Sunday, March 26, 2017

A "TV," Up Close and Personal

Turkey vultures are about as common in Marin as maggots on a dead animal, and during our hikes we often see them soaring over hill and dale, or in early morning, roosting in trees with wings spread.

But until yesterday, when he visited the Cascade Raptor Center, about 10 minutes drive from his apartment in Eugene, Oregon, he'd never seen one feeding, "up close and personal."

video


This one, and another "TV," shared the "north" and "south" ends of a rat, and rat organs, fed to them during a "late lunch" by the Center's staff.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

REMINDER - NO HIKE NEXT WEEK (MARCH 28)

Just a quick reminder that there will be no hike next Tuesday, March 28th.

Next up is Indian Valley College Open Space in Novato on April 4th, the first in the series of College of Marin spring hikes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Bon Tempe/Lagunitas Lakes "Final Exam" Hike (3/21) Preview



This is a lovely, level lakeside loop! We could see Ring-necked Ducks, Common Mergansers, American Widgeons, Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads, and more. This could also be the week for our first Acmon Blue butterfly!

(Click here for a recap of our 2010 hike. There's also an album of photos taken on past hikes.)

Remember to bring your contribution to our gourmet feast, a plate, cup, and utensils.  (We'll have lunch at Wendy's home in San Anselmo if rain makes it impossible to use the group picnic area at Lake Lagunitas.)

Directions to trailhead: Take Sir Francis Drake Boulevard into Fairfax. Jog left and make an immediate right in front of the movie theater.

The first left puts you on Bolinas Avenue. Follow this until you see the sign on your left for Lake Bon Tempe and Lake Lagunitas.

Click here for the MMWD map and directions. Or click here for a Google Maps map showing the trailhead location; click on the teardrop icon to get driving directions and estimated travel time from your location.

Unless you have an MMWD pass, continue past the old toll booth, pull over at the parking area on the right and pay the day use fee, and then continue driving until you reach the end of the road.
 
The day use fee is $8.  You can use a credit card, $1, $5, or $10 bills (but not coins or $20 bills) at the automated pay station.

Annual watershed area parking passes for Marin residents are $60 ($30 for those 62 and older). You can buy them online or at the MMWD main office in Corte Madera.

Time: 30 minutes from College of Marin. Outhouse in parking lot; portables en route

Carpoolers can meet at St. Rita's Church at 9:20 a.m. Click here for a Google Maps map showing St. Rita's ("A") and directions and estimated driving time to the trailhead.

We’ll have lunch at the picnic area at Lake Lagunitas so you don’t need to carry the food for the potluck.

Weather forecast:  As of Tuesday, March 14th, the National Weather Service forecast for the hike was a chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 63 (Click here for an updated forecast).

More on this hike: Hike "C13 Bon Tempe Lake Trail" in the Martins' book, Hiking Marin, shows the general area where we will be hiking. However, we'll start and end at trail junction #2 on their map, rather than at Bon Tempe dam. (Click here for an MMWD map that shows this area).


This hike is a little shorter than average at about 3.7 miles, without a great deal of elevation change.


The Google Earth image below shows both lakes in a view looking back towards Fairfax. (Click on the photo to open a larger image in your Web browser).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Deer Park to Phoenix Lake Hike (3/14) Preview

THIS HIKE WAS ORIGINALLY TO TAKE PLACE ON MARCH 7TH BUT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO MARCH 14TH.

This is a scenic hike with lunch at Phoenix Lake.  We should see Red Larkspur, Gypsum Spring Beauty, Baby Blue Eyes, and Ground Iris  Maybe we'll hear the first Orange-Crowned Warblers of the season singing their spring song!  (Click here for a recap of our hike in March 2010 or here for photos from past hikes.)

Directions to trailhead:  Go west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to Fairfax. As you enter Fairfax, turn left at the gas station, and make an immediate right in front of the movie theater. This puts you on Broadway.

Make the first left onto Bolinas Avenue. Just after it veers left, turn left on Porteous Avenue. Follow it to the parking lot at Deer Park.

(Click here for a Google Maps map showing the location of Deer Park. Click on the teardrop icon to get driving directions and estimated driving time from your location.)

15 minutes from College of Marin. Carpoolers can meet at St. Rita's Church at 9:30 a.m.

Restrooms at trailhead.

Weather forecast:  As of Wednesday, March 8th, the National Weather Service forecast for the hike was partly sunny, with a high near 67. (Click here for an updated forecast).

More on this hike: Presumably we'll follow the same route as in the past. The Martin's Hiking in Marin trail guide does not have a single map and directions for our hike from Deer Park School to Phoenix Lake and back, but you can use the following two maps and hikes from their book to piece together our path:

Start off using the Martin's Hike "C6 - Deer Park Road - Yolanda Trail." Head up the Deer Park Fire Road to Oak Tree Junction, then turn left (to the south) and hike uphill on the Six Points Trail. When you reach the Six Points junction, switch to Hike "C4 - Hidden Meadow - Yolanda Trail" and hike down the Yolanda South Trail to Phoenix Lake.

Using that same hike and map, follow Shaver Grade uphill, and while doing so, refer back to the C6 hike and map to follow the Grade to Five Corners. Continue straight down Deer Park Fire Road to Boy Scout Junction. Cross the fire road and take the Junction Trail back to its intersection with Deer Park Fire Road (just where you turned off onto Six Points Trail when you were headed toward the lake).

Here's a Google Earth view looking from Deer Park over Bald Hill towards Phoenix Lake.

Here's the hike's profile.