April 21, 2008

The opposite of outside

This weekend was the opposite of outside as I ventured beyond the Bay Area and made my way to the big apple for New York Comic Con and spent most of three days in the Javit's Convention Center.

I certainly ran into some colorful characters, here two of the folks I ran into as I ventured around the show.

April 20, 2008

Film in the Park 2008

The San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation has announced their lineup for the 2008 film night in the park schedule. There are some great films on the list this year. Should be a fun time :)

All shows begin at 8 P.M. or at Dusk

Saturday, 5/17, THE WIZARD OF OZ, Dolores Park
Saturday, 6/28, ALL ABOUT EVE, Union Sq.
Saturday, 7/26, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Dolores Park
Saturday, 9/6, IL POSTINO, Wash. Sq
Saturday, 9/20, VERTIGO, Union Sq.
Saturday, 10/4, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, Dolores Park

For directions or more info head over to http://www.sfntf.org/. Hope to see you out there.

April 13, 2008

The festivities of cherry blossoms.

I have been sick the past few days so the trip to the cherry blossom festival was the first time I have made it out in a while and man I have been missing some sweet weather! The sun was shinning, the flowers were in bloom and the crowds were out in masses to enjoy it. Our visit was a quick one but I really did enjoy the energy of the drumming, O rocked of course! :) It is going on next weekend as well and there is an even bigger show (this one costs $$) but I am off on a business trip so will not be around to partake.

SF Cherry Blossom Festival '08 pics

This weekend we went down to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. It was very warm out, but we had a very good time. Our friend Olivia was there, and performed an enthralling drumming exhibition with with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo. Check out some of these great pics. This is definitely a street festival I would recommend to anyone in San Francisco at this time of year. Enjoy the pictures.


April 6, 2008

Steven's Creek county park

This weekend we went for a short hike with our friends Jan and Cecile around Stevens Creek county park and Fremont Older open space preserve just outside of San Jose. It wasn't a long hike, maybe only 1 hour and 30 minutes, but it was nice to get out, get the blood flowing and see something of the area. Also it was really a great view from Maisie Peak. Here are some pictures I took.

Our route too us from a trailhead starting along the road going into Steven's Creek park, up to the ridgeline and 'lookout point', and then out of the park and into the Fremont open space preserve beyond it where we followed the Vista trail and branched off quickly up to Maisie Peak. Basically from what I gather all of the county parks and wilderness preserves butt right up against one another from San Jose down basically to Santa Cruz. Only they seem to cover one hill range at a time.... odd that its not just all managed into a few bigger parks. But such are the mysteries of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

If you're in the area and looking for some nice hikes this kind of short trip might be right for you. Have a look through this map of Stevens Creek, and this one of Fremont Older. Because this was definitely a solid little morningtime hike. And well worth the effort.

April 3, 2008

Geoff's take on SPT

So while I know we're still trying to find our voice with this blog. And Erica and I might have somewhat differing opinions on the style to write it in, I think we both really agree that chronicling the world as we know it is a worthwhile endeavor. So to that end I thought I'd give you my impressions on Samuel P Taylor SP. ;)

Erica's absolutely right in that Sam Taylor is a great place because its really close to the city, even with Friday traffic, we still managed to get out there in an hour. It's basically 15 miles west of San Rafael, and until the last of it the road is very straight. That last bit is worth mentioning though. Sir Francis Drake Road, which is the road you take to get to the park, seems to be a major back country thouroughfare. If you were trying to get from anywhere in north San Rafael to Hwy 1, you very well might take Frances Drake right past the Samuel Taylor Park over through Olema and onto the highway. Just check out this map. And since the park really isn't all that big the campground is literally speaking right by the road. I'd say over the weekend that we were there we heard probably, oh say a car every 2 minutes passing by us, and thats why I would definitely recommend as a tip that when you go to Samuel Taylor park, don't stay in the Creek Loop of the campground. I would say, stay on the Orchard Hill loop, probably sites 36 or 38 are best, although they are right beside the campground host.

