Monday, September 30, 2013

Circle Game in the Hills

The dogs and I have walked the San Francisco Bay hills for six years now.  Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter come and go; come and go; come and go.  As Fall descends again, it made me think of the classic Joni Mitchell song from 1970:  "The Circle Game"

"Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
Then the child moved ten times round the seasons
Skated over ten clear frozen streams
Words like when you're older must appease him
And promises of someday make his dreams
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game *
Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
And they tell him take your time it won't be long now
Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through
 And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game."

Chloe is showing signs of white on her face and Bailey isn't a pup anymore.  All three of us are in the prime of our lives.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Picture on the Wall

Contemporary Hunters and their Gun Dogs: Photography Series by Jesse Freidin, Museum June 5 – September 29, 2013

"Jesse Freidin's intimate, vibrant, and fresh compositions have a modern appeal, yet in essence preserve two traditions. In the series of fifteen portraits and candid images entitled American Sporting Heritage: A Portrait Survey of Contemporary Hunters and their Gun Dogs, the California and New York-based photographer focuses on the relationship between the hunter, the gun dog and the landscape. Working with medium-format cameras, Freidin develops his own film. An exacting and precise artistic process, he creates his rich and tonally balanced pieces using traditional techniques in an age when digital photography and computer post-processing have overtaken the photographic medium."

Posted a year and a half ago:

(E-mail yesterday)

Great to hear from you. Your blog is wonderful, as always, and I'm so glad you guys are back in the field. Are you and Bailey scheduled for a bunch of trails this year?
Everyone really enjoyed the image of you and Bailey at Hastings which I included in the 'American Sporting Heritage' exhibit at The National Sporting Library and Museum- I was out there a few weeks ago for a very well attended gallery talk which was a lot of fun. If you ever have time to get out to Virginia, I'd highly suggest stopping by the museum- it's an incredible resource (with a library and amazing rare book room), and incredible collection of sporting art. I spent many hours enjoying the art work and can't wait to go back. Great community of sportspeople out there.

Best of luck this season, and I look forward to keeping in touch."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tail Wagging the Dog

 First Pheasant Hunt of the season. 
 First bird of the season above.  I have now started my third hunting season.  On the first bird taken , I have always stopped for 10 minutes and sat in the field and reflected on how natural this feels to walk through open fields with my dog and find food for our sustenance. 
 A gift to us from nature.  
 There is NO WAY Bailey could ever be happier than during our 2 1/2 hour hunt this morning.  He was in Dog heaven.
Three birds taken.  Seven birds pointed and flushed.  Two missed and two were not good shots to take.  He handled his birds well and retrieved them all back to me wonderfully.
A great morning with the sun and a gentle breeze blowing in from the west.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Full Moon hike in the hills

 September 18, 2013  Full Moon.  Briones Regional Park.

 Hike started at 7:15pm. 

 Sun has gone down and moon has risen.

Carry a good flashlight and a back-up flashlight in case. 
 Plenty of light from the full moon except for under the trees.

4 miles of hiking with the dogs by moonlight and flashlight. 
The dogs and I loved it!

Picture lit just from the moonlight

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Morgan Territory to the West

 A wonderful September morning and we headed back out to one of our "hidden treasures".
Morgan Territory East Bay Regional Park.
Bailey is in "rehab" for a problem with his right front ankle.  A sports injury (tendinitis) from something he did about three weeks ago during a crazy dog hill run.  He had to stay on this 25 foot long leash for this two-hour and 6-mile hike.  For the month of September he is on the DL.  We have to prepare for pheasant season.

About 1/2 an hour into the hike, we stopped at the Morgan Backpack Camp for cooling dip in the water trough and a restroom break.  The East Bay Regional Park District is a first class operation in my opinion.  A very under utilized out door activity as there are thousands of miles of trails throughout the East Bay maintained by this organization.
We got a late start today and didn't start out until about 9:00am.  We entered the Highland Trail entrance which is exactly 7 miles from where Morgan Territory Road branches off from Marsh Creek Road out of Clayton.  It was already 76 degrees.
Made sure my Camelback was full of water as we headed up into the hills west of the only road that runs through this section of country.   Over the last few months we had explored to the east but this was our first excursion to the west.  
The views from Highland Ridge trail were spectacular.
Mount Diablo can be seen in most of these pictures.  The twin mountain peaks of Mt. Diablo are the highest points for hundreds of miles around.
Looking west we looked over the San Ramon Valley. To the far side of this valley is the Oakland / Hayward hills. On the horizon are the hills on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula.
In the lower right corner just over Chloe is a wild animal trap.  We came across three of these during our hike.

This shot just reminded me of "Mother Nature".

 The weather was perfect even though it was warm.  By the time we got back to the Jeep the temperature was pushing 90 and rising.
Water is VERY important on these walks.  Always have enough for yourself and your dogs and try and plan your trip having places the dogs can cool down.

24 hours after we did our hike a view of Morgan Territory, a picture from my house in Walnut Creek of fire.  Morgan Territory is on the south east side Mt. Diablo.