Rainy Day Hike at Stanford

By Carol at 7:47 am on Saturday, February 7, 2009

On Thursday, rain was in the forecast and our group was small, so we headed for the Stanford University Campus where shelter would be available if needed. As it turned out, the rain waited until lunch time when we joined the students in Tressider Union, the campus hub.

We parked off campus and entered at the cactus garden, where many specimens were about to bloom. A raptor watched us from a tall eucalyptus, as we enjoyed the sculptural forms of the well cared-for succulents.

cactus blossom

Cactus blossoms unfurling.

rosy edges

Colorful hens and chicks.

cactus bed

Cactus bed.

cactus flowers

Cactus flowers.

Stanford Campus Arboretum

A glimpse of Stanford Arboretum carpeted with new spring grass.

Stanford Mausoleum

We stop to view the Stanford Mausoleum. The three statues in the background depict the Stanford family members who are interred here. In the center is Leland, Jr., who died of typhus at the age of 15, and in whose memory the university was founded, by his parents.

Date palms

Heavily laden date palms line Palm Drive.

Looking toward Palo Alto

Looking down Palm Drive, toward Embarcadero, in Palo Alto.

Burghers of Calais

Some of us inspect the Rodin sculptures of the Burghers of Calais.

Stanford Church

Members of our group approach Stanford Memorial Church.

After lunch we watched the Stanford Clock strike the three-quarters hour, before departing for the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and a self-guided tour of the current display called “Durer to Picasso”.

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Carmel Getaway

By Carol at 8:13 pm on Monday, February 2, 2009

Last week we drove to Carmel Highlands for a short stay at the Highlands Inn, where I had stayed almost 50 years ago, in a different life-time. The Inn has changed from a collection of cottages to a modern, luxury accommodation, beyond our usual expectations. The best part was the room with a view of the spouting gray whales, migrating to Baja, close to shore.

Lone Pine

View from our room – the whale spouts were everywhere, but not visible in the photo.

The wood-burning fireplace, in-room jacuzzi, and bistro-style restaurant added to the perks, and it was a nice surprise to find the NY Times AND the SF Chronicle on the doorstep in the mornings.

We discovered a tiny but memorable restaurant in Carmel, called La Bicyclette. They have a wonderful prix fixe evening menu with interesting wines, some made by the owners’ own local winery.

The sea air had a relaxing effect which interfered with our best intentions to hike all the trails at Point Lobos, and Carmel River. But we did manage to visit Point Lobos for a walk, see the galleries in Carmel, and stop in Pacific Grove for the sea views and the monarch butterflies.

The view south toward Big Sur, from Point Lobos.

Looking toward Big Sur from Point Lobos.

harbor seals

Harbor seals basking on the rocks off Point Lobos.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, has been a beacon to sailors, since 1855. The lighthouse fuel and technology has changed several times over the years. It started with whale oil, and currently uses electricity with a 1000 watt bulb, amplified by prisms and lenses. The light was maintained by a woman, Emily Fish, from 1893 to 1914. She kept the light without benefit of an assistant, and managed to maintain a busy social life.

lighthouse parlor

The lighthouse parlor as it might have been furnished during the tenure of Miss Fish.

Butterfly tree

At the butterfly sanctuary in Pacific Grove: a pine tree bough full of overwintering monarch butterflies whose undersides appear as black veined, yellow leaves, in large clusters.

A single monarch gathering nectar

A single monarch gathering nectar at the monarch sanctuary.

Blue jay

A tame blue jay lurks in the butterfly preserve.

Deer

Another resident of the butterfly sanctuary, preparing to join her herd of eight others.

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