mjgradziel.com michael j. gradziel
A decade and a half long record of life as I know it.
Mike, most recently:
On San Bruno Mountain there is a hole in the ground that people get excited about. It's been called the Crystal Cave, and though this is not wholly inaccurate (it's a short horizontal exploratory mine shaft along a vein of crystalline quartz) it seems to be described with a touch of embellishment and secrecy perhaps to justify the effort of getting there and back. The path was well worn when we went there on Saturday morning, and the nettles and poison oak were thick but manageable. It took less time to amble up from the nearest asphalt than it took to drive my truck there from San Mateo. Once we were at the cave, with little in the way of history or artifacts to feed our imaginations, I saw that it was plainly no more than a hole dug in a rocky outcrop in a thicket of poison oak, brambles, and nettles. This would not do for a Saturday morning adventure, so we continued on straight up the mountain where the path vanishes into a braided web of thinner spots in the tangle of brush where deer make their way through or where slabs of rock slant up the hillside. First it was unnervingly steep, and then the way was made difficult by a deep thicket of brambles concealing deep pits and hollows lined with harmful plants. A different way opened to more clear terrain where wildflowers sparkled in the morning dew. There were dozens of species, not in great carpets but here and there in an astonishing diversity of colorful blooms. The green season is fully upon us now, but without heavy rain for months it will surely pass soon. Towards the top of the ridge we came to a well worn path, and later a legitimate trail that we followed past the radio antennas and back down another way. The cityscape and views of the bay are fantastic, especially with the sun breaking through a clearing sky.
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Photos and Commentary . . . follow the links:
- Late Summer and Autumn: Sausalito, Massachusetts, Half Moon Bay 2014.
- Road Trips with Baby: January Travels to Monterey, Big Sur; Southern California in August January - August 2014.
- July through December. before and after baby. 2013.
- Arizona, Yosemite, and Seattle. the west from south to north. March-June 2013.
- Iceland to see the aurora borealis, ice, and furry horses. March 2013.
- Mendocino, Humboldt Redwoods, Mt Diablo, San Francisco. December 2012 - February 2013.
- Massachusetts and the fate of the albacore tuna September- November 2012.
- Sierra Backpacking and other summer trips. July-August 2012.
- Botswana and South Africa, and the big waterfall on the Zambezi. July 2012.
- Boston - fried clams & canoeing. Also, a trip to Santa Barbara. Spring 2012.
- Yosemite, almond trees, Pinnacles Monument, San Diego, and a weekend in LA. Spring 2012.
- Alternating weekends in California and Massachusetts. November - December 2011.
- Boulder and Big Basin, and upstate New York. August - September 2011.
- Southern India and Sri Lanka, two weeks of travel four days of wedding ceremonies. June - July 2011.
- Utah and Arizona, a trip through the desert. June 2011.
- San Francisco Spring 2011, and Massachusetts too. May 2011.
- Wedding party, chalupas, cows, elk, and beer. All in one weekend. April 2011.
- Wine country, hiking, other trips. Fall 2010.
- Taiwan, a land of excellent food. August 2010.
- Pinnacles National Monument, and Emigrant Wilderness. June - July 2010.
- Unknown Coast, successful second attempt to see tidepools. May 2010.
- Yosemite with snow, Colorado, giant surf, and Pasadena revisited. Winter 2010.
- Lobster and Leaves in Maine and the Maritimes. October 2009.
- Hiking on the south border of Yosemite, and the Painted Dunes of Lassen. Summer 2009.
- Big Basin Redwoods, the Berkshires, and other things in the Bay Area. August 2009.
- Point Reyes and the Sonoma Coast, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Carmel-by-the-Sea. 2008-2009.
- Southern Italy: Two weeks from Calabria to Naples. A wedding, beaches, mountain hamlets, and much pizza. July 2008.
- Zion Canyon, the Subway canyon, Kanarra canyon, Bryce Canyon. June 2008.
- California wildflowers, snow and ice, Montana, Massachusetts, San Francisco, Anacapa Island, and other travels. 2008.
- Northern Argentina. Buenos Aires, Iguazu, Salta and the northwest, San Juan. November 2007.
- Climbing Mt. Whitney, berry picking, San Francisco, Catalina Island, and other weekend fun. Summer 2007.
