On Saturday D. and I went to Alum Rock Park. Founded in 1872, Alum Rock Park is the oldest municipal park in California. Originally it was a health spa where people went to take the waters in the canyon's mineral-rich springs (it even boasted a steam railway at one time), then a tourist-oriented amusement park. Eventually it was decided to allow it to be a natural area, and I think this was the wisest decision of all (and the wildlife undoubtedly agrees). First up, my pics.
A view from a rustic stone bridge into Penitencia Creek, which flows through the canyon in which the park lies.
One of the many rustic stone bridges in the park.
Although it's a historic monument, this log cabin was never inhabited. It was only built as a memorial.
Picnic tables at the Log Cabin picnic area have their own geometry.
The wildlife is used to people. This deer wandered nonchalantly close to us as well as other people nearby.
A children's playground has an eagle sculpture for clambering on.
Next to the eagle sculpture is a barn owl nest box.
Did you know that if your eyes were proportioned the way a barn owl's eyes are, they'd be as big as softballs? True.
This stump has nice moss upholstery.
An algae pool in Penitencia Creek.
Another shot of the creek.
A bigleaf maple leaf, claimed by autumn, floats downstream.
The canopy reflected in the creek.
At the creekside we see a rock apparently full of fossils.
This log is festooned with a bumper crop of turkey tail bracket fungi.
These fungi are amazing.
Water drops cling to a blue gum leaf at creekside.
An edumacational plaque from the water district shows where the park is on a regional watershed map, accented by fallen pine needles.
Another rustic stone bridge and the creek below it.
Just as we come within sight of a gazebo, the 30% chance of rain forecast that morning turns into 100%.
We have little choice but to head for the gazebo's shelter and wait for the rain to let up. To pass the time I take some pics of the gazebo's interior (such as it is).
D.'s camera is thirsty after taking pics all afternoon!
The other drinking fountain in the gazebo looks like it's wearing a necklace of some sort.
(An acquaintance of mine once told me about a woman he'd heard pronounce gazebo as gays-bow. Now every time I see that word, a voice in my mind says gays-bow instead of guh-zee-bow.
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And here are D.'s pics.
The log cabin, its commemorative plaque, and a mystery object we find attached to the side of the cabin.
Whatever it is, it looks broken.
A rustic stone bridge.
This light standard seems to be full of holes.
I'd assume woodpeckers did that, but why are most of the holes in such straight lines?
Another rustic stone bridge.
The deer again, because he's so photogenic.
The eagle sculpture clambering thing at the playground.
A maple leaf washes ashore in Penitencia Creek.
A tranquil scene on Penitencia Creek.
A bigleaf maple leaf on the grass, emblematic of autumn.
What would a field trip be without poison oak?
This edumacational plaque says that bird is a red-tailed hawk, but it is not. It is a kestrel -- a bird less than half that size.
The Youth Science Institute's Alum Rock Science and Nature Center and its adjoining aviary, where injured birds are housed in between edumacational outings to schools and the like.
This field trip is brought to you by the number 7!
A rustic wood fence, not far from the rustic stone bridge.
While waiting in the gazebo for the rain to lessen, we watch a red-breasted nuthatch work its way down the trunk of a tree probing bark furrows for hidden insects.