Thirsty Thursday: It's Fall

Rambler: Terry
Drink in Hand: Mango Juice

October in Monterey feels somewhat like summer. That being said, the days are getting noticeably shorter and it feels a bit cooler than it used to. We still have pretty warm days, but the last couple of evening (late afternoon) runs required a long sleeve. Trader Joe's has started to stock all the pumpkin related goodness as well. 

The shots for today's post are from a couple of years ago when we were in Yosemite. I love the fall feel to the photos. The fallen leaves and relaxing sound of water over rocks. If you're not doing something outside this weekend, then you should be getting out there. . . soon it will winter and all will be different. 

Thirsty Thursday: Colorful Colorado

Rambler: BethDrink at Hand: Fat Tire Snow Day

Thirsty Thursday here again! Time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. A few weeks ago I found myself in Ft Collins, Colorado. I love any visit to Colorado, but there is something magically about October days in Colorado. The light is oh-so-nice, the aspens are glowing, and the skies are fabulous.

On my way to the hotel from the airport, I noticed that the sky was starting to look nice, and with a little time to kill, I decided to find a place to take a few photos. I didn't have time to get anywhere especially scenic, so I settled for an open field just south of the CSU campus. I didn't have a tripod, but luckily this field had some strategically placed boulders that worked just fine. After a day of travel following a stressful week of work and school, an unexpected late afternoon photo shoot is incredibly therapeutic.

aspen road

Get out there and find your own therapeutic sunset this weekend!

Thirsty Thursday: More Aspens

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Hot apple cider...mmmmm

Thursday is here again already, so that means its time for the weekly installment of Thirsty Thursday. Time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. I just got back from a drizzly and chilly trail run, hence the warm drink in my hand! Fall continues to slide into winter, and sadly tonight will probably be the last weeknight trail run of the year with the time change coming this weekend.

Before I let fall scoot all the way out of my mind, I have to share some more autumn color. Last fall I spent an week in the Eastern Sierra chasing golden aspens and snow-capped peaks. I happened to be there in the days immediately following the first major snow of the year. This makes the commute from the central coast over the Sierra Crest a pain in the rear, but it was beautiful. This was the scene at North Lake. Yeah, not your typical North Lake perspective, but I was happy to work for this view away from the masses on the shore.

Sometimes the close-ups are just as good as the big views.

There's a big storm headed for California this weekend, so the high country will likely see quite a bit of snow. Heck, the snow level here is supposed to drop to around 3000' by tomorrow night. Who knows, maybe there will be a little dusting on the local peaks (probably not, but maybe). The first snow of the year is always magical. So clean and fresh.

Get out there and find something pretty to look at this weekend!


Thirsty Thursday: Blur

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Powder Keg Zinfandel

This is a quick Thirsty Thursday, and something a little different than usual. We are in the clutches of autumn. In fact, this morning I woke up to our room surprisingly chilled. We have slept with one of our bedroom windows open all summer, and this morning, for the first time, it was cold. Cold as in I thought I was waking up inside my sleeping bag in our tent. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness of 6 am, I realized I was still at home...and that fall has arrived. And that maybe we should close our window tonight.*

Fall hits me out of nowhere every year. As I mentioned last week, it really is my favorite season.  But every year I feel like I miss out. The season sneaks up and all that beautiful golden light and all those lovely trees are literally here one day and gone the next. Fall has always been hectic for us anyway. First it was soccer season, and then it was cyclocross season. I thought this year would be different. With no bike races every weekend we would be able to go out and enjoy fall. Go to the Sierra. Go find sycamores along Arroyo Seco. Go check out the golden hillsides at Coe. Yet we seem to be busier than ever this fall and we can't put our finger on why. Its just going and we can't stop it. We can barely even keep up with ourselves.

Last weekend, after an exhausting weekend of doing "stuff" (that's right, nothing in particular, just stuff), we took the dog out for a late afternoon hike in Ft Ord. I was screwing around with the camera and came away with this image.

Yeah, its nothing great. Its actually a bad photo, technically speaking. But I looked at this image on the back of the camera and thought wow, that's my fall in a little 4x6 rectangle. Beautiful light, great subject, and its all a blur. One big blur. Every fall. Maybe next year we'll get out and truly enjoy fall. This one is slipping away just as quickly as that late afternoon sun plummets out of the sky this time of year.

Not your typical Thirsty Thursday "get out there and doing something awesome" blog this week. We have another weekend booked full of more "stuff" this weekend, though we are squeezing in some fun with some friends down in SLO on Sunday. At this point its the little adventures that make life awesome. So make sure you get out there and find even that little bit of awesome in some gorgeous fall light before its gone for another year.

* For the record, my car said it was 33° this morning when I headed off to work. Brrr.

Thirsty Thursday: Tokyo's Ginkgo Avenue

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Yogi Breath Easy Tea...good for allergies

Its time for another Thirsty Thursday! Time to pour something yummy and think about the upcoming weekend. In most parts of the country autumn is in full effect. Trees are turning beautiful shades of crimson and gold, and the after sunlight is so golden and warming. Fall is my favorite time of year. Unfortunately we don't get much fall color here on the central coast, and what we do get doesn't normally pop up until late November. So I have to live vicariously through some autumn photo shoots in the archives.

