mjgradziel.com    michael j. gradziel
anacapa island, cherry burl, sierra nevada, spacecraft parts, joinery, wyoming, california
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:

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.