Monday, May 23, 2011

From Gray To Blue

From gray,
Pelicans in Flight, Morning ( 5/14/11)
to blue, 
Pelicans in Flight, Afternoon ( 5/14/11)
this was how our day progressed last Saturday. May and June are the two grayest months in San Diego. These two months are known as 'May gray" and "June gloom". Low lying marine clouds would usually appear late in the afternoon as it cools down and thickens through the night. By early morning the low lying clouds become thick fog which usually clears slowly. The thick fogs usually persists until late morning, or early afternoon, or may last all day. Thankfully, last Saturday the thick fogs in the morning gave way to blue skies mid-afternoon. Let me take you to our 15 mile hike last Saturday that started with gray and ended with blue.
Fogs on Cliffs 
 It was a very beautiful walk. Because the morning was windy, temperature was in the chilly 50s (10s Celsius), we had miles of coastline all to ourselves.
Looks Like A Deserted Island? The Civilization is Hidden By These Sharp Cliffs
Okay, I am wrong, there were several beachcombers, you can see them in the pictures below.
Egrets Enjoying the Beach All To Themselves
Sandpipers Simply Enjoying The Beach( the small ones are still juvenile sandpipers)
Egret Up Close
 Between our walk from Carmel Valley to La Jolla shores, we had to cross this tidepool below.
Tidepool Close to La Jolla shores
The slippery rocks at the tidepool slowed us down, but it was a good slowing down since I was able to enjoy the tidepool wildlife such as crabs, shells, anemone, and small fishes. 
Seaweeds and Shells on Top of Another Shell, @ the tidepool
After the tidepool area, the sharp cliffs slowly disappears to give way to civilization
Scripps Pier ( sign of civilization )
 and a tad crowded beach at La Jolla Shores. 
@ La Jolla Shores ( does this look like a scene from Baywatch?)
When we turned around to go back North to Carmel Valley Road, the world was already starting to turn blue,
La Jolla Shores, with Gray Sky Slowly Disappearing
(what you see in the background of the above picture is the La Jolla Caves, and on top of those cliffs are the pelicans and cormorants, you can revisit my pelicans post here). 
 and bluer.
Me, @ Torrey Pines Gliderport
When we reached the top of the cliffs at Torrey Pines Gliderport, it was a beautiful world of blue.
Paraglider and Torrey Pines Cliffs
Though I must say that the place above is as beautiful when it is gray as when it is blue. For more details about this hike, you can check my Torrey Pines to La Jolla shores post at The Salitype Society.  
Today is another from gray
Hummingbird and Cacti Bloom ( taken today, 5/21/11)
 to blue day just like last Saturday, but more of that later.

Hope everyone is having a happy weekend!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Macro Blooms From Home

Our Pink Rose
These macro bloom shots I took today are the result of the inspiration I got from Cher's Sweet Memoirs blog. I was awed by her macro shots in her Oriental Lily post. Her macro shots awakened the desire in me to use my macro lens again. Somehow, I very seldom use macro lens because I mostly hike, where if I have to limit my lenses to only one, I would choose the standard that would allow me to take both landscape and wildlife from afar. I usually do not carry extra lenses with me when I hike because of the weight and  dust conditions. I avoid changing lens outdoors to minimize chances of getting dust get in the lens. When hiking locally, I choose my lightest camera and lightest lens. I prefer my Tamron 18-250 mm because it is light and it is versatile. I can shoot landscape and I can also shoot wild animals from afar. 
California Brown Pelican in Flight, taken today during our walk with my lightest camera and lens
I almost had forgotten again to use my macro lens today, since after breakfast, I and my hubby took a 15 mile nature walk round trip from Torrey Pines to La Jolla Shores which I shared in my group's blog, The Salitype Society. Because of the foggy and chilly weather, we hardly saw anyone except of course the flying pelicans, sea gulls, egrets, sandpipers, and more. Meanwhile, let me go back to the inspiration that was stirred by Cher's Oriental Lily post to use my macro lens.
When we got home, I picked the inspiration to shoot macro. I took out my macro lens and focused on the blooms we currently have in our little yard. Though most of our lilies already have disappeared, but thankfully, the roses, the oleander, the aloes and succulents continue to be showy with their blooms. Here are the pictures I took today of the blooms from home:
Red Rose Bulb ( I call our red roses forever blooming since they seem to bloom year round)
sorry, I do not know this one, it looks like an onion and blooms only in spring
Ground succulent bloom ( I do not know the specific name)- and this blooms only in spring
Aloes- another spring only bloom
Oleander, learned the name from Tes of Craftista ( like the roses, they seem to bloom year round)
Fuschia, also seems to bloom year round
Jasmine - every spring, it smells like heaven because of these blooms
Thanks again Cher, for inspiring me to take out my macro lens again today.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend, and whatever blogger problems we may had the past few days had not stopped us from exploring the wonderful joys around. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Canada and...