It is a really nice litle park though. The noise of the road was a small distraction, and we got over it and enjoyed our stay very much. Like I said: not a massive park, but we really had a good hike. You can check out and download the park brochure (with map) online here, or just have a glance at this pic of it. Click to enlarge.

Our hike, which was nice if short took us west from the campground up the Devils Gulch trail, through to Bill's Trail, past Barnabe Peak and east along the Barnabe Fire road, finally we returned to the campground along the Cross Marin trail. The entire trip took us about 4 hours, and I think would be classified as a solid moderate hike. There were a few hills and switchbacks as we ascended to the ridgeline, but nothing terribly difficult. Since Erica and I are pretty into hiking we went at a good pace, but I don't think anyone should have a problem with this one. What I would say though is that I don't think the hike would be as pleasant going the other direction. Stick to the clockwise loop, or you'll be stuck going slow uphill for a long time on the Fire road.

One of the coolest things on the hike was seeing the bobcat. I've only ever seen one before in the wild, out at Yosemite a few years ago, but this one was great. He literally bounded away when he saw us. Almost like he was hopping, or bouncing like tigger. Very cool.

I think the only not so good thing about the trip really had to be the cold. Cause it was REALLY cold. But I suppose thats what you get for trying to camp in March. Also since we were car camping we brought along our inflatable mattress... I know, I know, we're total wusses, but hey usually it works out great, and I like being comfortable when I can. Maybe I'll write a post about that line between comfort and "real" camping one of these days. Anyhow, since we had this big air mattress, it really let a lot of the cold air up through the ground to the bed.... I suppose its an example of the true dangers of trying to be comfortable while camping ;)

Really good, fun trip though. We did really all the hiking that was reasonable in the park. Even running through the Pioneer trail loop and checking out the massive and impressive Pioneer Redwood (kind of the General Sherman of Samuel P Taylor). See Erica in the tree here. And I'd say all in all it was a successful time. I expect many more to come.

April 2, 2008

Impressions on Samuel P Taylor SP

This past weekend we ventured to Samuel P Taylor state park. It was surprisingly close to San Francisco, less than an hour drive without traffic, yet felt like we really were “getting away from it all”. We arrived on Friday night and enjoyed dinner around the camp fire before a relatively early night in our swanky new tent. The evening was more than a bit chilly but we woke up in the morning ready for some movement.

There was only one decent length hiking trail loop in the park (See the map) which we decided to tackle. After walking the trail we definitely did it in the right order – the first half (Devils Gulch to Bill's Trail) was uphill through scenic shaded woods while the second part (Barnabe Fire Road) was primarily downhill on a fire road in direct sun. We met some hikers on the fire road going in the opposite direction, who seemed pretty worn out, and realized how lucky we were to have done the uphill work in the shade.

Adding a bit of excitement to our hike was a chance encounter with a bobcat. We had just started along the fire road when suddenly we came across the animal pouncing on what we assume was a lizard enjoying the sunshine. It was around three times the size of a house cat but way more fierce. As soon as it saw us it bobbed quickly away but we got a good look at a pretty impressive looking animal.

- Erica

April 1, 2008

Samuel P Taylor State Park pics

Here are some pictures we took over the weekend of 03/22/08 in Samuel P Taylor SP.


First Post!!!

Welcome to the first post. This is our brand new blog, The Life Outside.

I'm Geoff and my wife Erica and I intend to keep track of some of the fun things we like to do out in the big wide world. Expect posts on camping, events, and just general neighborhood activities in and around the Bay Area. Hopefully you'll like it too :)

Forgive the messy start here. We're still deciding on what we should and should not include in this blog. But I'm sure we'll manage somehow. Let us know if there's something you see that really works, or doesn't. And thanks for taking the time to stop by.

- Geoff