Posts Tagged ‘american river parkway’

Poor Images

11 April 2020

With a broken play on words, I introduce some of my photos from today’s trip back from Folsom. Was my camera giving me trouble or was I the problem? Hopefully this question is not important enough to answer at this time…

hummingbird on dead branch

Hummingbirds don’t often pose for me, but one did today. Still, I used all the optical zoom I could plus a crop of the photo to bring this little one this close.

people on the trail

This photo of some of the other trail users features a young man riding what seems to be a giant scooter. I’m not sure if it was motorized.

old cut in river bank

This is one of several cuts into the sandstone bank of the river that were likely made many years ago to facilitate gold mining operations.

manroot fruit

Though this would normally be called “wild cucumber,” it appears to be the related plant Manroot.

deer feeding on young leaves

There must be something in the young tree leaves or flowers that attracts this deer, as forage is abundant this time of year.

head of bluebird

This bluebird was also posing for me in this tree, but I failed to point my camera correctly, catching only its head. This bird is probably here because of the nearby nest boxes put out as part of a habitat restoration project.

jackrabbit running away

Likewise here, I had several good opportunities to get a profile of this jackrabbit, but ended up only with a shot of its rear. I have seen this animal in this area before, but they are very rare in these parts, and I consider myself lucky to have noticed it at all.

the clouds thin

By lunchtime, the clouds started thinning, as predicted. This is at the William B. Pond Recreation Area. Sometimes horse riders come here, as there’s plenty of parking space and some nice short trails.

horses at William B. Pond

This lady told me that the horses like having their pictures taken.

locust tree

I just call this tree a “locust,” but it’s probably a Black Locust. It is in the Legume family, related to the Acacias, Brooms, Clovers, Peas, etc. The flowers are striking as they bloom, but usually don’t last long.

men work on power lines

There are two sets of power lines that run basically north-to-south through this part of the county. I believe this was the “first” set of lines (more to the east). I never see these lines worked on. It is fairly uncommon, as you have to turn the power off to do it, and that’s a lot of power (about 300,000 volts at some hundreds of amps).

sundrops flower

This Sundrops plant was blooming! It’s a yellow Evening Primrose, and I last noticed in the late summer last year.

As I headed into the city, I saw more turkeys at the arboretum, but I already have a bunch of better photos of turkeys posted. Next stop was at the train tracks.

freight train going through midtown sacramento

This line runs through midtown (around 20th) and is used a lot. Fortunately, this train wasn’t very long.

In other news…

The most surprising thing (I think) that came to my attention recently was the fact that the U.S. now has a Space Force. The plan is to make it an independent branch of the Armed Forces, operating under the Air Force Department of the DOD.

I found out about this because I get newsletters from a bunch of electronics trade magazines and sites, and a recent featured article covered the story of how the Space Force is upgrading their near-earth radar systems so they can track more orbiting space objects.

I understand that a lot of people aren’t thrilled with the U.S. decision to militarize space. They don’t want to see space weaponized, as we already have enough trouble with land-based weapons. There is a United Nations treaty to this effect. However, with no space-capable fighters yet visible, these objections seem a bit premature. The current mission of the new branch consists mostly of protecting our most vital assets in space, like the GPS satellites.

There have been multiple stories released since the Air Force Space Command was established in 1982 concerning what might be “out there” besides our own satellites and space probes. No one is officially talking about that these days, though Reagan talked about the “other possibility” at least four times in public, so that keeps the fires burning under the story that there is more to our Space Force than meets the eye.

Space Force Seal in bad taste?

There has been some problem with the logo, or “seal” as it is called, for the new unit. Some Star Trek fans seem to feel that it might have been stolen from that show (late 1960s). However, the show’s emblem was purposely based on NASA’s emblem, which had been around since 1959. The main problem remains that the Starfleet was considered a non-military (mostly) activity sponsored by a federation of planets that had established peaceful relations among themselves. This was a central tenet of the original series, an appeal to viewers to embrace the diversity of races and cultures on Earth and abandon the Cold War and other types of war. With the implementation of our new Space Force, we have turned and walked defiantly off in a different direction, or so it appears.

Here is the “seal:”

U.S. Space Force Seal

The Understory Revives

28 March 2020

Today is Saturday and it’s raining again. But this was predicted, so I went shopping (again) on Friday, and this time I brought my camera.

