Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hike No. 7 - Knickerbocker Narcissus

February 15, 2012
2.5 miles

In which I go in search of the annual bloom of the Wild Narcissus garden at the abandoned Knickerbocker Ranch and try out my new Panasonic GH2

A nice 2.5-mile ramble among the trees, creeks, and ponds of the rolling oak woodlands of the Auburn State Recreation Area
The commercial hub of our little town of Cool, about 6 miles south of Auburn, and 40 some miles east of Sacramento, backs up to the Auburn State Recreation Area, or ASRA. From my chair in our dentist's office I can look out across meadows to rolling hills doted with copses of oaks. A graveled parking, or staging area, located behind our firehouse, provides access to the trails in our portion of the park. When I rolled in on a Wednesday afternoon and hung my Golden Poppy pass on the rear view mirror there was one truck and horse trailer and one other car in the parking lot. On weekends there are normally a couple of dozen vehicles here, and many more during the many equestrian, cycling, and running events held on the trails. Since this access point is less than five minutes from our house, I get a lot of use out of that pass here. Today was exciting as it was my first outing with a new camera. After much interesting reading of reviews and perusing of specification, the micro-four-thirds Panasonic GH2.

I pause under an oak to let a pair of equestrians by
 From the staging area I headed down the broad and well-paved road once used as a haul road to the dam site on the south side of the river. But I quickly left it for the parallel trail that criss-crosses a small creek, and photographed a couple of equestrian groups.
A multi-use trail - bikes, boots, horses, and dogs.

This pair of riders kindly paused for a photo with their dogs.

Stepping stones and rustic bridges provide crossings as the trail meanders back and forth over this little creek.

Leaving the creek, crossing the road, and heading up the side of a ridge along an old fence line, I played a bit with one of my favorite subjects - weathered wood. Here I framed a distant oak between a pair of fence posts since I kind of liked the whimsical composition, and wanted to test out the Panasonic 14-42mm lens at f22.

Black and white conversion in Light Room 3

The pond on Salt Creek

I can't resist weathered stuff.

The bedrock mortars next to Salt Creek Pond

Approaching the old Knickerbocker Ranch site

Knickerbocker narcissus with the pond in the distance

Narcissus at the Knickerbocker Ranch

At the Knickerbocker Ranch
Although no quite so exuberant this year because of the dry weather, the narcissus are still a nice surprise at the old ranch site. Below, a bit of the Olmstead Loop trail as i head back toward the firehouse parrking area.
On the Olmstead Loop Trail near the firehouse at Cool

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