Friday, February 6, 2009

Spring in the San Francisco Bay Area

I discovered the wonderful world of blogging a few months back and am addicted to it. Through my blog, I met (virtually) many writers from different parts of the world with different styles. We all have many common interests one of which is to share small parts of our lives with others.

Bindu, of Transient Lives tagged me to do the meme of sixes. She has a beautiful blog, where she writes about a variety of topics. Her writing is very sweet, sensitive and almost poetic. Do visit her blog. She is currently blogging about her trip to Argentina.

This is the first time I have been tagged, so here I am, sincerely (almost) following the rules.
  • Pick the 6th picture in the 6th picture folder
  • Write the story behind it, and
  • Pass it on to 6 other people.

Well....the sixth picture in my sixth folder turned out be that of the turtle from my recent Hawaii post. Obviously, I didn't want to repeat, so was going to cheat, by picking a really good picture and pretending that it was the one. Then I remembered that I had an external hard drive with lots of old pictures and looked for the 6th picture in the 6th folder and found this picture of a cactus-like wildflower. It was from a hike we did in spring of 2004. Seeing the picture brought back a lot of memories about the beautiful bay area and the good old times we had there. I want to thank Bindu for the tag because I would never have written this post if not for the tag.

Bay area has a very short spring - maybe a month or two at the most. This is the time when the hills come alive with lush greenery and a variety of wildflowers....almost Switzerland-like. A month later, we are left with brown hills that look like giant potatoes. For those that live in Mumbai, it is like seeing Lonavla in monsoons and then in Summer.
Spring is the time when we used to dust off our hiking shoes and take a vow to spend more time outdoors. The easiest way of doing that would be to wake up early on a weekend and go to a regional park in our backyard. These are pictures from hikes in Garin Regional Park and the Sunol Wilderness Regional parks. 15 minutes drive from where we lived, there parks were beautiful in Spring. Early morning was the best time to hike here because of the lack of shade.

We would wake up early, drive to Noah's Bagels, order our usuals - Jalapeno bagel or a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a nice cup of steaming medium roast coffee. I miss bagels in India (sigh!). It is funny how you miss little things that you didn't pay too much attention to, when you had them. I miss going to a diner for Sunday brunch. My favorite order at IHOP was french style crepes with orange marmalade and a side of eggs.

The picture below shows Babu, Aru, Sirisha, Sharma and me stretching before the hike. The trails were decently marked and we would always find our way around....except this one time when Babu and I were lost and ended up hiking for a couple of hours more than what we had planned. We made up for the extra calories burnt by eating the world's best Chicken tikka masala at Shalimar!

I love this picture of the lone tree with the mist rolling in.

So, all you guys out there, enjoy your spring this year, go on beautiful hikes, eat a bagel for me and remember the good times we had.

I would like to pass on this tag to a few people whose blogs I started following recently:

Hope you pick it up.


  1. Alright !!! this is my 3rd tag in this week... but tell you waht i am simply loving this... i think this is a wonderful one !!! i am gonna try... lemme reach home and find the 6th pic in the 6th folder !!!!

  2. I like your pictures and this tag sounds fun..just that my laptop has crashed and Ive no folders right now - so will post this the moment I get my laptop back

  3. Pictures evoke such memories!
    Beautiful shots all!

  4. Oh yeah !! I remember this hike. This was the one where Saru was giving me my first camera fundas !!! Waiting for Spring to start to get back to hiking..

  5. hey!
    i don't think i went along for this hike. you know what Vam : lavu misses bagels too ! perhaps I should get some for you and her next time i visit.
    speaking of hikes, tried to go on one last sat without much luck. my partner in crime bailed because she was tired (very unlike ms A) and vamsi started having second thoughts as he recently had some trouble w/ one of his knees.
    lets hope i get to hike this summer!

  6. Thanks for doing the tag and showing us some lovely pictures from CA. The dewy flower picture is gorgeous, and the misty one too. And I cannot look at a hill in CA anymore without thinking "giant potato!" :) :)

  7. Hi Vamsee! It seems this is a never ending winter; lucky yu already in spring time... ;)
    Lovely pictures; adorable greens...

