Unlocking a new skill: taking photos through binoculars. Not quite there yet, but there’s something in it. The right edge will always be cropped, unfortunately.
Might be trickier to catch a photo of a flying bird though! Saw a Northern Harrier and American Kestrel the same evening.
Saw this bold little dude on a short walk along Clear Creek Trail. I got pretty close for the photo, he wasn’t bothered! I think it’s a male Western Fence Lizard? There were some slight blue patches on his back that faded as I got closer.
I haven’t been posting much recently. There’s not a lot about this year that I’d like to remember. Of course there’s a ton that must be remembered, just not much that I’ll look back on fondly.
But we went swimming in the North Fork of the American River last Friday, that’s something to smile about. The heat radiated up off the path on our walk there and back. There was a big family enjoying the sun and water, and two girls chatting, standing in the shallows and drinking from a wine bottle. They warned us about the territorial crawdad near our toes.
Taken at 9:40am today. Somehow it seemed to get darker between when I woke up around 7:30 and now. It’s dark enough to be 7/8pm. Apparently ash is falling like snow in Concord.
Soundtrack for this morning: Silver Apples’ eponymous album from 1968. Came across this via @erikinternet’s tweet, didn’t know about Simeon Coxe III before. RIP.
Worth reading: 2019 Guardian article ‘Fire is medicine’: the tribes burning California forests to save them.
Edit at 9am on 10 September
The sun never really came up yesterday. We woke up this morning wondering if it would be the same.
The orange is gone, replaced by light beige smog. The 10 minute average air quality index (AQI) is over 200 in most of the city according to PurpleAir, over 270 in parts of the Sunset district. “Everyone may begin to experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”
Though it looks better than yesterday, the reality is way worse on the ground.
Edit at 4pm on 10 September
Now the air is thick, opaque. AQI is in the 300s in most of the city, mid-300s in the Mission. “Health warnings of emergency conditions if they are exposed for 24 hours. The entire population is more likely to be affected.”
Edit at 9:30pm on 10 September
The AQI has dropped back to the mid-200s in SF. Things are a bit better (still not great) once you get south of Santa Barbara, hovering around 100. In the mid 100s around Tahoe. Oregon is feeling it the worst right now, it’s over 500 in Portland. As Duane King said on Twitter, “‘Airpocalypse’ helps explain why my eyes are burning indoors.”
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My first swim in the Pacific in probably 10–15 years, photo by Sam.
On the Fourth of July, we walked 10 miles from the Sutro Heights Stairs on Balboa Street through Land’s End, past the enormous houses near China Beach, paused at Baker Beach, dipped down to Marshall’s Beach, walked under the Golden Gate, along Crissy Field and through the park at Fort Mason, then took a rest at the Maritime Museum ampitheater before heading back.
I thought I did so well with sunscreen but oh my, the backs of my knees…