A Walk along Los Alamitos Creek

I did a 8 mile walk along Los Alamitos Creek today.  It had been raining here continuously for last few days. Even as I am writing this post, the house windows are being rattled by gusts of wind. The constant drip drip sound of the rain on the roof is putting me to sleep.

Los Alamitos Creek is about eight miles long, originating in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flowing along the eastern side of Almaden Valley.  The creek joins the Guadalupe River after Almaden Lake. Los Alamitos Creek Trail along the creek is about ten miles long.  The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed.

As I started from my home, it was cloudy with the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds .28e63dac-bd6b-436e-816f-d5a6c5d0b956 The hills including Mount Umunhum in the west were hazy, covered in rain clouds.  The trail itself is well paved for bicycles, hikers and joggers with small detours that lead from the paved trail to the creek banks in many areas.  I entered the trail after walking about a mile from my home.

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Winter rains had turned the meadows near the creek bed verdant green. Trees, bare naked in winter, against the green meadows and a darkening sky was a sight to behold.c46fbf2c-d2cf-40ff-b804-80e8365237e1_resize

 

The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed. It was full with gushing waters and looked like a small river.5a7199c0-bb35-46d4-916f-d872776fe193_resize

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As I was about to return, the rains started. It was a slow drizzle at first but became a driving rain by the time I was about a mile from home. Then just as suddenly a huge gust of wind blew the rain away though I could still see the heavy rains on the hills.  I hurried home as fast as I could praying my tired legs would not slip on the wet pavements.  Though I was extremely tired after the long walk, my heart was full and satisfied.

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Frolicking Guests of Randol Creek

Rain brings the promise
Nature’s bounty in display
Dry creek starts flowing
Invitation to frolic sent away
Guests arrive from far
It’s play time, nature says
Welcoming creek bosom waits
Opening her heart for guests to play

829c1a57-5326-4356-b436-cb76868dfb60Photo by author, December 16, 2018

The visiting mallards play hide and seek with me.  Whenever I have my camera with me during my walk, they are no where to be seen.  When I have my cell phone they will be out there in force.  Today just happened to be my cell phone only day.  With my dog Skooby in toe, I decided not to go too near.  These birds are skittish and fly really well.  Result is a out of focus photo. Oh well. Hope one day I shall be able to take a BOF photograph.

Gloomy Day Poem

Overcast sky
Like a lover’s mood
Gone sour
Rain clouds dancing
Waiting for the downpour

Looking for some relief
From the gray
Look for my beacon
To One Tree Hill
I make my way

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What are neighbors for
If not to brighten your day
Pocketful of persimmon
Was my reward
To push my gloom away

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All photos taken by the author on December 14, 2018

Pregnant Sky and Rainbows : Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rain

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Rain“.

I grew up with rains, lots of it, about seventy inches in average a year.  Monsoon, thunder and lightning.  Sound of raindrops drumming on the rooftop.  Hot, humid summers cooled down by a sudden downpour.  Flash floods and muddy roads, swift flowing rivers, overflowing drains.  And the place with most rain, Mawsynram, four hundred seventy inches of it, is about sixty miles away from the city I grew up.

Now I live in place with hardly any rain, just an average of fifteen inches a year and that too in winter.  Last few years we had much less than fifteen inches, with about eight inches in 2015 and about four inches in 2013.  So as you can imagine many a times we play hide and seek with rain clouds and we get deceived. Today is such a day, the sky is gray, the day is cloudy and there is just a nine percent chance of rain.  From experience I know it is not going to rain.  Here is a photo of  grey sky today pregnant with the promise of rain that will turn out to be deceiving.  Couple of months back I had posted a poem, Flirtatious Rain Clouds , on this topic.

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Sun fighting a losing battle with the clouds but chances of rain is minimal.

But there is always hope and what is hope if not that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And where would be a rainbow without rain.

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Fifteen Minutes of Fame had No Name

This is my first attempt at writing short story.  Constructive feedback and comments appreciated.

The dream keeps coming back to haunt him.  Digging a hole, he lies down peacefully waiting for death to come.  He is not sure why this dream bothers him anymore. Continue reading “Fifteen Minutes of Fame had No Name”

One Tree Hill

Today’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt by Frank is Hills.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Readers of my blog by now must be familiar with the featured image of my home page. It is a photo of Dana Peak (13000 ft) in the high Sierras taken by me in September of 2014 hiking down Gaylor Peak (11000 ft).  But I am not going to talk about it today.MtDana_1.jpg

My current residence is in a valley (Almaden Valley) inside a valley (Santa Clara Valley / Silicon Valley). As such we are surrounded by hills.  Mount Umunhum (3300 ft) to our west hovers over us and can be viewed from our front and back yard.  But I am not going to talk about it today.MtUm1The white cube seen on top of Mount Umunhum was a radar station in the air force base that was closed nearly forty years ago.  During its heyday it used to keep tab on all flights coming in from the east over the Pacific Ocean. The radar station is still off limits to public due to asbestos hazards, but Mount Um was opened to the public in fall of 2017.  It’s a gorgeous hike up there and on clear days one can see past San Francisco to Mt Tamalpais ( about 75 miles north) to the north and Monterey to the south and whole of Silicon Valley to the east.
MtUm2Mount Umunhum as seen from my back yard.

Now that I have gotten these out of my way, let me come back to the main topic of today.  Near our house is a small hillock (or a knoll ) hardly a couple of hundred feet tall.  The landscape changes with the season.  It is verdant in winter, slowly turning to golden brown with advent of spring.  On top of the hill there are three oak trees.  Looking from the bottom, only one oak tree is seen at a time.  I think that’s where it got its name, One Tree Hill.  Generations of kids have grown up swinging on homemade swings attached to its branches.  Many graduating high school seniors use the plateau on top with the oak tree as a background for their high school graduating yearbook photos. I use the hike up the hill as my excuse for exercise but mainly to let my dog Skooby run around freely on the few soccer field size flat top.  He enjoys the freedom, absolute lack of traffic and gallops, canters or sprints as he feels like.  It’s pure joy to see him enjoying the freedom.
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OakTree1Oak2     Alas, as spring comes the hills will slowly turn golden brown.
This enchanting hill can become dangerous fire hazard if some idiots drop their cigarette butts on those golden brown grass as can be seen from a photo taken couple of years back.
Thank God (and quick responding fire fighters) that no one was harmed and no property was damaged.

Yesterday it rained here, just sparingly.  As the news channels said, it was just teaser rain (Flirtatious Rain Clouds) , harbinger of more rains to come in the next few days.  God knows we need as much rain as we can get.  But there was a forecast of snow at higher elevations.  So come morning, I along with my best friend, Skooby, trudged up One Tree Hill.  It was a gorgeous morning, cool,crisp and clear.  And what a sight it was.  Mount Hamilton (4300 feet) to the east of us was covered with snow.  It was difficult to get a good photograph as the mountain was to my east and the sun shining bright in the morning.

I know I have gone completely overboard with this post.  But as I mentioned at the beginning of my post today, this prompt is very near and dear to my heart. I wish I could have just given you a birds eye view as seen by the falcon flying over my head today.


All photographs by the author.