Dickson Trail. Here is a photo from the Sonoma Land Trust website.

Sonoma Land Trust Baylands

Sonoma Land Trust Baylands

Sonoma Land Trust Map

Baylands in Blue at Bottom

The event was part of a day-long celebration of the Bay and the timing was sub-optimal for paddling. Sonoma Land Trust provided bikes, nature hikes, and sit-on-top boats, but the tide was only two feet and going out. Ideally, the tide would be three feet or higher and coming in to reduce the chance of being swept out through the breaches in the Dickson Ranch dikes and into the currents of San Pablo Bay. The low, ebbing tide made paddling difficult because the kayaks barely cleared the silty bottom in many places. Those who exited after we did had a long slog through the mud, so checking the tide charts will be important in planning a visit.

This area is open to the public, but the locked gate is a distance from the put-in. On this day, the gate was open, but on a private visit, wheels will be necessary. It is paved for 99% of the way.

The put-in is at the end of Reclamation Road. To reach it from Lakeville Highway from Petaluma, just keep going straight as if you were going to drive to the Bay. That is, when you reach Hwy 37, CROSS it at the stoplight. Soon you will reach the locked gate with a parking area. The Land Trust area is open to the public but access is restricted by the locked gate. That just means you have to wheel your boat in. Sit-on-tops are ideal because the water is very calm and protected, but shallow. The mud has tremendous suction and pulled my sandals off, so consider mud boots and don’t even think of trying this in flip-flops. The Sonoma Land Trust personnel were just barefoot.

The photo below is from the little rise just past “Railroad Crossing” on the map above. You can see the locked gate in the distance, and Lakeville Highway coming to a T at Highway 37. You can see the parking area adjacent to the locked gate and you can see paved road where you will wheel your boat to the put-in shown in the map above.

Baylands Kayak Access

How To Wheel Your Boat Past The Locked Gate

Here’s the payoff you will get. This is Martha paddling toward Mt. Tamalpais. This is a very easy paddle, flat water even though it is technically San Pablo Bay, and surrounded by wetland birds and open vistas.

Baylands Mt. Tamalpais

Martha Paddling Toward Mt. Tamalpais

Dickson Ranch is actually adjacent to the original Baylands restoration project and this trail sign explains the history and some of what they learned. San Pablo Bay is at the top of the sign. We paddled the flooded-for-restoration Dickson Ranch and hiked Dickson Trail.

Dickson Ranch Sign

Trail Sign Showing Dickson Ranch and Original Baylands Project

Dickson Trail

Great For Biking and Hiking

This is what happens when the tide gets too low.

Muddy Stuck In Mud

Take Out at Low Tide

Living Danishly

Living Danishly

I found a super-cheap flight from Marrakesh to Copenhagen, but my friend Sue said, “No dice.” Instead, she mailed me “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell and I loved it. Helen ends her book with the Danish “rules.”

The Year of Living Danishly

 

    1. Trust. Because the population is so stable, kids grow up with each other and everyone knows everyone else. The culture is built on trust and 79% of Danes trust most people. This is very calming and de-stressing.
    2. Get hygge. This can be translated as “cozy” or “fun,” but it reflects the deep Danish commitment to beautiful, simple, clean, bright, quality surroundings. Yes, they absolutely believe in Danish design.
    3. Use your body. They are very active, including dance.
    4. Address the aesthetics. Make your environment as beautiful as you can, outdoors as well as indoors.
    5. Streamline your options. Cutting down on choice can take some of the hassle out of modern life. Danes cultivate stress-free simplicity and freedom within boundaries.
    6. Be proud of your community. Find something that you, or folks from your home town, are really good and and join in customs and festivals. Wave the flag.
    7. Value family. The Danes have many customs and rituals that promote this.
    8. Equal respect for equal work
    9. Play
    10. Share

Underlying these customs are the Ten Laws of Jante which can be summed up as You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than we are.

Hygge

In this YouTube video, Helen Russell explains the Danish custom of “not depriving yourself” at 31 minutes in. She quotes a Dane as saying, “Hygge helps us to be nice to each other.” Here is a screenshot of Helen’s best definition. She point out that Danes use more candles than any other European country, and she suspects it is because people look nice in candelight.

hygge defined

Law of Jante

The 1930s Danish-Norwegien author Aksel Sandemose outlines the ten rules for living Danishly in his novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks. Here’s how Wikipedia translates the Ten Laws of Jante.

