First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sunrise 6:38: At last - more sun studies

After a blistering last two weeks of July, the Dawn Joggers realized it's been a gloomy August. At least in the early morning on the Peninsula, the the skies have been overcast. The grayness has also given the illusion that it's darker than it really is. But this morning it was clear, allowing for some new sun studies - the first in many weeks. The sun was coming up across Roble Field - that's about 12 minutes longer into the run than early sun studies. And the long shadows were snapped at the end of the run. So while it was brighter this morning, the days continue to get shorter and the sun continues to rise later.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunrise 6:38: Mailbox houses

The construction boom continues the female Dawn Jogger discovered this morning on a different route that took her through the northern sections of Menlo and then into Atherton. There was so much building on some streets that anyone unfamilar with the 'buy-it-and-tear-it-down' frenzy might has assumed that there had been some kind of disaster - fire, earthquake - prompting all the rebuilding. The other trend she spotted was the 'mailbox-as-a-look-alike,' built to reflect the style of the house it served.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunrise 6:37: Dog days of August

It's gray, it's quiet, it's dry - the San Francisco Bay Area version of the dog days of August. While other parts of the country swelter in the lingering humidity of summer - or stay alert for tornadoes and hurricanes - it's (thankfully) pretty uneventful weather wise here. No complaints from the Dawn Joggers and Cassie.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sunrise 6:36 am: Dawn glow

It occurred to the Dawn Joggers that the Great Pumpkin had arrived early. But it was just the pre-dawn glow of one of the research hot houses on the Stanford campus next to a corn field that looked ready for harvest. It was a morning of catch up sights for the DJs - hay was spread across grass adjacent to the Stanford West housing, the creek was dry under the San Mateo Drive bike bridge and a large fir tree branch had fallen in a Menlo yard. It's noting the small changes that makes each outing interesting.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunrise 6:42: Lights on in KC

It was up before sunrise for the Dawn Joggers. In Kansas City the sun comes up about five minutes later than it does in the San Francisco Bay Area at this time of year. The rain was falling, and the streetlights were still on in the Plaza across from their hotel. This Spanish-style retail complex was one of the first shopping centers built in the United States. The developer correctly bet during the 1920s that the automobile would change shopping patterns. Great doings over the stae line in Kansas last night at the wedding of Lucy and Dylan.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sunrise 6:42: History tour

The Dawn Joggers explored a little corner of Kansas City this morning starting out along Brush Creek which serves as both a flood abatement and recreation area. The amount of debris and mud indicated that the creek's banks had flooded as a result of the overnight thunderstorms. Then it was up a hill ("how did we find the only hill in KC?" asked the male DJ) to an area of sizeable estates and historical civil war markers (a Confederate colonel from Arkansas was killed in hand to hand combat by a Union captain from Colorado, noted one). Things are up-to-date in Kansas City. Loose Park is rimmed with a composition jogging path, which the DJs took advantage of along two sides, making their way back to the hotel.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sunrise 6:33: Goin' to Kansas City...

I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y
By Sattidy I larned a thing or two
For up to then I didn't have an idy
Of whut the modren world was comin' to!
I counted twenty gas buggies goin' by theirsel's
Almost ev'ry time I tuk a walk.
'Nen I put my ear to a Bell Telephone and a strange womern started in to talk!
(Whut next! Yeak whut!)
Whut next?
Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sunrise 6:32: Bland blush

Most of the time the Dawn Joggers marvel at how eventful even their short outings can be.
But not so in the dogs days of August - bland grey skies and a near still campus. Only sightings: a hare (third spotting, so looks like a new resident) running in the dry lake bottom and a group of golfers approaching the (second? third?) green of the Stanford golf course. Soon it will be too dark for a quick round before work.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sunrise 6:32: MemChu's glow