Understory? Reminds me of a bad joke. But ecologically, it’s everything that grows below the forest canopy that isn’t actually living in the ground. And though the canopy no longer exists along many parts of this river, springtime remains the time of the understory, of the lower-growing plants, bushes and trees that thrive before the canopy leafs out and shades them.

After a dry February, the rains returned in March, giving the early plants and flowers a big chance to proliferate. And though in many places the grasses are already choking them out, in many other places they are the stars right now.

Flowers

broom

Let’s start with all the leguminous plants that like to flower at this time. Above is a broom. Brooms are very hardy and are officially considered weeds in most of the west. But they sure are showy when they flower!

lupine

Here’s a lupine. What a show! This is probably the Silver Lupine, which is native in this area, but quite possibly has been replanted in this case.

Another spring legume is the vetch, not pictured. It is very common in this area and likes to crowd in with Star Thistle and the grasses that mature later in the year. And another is the Redbud. It is not native here, but has been planted all over due to its beautiful spring flowers.

Next, some flowers that may be horticultural escapees, but are very conspicuous now in the Folsom area.

Here we see Allium, Fiddleneck, and a mustard (Rocket) all growing together. The Allium are so noticeable right now that they deserve a separate portrait.

allium closeup

Monkeyflower, which I saw blooming in the late summer, is even more prolific now. It tends to grow in bushy patches.

monkeyflower

Right next to this plant, growing under a pine tree, were a large bunch of Collinsias. I call them by their botanical name because they have so many different common names, such as “Chinese Houses.”

collinsias

We also see vetch and leaves of a buckeye in the background, along with an unidentified dried stalk with seed capsules still attached, along with a mint in the fuzzy foreground on the right.

And of course Spring here would not be complete without California Poppies.

california poppy

Way down the parkway in the William B. Pond Park lawn, I found this next plant, which I had difficulty identifying. It is a Henbit, a small-flowered member of the mint family.

henbit

Other Plants

fern fronds in the sun

I had to go back and visit the fern plants I have been keeping track of. They seem mature now, which means the “green” part of their life cycle is almost over. In a moist environment (a real understory) these fronds would persist throughout the summer. But out here among these rocks, they will probably die back.

coral lichen and mosses

The amazing lichens I photographed back when it was really wet have already died back, and the mosses they live with are well on their way to completing their life cycle for another year, too.

Drawn to the Draws

In western lingo, any gully or visible low area is called a “draw.” I have always found these areas appealing, but they are hard to photograph in a way that conveys the feeling of shelter that goes with them.

large open draw

This one is all sunlit, right next to the trail, and with a big dead tree down at the bottom.

deep shaded draw

This one is also right next to the trail, but shaded. It is quite deep, but possibly not really natural, as all the terrain in this area has been modified by the old gold mining activities that used to be the norm along this river. But that’s been over 100 years ago now, so all these places have had a lot of time to grow back into more diverse ecosystems.

poppies next to a wide draw

Here’s another wide and sunny drainage area with poppies all along its banks. This is right next to a huge pile of river rocks (mine tailings) that has not yet become overgrown.

Animals

Animals present various photographic challenges. In this first shot, though, I think I just had my camera set wrong. The fuzziness of the butterflies does, however, suggest how in motion they were.

butterflies in fiddleneck

There were a lot of these dark-winged butterflies flying around. They look like they may be Swallowtails.

male turkeys

These turkeys did not really want their picture taken. I believe these are males. There were some females not far away, but they were further off the trail.

This deer also wanted to keep its distance.

Stay At Home?

people on the trail

A lot of people seemed to agree that home was not the place to stay on a beautiful sunny day. As was true last week, there were a lot of people walking and biking this Friday afternoon. Most of the government people involved with the shutdown orders seem to recognize our need to get out for some fresh air. They are most concerned about people going out in order to gather somewhere and then infect each other.

I was on an “essential” trip, grocery shopping, and those qualify as well. “Infrastructure” work also keeps going, such as on this construction site, and at the hotel they are building across from where I live.

construction site

The businesses being hit the hardest are the gathering places. The restaurants, bars, auditoriums, schools and churches. My church decided to close so that parishioners would not find themselves in situations where they would have to explain to authorities why going to church is essential (though I think it should be considered so!).

