Some of you may know the Janet and I often travel near the end of the year. This past year, however, we were in town for November and December and for the second year in a row went camping for Thanksgiving! Bullfrog Campground in Guerneville. While there we had a chance to take several beautiful hikes and these times in the wood reminded me how much I enjoy the natural setting and what satisfaction we derive from attempting to replicate the natural settings in client’s yards.
Kind of hard to replicate this in a client’s back yard in the City, but what a beautiful view showing the hills and open spaces that lead people from all over the world to visit. You can see the impact of a dry year with just a bit of green in the foreground, and lots of grasses and dried out plants. Since there was a bit of rain before our visit, some greening was occurring, but not much.
Then of course are the trees, large and small, old and young, which thrive in our parks and forests. This old oak has been doing quite well for years but notice the dead branches (and mistletoe at the top). Still, the roots have no barriers and have spread quite a long distance – pretty important in this location as the tree sits on the top of a steep hill! If you look closely you’ll see Janet by the split trunk. The fall light added so much – in the summer the views are harsher, but in the late fall the colors almost stand out more and provide more contrast (and of course it’s nowhere near as hot).
There’s a fire lookout trailer at the top of the one of the hills. We’ve never seen any evidence of anyone using the trailer, but there’s propane, electricity and phone hookups there next to the locked trailer. Maybe no people use the lookout, but the animals sure enjoy it. The woodpecker (or ?) using this telephone pole obviously thought it was a great place for storage (maybe the pole is softer wood than the trees?). Guess maybe he has an app to locate the acorns. Wonder if ATT charges rent by the acorn?
One of the beautiful aspects of this particular hike is the variety in the environment. One moment we’re looking out over the beautiful hills, seeing the large oaks and madrones, and then we turn a corner and we’re in deep woods, caught in the shadows of the large trees.
Look at all the different species of trees in the view – all the duff on the forest floor. It’s almost difficult to see the trail as it winds its way through the woods back down to the campground (about 1½ miles away). As the trails dips down, the redwoods begin to become more evident, oaks and madrones disappear but the beauty of the setting still lingers. Nature does a pretty good job of composition and texture, doesn’t it?
Janet found some beautiful lichen (I’m sure one of our readers will provide the correct names) along the way: delicate, individual handfuls of tree ornaments. Each one is so different yet so interesting to stop and look at (especially in contrast to Janet’s red glove)!
After we returned to our campsite (quite pretty in its own way), we remarked how pretty the hills and woods were, how lucky we were to be so close to them, and how lucky we were to have the opportunity to attempt to add a bit of nature to our clients’ homes wherever we could! We had a great getaway that allowed us to relax, catch our breaths and bring so much back to work when we returned! We counted this brief trip as a total success (not even including the great campfire).
Michael N. Hofman, January 2016