Back in Cali! I found several pretty great places to visit this time around thanks to Flickr, and one of them was Round Valley Regional Park in Brentwood, CA. I think the yellow foothills that come into view as you head toward Martinez are absolutely gorgeous, and here was an entire regional park full of views of them.
Although fog in the morning is a constant issue in the Bay Area, Round Valley is about an hour east (still a part of the East Bay but...honestly, it should be the outskirts if anything) so as I neared the park the sky began to clear a bit. I had identified, via the internet, the Miwok Trail as the one to hike that day, so probably the first forty-five minutes of the hike the sun wasn't out in full force yet.
But I found plenty of interesting things to photograph. If there's one thing I love out here, it's the crazy gnarled fallen trees, and there were plenty at Round Valley.
I came upon this tree just as a shaft of light pierced the overcast-ness.
Although it's almost fall, there were some wildflowers left along the trail.
And then the sun came out for real. Ohhhh, the beautiful yellow grass.
I love the rocks, too. Something about this terrain just makes there be lots of rocks coming out of the ground. It was something I'd noticed on my way back from Yosemite in May, and I had hoped to be able to find some to photograph later, so of course, here was my big chance.
I brought my tripod to get the right exposures for scenes that would require exposure blending later.
Eventually, about two miles in, I knew I'd have to take one of the diverging trails that sloped steeply upward in order to get the bigger views. So up I hiked. I did kind of hope to come across some of the free-ranging cattle that laze about Round Valley, but a passing stranger on a horse told me that the cattle had been moved elsewhere for the season. Oh well.
I thought the autumnal look of some of the trees was kind of cool. (And this is where I heard a growling in the grass, no lie)
And I'm still just amazed at how much diversity there is in a place that at first looks seems pretty homogenous. Whenever I make it back to California, I'm definitely going back to Round Valley. There's just too much left still to see.