Saturday, February 13, 2010

We hiked this afternoon

Today we went to one of my favorite places on Earth: Upper Bidwell Park. It's much more of a nature reserve than Lower Park. Lower Park is paved with playgrounds and pools. Which is nice if you're in that sort of a humor, but Upper Park is much more wild. The paths are unpaved, muddy and really easy to roll an ankle on. There are parts, if you hike a bit, where the trails are the only sign of human life.

Click on the pictures to make them HUGE!

When you arrive you have a choice of two paths. The lower one, the Maidu Trail (named for one of the local Native American tribes who, um, aren't there anymore. So I imagine it's a bit like calling a city Thousand Oaks where they cut down 1,000 oak trees to build the city), winds down the bottom of that ridge there by a small lake (which you can't see in the picture because I think the lake is actually higher than us in this picture. It's down around that white building toward the right which is actually the Chico Observatory where one can go on certain nights to look at stars through a huge telescope!) The upper trail is the North Rim Trail. The slope is fantastic and difficult. I used to practically live on that trail a few years ago. You can go down it for days and sometimes I would go around sunrise and return to my car at sunset. About an hour or so in, when you're in good shape, you stop seeing people or signs of civilization and can then indulge yourself in all kinds of "last human on Earth" fantasies if you are so inclined. I am so inclined, but we're hardly in shape to go on the North Rim Trail yet. Maybe by summer we'll be back in form enough for that.

Here's a picture of me at the lake.

And what it looked like from where I sat.

The lake has ducks.

Part of what we like about this area is how open it is as you can see from the other photos. But the few trees that are around are amazing. Especially in winter.

For size, here's Laurie next to that same tree.


  1. Seriously, I enlarged the last photo as well and, even enlarged Laurie still looks like a grown-up teenager! Why do you fancy WINTER trees? I love this kind of blog - thanks that we could tag along.

  2. Thank you. Yes, it is quite an awesome place.
    I think part of what I like about winter trees is that they are more like a suggestion of a tree, like that series of tree painting deconstructions by Piet Mondrian. I like a full, blooming in Spring tree too, but I also like to notice the spaces in between the leaves and branches, the sort of patterns out of the chaos that they form. Trees in Winter are sort of like the stark, elegant beauty of a skeleton or the structure of a building before the facade is in place. A peek behind the mask at the skull face. Hope that doesn't sound morbid, it's not meant to be. It's more about shapes and structures, ideas and abstractions. I'm wired to prefer that.

  3. How r u able to get update on your blog onto facebook I wonder?