- Lassen National Park, Rocky Mountains, Mt Baldy, Los Padres National Forest, San Francisco, New York. Spring 2007.
- New Zealand. Sixteen Days South with Joy Nov - Dec 2006.
- San Francisco, New York, High sierra hiking. Summer trips and photos. 2006.
- Monterey, Grand Junction, Tahoe, Antelope Valley, Sequoia National Park. 2006.
- The middle of Asia in the middle of winter. Beijing, then west to the frozen center of the continent to find mosques and mutton, among other things. Dec 2005 / Jan 2006.
- Sequoia NP Backpacking, Joshua Tree. A last hike in the sierras before winter, and a trip to the desert. Nov-Dec 2005.
- New York and MA in October The leaves turn color and Grandpa turns 90. Oct 2005.
- Berkeley, San Francisco, Wyoming, Santa Ynez, Palisade Glacier hike. more summer trips Aug-Sep 2005.
- Newport Beach kayaking, Laguna Beach, Rose Bowl fireworks. July 2005
- Sierra hiking at Pine Creek at the edge of spring. June 2005
- the Giant Burger, an American celebration.June 2005
- Finding New England, A tale of what lives and lies along 1300 miles of New England roadways.April 2005
- Desert wildflowers, Joshua Tree, Yosemite. weekend trips. 2005
- Cycling in Mexico, Joshua Tree, Yosemite via snowshoes other fall fun. Fall 2004
- Iqaluit and Pangnirtung in the Canadian Arctic, a land of ice and wind and carnivorous bears. August 2004
- The road to Texas, on the best business trip ever. June-July 2004
- Channel Island Camping, Paddling Castaic Lake, Sierra hiking. More trips. Summer 2004
- Winter camping, beach in Baja, Joshua Tree, and other news. Spring 2004
- French Polynesia: Tahiti and Moorea. December 2003
- Phoenix Arizona, San Gabriel Mtns, California Desert. and the adventures from it. Fall 2003
- Chasing the sun, six thousand miles west from Massachusetts to California. Summer 2003
- Peru, Bolivia, Chile. Seven weeks solo. Mountains, rainforest, desert, and beach by bus and backpack. Summer 2003
- Climbing Algonquin. To the top of the second highest peak in the Adirondacks. March 1, 2003
- Notes and photos. Malibu beaches, Adirondack snow, RPI campus; weekend trips and photos. Spring 2003
- Southern California. Three months of hiking, road trips, mountains, beach, and desert. Summer 2002
- Mountaineering in Mexico. A week of climbing on the volcano Citlaltepetl, bustling rural markets, desolate hill towns, busy city streets, quiet alpine meadows, frozen ice gullies, wild taxi rides, and fine dining in central Mexico. Spring Break 2002
- East Africa: a climb to the top of Kilimanjaro and a week in the Serengeti. Winter 2001
- Adirondacks, Catskills, and White Mountains: Hiking and paddling in New York and New Hampshire. 1999-2003
- Southern California. Scuba diving, hang gliding, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, trail running, sailing, surfing, canoeing; Yosemite, the High Sierras, the Mojave Desert, Mexico, the California coast, the Colorado River, Las Vegas, Hollywood, Santa Barbara, San Diego, then a cross-country road trip to South Carolina. January-July 2001
- Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. A return to the Algonquin highlands: gourmet cooking and beautiful sunsets on the wild but peaceful Canadian lakes, an evening in Ottawa, the Montreal nightlife... summer 2000
- That '77 Honda Civic, the perfect adventure machine... summer 2000
- Paddling the Connecticut. Two paddles and a canoe on the Connecticut river, fishing south.summer 1999-2001
- Katahdin: a weekend in the Maine woods; Owl Mountain, Baxter Peak via Cathedral, the Knife Edge... summer 1999
- Alaska, Three weeks and 1500 miles: camping on the banks of the Yukon, hiking in Denali National Park, exploring glaciers and mine ruins in Wrangell-St. Elias... summer 1998
- Hong Kong and Beijing, Exploring street markets, cycling through villages near Beijing, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Imperial Palace... summer 1997
Mexico to Canada on the PCT, Dad's account from the trail in 1978.
New York to New Orleans by bicycle and riverboat, 1944. Grandma's story.
Questions or comments? email mike-at-mjgradziel.com
Most photos are mine or Joy's (credits to others are in image captions); please credit us where appropriate.