It is such a shame that a stupid disease would convince us that we should not go out and meet with each other, hug each other, or shake hands. It can’t continue this way. Hiding inside is no way to confront a problem. We do too much of that in “normal” times. In the end it would probably be better for us to get out more, not less. It’s already become a bad habit that many of us really need to break, not find more justifications for.

smile

Food!

28 November 2019

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!

From the musical Oliver!, lyrics by Lionel Bart.

I learned some of the songs in this musical in 5th or 6th grade at Wines School in Ann Arbor.

And since I didn’t get any shots of this year’s Thanksgiving meal, I’ll take you on a short trip down Memory Lane to a few major meals I attended in the long-ago.

19770729-Becks-with-Sophie

We’ll start with summer 1977 at the Beck’s (Culver City, Los Angeles). There’s Mom and Dad in the back, our friend Sophie facing the camera, a young Sherman staring down at something yummy, and my sister’s beautiful blond hair shimmering fuzzily in the foreground.

19770806-Piersons-with-Bill

Later that summer we stop by the Piersons. Here we see their piano and music books still prominent in the all-purpose room we spent most of our time in whenever we visited them.

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Next, a Thanksgiving spread featuring David, Mom and Barbie.

19771224-christmas-at-Piersons-Donna-and-the-rest

And Christmas dessert, with Donna and Barbie all over-exposed in the foreground. Donna had great blond hair, too.

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And three years later, a scene from the big indoor get-together of the Pritchard Family Reunion (Grandma was a Pritchard). This was held in — can I remember? — the general vicinity of Garner, Iowa. The family started out in Belmond.

Food in the wild wild West

My most recent visit to the American River Parkway featured these food-related scenes:

ARP-scenes-20191123-49-vulture-with-fish

The salmon have been running in the American River. Last week I saw a big fish skittering up a shallow rapids near to where this vulture had caught another one.

ARP-scenes-20191123-53-woodpecker

Woodpeckers feed mostly on insects living in dead tree branches. It is rare indeed that I catch such a good view of a woodpecker.

ARP-scenes-20191123-57-deer

When I came across this doe she had a corn chip bag over her snout. She ran away when I tried to catch her wearing the latest deer fashion (she probably fancied the salt). Here she’s trying to hide from me.

ARP-scenes-20191116-21-walnut-orchard

I have ridden past this old orchard many times, and finally decided to snap a photo. These are walnut trees as far as I can tell. These specimens, however, are quite old. Most of the green on the nearest tree is mistletoe, indicating the tree is weakening from age.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Of bikes, banks, birds, bucks…

3 November 2019

I thought I might diverge a bit from my usual weekly write-up to mention a little more about the experience of riding from Folsom to Sacramento.

I don’t have any really good photos showing what Folsom is like, but here’s one from the summer showing some geese walking around on the lawn and sidewalk next to a corporate building and a transit station parking lot.

geese-by-street-folsom-20190713-75

It is a car-dominated, corporate-dominated suburban area. This is a newer part of town, so it has bike paths and lots of greenery and these random appearances of wildlife. I think a lot of suburbs have these things.

Some attack suburban life as “unsustainable,” but with a combination of lots of local employment plus a big city nearby, many people would much prefer to live in a place like Folsom if they can afford to. With the help of cars, a large grocery store like Winco is very viable here. There is plenty of room for parking, and the store is constantly busy, but especially on Saturday morning. The store is full of parents and kids, plus some older and younger couples, and a few singles like me.

I usually finish my shopping between 11AM and noon, then start back with my load of groceries, a big sun hat, and (in the summer) a dab of sunscreen on the top of each hand – the most exposed body parts (I wear long sleeves and pants when I go on such trips).

I got the bicycle I use in Pullman. It is a very well-built machine, but longer than most bikes. The frame has been extended about seven inches to allow for a lower center of gravity and more leg extension to the pedals. This is very helpful for urban biking where there is a lot of stopping for people and traffic. Most others on the trail ride racing bikes. A few older people ride motor-assisted touring bikes. I also see unusual bicycles on this trail. There is an occasional tandem bike, recumbent bikes, and a few “stepper” bikes.

