Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Where Do I Start?

July 25, 2018

First.

Bon soir!

I have not seen my computer for a few days.

My best French friend insisted that we were to travel very lightly to Marseilles and so, no computer.

Also.

No makeup.

What?

I know I felt naked, until I didn’t.

But apparently, ahem, I still look nice without it.

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I think vacation looks pretty good on me.

It didn’t hurt that I have a tan.

Boy.

Do I have a tan.

The above photo was taken early in the evening yesterday on the island of Frioul.  If you look closely in the background you can see the city of Marseilles.  My friend and I took an early evening ferry-boat to Frioul and strolled around it and took photos.

It was such a pretty place, and it would have been great for swimming had we known.

Next time.

But.

Swimming was had!

I had my first dip, then my second, yesterday in the Mediterranean!

Here I am a touch blissed out:

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My hair is all wet, I am sandy, I went for two swims in the Calanque and it was extraordinary.

First, a slight aside, must get back to swimming, being in the water and swimming felt so damn good.  Screw yoga, I think it’s long past time I get back into the pool.

Second.

Wow.

It was so, so, so beautiful.

A calanque is, well, fuck, I’m not sure I can quite describe it, a sort of wild hill area with dry rocky terrain along the coast that stretches from Marseilles to Cassis, there are all these inlets and beaches and coves, it’s a national park in France and frankly I can see why, they are true treasures.

The clanque that we went to was the Calanque of Sormiou.

It was exquisite.

I mean.

So gorgeous.

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This is the view from the top of an hour-long climb through the hills.

I will not mince words.

It was hot.

I was sweaty.

And I was not exactly happy to be climbing so much.

But.

Fuck.

Once I got to the top.

Wow.

I don’t know how high the climb was, and yes, what goes up must come down, we had to climb back out, gratefully the way is paved and if you have a tiny car and balls of steel you can drive in, but we walked, or climbed.

According to my little app on my phone that counts my steps we climbed.

We walked 26,450 steps yesterday.

Which is 12.4 miles.

And.

We climbed 51 floors!

51!

Ooh la la!

My legs.

But again.

It was extraordinarily beautiful and I’m so glad we did it, even if for a second there my friend made me wear a damp towel on my head for a while, she thought I might be getting close to heat stroke.

I guess I was pretty red in the face.

I certainly sweated a lot.

I think I may have actually lost weight this trip, despite the cheese and charcuterie I have eaten here.

I seriously have walked miles and miles and miles each day.

And swam.

Here.

Enough of my prattle.

More pictures of the beauty:

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I mean.

Come on.

It was like being on a movie set.

Except.

Well.

It was totally real.

Stunning beyond words, even now, looking at these photos, I’m like, really, I was just there yesterday?

Swimming in the sea.

It was truly one of the most beautiful moments, that first cool plunge into the ocean, the taste of the salt, so salty, and then popping up from the water and seeing the mountains arising around me.

I was blown away.

I swam far out until I got a little spooked, and then headed back in to let my friend take her turn.

We didn’t want to leave our stuff unattended on the beach, it has a reputation for thievery.

While my friend swam I unfolded the towel filched from the hotel onto the sand, put on more sunblock and lay back enjoying the hot sun, the sound of the water, the people speaking Italian to my right, the couple canoodling in Catalan on my left, and closed my eyes.

It was glorious.

My friend returned with tales of being nibbled on by a fish, which didn’t exactly compel me to get back in the water, but get back in I did.

Only to be flirted with by some gentleman who tried to tell me that I should be concerned about the sharks.

Thanks man, here’s a pointer on flirting with a woman, don’t tell her there might be sharks in the water, all it does is make a lady want to get the fuck out of the water.

I swam off laughing and telling him he was horrible for telling me such a tale.

Another stint of laying on the beach and then my friend and I packed up our things and began the long, arduous walk back.

I won’t lie.

It was hard.

And it was hot.

Very, very, very hot.

But.

I also would be lying if I didn’t say that there was a part of me that was very proud of myself for doing the climb and having a true adventure with my friend.

We made it back to Marseilles alive, had a late lunch, then went to the hotel and freshened up.

That shower, let me tell you, damn good.

After taking some time to rest we headed out to the ferry-boat and our trip to the island of Frioul.

The first photo I posted was from Frioul.

Here are a couple more, it was truly lovely.

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I have to say, the South of France was very special to see.

And I haven’t even told you about Aix-en-Provence or really about Marseille itself, but you know, I have one last day in Paris tomorrow and it’s time I got ready for it.

Bon soir mes amis!

Bon soir!

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The Perfect Autumn Day

November 23, 2013

For chasing leaves around the park.

The grass was an emerald-green that defied Technicolor and the leaves falling from the sugar maples on the edges of Duboce Park flashed and flew and we chased each other around stomping our feet.

CRUNCH.

CRUNCH.

Crunch.

Ah leaf pile fights.

How do I miss thee, let me count the rake pulls.

It’s been a good while since I have handled a rake, but today I was remembering autumn days and though the sunlight belied the calendar, I knew that riding home tonight it would be cold and I would be grateful for the extra layer of my hoodie under a jean jacket.

But until then.

CRUNCH.