The Dawn Joggers are lucky to have Stanford across the street. The well-lighted campus makes it easier to navigate the dark mornings of fall and winter. The lights are staying on longer as the sun rises later and later each day. Such was the case on the main quad this morning. MemChu had a particular, and somewhat mysterious, glow, not the result of the sun's rays, which were muted by the overcast skies. The DJs aren't sure if the large mosiac is supposed to depict the Sermon on the Mount or is just trying to portray Christ's effect on his followers. Despite its Christian trappings, the worship services at MemChu are ecumenical.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sunrise 6:31: On boards and brands

When your routes are pretty much the same, as the Dawn Joggers' weekday routes are, objects blend in and go by unnoticed. It's the opposite purpose of brands, which exist to be notice. There's a convergence of brands and boards along the banks of Lake Lagunita, and they both fall into the unnoticed category most of the time. The boards are part of a now incomplete parcours. The sponsor of the parcours is Perrier, the brand that first brought bottled water to prominence in the U.S., although it has since lost its panache through commoditization and high priced offerings such as Badoit.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunrise 6:30: Bicoastal blush - it's a wrap

The spectacular shot of the sun coming up behind a tall ship in the Toronto harbor snapped by the male Dawn Jogger puts the punctuation mark on the past week's "sightings on two coasts." There's some talk about a bicontintental blush next month. On the West Coast, activities were at a standstill on the Stanford campus but the [what-is-the-name] trees that line the campus were in full bloom. Set off against the grey sky, they reminded the female DJ of the jacaranda trees that bloomed in May/June in Southern California, months that are often overcast.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunrise 6:29: Late summer at Arastradero

The West Coast Sunday activity for the female Dawn Jogger and Cassie was to head out to Arastradero, initially under a fairly heavy overcast and cool temperatures. It didn't keep the activity level down - lots of walkers, cyclists and equestrians. And from the scat, signs that a coyote had very recently been using the same trail. One runner warned that he'd spotted the animal 'just around the bend.' Once the sun came out, the native oaks and dried grasses sparkled against the blue backdrop.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sunrise 6:28: Water on two coasts

The Dawn Joggers continued their solo bicoastal jogs. It was warm and sticky in the East by the time the male DJ hit the reservoir, this morning making two complete circles to up his mileage to the usual Saturday eight. The female DJ chose to take a totally different route than the usual Dish run. She explored a part of the Bay Trail she hadn't seen before, coming upon a boat that was undergoing a restoration. A quick web search revealed neither what The Sherman was or what it is going to become.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Sunrise 6:28: Streets of youth

With no bicoastal blush today(the male Dawn Jogger reported that 'Optio [the other digital] had melted down'... wondering if the Big Apple was just too stimulating), the female DJ decided to jog around the streets of her youth, taking stock of what houses still stood. While the housing market is supposedly cooling across the nation, it doesn't appear to be cooling much in Menlo Park.

Many of the houses in west Menlo were ranch houses built in the early 50s, most of which have "good bones." The house (top) where her parents lived for 50 years, 1100 Hillview Drive, is a typical example. The new owners have done some modernizing (and it needed it) but some things, like the planter box on the front porch that her father built, remain.

Such a liveable ranch house often doesn't suit the tastes of today's "three is the new two" families. On her route this mornng, she passed another somewhat more modest rancher that sat on 1/2 acre that was clearly being sold as a tear down (Build Your DreamHouse!) for a mere $3 million. What often emerges after new construction is some flavor of mini-mansion, some of which at least take advantage of the area's heritage oaks.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sunrise 6:27: Bicoastal morning rituals

On the Dawn Joggers' outings from their hotel to the Bund in Shanghai, they'd encounter other early risers practicing Tai Chi. Such was the case in Bryant Park in New York this morning when the male DJ did an abbreviated jog closer to his hotel. Meanwhile on the West Coast, the sun was not in sight where the DJs have been spotting its first appearance of the day over the past couple of weeks. Instead, it was 10 minutes later that the female DJ saw it come up with Lake Lagunita in the foreground and Hoover Tower to its left.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sunrise 6:25: Building outlines - on two coasts