Despite the frustrations sometimes in my chosen career, I can say that I still cannot exchange the happiness I get whenever students shout for joy and whenever students feel proud about themselves because they accomplish something in Math. Having tried different jobs, I believe I can say that teaching is the profession I want to grow old with. I am happy and blessed to have found what I love to do. Having been to many places, I can say San Diego is where I want to retire, where, here I found a great balance and harmony of all my interests in life:
1. the great outdoors and nature photography
2. culture, and well, Asian foods!
3. and yes, HEALTHCARE, a sign of getting old.
But maybe, had I grown up here in US, I may have been a Natural Park ranger, working to preserve the wonderful natural resources of our earth. But I am happy teaching called me first, as it has become my meaning and purpose. However, my visits to National Parks had inspired me to get to know all other National Parks that preserve the natural resources, beauty and grandeur that mother nature gifted us with. It is my goal to see all of the 58 US National Parks first, then, the National Parks in Asia and Canada. National Parks in Asia being close to my origin in the Philippines, and in Canada, being the neighbor of US. However, part of getting old, whenever we travel we always see to it that the places we go to have accessible healthcare since we always do not know what can happen. In our last adventure vacation in the Pacific Northwest, one of us got sick from dehydration and had to be rushed to the Urgent Care. It was scary. But thankfully, when it happened we just left Mt. Rainier, WA
Hiking @ Mt. Rainier
 and were approaching civilization at Hood River, OR. We did not have problems finding hospital and pharmacy to attend to our needs.
In Canada, where I plan to see the polar bears in their natural habitat, it would be much colder and more strenuous to hike up the mountains because we are not so used to climbing on ice. Because of the extreme cold, there's that fear again that one of us may get dehydration sickness again during a hike from unattended exhaustion. To minimize that fear, I called my friend who is living close to Manitoba, Canada ( closer to the polar bears) and inquired about accessible healthcare closer to the place I wanted to explore. Enthusiastically, she shared her excitement that "If there is one thing she is every proud of in Canada....it is the healthcare". Aside from the healthcare, prescription drugs and over the counter drugs are also not only highly accessible but very much affordable. Her husband is on the heavy side and to minimize the risk of heart disease, he has been prescribed Lipitor. She said it is very easy for them to buy lipitor by mail or online which is much cheaper. I think how she describes Canada drugs is very similar to how US Medco works but may be even cheaper? Becuase I am on maintenance prescription for my allergies, I get my 3 months prescription drugs by mail and I save a lot of money when I do that. Patients can get their prescription drugs whether online, by mail, fax or email at which reduce the cost to the patients. This is what I like about traveling and exploring other places sometimes, because aside from knowing about the natural sceneries and features of a particular place, I get to learn more other aspects which are as important when we are considering over-all quality of life.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve to Lake Poway

Matilija Poppies, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Poway, San Diego County, 5/8/2011
Blue Sky Ecological Reserve- Lake Poway hike:
Mileage: about 6 miles round trip
Change in elevation: approximately 500 ft
Difficulty: Blue Sky is leisurely, mostly flat for about 1.5 miles. At Lake Poway, there is about 500 ft climb uphill, but the slope is gentle. Over-all, the hike is easy.
Parking: is free at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, $5 entrance fee at Lake Poway. That is why we park at Blue Sky to enjoy one of the best things in life, which is free! :)
Directions: From I-15, exit Rancho Bernardo Rd, go East on Rancho Bernardo Rd, which will soon change to Espola Rd. Blue Sky is on the left side of the road, before you hit Lake Poway!

