Tag Archives: outdoors

Russian River May 2024

Russian River May 2024

Justin led us on a paddle from Steelhead Beach to Guerneville on a beautiful spring day. CFS was close to 900 so I took my pink kiwi but the current was not strong where the river was wide so I did a lot of paddling and was very tired when we got off the river at 3 p.m. The trip started with a competition for launch space at the put-in.

Inflatable Party Boat – No Paddles

Laurie Light and Justin loading up after Lunch


Liam said, “I haven’t seen you in a while, Anet, what’s going on?”
“You saw me three weeks ago at my house, Liam. At the party.”
“Oh, yeah.”


Beauty of the Russian River Highlights Canoe

That was the entire discussion of the party. When I posted these photos on the chat thread, I got only one response, from Liam, “Fun day on the r&r.”

Why did I bother to take the photos, Photoshop them and post them? Do I matter?

Lake Hennessey-2023

Lake Hennessey-2023
Lake Hennessey April 2023

I’m on the left, our leader Joachim Vobis is center. Photo by Howard Clair.

According to our leader, we had 10 kayakers, approx 8 miles, approx 3 hrs. moving time.


Liam joined on the paddle and enjoyed the much higher water. When we paddled Lake Hennessey before the water was so low we could paddle through a tunnel that went under the encircling roadway. This time, the tunnel was not even visible!

We stopped for lunch at our regular place with the nice dirt beach and the port-a-potty, across the lake from the put-in. The weather was cool to start for this mid-April day and overcast, but the sun came out before lunch and the day was superb. I enjoyed the vigorous lunchtime discussion of electric cars with engineer Joachim.

Is is bigger than a breadbox?

Justin, Frank, Joachim, Howard

Walker Creek 2022

Walker Creek 2022

Justin organized a Walker Creek paddle because the optimum tides of about 5 feet would occur at about noon. This time Wayne joined us for his first paddle of Walker Creek.
walker creek put in

We pulled our boats to a small gravel island when we stopped for lunch, but they were nearly afloat when we returned.
Walker Creek Pt Reyes

We hiked up a hill to enjoy lunch, and checked out the trees on the river bank, some with sweeping arrays of Spanish moss.

Walker Creek can be truly magical with the sunlight reflecting off the water creating dancing lights on the tree trunks.

Justin brought his loppers and cut back many of the large branches to clear a way for us and for the stand-up paddle-boarders we saw. The large river otters were not pleased with our intrusion!

I brought hand clippers and enjoyed the stability of my wide kiwi as I trimmed the smaller branches in our path. The nimble kiwi was great maneuvering around the snags, but a lot of work to paddle on the open stretches near the put-in. Justin in his canoe was paddling two strokes to every one of Wayne’s in his beautiful, slim ocean boat, and I was paddling two strokes to every one of Justin’s! The sun came out and it was a beautiful day. I was surprised at how little birdsong there was.

Spring Lake July 4th 2022

Spring Lake July 4th 2022
Spring Lake Santa Rosa CA

There I am — Way In The Back

Nancy took this photo from her Oru foldable kayak. Lori organized a Girls Paddle for the Fourth of July with Brigette, Greer, and Robin whom I met for the first time. She is a songwriter who uses GarageBand. I learned that Brigette is three years younger than I am and was born in Austria. She and Lori each spent about $800 on gasoline to drive their Travatos to Seattle and back. A Travato gets about 16 mpg, a little more if they travel “dry” and fill their water tanks when they arrive at a site with “hookups.”

Milwaukee River Access

Milwaukee River Access

Milwaukee has a beautiful River Walk with astonishing sculpture, history, and river access for watercraft small and large. From the Acqua Grylli bronze arch depicting a mythical female figure, sculpted by American Beth Sahagian, to the multiple sculptures of Gertie the Duck. As the story goes, in 1945, war-weary Milwaukee discovered that a duck had nested on the bridge pilings and was caring for eggs. Gertie and her brood evoked a continuing community interest and even a book!

Although power boats ply the Milwaukee River, the kayak access is remarkable, with easy entry from either side of the river. I was also astonished to discover that museums and many businesses were closed on Memorial Day weekend — another glaring difference from tourist-centric Sonoma County, where concealed-carry weapons notices are never found on office doors.

Acqua Grilli

Gertie and — to the left — one of her ducklings

Another Sculpture of Gertie and Her Ducklings

Easy Kayak Access on Milwaukee River

Kayaks Along The Hank Aaron State Trail

The Hank Aaron State Trail along a railroad right-of-way reclaims the environment and offers access to a beautiful stretch of the Menomonee River for canoes and kayaks.

Leaving Milwaukee was an unexpected challenge. I planned to take the Lake Express Ferry, a 2 1/2 hour ride across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, Michigan. I hoped to rent a car in Muskegon and drive to Detroit for a few days, then on to Chicago. I was dismayed to learn that, not only were there no car rentals available in Muskegon, there were no cars available to rent in Milwaukee! So I took the train to Chicago.