The Dawn Joggers were treated to good weather and blue skies on this the third morning of bicoastal blush. The Stanford campus has reached its quiet period with the summer programs completed and the fall term yet to begin. It's only the various construction crews that kept the female DF company this morning. And she was the only person in the center of the campus with its cluster of arched buildings. Meanwhile, the scene was spectacular from the Central Park reservoir looking toward the West side and the "ghost busters" building.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sunrise 6:25: Lights on - on both coasts

With sunrise getting later each day, there are increasing signs of the dark winter mornings to come. The female Dawn Jogger noticed that cars now have their headlights on when she and Cassie crossed Sand Hill this morning. And the pathway lights remained on as they made their way to the lake. In the second of bicoastal blush, the lights were also on in midtown Manhattan and so was the rain, making a soggy early morning outing for the male DJ.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunrise 6:24: Bicoastal blush #1

The Dawn Joggers took solo runs today, resulting in the initial bicoastal First Blush and a "morning jogging" theme. The male DJ headed uptown along 6th Avenue into New York's Central Park, incorporating the reservoir as part of his route. The female DJ, who did their regular Monday route across Stanford and Menlo Park streets, encountered a group of teenagers on a training run just after crossing the bike bridge over San Francisquito Creek.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunrise 6:23: Weekly cheer up

The one thing that always cheers John Hubbard up is the weekly visit from Cassie, who stops each Sunday with the Dawn Joggers on their way to an outing. When she was a young dog, Booka (as John Hubbard is known to his family) would walk Cassie during the day, providing another outlet for the always energetic Australian Shepherd breed. He taught her a couple of commands, including a sit/stay that was followed by the reward of four dog bones. Today the ritual of the four bones continues to give Booka pleasure, even in his very frail health.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sunrise 6:22: Alpine Road trail

The Dawn Joggers did reverse Dish, going up from Junipero Serra and then down toward the Western hills. The completed portion of the Alpine Road biking/jogging path is nicely sheltered. Controvery continues and law suits have been filed over extending the trail to Piers Lane. Residents of Stanford Weekend Acres, among others, oppose this route citing safety concerns due to the proposed trail's proximity to busy Alpine Road.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sunrise 6:21: Summer gold

The Dawn Joggers and Cassie made it out to Arastradero after a couple of weeks absence and were treated to clear skies and the golden hues of summer. Some of the once lush vegetation, the result of the late spring rains, had been trimmed at trail's edge, accentuating the various shades of the dried grasses. Other areas were untouched, and the thistles, now brown, remained head high. Official wildlife count netted only three deer but there was an exceptionally high number of bikers and dog walkers. All enjoying the last long days of summer.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sunrise 6:20 am: Tomorrow's leaders

It usually starts to quiet down on the Stanford campus this time of year. The many camps and professional education sessions are winding down, and the students and faculty haven't arrived yet for the Fall term. But the Dawn Joggers and Cassie were far from alone this morning at Lake Lagunita. Hundreds of students, participating at in a People to People Leadership Summit, were heading from their dorms to breakfast on another part of campus.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sunrise 6:20 am: Sun study # 3 but where's the ball?

The sun was just peaking above the horizon on this the first clear day over the past several. (It's hard to capture the dawn with a thick cloud cover). The drama of the morning occured later in the run near the bike bridge from Stanford onto San Mateo Drive in Menlo Park. Caesar had lost his ball and, in true Dawn Community fashion, two people were helping him and his mistress search for it and reminding people who passed by to be on the look out for it along the trail. Caesar is, after all, a dog who is never far from his ball.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sunrise 6:19: Layers of colors

"Silvio [the digital camera] sees what is. We see what's important." The male Dawn Jogger was explaining to the female DJ one of the reasons cameras do not capture the nuances of a scene the way an eye sees it. From the Narnia [college dorm] side of Lake Lagunita, the DJs noticed not only the layers of colors in the dry lake bed itself, but the layers in the overcast sky. Amidst many shades of grey and blue grey was one layer of pink, at about treetop height from their perspective looking across the lake. One handy feature of iPhoto is the ability to further interrupt the captured scene, using tools an amateur print developer can use, which is what the female DJ tried to do in today's photo.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sunrise 6:18: Meet Jermaine

