Tag Archives: hiking

Covid Garden

Finally made it out to the botanical gardens up in the hills for a hike. They’ve actually stayed open this whole time by requiring reservations to limit the number of people on the grounds at a time. (Also face masks, distancing, and closing off benches and some sections.)

Ironically there were more people there than I usually see. The limits must be against an increased demand due to the fact that they were actually open!

More photos on Photog.Social and from this and other visits on Flickr.

Bike Path Closed on Account of Virus

Bike path with traffic barriers across it.

This bike path was closed in response to too many people going outdoors to the same places, creating the crowds that the closures of bars, restaurants and retail stores were trying to avoid in an effort to slow the virus spread.

I’m kind of surprised at this one. Unlike the paths near the beach, it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to keep six feet apart along most of it. It runs through a fairly wide greenbelt under those transmission towers. Only two short sections have fences along the sides (as seen here) to block off a landscaping project. Which is probably on hold now. But they closed the entire length of the path.

That said, I haven’t been out much the last few weeks, so for all I know it might have looked like a marathon last weekend. 🤷

Update: Here’s the barrier across another section. Totally wide, lots of space, and the barriers only block the concrete path. So far everyone seems to be following directions and not just walking around, though.

Also, I saw some landscapers testing out the sprinklers in the fenced-off area, so I guess the project isn’t totally paused.

Barrier in front of a bike path with wide swaths of grass to either side.

The Shrinking Outdoors

Last weekend, a lot of people in the Los Angeles area tried to go hiking, or to the beach, or otherwise outdoors…to the same places. Which ended up creating the crowds that the shutdown was supposed to prevent, just in different places. 🤦‍♂️

So over the last few days, various cities, counties and the state have closed a bunch more parks, beaches, hiking trails and bike paths. It’s still OK to walk in your neighborhood as long as you keep your distance from people, but destination-based going outdoors is mostly off the table now.

Meanwhile the coronavirus continues to spread, and cases continue to climb, driven by people who were exposed before “social distancing” became a thing as they start developing symptoms. And in some cases succumb to them.

It’s been almost three weeks since I last went for a photo walk or a hike in anything resembling more nature than a patch of weeds in someone’s lawn. It feels like a year ago. And they just closed that beach and the paths along the bluffs.

Though I’ve got to say: in retrospect I’m relieved that I couldn’t find parking closer to the pier because of the kite festival, and ended up at a less crowded part of the beach. I could have gotten exposed to Covid-19 the same day the flu hit me, which would’ve been a really fun one-two punch. As it is, the whole household has been mostly isolated since then, and not only have we avoided picking up Covid-19 as near as we can tell, but I managed to not give anyone else the flu. So that’s good.

Back to the outdoors, though. Over the last year or so I’ve realized that getting outside really helps me de-stress. Whether it’s a walk around the block, a search for songbirds, a hike through nature (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), or heck, a search for Pokémon, spending at least some time outside with sky and sunlight makes a difference.

It’s probably going to be mostly walks around the block for a while. Most of the open nature spaces in the area are either closed outright (Madrona Marsh, for instance), or are open but with their parking lots closed (like Hahn Park). Even the bike path where I’ve spotted hawks and scrub jays and a wide variety of plants (not just puncture vine) is closed. The South Coast Botanic Garden is still open for now, but they’ve instituted an appointment system to limit the number of people inside at a time. I’m debating trying to go this weekend. While it’s still possible.

Though to be honest, if the process of getting there and back induces too much anxiety, it’ll pretty much defeat the purpose.

iNaturalist is like Pokemon Go for real animals

I’ve joked about how iNaturalist is like Pokemon Go for real animals. Well, since I started playing the game, I’ve been combining walks for both. And on yesterday’s hike in the local botanical gardens, I took some photos with a few Pokemon in their, um, natural habitats?

(Still not sure why I found so many Electabuzzes in the botanical gardens, though.)

Originally posted on Pixelfed.

Seasons of Madrona Marsh

Last weekend I returned to the Madrona Marsh Preserve to see what our late summer/autumn heat wave had done to the place. The fields of sunflowers I saw in August have gone to seed and dried up, and the pools have continued to retreat. I managed to get a third shot in the same grove as before, where trees grew out of a pool in spring, towered over low ground cover in summer, and now stand alone, waiting for winter rains to flood the grounds again.

The image above is a combination of spring, summer and fall (specifically May, August, and October) views at the same spot.

The higher parts of the preserve are covered with dry scrub, though volunteers have cleared a lot of it out. The broken tree limb I had to walk around in August has been cleared away as well. Deep into the wooded area we did find mud flats teeming with reeds, smaller plants, dragonflies, songbirds and insects. I don’t know if any standing water remains, since we turned back at that point. (Kids have boundless energy, but limited stamina.)

Over on Flickr I have about a dozen photos of the hike, showing the preserve’s current range from dry scrub to muddy grass.