Lake Express Ferry

Speed and Scale by John Doerr

Speed and Scale by John Doerr

Venture capitalist John Doerr’s book with an action plan for solving our climate crisis. Opened my eyes about how hard it is going to continue to be. Mentioned Elizabeth Kolbert’s hastily-written “Under a White Sky” which described a strategy to cool the earth by dispersing tiny light-reflecting particles like diamonds.

Doerr says, “Be ruthless in identifying the key risk up front — and removing it. Consider:”

  1. Technology Risk – Does it actually work?
  2. Market Risk – Does it stand out?
  3. Consumer Risk – Will customers actually buy?
  4. Regulatory Risk – Will it get approved?
  • You are always raising money. Recruit a range of investors who can write large checks including corporate partners, foundations, and governments.
  • Costs are king; performance matters. Consumers won’t pay more for an inferior product no matter how “green.” It must be superior, or at least equivalent: Tesla, Beyond Meat, Nest.
  • Own the relationship with your customer. Sustain direct relationships with end buyers.
  • Incumbents will fight. The disrupted markets are built on the premise of free-of-charge carbon pollution.

Update May 5, 2022

John Doerr, a venture capitalist, and his wife, Ann Doerr, are making a $1.1 billion donation to Stanford for a new school focusing on sustainability and climate change.

Ziplining In The Redwoods

Ziplining In The Redwoods

Zipline in RedwoodsA couple of weeks ago I got a frantic call from my friend Martha. She was at SFO and could not find her auto ignition key to drive home. Would I drive across town to get her spare key and drive it from Santa Rosa to SFO? I did. Because it was rush hour, it took four and a half hours to get back home. To thank me, Martha treated me to a zipline through the redwoods. Here is a video of Martha on the longest of the five runs. There were also two swinging bridges that demanded balance as well as hiking uphill, and a 60-foot rappel which was as fun as I hoped. This ziplining is not cheap because it supports the Redwood Alliance which sheltered homeless this Covid winter, and provides lodging and meals for firefighters working on summer blazes in the redwoods.

You can see how smoky it is from the Dixie Fire north of Sacramento and get a sense of how dry the trees are after two years of very little rainfall. We are all masked because, two days ago, the Covid Delta variant became dominant and fast-moving and the state mandated masks indoors. Alliance required us to be masked outdoors. There was no resistance from anyone in our group.

My Turkey Family

My Turkey Family

turkey eggs
In mid-June, I was using the hose to water the shade trees and suddenly a turkey hen burst out from under the spear-leafed phormium, revealing a clutch of eggs. I caught myself before I hosed down the eggs and the hovering hen. She stayed for a month, never seeming to leave her spot in my front yard. Google told me that she would lay one egg a day but that they would all hatch together and the hatchlings are called “poults.”

Then, two weeks ago, she was gone, leaving this behind. I think that half of the 10 eggs hatched. I never saw her again, or the poults. But I feel like a grandmother.

I bought A Painting

I bought A Painting
painting by Isabelle

á la soupe, as hung

In 2014, I took a Sierra Club trip to Loon Lake, led by Isabelle. I met Liam on that trip and taught him how to say “buon giorno!” I returned to Loon Lake several times, including this private trip, also with Isabelle and Liam.

Isabelle was born in France and her father bequeathed her the family stone cottage in the southeast part of France, about an hour from the Rhone river. She would go back every year to make sure it was okay and to keep her ownership intact. The pandemic took a financial toll and Isabelle decided to retire, which required moving back to France permanently.

She decided to sell the oil paintings that were studies from her portrait class. This is titled “á la soupe” because that is what the French say when it is time to come to the dinner table. “French people eat soup for dinner,” Isabelle said.


Isabelle said that the decision to retire was difficult because she had spent about 20 years building her business as an acupuncturist. Her resilience shows in her journey of self compassion.

Lake Hennessey 2021

Lake Hennessey 2021

Spent a beautiful Saturday at Lake Hennessey with the Marin Canoe and Kayak club. This is a great winter paddle because this area is too hot in the summer. About an hour drive to the lake and a pleasant eight mile paddle from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a pleasant stop for lunch.

Kayak club at Lake Hennessey

Marin Canoe and Kayak Club

Lyz took this photo with her cell phone as we waited for the others.

Lake Hennessey kayak

Enjoying Lake Hennessey

Lyz has a folding “origami” Oru boat.

This is the path we paddled, about eight miles. The lunch spot, with a porta-potty, is marked in red.

I drove along Silerado Trail to witness the Glass fire burn, and on the way back I took Chiles Pope Valley Rd. I realized that there is still “nowhere” available in this state. The pastures, which are supposed to be emerald green in January, were not because the year has been very dry so far. Not a good omen for this wildfire area.

Chiles-Pope Valley Rd.