Folsom is roughly 20 miles east of Sacramento. To its immediate north is a “lake” which is a reservoir formed by a rather large dam. Below that is a smaller “lake” formed by a smaller dam located at a fish hatchery. An aquatic park connected to Sac State University is located on this lower lake, and they host various boat races and similar events there. It is by this lake, across from the “Iron Point” light rail station, that I enter the Parkway and start my ride back to Sacramento.

Here are some people doing a photo shoot in that section of the park. It is right next to Folsom Boulevard, so very accessible.

halloween-photoshoot-20191026-21

This is where most of the tarweed grows, as described in earlier posts.

Below the fish hatchery is a stretch of river used a lot for fishing and leisurely boating. The river is broad, shallow and slow-moving below the hatchery all the way to where it meets the Sacramento River. About 150 years ago, this section of the river was heavily dug up using various mining methods to remove gold from river sediments. Very large piles of river rocks adorn the banks of the river in this area, particularly on the south side where the bike path is. Here is a major example:

stone-field-ARP-20190706-35

On this part of the river, the other (north) side of the river is steeper and more hilly, so most of the rock from the dredges ended up on the south side.

As this environmental interference is now over 100 years past, many of these areas are regrown, particularly along the river banks. Here is a typical view of the river not far downstream from the hatchery.

river-scene-20191102-47

The bike path tends to skirt along the river bank where there are lots of trees, while passing open fields on the other side. At some points the road and houses are quite close to the path, and at other points they are more distant.

There are a few sections of dense woods (which I love – reminds me of Michigan) but in most places the land shows signs that at one time in the past it was cleared by the miners for their work. I have shown this photo before, but I’ll show it here again to convey some of the beauty that a real forest provides.

forest-20190824-09

The ride home is for the most part a pleasure. But it does take me about three hours, and I usually experience some discomfort on the rump before the ride is over.

On the way I normally stop at one of the parks for a snack. It was not far from my stop this week that I spied these two birds down at the river. With bare eyes I could not tell that the vulture had a fish, but it was obviously feeding on something. The gull seems to be waiting with a sort of pretended attitude of disinterest, hoping – I suppose – that the vulture will leave some scraps behind that it may take advantage of.

gull-and-vulture-20191102-41

It is not common to come across such a poignant little vignette as the one above, but this area is home to wildlife, and they will sometimes appear close to the bike path, as I have noted many times concerning the deer. This week I got my first sighting of an older buck. I didn’t know there were any buck this old (two or three years judging by antler points) living in this area. I didn’t see any does in the vicinity.

buck-20191102-54

At Sac State I leave the river and head into town. The roadways in that area are a bit tangled, as a railway runs through it at a diagonal, which breaks up the usual orderly grid of streets.

I usually go into town using M and L streets. These are residential streets until I get close to downtown, so there’s less car traffic on them. On this route I go through the “40s” which is a very posh, upscale old suburban neighborhood. It stays residential until I get to the I-80 freeway which goes right through town between 29th and 30th.

The fact that the I-80 and the I-5 cross in Sacramento makes this spot a major transport crossroads. This fact has been emphasized several times by the drug enforcement officers who come to our church to brief us on the current scene regarding illicit trafficking, and particularly marijuana. It means there is a criminal interest in this location that would be absent if those freeways crossed somewhere else.

In any case, after the freeway comes the hospital (Sutter) along with the fort (Sutter) and then I get into a mix of older houses, apartment buildings, and cute shops that emphasize coffee, food, and drinking. L Street comes into downtown right between the Capitol Mall (a quite nice park) and the Convention Center (currently being renovated).  Then I switch over to K Street which runs right into the new DOCO, and I am home.

I might mention that the ice rink just opened this Friday and I had a nice opening day skate for just two bucks!

I will end with this shot of what was on the ground back in the park at the place where I saw the deer. It is not yet freezing at night here (and actually does not do so that often), and so many of the late-blooming plants just continue to go about their business. Sometimes when I walk down the city streets and see all that brick or concrete I wish the sidewalks could look like this instead.

ground-cover-20191102-58

 

Gone Fishin’

19 October 2019

Tired of titles that have nothing to do with my content? I can’t help it. Hopefully I’ll get over it before too long.