You’re not to think you are anything special.
You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
You’re not to think you know more than we do.
You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
You’re not to think you are good at anything.
You’re not to laugh at us.
You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

The Janters who transgress this unwritten ‘law’ are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town’s communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability and uniformity.

Helen says that if anyone plays the martyr-card, staying late at the office or working too much, they’re likely to get a leaflet about efficiency or time-management dropped on their desk than any sympathy. She loved the value they placed on spending time with their families and friends and her book was a joy to read.

Conception Explodes Off Channel Islands

Conception Explodes Off Channel Islands

I posted this comment to this NYTimes article California Boat Fire Kills at Least 20; Haunting Pleas as Flames Erupt

I spent two nights on the Conception with a Sierra Club trip to the channel islands in October 2017. It has a main stairway from the passenger bunks below deck to the kitchen on the main deck and also a secondary escape hatch which they made sure we knew about in the Emergency Procedure Drill they held. The hatch opened to the main deck cabin, which we all saw was engulfed in flames. I am also a diver and have slept on other boats and you are right, they are similar. Typically, the crew sleeps close to the wheel house, far from the passengers. I am stunned by this tragedy.

Channel Is Conception Explosion

Conception Boat Fire

The Conception at Daybreak

Conception Below Deck Floor Plan

The Secondary Escape Hatch Was Under The “N”

I have not yet written about the Sierra Club trip because it was shortly after the October 2017 fires in Santa Rosa. I had planned the Channel Islands trip months earlier, and paid for it in advance, as required, so I had to go. Frankly, I was grateful to get out of Santa Rosa even though I was coming down with a massive cold contracted in the shelters. But more on that later.

River of Nourishment

River of Nourishment

About six months after the October 2017 fires,  I received Stanford’s Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) from Sylvia Dolce. I was most interested in learning the difference between Empathy and Compassion.  I already knew they accessed different parts of the brain, and I learned that Thupten Jinpa, one of CCT’s main gurus, says “Empathy focuses on the problem and Compassion focuses on the solution ‘What can I do?’.”

About a year later, Sylvia Dolce taught Restorative Self Care specifically for fire and trauma survivors. In one of the exercises, she gave the students a circle of paper to take home and asked us to draw what we needed for self care. In my drawing, Compassion is the river.  Dr. Dan Siegel says that all mental illness can be categorized as Chaos or Rigidity.  The riverbanks of tangled underbrush signify Chaos. The rocks signify Rigidity.

Original Artwork Copyright Anet Dunne

The dense thicket on the banks tries to trap me in chaos,
but I will never get anywhere if I stay on the shore.
I pick my way out to the Rocks of Resentment
Rigidly clinging as the water rushes by.

"Look how hard I'm trying!"
I barely notice that I am stuck.

The sunshine of safety warms up my courage.
I release the Resentment and slip out into the flow
of the River of Nourishment,
Buoyed by the Bounty of the Goddess.

Jackie Visits Berkeley

Jackie Visits Berkeley

My sister Peggy lives in Novato and my sister Laurie lives in Portland. Laurie’s daughter, Jackie, came to the Bay Area for the funeral of her father’s mother, Esther, which was held in Walnut Creek. Jackie works for a hotel chain which provided lodging for her at the Graduate Berkeley, so Peggy and I drove over to take her to lunch at Cafe La Mediteranée. Notice the “Big Bang Theory” artwork over my head in this selfie taken in her hotel room.

Graduate Berkeley

Jackie, Anet, Peggy

Larry and Nancy Get Married

Larry and Nancy Get Married

Martha at weddingLarry and Nancy have lived next door to Martha for many years, adjacent to Annadel Park and overlooking Spring Lake. Martha values their close friendship which developed over many dinners and rides to the airporter. They cook for each other as part of a monthly dinner group, and celebrated my birthday once with a great meal and cake.

Nancy was the one who urged me to take genealogy classes, overcoming my resistance to going to the LDS church classroom where they were held. I got to meet many of Larry’s hunter-friends, and sampled some wonderful venison chili. We all brought food — my contribution was my Irish Caponata: everything is gently sautéed in olive oil, no deep fat frying of the eggplant. The photographer captured this wonderful image of Martha in the late afternoon light.

