A winter walk in the oak woodland

We went up to Ukiah for a couple days.
"Vichy Springs is a unique 150-year-old historic hot springs resort only two hours north of downtown San Francisco. Vichy offers the only naturally warm and carbonated Vichy mineral baths in North America."
We come here at least once a year. The last time was October 2006.

This is the hot tub outside the massage room.


And the mineral spring baths are in this building. There are four outdoor tubs as well. I like to use the outdoor tubs, but Guy likes to have more privacy. There are two tubs in each room, and a door you can latch shut.


This is how they work.

The tub fills to overflow, and the water runs into the creek below.

"The carbonation after three or four minutes dramatically dilates the body's capillaries and gives the bather a feeling of warmth and peacefulness. Tranquility follows and usually the bather begins to gently float in the bath. Due to the unique properties of the water the bather's skin is softened in the water and feels much like a baby's."Link.
The warm spring water is just above body temperature; cozy in winter cold and refreshing in summer heat. (The hot tub in the first picture is kept much warmer.) And there's also an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

I took a casual walk in the late afternoon light.










Taricha rivularis, Red-bellied newt. They were everywhere, heading away from the water as the sun went down.


I had to watch where I was going lest I step on one. They move slowly.

There was a lot going on close to the ground. Native Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) rejuvenated by fall rains.


If I had fewer ethical restraints, I would have picked up all this beautifully rotting wood and put it in my garden.







I could have walked for hours, but it was getting late.


Bye, newts.



Christopher C. NC said...

In the quiet before the arrival of the ravenous hordes, a nice stroll through the california oak forest in winter is a treat.

Is that Spanish Moss hanging from those trees? With the hanging moss and ferns on the tree trunks it is very similar to the oak forests here in Florida and much of the south.

Merry Christmas Chuck.

Unknown said...

Absolutely beautiful, Chuck. I especially loved all of the upright grasses in their winter colors next to the stream... and here I was thinking that California was too "almost tropical" to have good fall color! :)

By the way, I giggled at this: "If I had fewer ethical restraints, I would have picked up all this beautifully rotting wood and put it in my garden."
Does that mean you didn't pick up all of it, just some?!!

Merry Christmas...

chuck b. said...

Kim--Heh. I think lawyers call that negative pregnance when you make a denial of *specific* facts that suggests other facts.

I love our fall/winter colors. They are subtle and less familiar, but I think they're lovely.

Merry Christmas, both of you.

Enjoy your the ravenous hordes.

lisa said...

LOVE this post, especially the newts! Don't you just dig the mini-forest that appears on rotting wood? If I didn't already have plenty in my gardens I'd be all over some "relocation". ;-)

chuck b. said...

I do dig the mini-forests on rotting wood. (I want to be clear that I did not actually take any.)

JvA said...

Newts! Almost as cute as a pair of kittens!

Anonymous said...

Newts don't look too cuddly butt they are interesting creatures! Love the moss and lichens! Great shots!

Rubus said...

Hi! I came to see your 'bird' protea and ended seeing all. Great photos!

Its a:
Salvia involucrata 'Bethellii'
and a
Blechnum occidentale

Best wishes from a portuguese Landscape Architect.

Sintra, Portugal.