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day Weekend. We did. Today's pictures were taken from our hike at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve and Lake Poway. Because of Lakers game, which sadly they were swept by Dallas, we decided to just take this easy hike over gentler slopes.What a joy it was to be treated by nature's bouquet on Mother's Day. We saw several men and some teenage kids with wildflowers bouquet, I am thinking they will give it to their special moms. Also, saw several families who spent Mother's Day hiking in the trail and then picnicking in the campground.  
Nature's Bouquet, Penstemon, for Mother's Day
Usually, wildflowers appear in this trail in great numbers. More than 100 kinds of wildflowers have been identified in a single year. However, this year, unlike my Hunt for Wildflowers at Blue Sky post last year, the wildflower display is not as diverse and not as grand, but still beautiful and inspiring. Here are more pictures from our Mother's Day hike today:
Golden Yarrows Lining The trail
Golden Yarrows Up Close
Matilija Poppy Up Close
California Poppy
Coast Live Oaks 
( the tall greens on the side are some wild roses and hooker's primrose which have not yet bloomed, they usually bloom by June/July)
And before you think it's all about wildflowers today, this place actually has a lot of birds around. We saw this  one perched on top of a dead bush
and this one, which I suspect a vulture, soaring up so high in the sky.
And of course, there were many hummingbirds and other birds, but sadly, I have no proof that I saw them :) got too impatient to wait for that perfect timing to shoot pictures, because the blue sky turned into gray, and then drizzles poured down from the sky.
When we left, there was no longer trace of blue sky but just gray and some showers. Nevertheless, still enjoyed the very relaxing hike today. 
Again, hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

California Sea Lavender

California Sea Lavender ( Limonium Californicum) Lining the Trail fromTorrey Pines to Del Mar
California Sea lavender is a species of sea lavender that is native to western North America from Oregon to Baja California. This plant thrives on coastal habitat such as beaches, salt marshes, coastal prairie and other sandy and alkaline habitats.
Limonium Californicum or California Sea Lavender, Mission Bay, San Diego
Sea lavender blooms are usually seen with other coastal wildflowers such as coreopsis or sunny flowers.
Tidy Tips and Sea Lavender
Sea lavender and varieties of Coreopsis growing on coastal bluffs
Sea lavender usually display a color of blue-lavender shade, the early bloom is usually more of bluish shade and the color becomes more purple as the blooms mature. 
Blue or Purple? Different Shades of Sea Lavender
Sea lavender blooms last a lot longer than most varieties of other wildflowers seen in the coast. Some bloom as early as late fall, and some others bloom as late as late summer, making it appear like sea lavender blooms all year long. However, the peak bloom of this plant is at spring, it is at this time of the year where about 90% of the sea lavender blooms at the same time making the trail looks like a field of purple dreams, breathing lavender scented air. 
Whenever I walk through the midst of these lavender fields, how I wish I can share my piece of simple joy to some of my friends who loves nature, wildflowers, lavender, and purple. Whenever I think of purple, I think of Icy of Dances and Dreams, and whenever I think of lavender, I think of my The Salitype Society sisters, Tes of The Craftista and Maricar of Flip-flops and Backpack. Lately, I've learned Cher of Sweet Memoirs loves lavender too. Well, who doesn't? I love lavender too, though not as much when these sea lavender turns to pink because it means they are nearing towards the end of their bloom :(
Hmmmm, did some of these lavender turned pink? :)
These are the older blooms of sea lavender, the bluish shade gives way to purple