New Adventure: Tree Pollen

We have almost spent our first month in our apartment!  So far, after many days of assembling furniture and sorting our belongings we are pretty well moved in.  After the “assembly required” weekend we decided to spend the next weekend exploring the area.  Brice has some colleagues from his research group in the area and we went to dinner with them up in Redwood City on Friday night to find that all of the bars and restaurants closed at midnight or earlier!  It was such a surprise for us after being in Ames where people often were out until 2 or 3am.  We did have some great Mexican food at Milagros Cantina– a great corner restaurant with a great patio and outdoor seating.

Saturday we went up to Big Basin State Park for a hike.  From our apartment it takes about 45 minutes to get to main parking lot where many of the hiking trails begin- a very long and windy road that would make anyone carsick.  A beautiful drive, but nerve-wracking when the road narrows through the redwoods and only allows about 1 car through.   It amazes me how fast people drive on this road and I usually end up pulling off at many turn-offs to let 3 or 4 tailgaters go ahead of me.  Many people enjoy biking on this road which makes it even more difficult!  To give you a good birds-eye visual I’ve provided the Google Earth view of the map.

Google Maps view of Big Basin State Park. The main park headquarters are located at the “A” mark.

We enjoyed a hike through the park about 8 miles long.  We did run into a larger gentleman that was behind his friends and sweating heavily.  He asked us how long it was to the trail headquarters and we asked him if there was anything he needed.  He said he needed some water and we were happy to grant his request.  It is a good reminder to be prepared for any length of hike with plenty of water and snacks.   After our last hike through Big Basin we read that there are Banana Slugs which is interestingly enough the stat mollusk for California.  These cute little creatures are about 6 inches and live on the floor of the redwood forest where it is dark and damp.  I was very hopeful to see a Banana Slug during our hike!  After we got closer to the redwood forest floor where at 5:00 pm if looked like dusk around us we did see many banana slugs.  They move slowly and were often crossing the hiking path.

Banana Slug

After our activity-filled day on Saturday we decided to shift into low gear on Sunday.   During our hikes I have had a severe reaction to the pollen that is in the area.  I have never really had major issues with allergies, but for some reason I’ve been hit hard here.  Just going outside for a short amount of time I get severe sinus pain, watery eyes and a runny nose.  It’s too bad because all I feel like doing is staying inside where I’m not effected as badly.  On Sunday we relaxed and took care of tasks around the apartment- it was a great weekend!  Things are starting to finally feel more settled here and I have more time to take care of the many things that fell by the wayside during my job with Bickford.   After those are taken care of I will begin looking for volunteer and career openings in the area.  Many people commute from the south bay up to San Francisco, but that takes about 1 hour on the CalTrain.  I’ll be looking for something closer in the area.  Now, I just need to figure out what to begin looking for!  🙂


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