Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day at the Coast

Note: I wrote this last year, and it would seem that I never actually published it.  Since it is once more January, this seems like a good time to go ahead and get it on the blog.
My birthday is sometime during January, and the only good thing about a January birthday is that kidding has not yet started, and it is a good time to visit the coast.

For my birthday, I decided to take myself for a ten mile hike on one of my favorite trails.  One of the best parts was seeing a stream that actually had running water in it.  This should be our rainy season, but we are in the grip of an epic drought in California, and the thirteen months prior to this hike are the driest since records have been kept.  This drought is in fact, the worst drought the state has seen in over 1,200 years. I stood on a bridge over this creek and absorbed all the babbling creek sound I could.

It didn't have as much water as it should at this point in the year, but it was still refreshing to see any kind of flow.

I love the quiet of the forest, and of course, bird watching along the way.

This view is what my mind's eye sees every time I think of this trail.  It is such a great mix of tall trees, native shrubs, and annuals.

Our native blackberries, which have much, much smaller thorns than the invasive non native species, also have bright pink flowers when in bloom:

California blackberry flower
The area that I hiked in was off limits to dogs, but the day was mild and since Stella has been doing so much better in the car, I took her with me on the drive with plans for a post hike, dog-inclusive adventure. My idea was to take her to Stinson Beach and blow her little mind by introducing her to the ocean, which I know she's never seen before.

To make sure she treated the ocean with respect, I told her a story of a creature...

Me, as I whisper the Legend of The Kraken in Stella's ear.

Apparently, I was a pretty convincing story teller, because she seemed to believe me...

It's right behind us, isn't it? I can feel it watching us...


Stella, what would you do if the Kraken got close to you?

I'd make this menacing face and scare it. Grrrrr!

I'm sure that would work splendidly.  Hey, I need to tell you something.

Watching for emerging Krakens! Can't be distracted!

Look at me when I am talking to you, please.

Okay! I'm all ears.

The Kraken isn't real, it's just a story.

I knew the whole time! I was just playing along to make you feel better.

Sure you did.

Somehow, once I told her it wasn't real, she was much better about posing for a nice picture with the ocean.

We wrapped up the day by enjoying the view of the Pacific and the setting sun.

Some people were flying fighting kites on the beach, which was the most fascinating thing in the world to Stella.  Way more interesting even than the ocean with it's waves that chase dogs up the beach.

Staring at fighting kites, then staring some more.

Could. Barely. Pull. Her. Away.

What an all-around wonderful day, and one of the best parts was how well Stella did in the car.  She's always had a combination of anxiety and motion sickness that has made it difficult to take her with us on car trips.  For our coastal sojourn, she spent at least four hours in a moving car, and didn't throw up or anxiously drool at all, and actually sat and looked out of the window for most of it! Life's little victories, still happening every day!