If this title has anything more to do with this article beyond my photo of a guy fishing while an egret looks on, it would probably be that I had to “fish” these images out of larger photos. I almost always “crop” my photos to improve composition and focus more on the central subject. All these had to be cropped quite a lot, mostly because the featured subject was not very close to me when I photographed it.

Somewhere up on the river, after the dam at Aquatic Park, but not much beyond where I saw the guy fishing, I noticed a beautiful red-breasted hawk fly into a nearby tree to rest.

hawk-ARP-20191019-07

Hawk sightings are not that common along this part of the river. Vultures are very common, and tend to dominate. Most of the hawks here are smaller birds; and I have never seen an eagle in these parts.

Squirrels are very active this time of year. And a lot of squirrels in this area use burrows for living quarters, rather than build tree nests. A park such as the William Pond Park – one of the larger ones on the river – can get quite torn up with ground squirrel holes.

ground-squirrel-Pond_park-20191012-_4

These little guys like to stand upright at the entrance to a burrow or nearby. I don’t know to what extent this reflects diligence or concern for personal safety. Perhaps it just gets smelly down there and he needs to refresh himself once in a while.

I’m always looking for the deer. Today they were considerably down river from where they usually hang out. A lady on a bike even stopped and told me she’d seen another one in the area where I saw two. But I didn’t photograph them. I have so many photos now of deer right next to – or on – the trail that it seems to me I have enough.

But when one showed up across from the Cal State – Sac campus, which is very close to town, I stopped to capture the moment.

deer-near-sac_state-20191019-15

This one appeared to be quite young. Otherwise she’d know better than to wander this far down the river. But she was staying down by the trees. The bike trail here is up on a levee.

Perhaps next week I will feel moved to address topics of greater import. Kind of felt the need to take it easy this weekend…

fishing-with-egret-ARP-20191019-_9

 

 

Equinox

22 September 2019

A few days ago we had our first rain in at least six months. I was wondering if any of the plants in the American River Parkway would respond to this. Of course, we are also just a day or two away from the fall equinox, the official beginning of autumn, and the plants could be responding to that, too.

But I really only saw one big change along the trail, and that was a renewed flowering of the mysterious yellow asters that I haven’t yet identified. While the tarweed that was so visible in a Folsom field has decided to stop flowering, these other yellow flowers decided the opposite.

yellow-flower-ARP-20190921-38

The other yellow flowers that I mentioned in a previous post are also blooming more strongly now. I think this may also be triggered by soil moisture.

This is also a time when flocking behavior and migration starts to occur for some birds. This was very evident on the river, with large groups of gulls appearing. I hardly ever see gulls on the river during the summer.

gulls-on-american-river-20190921-40

Some of the larger aquatic birds will also begin to move around more this time of year. This egret is stopping at a man-made water control pond in Folsom. I hardly ever see egrets at this pond.

egret-20190921-33-folsom-pond

The “ARP deer” were camped out at their usual place along the trail. For some reason, though, most of them were lying down – almost hiding – in the dry grass.

deer-ARP-20190921-44

The parties associated with the end of summer – and of the summer school break – are mostly at an end. But I missed including this shot in my last post, and I wanted to mention it because I had never seen something like this before. It was part of a party at Hagan Park last week.

party-ball-hagan_park-20190914-093

A child (or even an adult, I suppose) can climb into this clear inflated sphere through one of two ports and then walk or crawl around inside it. I found the somewhat bizarre structure of the object most intriguing.

On my way back home, I usually stop at this little mini-park in midtown to get a drink from the water fountain (the one in the foreground, not the cute one).

fountain-at-48th-and-m-sac-20190720-121

And in the same neighborhood – a quite posh part of town – I happened upon this restored vintage car. This appears to be a 1937 Cadillac.

vintage-auto-sacramento-20190921-49

The equinox symbolizes a momentary balance that our universe oscillates around. May your balance move towards perfection and your oscillations be interesting and instructive.

 

 

Plants and Animals

31 August 2019

Here in central California, the end of August is hot and dry throughout most of the inner valleys. That sort of weather even hits the coasts this time of year sometimes.

You’d expect the flowers to all be wilting, the wild berries shriveled up, and the grasslands a dull tan color. Midday you’d expect the animals to all be hiding somewhere until the sun gets lower in the sky.

But such was not exactly my experience as I biked home from Folsom through the American River Parkway.