It's always great to welcome a new member of the dawn community, and this morning it was Jermaine. The Dawn Joggers first saw the sturdy looking yellow dog being walked by his mistress a few months back. To be a true member of the DC, regular participation is required, so the DJs held off introducing themselves initially. But Jermaine and his mistress were continually spotted headed up campus as the DJs headed down towards Galvez. Today they stopped and learned that Jermaine was a pound pup, probably part Chow and part Pit Bull, who's been with his family for seven years. While some people are wary of him due to his looks, he's a lover not a fighter, a fact demonstrated by the fact he was more interested in getting petted than having his picture taken.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunrise 6:17: Familiar ground

The stretch of trail along San Francisquito Creek from the San Mateo bike bridge to Oak Creek apartments was the first 'wild' territory that very young pup Cassie explored. One of her first friends was a male Aussie who would play so rough that she'd go flying in the air, plop in a heap on the ground, only to get right up for more. The Dawn Joggers don't frequent this trail much anymore but were reminded of its virtues a few weeks back during the heat wave. As a loop walk of about three miles, it's just a leg stretcher but one that puts the now 12 1/2 year-old Cassie on familiar ground, sure to generate many 'sniffing' opportunites.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sunrise 6:16: View from the backside

Rather than a blanket of high fog, the air conditioning the Dawn Joggers enjoyed as they made their way up the backside of the Big Dish was supplied by broken clouds coming in the from the coast. The two bare knobs of Windy Hill, the Midpeninsula's most prominent landmark, stand out along the ridge of the coastal range. (They're the small brown spot in the left center of the photo.) The area around Windy was once slated for a housing development, which was thankfully avoided when the land was donated to the Peninsula Open Space Trust in 1979. It is now part of the Midpensinula Regional Open Space District and a favorite hiking destination of the DJs and Cassie.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sunrise 6:15: Sun Study #2 plus Cody

The Dawn Joggers continue to enjoy the view of the sun's rise, which is getting later by a minute each day. This morning it played against the morning fog - and the pathway lighting, which goes off automatically when it gets light enough. Later on their route, they ran into Dawn Community member Cody, who they hadn't seen for some time. Cody is yet another Australian Shepherd that Cassie did her part in socializing when he was a pup. He would often accompany his people on their way to school when they were students at Oak Knoll as well as walk or jog with his adult owner, as he was doing this morning along Bay Laurel. Cody, like many Aussies, has a great smile.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Sunrise 6:14: Shadow play

The growing mound of dirt along the bike/jogging path, part of the golf practice course construction project, was catching the sun's early rays in such a way as to cast the Dawn Joggers and Cassie's shadows. By the time they made their way around Lake Lagunita and returned to the same spot on the way home, their shadows were on the ground.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sunrise 6:14: High steppers

The high steppers were out on the Stanford campus this morning and the groups of exercisers reminded the female Dawn Jogger of the DJs' early morning runs in Shanghai last fall. They'd see multiple groups (all who went unrecorded as it predated the trusty services of Silvio, the pocket size Lumix digital) doing tai chi, both along the Bund and the main pedestrian mall, Nanjing Donglu. The first group today, spotted on the main quad, may have been Revenue Generators; they were being supervised by two women and there was a spirit of competition in how high they were raising their knees. The second group, using a circular flower bed to step up and down, looked more like participants in one of the boot camps held in the early morning hours on campus.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sunrise 6:13: Sun study #1

This was what First Blush was to be about. Catching the first blush of the suns rays each morning as the Dawn Joggers set off on their run. With the sunrise getting later by a minute each day, they are seeing more and more spectacular globes on the horizon
across the field (newly fenced!) after crossing the bike bridge over the creek. The male DJ estimated they were about a minute late this morning to see the dawn at its best; subsequent mornings will bring more opportunities.