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Really Big Trees Near Guernville (Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve)

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Whatever you do, make sure you visit the amphitheater (though this time of year it might have better been called the “amphibian-theater”). Also visit a winery and catch a buzz before you park the car.

The posse

Amy dwarfed by a giant redwood

The band at the crest

Crown

More crown

Hiking the David Joseph State Park (near Jenner, CA)

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On a beautiful Spring day (one of the first for months) we went to the edge of the continent with Uncle Jim and Chloe. Just south of the Russian river is Shell Beach and across Highway 1 from that is a nice set of trails traversing the coastal hills.

All told, we may have hiked 3.5 or 4 miles.

From the Pacific

 

Vernal mud on the trail

 

Spring mushrooms were everywhere (irises too)

 

To the fern forest

Then it was back down to the ocean.

The Blue Mountains: Katoomba, Australia

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A two hour train ride outside of Sydney, you can find the tourist hamlet of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Tourists have been coming here since the turn of the century (1900). Katoomba itself reminds me of West Virginia in its old coal town turned bust turned tourist vibe. You can now find hipsters and artists in residence.

We took the train out in the morning and spent several hours walking from the train station to a trailhead, down the cliff face, and back up again.

Highlights on the mountain visit include the three sisters, the giant stairway (976 steps!), waterfalls, and the steepest railroad in Australia.

We started our morning at Sydney central

The two hour train ride is a little long. The tourist center by the train station is well worth a visit. That is where we finalized our plan.

8things cafe. Great food and super service

Cassiopia coffee (recommended)

We walked from the station to Echo point (2.3 km).

The Echo Point visitors center

This is where we first caught sight of the famed three sisters. Which we saw many times throughout the day.

Three sisters from Echo Point visitor center

Three sisters from the echo point trail

Three sisters from the trail

Three sisters from just above

Honeycomb cave (at the three sisters)

Three sisters from below on the Federal trail

Three sisters from Scenic World gondola

Here’s what happened in between. After honeycomb cave, we entered the giant stairway. Lots of stairs down (976 in fact). Amy did not do them all.

This is an alternative way to get down the stairs (not recommended by our attorney)

Not here

Here

Flowers and bromiliads

Amy

AMY

A tiny fiddlehead against the mountains

Down

Flowers on the mountain

Looking down 500 feet

The blue mountains

Amy contemplates

Cliff hangers

Amy takes the stairs with a monk

Cliff hangers and rare species

Eventually, we entered the rain forrest at the bottom of the cliff.

The giant stairway is well named. It has been there a while.

Rainforest ecology

Amy rounds the bend

Ferns and trail. The rainforest shift is striking

A very big tree indeed

Katoomba Creek falls

After the falls, we were back in what passes as civilization. Scenic world was first contemplated by coal miners. Just take the train thingy up.

And, why not? Try the cable car too.

We walked back from scenic world (another 2.5km). All told we may have hiked around 5 miles. We deserved a beer.

After a long day hiking, it was high time for a beer!

The 2 hour train ride back to Sydney was slightly too long.

It Was a Golden Day

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Large tree PHOTOBOMBS!!

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finished at sunset. yep.

Roller Coaster Complete: 6.3 Miles on the AT

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Ten days ago we did 7 of the 13.3 miles between Ashby Gap and Snickers Gap on the Appalachain Trail. Turns out we did the hard part first. Yesterday, we finished off the segment, starting on Jen’s road and heading down to Route 50. Esther and Chris joined us.

The hike is in our back yard. If you know where you’re looking from Bear’s Den, you can see the monastery.

Ashby gap (on route 50) to Snickers gap (on route 7) is in our back yard

What was most striking was the difference that 10 days make in the woods. Though our hike was much warmer, there were not many leaves left!

Start on Jen’s Road

We saw some lichen. Or was that moss?

Moss

Moss and lichen

lichen

Uncle Chris

Roller Coaster complete! (shew)

We took the yellow car back to the truck.

Appalachian Trail, a patchwork quilt

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A Square of Paw Paws

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A Square of Oaks

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Crazy, Mixed-up Square

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The Tester

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The Quilters

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A masterpiece!

Seven Mile on the AT (in the backyard hike)

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Start 4.5 miles from home (less than a mile from Jen’s house). Hike seven miles. Is it a roller coaster? Yes it is.

Seven mile.

Here is the story in pictures.

Park the truck on Jen’s road.

Foundation (not the Asimov one)

Orange sprite.

Lunch spot off the trail

Up to this point, we saw 7 people (one walked by while we were eating lunch…going our way). 6 Were going the other way.

Lunch WILL be here!

We were passed by an old man with a stick. He was on his way up and then back down.

Jack and I stayed in this shelter in the rain when he was 5

The roller coaster ends at Bear’s Den. Shew!

Bear’s Den feet of the orange sprite…which are purple?!

Home field advantage (monastery from the hill).

Fin

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