I wanted to concentrate on the section of the trail (and river) between Folsom and Rancho Cordova, as this is the part I have tended to ignore a bit in my trips. I’m not yet tired enough to find an excuse to get off my bike and take some pictures.

Over on the other side of the river just west of Folsom is the posh/hip community of Fair Oaks. And across from Rancho Cordova is the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael.

This river is well-used from both sides for kayaking, river rafting and a bit of fishing. Over most of this segment, it is shallow and relatively slow-moving. There are some bluffs on the other side (the “north” side of the river) that bring human settlement very close to the stream’s edge. But most of the rest of the floodplain has levees built around it, which is how the Parkway came to be.

Up at the Folsom end, and just across from the park along Folsom Blvd., there are some awesome stands of blackberry bushes. One would expect most of the berries to be dried up by this time of year, but I found a few still going strong in a shaded area.

blackberries-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-029

There are also wild grapes growing in this area, but that crop does not seem so profuse this year.

There is a place along the trail (bikeway) where I have often seen deer. I am amazed they congregate there, as the houses come in very close, and there are people walking dogs. Yet the deer – does at least – show up there regularly. But I was not prepared to see all three does plus their fawn foraging together a little before noon.

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-053

I decided to set near them a while and just sort of ask them to come closer. To my amazement, after a few minutes they started to do so. I have seen does “act stupid” before. They don’t seem to have the same attitude towards their own safety that the bucks do. First they came up to, maybe, 30 feet away from the trail. One decided she was going to feed on a particular tree, but the “good” branches were too high, so she got up on her rear legs and stretched for it! I’ve never seen a deer do that before. The image below was not that well-exposed, so I did an auto-color-correct on it. She really looks pretty goofy in this picture.

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-088

Meanwhile, the others and the fawn were getting even closer. They came under a tree maybe 15 feet away from the trail. Damned if I could keep the camera steady enough to get a crisp image with my zoom all the way out, but this is the best picture of a fawn I have ever taken.

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-100

Next, the rest of the does decided to come right up to the bike trail. Bikes were going by, I was talking to them, people were stopping to photograph them, people were walking their dogs on the other side, and these deer just wouldn’t go away!

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-109

For a while, all three even crossed the bike path to see what was worth chomping on on the other side. Someone with a dog, I think, scared two of them back, but the third one didn’t want to leave.

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-118

I walked right up to her (well, pretty close) and talked to her. “It’s better if you stay over on that side,” I said, “it will be safer for you there.” She still didn’t want to leave. It seems she had found something really interesting on the ground to chew on.

deer-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-127

It may have been some snack food that one of the bike riders had thrown out a little earlier. But I insisted, “come on, girl, back to the other side with the others!” She finally went back across.

I have never seen any wild deer get this close to people. They were young does, but still, this seemed a bit odd. Perhaps they were really hungry. They did look a bit scrawny to me.

I finally picked up and left. Not much further down was the place where the bikeway had been blocked for several weeks so that a washout could be fixed. Finally this part was open again! The repair itself was not very visually interesting. They had dumped a crapload of crushed rock down the slope to shore up the washout. I did notice a lizard out on one of the rocks taking a sunbath.

lizard-at-washout-fix-ARP-trail-20190831-136

Just a little further down the trail there is a place where the bank gets very steep. It’s hard to tell how much of this is “natural.” This whole area was extensively mined and dredged using the “placer” method, which leaves huge piles of small boulders by the shore, and the landscape considerably altered.

But here on this steep bank I found a tree hanging on for dear life to what looked like a piece of the original clay soil beneath the stone piles.

tree-hanging-on-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-039

The view below is from the same area. Notice the pine trees. They don’t appear further down the river. I haven’t completely looked into the history of these pines. They may have been an earlier attempt at reforestation. Note the mound of rocks in the middle of the river – possibly also the remains of earlier mining operations. And the parking lot in the distance is one of the many public access points to the river.

view-from-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-045

Somewhere along the bikeway, there is a section where these rather lovely yellow flowers grow. They are mostly wilting now, but I finally got a clear picture of one. I was having a terrible time getting my camera to focus on them in closeup mode.

yellow-flower-ARP-upper-trail-20190831-034

I will return soon with some photographs of plants and animals that live thousands of miles away from California, but in a climate not that different from ours.