Leaves

Leaves

My little charge and I had a splendid day today.

We do not usually see each other on Fridays and it was interesting to be in the neighborhood as it headed into the weekend.

The excitement in the air, the joy that was tinged with a tiny thread of bittersweet, everyone seemed to know that days like this are rare, far between and must to be enjoyed.

I was barely at my charges house before tucking her into a pullover and putting her hair up in pig tails.

I was out the door and into the sun.

I am no fool.

Though I may have looked like one at times chasing her around various parks.

I could have cared less.

The thick sun light dying at the edge of Alamo Square park as we made our last stroll around the top of the hill was like honey in her hair and I could not stop taking photographs of her.

Mom is off at a conference all weekend and I sent her loads of photographs.

As I was looking at the down loaded shots tonight while sipping my tea, I noticed that I now have over 6,100 photos in my computer.

Where do they all come from?

My god.

I don’t necessarily have an idea as to what to do with them, but I am fond of having them.

I don’t go through them after I down load them except to post a few to my photo blog or maybe put a couple in an album on facecrack.

Just like I don’t go through my blogs after I write them.

I have thoughts about doing it, but never really do.

Once they are typed they go off to the world and who knows where they shall land.

Little messages in a bottle piling up on some digital shore somewhere in the universe.

Maybe they go back to some constellation of stars at the edge of the universe made out of alphabet letters and when the time is right they fall back through the black skies to land in the head of another writer somewhere looking for just that word there.

While the little one was napping I finished Tom Robbins Still Life With Woodpecker, wrote three pages long hand, had some tea, meditated for a half hour and started up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I have never read it.

There are so many books I have never read.

So many ways of saying something that I have not even experienced.

Yet the words danced on the page and I was suddenly on the road with the narrator.

That was awesome.

“I see one of those in your near future,” my friend said acknowledging a motorcycle just in front of us on the street.

Yes.

I would like.

And the surf board.

But the cycle was calling to me.

One of my favorite childhood memories is riding on a motorcycle with my dad.

Magic.

I don’t know that either of us was wearing a helmet, I just remember how present I was and how utterly safe I felt and I wanted the ride to go on forever.

I remember seeing fireflies in the meadows of grass along the road at the twilight hour and the scent of a late summer night alive with sounds and insects, the swoop of barn swallows the song of lush life asserting itself.

The opening of the novel talks about the sloughs and marshes and I could see them, the lines of cattail and weeds at the marshes, the Great Blue Herons and their royal bearing as they sat silent in the reeds waiting for just that tasty slim minnow to flash by unsuspecting.

The thin leg steady and reedy looking.

The fish darts between the legs.

Flash.

The head ducks down, stabs the fish, the throat warbles, the crown of feathers shakes, ruffles of water ripple out, then in moments, silence.

Stillness.

The bird resumes its stance.

Reading it made me think of what I had written in today’s morning pages.

I have always written about being a world traveller and the last few months I have been thinking that I could stand some travelling in my own country.

I would like to do an extended road trip.

Now is not the time.

I am aware of that.

But some short jaunts.

Places I have not been and want to see.

Whether on the back of cycle or riding one myself.

In a rental flatbed truck with a sleeping bag to spread against the cab and look out the deeps of the prairies and see the stars spread like a quilt of eternity above me.

The Grand Canyon.

I have never seen it.

Yosemite.

Nope.

Appalachia.

No to that as well.

I thought about finding streams and wading in them, cold feet, rushing water.

The smell of campfires.

The deep quiet satisfaction of building one yourself and setting it properly.

The sleep of the outside world.

It was a seductive morning.

I live in California and there is so much I have not seen.

Or haven’t seen in a while.

Time for a day trip to Muir Woods.

Time for a drive out to Marin.

Time for a ride up the coast or down the coast.

I ride my bike past the park every day and there are certain parts that smell more wild and natural than have any right to smell deep in the heart of this urban landscape and I feel that pull to get out to it and be in it.

The perfect autumn day, in the park with my little charge, crunching leaves, thinking of apple picking at Sky High Apple Orchard outside of Baraboo in Wisconsin, climbing the Rock of Gibraltar in Columbia county, camping in the Upper Peninsula and long road trips to Door County at the tip of the state, memories of the great outdoors that never fail to stir something up inside my soul.

A little travel bug lit on me.

I am not intending to go anywhere wild and wooly or foreign, but I think once I have gotten through the holidays and all that they entail, whether or not I have plans yet for any of it, matters not, rather that when the new year rolls around I want to devote a little energy that way.

Until them I am off to prepare for a work day tomorrow at the old Mint downtown at 5th and Mission–Makers Mart–helping a friend sell her prints and art work.

Two days of that, one day of nannying on Monday, then six days in a row with not a whole lot to do.

Maybe I will go for a hike a long the sea cliffs.

I haven’t explored the Sutro baths.

I can start my little exploration in my own back yard.

Swim in the ocean.

Get together with anyone and go surfing.

Get the boogie board out.

Or just walk on the beach.

I may be in the city, but the outside is just there, a stones throw to the edge of the world, waiting for me to come join it.

To crunch again through the leaves and scuffle in the smell of all that is alive.

 


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