Monday, October 23, 2017

What I Observed from my Bench at Larry Moore Park

You Can See a Lot of Nature Just Sitting on a Park Bench

Many times we don't really notice what's right in front of us. When I was escaping my roofers' noises this week I found myself on this bench. I'm so blessed I can walk over here, though I didn't on this particular day. This is the bench upon which I sat.

This bench faces west toward the Salinas River, but the riverbed is dry now. On the other side of the river runs some railroad tracks and on the other side of those the 101 Freeway as it goes through Paso Robles. To the left of the bench is the end of the cul-de-sac and a fence dividing public land from the small farm across from it. That land is where I saw the goats after I left this bench to go home.

This Bench Offers a Dose of Wilderness Close to Civilization

One of the first things I saw was an Amtrak train heading south from the Paso Robles Station. It always passes the park, and you can almost set your clock by it if you pay attention. Normally I see it going toward the station, but I was earlier than usual on this day.

You can see beyond the train to the cars on the freeway. It's a divided freeway on this stretch. I was using a zoom lens, so that train and the freeway look much closer than they really are. You'd have to walk about two blocks through the park and across the riverbed and then a bit further to get to those train tracks. When you listen to the video you will hear the traffic, but I believe the train was gone by the time I made the video.

The Salinas River Trail

My bench sits near an entrance to the Salinas River Trail that goes through the park and past it for a couple of miles. If you look to the right of the bench, as I did to take this photo, you will see the trail. Quite often people are walking or biking there. Many people use the trail or the dry riverbed to walk their dogs.

The Video

As I sat on my bench, I made a video by pointing the camera from the right to the left to take in my view. I aimed it up, down, and sideways to take in the height of the tree near me. I narrate to tell you what I'm seeing and doing. I hope you enjoy it.

Still Views from My Bench

Below you see the path that leads to the riverbed, now dry. On the far right is the tree branch you saw in the video that bends all the way to the ground and looks like a little tree by itself. Between that and the path to the river you see a bed of poison oak with a red tinge. The oak is on the left and its branch extends all the way to the ground on the right. The path is steeper than it looks and one has to be careful not to slip -- especially when it's wet after one of our rare rains.

Here's a closer look at that poison oak beside the path to the river.

Here's the other side of the oak on the left side of the path.

Below is the rest of the oak and the rocks near the trail entrance near the road. On the far left you are seeing outside the park onto the private property where I saw the goats yesterday.

This is another perspective of the oak with a zoom and some dried poison hemlock stalks. Have you noticed how much poison lurks near the trails?

Here's a book that will help you identify and deal with poison oak if you happen to touch it. This book has the highest reviews of any I saw, and a great section on identifying these plants.

Below I put the poison oak right next to the oak branch so you can see the leaves clearly. There's part of a willow tree on the far left near the top.

Now You've Shared my Views from the Park Bench

Which did you like best? Did you learn anything from these photos? I feel very fortunate to be able to walk to this park when I need a dose of nature. 


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