Sonoma Valley

On a foggy March morning, we got ready to explore Sonoma Valley. First , we walked a bit in the town of Sonoma ( we had been there in 2014) but it was nice to see it again.  A beautiful park  with spring blossoms in the Italian garden.

Sometimes,  we  stop to capture the landscape…

There were no leaves yet on the grapevines…

So many wineries in this area of California … more than  425 and 70 varieties of wine grapes.

Some of the wineries have nice buildings and it gives me opportunity to take photos like I always do.  Here is Chateau St.Jean

Ledson Castle is an architectural showpiece nested among 20 acres of estate vineyards.

We were not really trying to go for tasting  the wine  but we certainly enjoyed very much spending time  and exploring . Spring time is probably a lot more quiet  than if we were visiting in fall when the grapes are ready to be picked.

We also  visited Santa Rosa but I will not say more about this city on this post. It will be for next week. Thank you so much for your visit and comment.

 

 

Point Reyes National Seashore

On our road trip in California, we stayed in Petaluma. We enjoyed very much  this area. We spent a full day in Point Reyes National Seashore.  From the parking lot  (where the bus drops the tourists – to avoid too much cars on the road of the park) we walked a few minutes and then descended 300 narrow steps to get as close as possible to the lighthouse.

Point Reyes is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent. Weeks of fog, especially during the summer months, frequently reduce visibility to hundreds of feet. The Point Reyes Headlands, which jut 10 miles out to sea, pose a threat to each ship entering or leaving San Francisco Bay. The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse warned mariners of danger for more than a hundred years. It was  built in 1870 and  retired from service in 1975 when the U.S. Coast Guard installed an automated light.

In March it is time to try to see migrating whales when they go back to Alaska. The docents were trying to count how many were passing by. We saw some actions in the water but couldn’t really see  the mammals.  The best I could do was to take a pic of the toy gray whale on the table.

Point Reyes National Seashore  is a protected haven for tule elks. This one noticed that I wanted his picture !

In another area of the park, we could see some elephant seals. There were a few , mostly pups and juveniles  not ready to leave the beach yet.  They were quietly napping!

We saw lots of beautiful flowers. California Poppy, Golden Aster, Checkerbloom Douglas Iris…

On our way back toward Petaluma, we stopped to Inverness.  I took some pics of  the iconic  Point  Reyes Shipwreck perched on a sand bar off the shoreline of Tomales Bay. This is a small fishing boat  that had become a popular attraction for photographers.

One  day was almost not enough to enjoy it to the fullest  but that was all the time we had as the next day, we were going to see some wineries . That will be  the topic of my next post. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the story and the photos.

 

 

Zabriskie Point and Mosaic Canyon. (DVNP)

Zabriskie Point, the golden badlands. Deathly silent and still . Result of often violent action of water and earthquake.  Another amazing area of this splendid park. Enjoy the photos I brought back.

Time for another hike… in Golden Canyon.

I have great memories of this day.  Blue sky  and fantastic landscapes to capture. We still had some time the next morning to explore Mosaic  Canyon, a showcase of geologic features. Out and back hike within polished marble narrow filled with unique color pattern. Many times I felt the need to touch the soft walls of the canyon. It was early in the morning and just perfect weather.

Goodbye  Death Valley.   A very unique  and special place it is.

Thank you for visit and comments. Always very appreciated.

 

 

 

 

More on Death Valley National Park

The story of our visit in Death Valley continues here…

Now , we will go  for a short hike to see the Natural bridge. We hiked up the dramatic canyon to see this formation. It was  very hot. We did not know yet that  we were getting one of the warmest day of our trip !

Death Valley’s dramatic relief is the result of fracturing and tilting of the Earth’s  surface which transformed the regions’ once featureless terrain to the spectacular landscape present today.

Another  interesting  place to see was the Devils Golf Course. We were not going to play golf  but have a look at the crystallized salt. It was named after a line in the 1934  National Park Service   guide book to Death Valley National Monument, which stated that “Only the devil could play golf” on its surface, due to a rough texture from the large halite salt crystal  formations.

One more  short hike on that day to see the Golden Canyon. One of the most popular hike in the park. Narrow passageway beneath high colorful hills  that ends at sculpted canyon head wall.

Very  important to drink as much water as possible on those very hot days.

DVNP, the hottest place on earth. It holds the record : 134 F/ 57C.

Thanks to all for  reading and/or commenting .  More on DVNP  with my next post.