    Blogtrotter has entered Rajasthan! Enjoy and have a great weekend!

  8. i like the second flower pic..its so delicate!!..and the color is such a vibrant one!!!...
    some lovely pics of the sure i wud have enjoyed hiking here!!

  9. I clearly remember going to Noah's bagel and then to Shalimar for lunch but the hiking part was little hazy :) Thanks for the post..i can now re-live the hiking part too :)

  10. Flowers and mist, such lovely pictures.

  11. Dhiren/Lakshmi, It is a fun tag. You never know what picture you will end up with. I hope it jogs some good memories.

    Yes indeed!

  12. Aru / Gaay,
    This was a hike we did in early spring. It was still cold, perfect weather to go on a long hike. I remember Saru giving you photography lessons.

    Thanks for tagging me. The hills look exactly like giant potatoes for 10 months of the year. I was in Austin in the spring of 2007 and loved the wildflowers on the way to Fredricksburg and at the Lady Bird wildlife center. The red poppies were wonderful.

  13. gmg,
    I was going to wait till March to write about spring, but the tag forced me into writing this piece.

    Shooting Star, Thanks for visiting my blog. I am sure you would have loved to hike there...the picture of that flower is my favorite too.

    You lazy bugger....although I remember that you would wake up at a decent time for those hikes. We had some good times when you stayed with us.


  14. The images were really superbbbbbb :)

  15. Gotcha Vamsee! Somehow your earlier comment went into the spam filter (strange!) I'll take this up this week :)

  16. Beautiful photos! Hello from Puerto Rico...lovely color here. <3

  17. Deepak,
    You say the same thing for all my pictures. You need a new

    THis seems to be the excuse I am hearing a lot these days "Your mail went into our spam folder". Maybe I should read between the lines:):)

    Thanks. Always wanted to go to Puerto Rico and see the bioluminescent bay. I almost planned it one Christmas, but never made it there.

  18. Thank you for tagging me. I'll take this up once I return from another small trip I've planned for now.;)

    Vamsee, these sets of pictures are superb. I'd love to be in such a place. My fav are the last three. What serenity!

  19. Celine,
    As I said, this greenery lasts only for 1-2 months. By the time we would get our act together and plan hikes, the hills would become the usual giant potatoes.

  20. I will finish my Kerala series and take your tag up, now that Ive got my laptop back

  21. Beautiful post Vamsee. The images are breathtaking. The image of the lone tree with the mist rolling in is a awesome composition.

    WOW...You folks have "some" energy...Thomas

  22. Hi Vamsee!
    Interested in Rajasthan? Blogtrotter has it! ;) Enjoy, comment and have a great weekend!

  23. Well, I'll take up your tag this weekend. Was down with fever the whole last week. You would receive a pingback so don't worry.

  24. Nice post, Vam. It surely is nice to see the green hills all around. Waiting for the rains to stop so we can also get out. Maya is also older...and since she loves to be outdoors we are hoping it won't be a problem with her

  25. Hi Vamsee!
    So, everybody was busy with Valentine’s Day, nobody paid attention to Rajasthan? Great mistake... ;))
    Have a great Sunday!!

  26. About missing bagels, I completely understand. Ditto muffins! iHop used to be a popular destination especially after wild weekends when nothing else would be open in the early hours of the morning. I still pop in when I get a chance during visits; love their new French Toast.

  27. It hurts that it isnt spring yet. :(
    I'm gonna go eat a bagel anyway.
    I used to love IHOP until I discovered this hole in the wall place called American Pancake House around where I live...and I swear they beat IHOP pancakes and crepes hands down.
    Oh, and I absolutely love the photo of the tree with the mist coming in...beautiful!

  28. I think I mentioned it already, if so, I still have to say it again - you are an excellent photographer. And of course, I love the story that goes with it :)

  29. lol nothing between the lines. The spam robot usually junks a post if it has more than one link. Anyway, I've finally delivered here :) Thanks!