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[personal profile] ranunculus posting in [community profile] the_great_outdoors
Most of my walking is in my home, San Francisco or at the ranch in Ukiah California (Ukiah is Northern California).
I tend to take pictures in the winter or spring, my enthusiasm wanes as temperatures rise and the land turns brown!

Tazlina, or Tazzy, is an ~4 year old border collie. We adopted her on August 29th 2011. Her job is to get me out and moving. M is one of my companions.

Tazlina is doing her job. Having a border collie requires human slaves to walk her. When she first came she hadn't had a lot of long walks, and she was fairly easily tired out. Not now.

Thursday and Friday were supposed to be really nasty and rainy at the ranch, so I stayed in San Francisco. By Wednesday I was ready to go out for a walk in Golden Gate Park - but first I wanted to wash the dog. She hadn't had a bath for a while, and was beginning to smell like some unidentified, stale dated carcass. My normally cooperative collie looked like a cartoon character, digging her toenails into the door frame in an attempt to avoid the dreaded bathtub. She emerged with sparkling while ruff and tail, and a very curly coat.

With our squeeky clean dog M, Vola and I went out for a walk. Walking down the very civilized paths in Golden Gate Park would be nice and clean - right? Sigh. It has been raining. Down in the Aids Memorial Grove there are some nice muddy bits. So much for clean legs and belly. Oh Well.

It was gorgeous in the park, with rhododendrons, azaleas, tulip trees and all kinds of things in bloom. On our way back we walked past a little lake, euphemistically call “Lilly Pond”. This little lake does indeed have lots of lily pads, but it also has ducks, waterweed and slime. Tazlina was transfixed by the ducks and charged out after them. She got about 20 feet from shore before she realized she was in **WATER**!! Horrors. I really don't think she had ever been for a swim before, but she did just fine, emerging much less muddy, but smelling of pond slime. The humans onshore were doubled over with laughter. I washed her off again when I got home....

Friday M and I chose to go over to the Bon Tempe Lake in Marin County. There a great hiking trails and roads leading out from the lakes. To begin our walk we crossed a dam, and looked out over Tempe Lake. Cormorants and seagulls were trying to sun themselves in the mist. To be fair, this picture was taken on the way back when it was a LOT clearer!

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Mostly by chance we chose to go up a trail called “Rocky Ridge”, one of the steeper climbs. It was a perfect day for a walk, misty, cool and a bit damp for our start, but clearing as we went.
Here is Tazzy posing in the mist.
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Rocky Ridge has a lot of serpentine in the soil, a mineral that ties up potassium and phosphorus as well as having toxic levels of other minerals. Vegetation tends to be stunted or specialized to live in such a soil. There were lots of beautiful low manzanita with drifts of pink/white flowers, a lovely pale lavender ceonothus and a few early paintbrush.

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The ridge went up, and up. Looking at the topo map, that climb is almost 1,000 feet. Certainly got our blood moving!

As we began to drop into more forested slopes I saw lots of Fremont's star lily which is also known as "death camas". Beautiful, but don't eat it!

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Off to one side of the road was a little flower I don't think I'd ever seen:
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Turns out it is a claytonia exigua Odd little thing!
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-taxon=Claytonia+exigua

M took a nice picture of Tazzy and I.

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The trail wound down along damp north facing slopes. It is just the right time for salamanders to be crawling about. This handsome fellow was about 7 inches long.
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Tazzy posed for me in front of this old redwood stump.
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And with M

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Lovely Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum Grande) and deep purple iris distracted me.
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All in all it was a lovely walk!
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