A larger than expected group of hikers met at the parking lot of the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve for an early morning photo shoot. Mother Nature hadn’t had her coffee yet, so her mood was a bit turbulent, however, eventually she saw things our way.
Our wildflower hike was a mixed bag. When we arrived there it was drizzling. After some shooting we hiked out a little ways and the weather closed in on us and we were treated to a free shower. We waited, hunkering under the trees for a while before we backtracked and waited at the parking lot for the clouds to clear. The macro photographers went to work on the small, dew-covered flowers and plants. We were a week or two early for the larger flowers, but the skies were beautiful and the hills and trees were a brilliant green. The four of us who decided to wait it out took a hike down into the valley and were treated to the most delightful woodland hike that any of us had in a long while. It came with a wet, muddy and slightly uncomfortable price, but the rain and overcast sky made the moss-covered trees a brilliant green—in fact it looked like a fantasy forest. Wildlife was sparse, but the rain brought out the banana slugs in good numbers. You should have been there and yet you might have been glad you weren't.
The biggest lesson we learned on this hike was this: For winter and spring photo hikes, always pack one or two large garbage bags in the bottom of your camera bag or backpack. They weigh practically nothing, they flatten out nicely and take up minimal space, but they may save your expensive camera equipment from being drenched some day. We all got to use our garbage bags this last Saturday! One fellow had a hotel shower cap that fit nicely over his camera and kept the drizzle off of his "investment."
© 2004 S.R. Hinrichs