The bride and groom about to cut the cake — can you find me in the picture?
Larry and Nancy cut the cake

While none of my cellphone pictures came out well, I certainly enjoyed taking them, and celebrating with Larry, Nancy, Martha, and Susan (in turquoise).
Taking Pictures at Wedding

Camp Fare

Camp Fare

It has been over 100° in Santa Rosa for a couple of days. To avoid cooking, I am enjoying my favorite camp fare: previously grilled chicken thigh, quinoa, and caponata (eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onions, capers, olives, vinegar).

Caponata, Quinoa, grilled chicken

Perseid Meteor Shower – Wrights Lake

Perseid Meteor Shower – Wrights Lake

The sky would be as dark as possible after 2 a.m. on Sunday August 11 because that’s when the bright, three-quarters moon set. I rose from my tent and walked to the end of the pier (see below). Walking in the dark in the pre-dawn hours in an unfamiliar place, using red cellophane rubber-banded over my flashlight to retain my night vision, was a challenge. The lake pier was only about half a mile from my tent, but it required several turns. Distances seem so much longer in the dark. There were audio cues, like the water rushing over the dam, and roadway cues, like the bridge just below the dam. When I reached the cow catcher by the park entrance, I realized I had made a wrong turn and had to retrace my steps in the dark.

Wright's Lake Silhouette
Silhouetted At the End of the Pier – Wrights Lake

The meteor shower was beautiful. I saw about four in 30 minutes, sitting in my little green fold-up chair on the pier. While the vast sky was great, next time I will find a meadow to lie in with my sleeping bag. Our camp (site 60 in the RV area on the south side of the lake) was in the trees that ringed a meadow. Sites 61 and 62 were in the meadow in the center, just across the narrow paved road. Earlier in the day, we hiked toward Rockbound trailhead and Dark Lake and found this beautiful meadow. Trey took this photo using my cellphone.

Anet in Sierra flower meadow

The Rockbound trailhead is the gateway to many stunning vistas and is very near the tent campground on the west side of the lake. I would love to someday set foot in Desolation Wilderness.

Rockbound Trailhead near Wrights Lake with Anet
Wrights on Bottom Left, Emerald Bay Top Right, Desolation in Center

Here is the map with notes for tent camping and kayaking. Note the rocky tent sites near the Rockbound Trailhead. These sites are have comfortable privacy but they are a long carry from the lake. Sites 1-3 are close to the small beach adjacent to the pier which is a good put-in, and they are well removed from the day use area which can get noisy. The RV area is called Meadow Loop on the south side of the lake. Trees rim the meadow, so the sites on the outer edges have more shade. The RVs use bright motion lights at night and the generators can be noisy in the afternoons as they provide air conditioning, so it is not ideal for tent camping. There are clean pit toilets and good-tasting cold water from the spigots. A very enjoyable campground when you choose your site wisely.

Map Wright's Lake Camping Facilities

Dark Lake is just above the Rockbound Trailhead and has a nice, small, beach put-in right by the road. One would have to move the vehicle to the nearby parking. Notice the little squares on the map on the north side of Dark Lake. These are summer homes that have been grandfathered in by the Eldorade National Forest. There is a nice path around Dark Lake, pictured below.

Dark Lake
Dark Lake
Wrights Lake Campground Sign

The Wrights Lake campground did not open until after the Fourth of July because of the late May snow. About a week before it opened for camping, Trey and others camping at Ice House Reservoir had driven over to check it out. They were able to paddle the small lake and liked it so much we returned six weeks later. The campsites can be reserved through Recreation.gov until about mid-October, the Camp Host told us, and then it is walk-in (first come first served) until snow closes the camp.

Road Sign Ice House Reservoir

My efforts to get to Utica Lake for the annual meteor display have failed for the last three years due to smoke from forest fires and insurmountable logistical difficulties. I was so happy to get a chance to join photographer Trey Steinhart and his wife Becky in this area named for the dairy farmer who worked the land until about 1950. The drive from Santa Rosa took four hours on a Sunday morning in mid-August. The tricky part is making a left turn on Highway 50 which is only a two-lane mountain road in this stretch just a little north of Kyburz. Thank the stars that a space opened up just as I needed to turn.

Wrights Lake Road

The sign above appears just about where the “31 min” indicator is on the map below. The six miles are to the turn onto Route 50, north of Kyburz.

Ice House Reservoir Top Left, Wrights Lake Top Right, Kyburz Bottom Center