Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fun at Funston

This weekend we made a trip to Fort Funston, just south of Ocean Beach in Daly City.

Like a lot of the Batteries on the coast of SF, the huge guns it once housed were never used.

It was amazingly foggy but still warm. We got down to the beach and put our toes in the water.

Allegra took amazing shots as always. I got in trouble for going too close to the cliffs as lifeguards were practicing cliff climbing rescues. Ironic.

There were hang-gliders riding the drafts off the cliffs like birds. Amazing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Deciphering The Varney Code, Day Two

There were so many ghost towns on our trip, it seems only right to post twice. The entire weekend I imagined what it would be like to live out here, in these tiny towns all over the countryside. Everyone we asked for directions or camping suggestions said "I don't really know, because I live 40 (50, 60) miles from here." I guess that sums it up: living here means a LOT of driving.

These two were taken in sheep ranch. These small towns often have very literal names. We did see some, sorry looking, sheep.

In Chinese Camp, Allegra, Andy and I did some (minor) trespassing. It was too tempting.

But mostly, we could just go and see things up close. This metal door had actual chinese characters written in the dust.

Nature has been reclaiming these houses for years.

Knight's ferry is the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi.

With the roof gone, you really have an amazing view.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Deciphering The Varney Code

Part One.

Over this past weekend, Andy, Leggy, and I set out ghost-towning throughout Amador and Calaveras Counties. We took along Andy's trusty Philip Varney Book, "Ghost Towns Of Northern California". I think we ended up seeing 8 or 9 of them!

Many of these ghost towns were, naturally, mining and pioneer towns.

We came across several towns with (much to Allegra and Andy's chagrin) populations!!

They are very proud of their fiddles in fiddletown.

Everyone was so friendly in these towns of 100, or 200 people. I can't figure out if they were bored, suspicious of us strange city kids, or really nice. Maybe all three.

Some of the most interesting things were not in Varney's book. This house by Mokulmne (Moe-Kew-Lum-Nay) River was in shambles, abandoned to rot by the hiway. There were innumerable old barns barely standing in empty fields of dry grass.

The old buildings are in the middle of nowhere, and protected by barbed wire.

This mine in Jackson, CA, was close to the Argonaut mine, site of the worst mining disaster in California. In the Argonaut Mine, 47 miners were trapped in the fire almost a mile below ground. None survived.

This wheel helped haul hundreds of tons of mining debris over a large hill. It was almost entirely made of wood.

The oldest surviving buildings were mostly made of natural stones as bricks. These were the only buildings not to have gone up in flames.

to be continued, Day two.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The End of San Francisco

We stumbled upon Fort Miley while hiking around the Sutros and Lands' End this weekend. The trail is amazing and goes all along the coast of San Francisco, with an amazing view of the back of the golden gate. Unfortunately my camera batteries ran out at Fort Miley, but Allegra lent me some of her excellent pics.

Fort Miley has all kinds of nooks and crannies and stairways and doors. It also has an amazing picnic area. Too bad its probably always freezing cold.

Some urban modeling by Allegra and Andy.

Unexpectedly we came across an amazing labyrinth. Andy and I tried to do it, but I got bored and didn't finish it. I think thats bad luck or something.

There were some beautiful wildflowers by Land's End Beach.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Carnivorous Plants Here We Come!

Even though we would rather be swimming, since it is freezing in San Francisco, we went to the conservatory of flowers in golden gate park.

The structure itself is amazing, and the flowers inside even more so. And warmer than outside!

The carnivorous plant exhibit is pretty cool; we saw some varieties I had never seen. If you want to purchase some (they just require distilled water) go to Plant It Earth on Market near sanchez.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

America the Beautiful Barbeque Party

Julia and Jesse threw a wonderful 4th of July party at their house.

There was much modeling and dancing all day.

And a general sharing of talents. Andy has been working on this one.

And drinking,

And of course, a BBQ.
A wonderful holiday.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

We Conquer Black Diamond Mines

Black Diamond Mines, we have returned. And we are prepared this time (and its not so hot). We will conquer you! Discover your secrets! Eat lots of PB&J!

So prepared are we, in fact, that Andy brought a neck kerchief, to keep his neck from sunburn. It was wiley, however, and kept falling off, or blowing into his face.

This is the offending sign that sent us off course last time. Vandals!

We are triumphant! We have found the elusive tunnel that we missed last time.
Allegra models her new REI backpack.

Yes, I went in. My first tunnel experience (no flashlight!). Allegra helped lead the way and I made it.

Some rare shade at Star Mine Group Camp.

The Cemetary, with its foriegn cypress trees.

Even 4 hours into our hike, the mood is light.
Amazing marble carvings have survived 140 years of weather.

We have done all we came to do. We are dying for an in and out grilled cheese and fries. Goodbye, Diamond Mines.