Autumn in Japan can only be described with one word...AMAZING. The Japanese relish the fall "koyo" season. Flocks of people flood shrines and park creating a festival-like atmosphere beneath the brilliant red momiji (Japanese maple) and yellow icho (ginkgo) trees.

If you're lucky, you can sometimes find a usually busy Tokyo street deserted on a crisp weekday afternoon. And if you're really lucky, that street is lined with golden ginkgo trees, the official tree of Tokyo.

Streets like this in the middle of fall beg for a stroll or a slow bike ride. Ironically a bustling train station and busy shopping center at the heart of Tokyo are mere blocks away.

Yet if you just immerse yourself in the muffled quiet of falling leaves, the hustle and bustle of the real world seems worlds away.

And even if you can't take that stroll, you can keep that scene for later.

Hopefully you can find somewhere to go enjoy some wonderful fall colors this weekend, too! Whatever you do, get out there and enjoy it!



Thirsty Thursday: Stanley Canyon

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Green Barn Chardonnay (Impulse buy near the register at Trader Joe's...average at best)

Good evening faithful reader. Welcome to another addition of Thirsty Thursday. Time to pour something yummy (hopefully) and make those weekend plans. Since its October and most parts of the country are feeling that chill in the air and seeing some color in the trees, I figured a nice bit of fall color was in order for this evening. Throw in watching a rare Thursday night football game from the United States Air Force Academy (as abysmal as it was for a Falcon fan), and I thought a little photo essay from a fall hike up Stanley Canyon was in order for tonight.

I was at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs last October for a women's soccer alumni event. My flight out after a weekend of catching up with old friends, watching soccer games, and football tailgating wasn't until late Monday afternoon, so I decided a trail run in the wonderfully crisp air of a fall morning in Colorado was in order. I thought about doing the infamous Incline at Pikes Peak, but a little part of me said "been there, done that about 20 times" and I didn't want to deal with getting to south Colorado Springs from Monument during the morning rush. Something else was in order. The Stanley Canyon Trail is legendary amongst cadets, especially those cadets on intercollegiate teams, as there is normally some sort of pre-season "team building" run slated for this trail. Yet, somehow, the women's soccer team never did this run. Terry did it with the men's soccer team, but I'd never done it (read: Beth has no idea what she's in for).

It was such a beautiful morning that I had to take a camera along, but I wanted to run rather than hike, so I grabbed my little Canon G10 in place of the DSLR and off I went. The G10 does surprisingly well given its portability. Holy cow, the first mile or so was tough! Gaining over 1200' in the first mile, the trail is steep and rocky and fraught with the loose decomposed granite "marbles" typical of Front Range trails.

Eventually the trail leveled off a bit to a straight forward (though still very much uphill) singletrack through aspen groves and wide-open meadows. Beautiful despite the fact that many of the aspen leafs were already gone at this altitude. After 4.4 miles (according to a trail map), I arrived at Stanley Reservoir. A beautiful fall morning at a beautiful lake. I strolled around for a bit, taking in the loveliness of a great spot on a beautiful fall morning. Have I mentioned how much I love fall in Colorado?

Across the lake I noticed a still-golden aspen grove and what looked like a fire road that might lead to said still-golden aspen grove. So off I went.


At this point I had to start heading back down the trail toward my car so I didn't miss my flight. I didn't even realize I'd left the confines of the Air Force Academy and crossed into Pike National Forest until I came across this sign on the way down.

Overall, a fantastic run on a beautiful fall morning in Colorado. I was so glad I finally experienced Stanley Canyon!

If you're in Colorado Springs and would like to hit the Stanley Canyon Trail, head to the Air Force Academy. Visitors without a Department of Defense (DoD) ID card can get on base with a valid drivers license between 0800 and 1800 (that's between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm for you non-military folks). Enter the Air Force Academy though the South Gate, then turn left on Pine Drive. About 3.9 miles later turn left into a dirt road right in front of the hospital. Drive another 0.7 miles to the parking lot. The trail climbs 4.4 miles to Stanley Reservoir. The ambitious hiker/runner can continue another 5.5 miles on Pike National Forest trail #707 on to Farish Recreation Area at the top of the Front Range along Rampart Range Road. Terry tells me this portion of the trail is quite pretty, too.

Thanks for stopping by our get out there and enjoy fall this weekend!

Sierra Macros

A couple of weeks ago I did the Mountain High Workshops Fall Color Workshop up in the Eastern Sierras. It was a great workshop with some incredibly talented pro-photographers for instructors. I learned a lot about landscape compositions and refining my eye to see better light and small nuances in the frame in order to make a stronger photograph. So there we are, in the awe-inspiring Sierras, full of colorful aspens and beautiful alpine lakes, and I kept taking macro shots. I can't get enough of the small details. It helped that I had the trusty Canon 180mm macro lens along in my bag...that lens does magical stuff.  While everyone else was shooting the amazing landscape with their wide-angles and super wide-angles, I was tinkering in the trees with my macro. Below are a few of the better results. I have a few of my landscape shots already posted on Flickr.

Thanks for reading!