day trips from sacramento

Photos of Towhee and Wildflowers at Mount Diablo Mitchell Creek

wildflowers mount diablo

Spotted Towhee at Mount Diablo on the Mitchell Creek hiking trail, by Adam Weintraub

When we left our house in Land Park on Sunday with the intent of viewing wildflowers at Mount Diablo, I considered bringing my Canon PowerShot but then thought, oh, my cellphone will work just as well for flowers. Duh. It did not occur to me that we might find a spotted towhee singing away at the top of his lungs in the brush. Fortunately my husband had his Nikon and zoom lens. What a lovely buzzing sound. At first I thought of a rattlesnake because there are snakes there, but no, it was a bird.

We decided to go hiking at the north end of the park to see the early bloom of wildflowers at Mount Diablo after we met up last week with an interesting couple from Georgia / South Carolina. During a dinner conversation, I had invited ourselves to go along on a mission to dump a person’s ashes, but nobody took me up on that idea. Can’t say I blame them. It was a personal trip and these people were pretty much strangers to us, but that’s just how I am. Sometimes people say yes to such spur-of-the-moment self-invitations.

For example, a friend last week mentioned she planned to get her eyebrows tattooed. So I invited myself along since I’ve never witnessed such a thing, and let me tell you, as an old fart with hardly any eyebrows myself (they vanish when you get old), now I think I will do the same.  Not to mention, I was present at the salon with my cellphone to record her entire experience. My attendance actually came in handy.

I can’t believe that we’ve lived in Sacramento for 15 years and have never been to Mount Diablo. This is what selling Sacramento real estate will do to you. Keep you too focused on work. Some people say it’s just always there and they don’t think about it because the mountain is simply part of their horizon. One cannot really see Mount Diablo from most places in Sacramento but is is very visible from the hills, like from El Dorado Hills.

We never made it to the summit, which offers splendid panoramic views, I hear, all the way to San Francisco Bay in one direction and the Delta in the other. That’s because I had to make it back to my home office in time to deal with a flood of offers from the results of two open houses in Sacramento. Both are pending today. Next time, though. I will definitely go back. If you go, take the back way on 160. Very scenic. About 90 minutes.

Below are photos of our hike to see the wildflowers at Mount Diablo along the Mitchell Creek hiking trail from yesterday:

wildflowers at mount diablo

Elizabeth Weintraub below Mitchell Rock (from Jurassic period) at Mount Diablo, by Adam Weintraub


wildflowers at mount diablo

Fairy lanterns, a kind of yellow tulip, endemic to Mount Diablo, along the Mitchell Creek trail.


wildflowers at mount diablo

Ithuriel’s Spear is a triplet lily found along the Mitchell Creek trail at Mount Diablo.


wildflowers at Mount Diablo

California Gilia found along the Mitchell Creek trail at Mount Diablo


wildflowers at mount diablo

View of the entrance to Mitchell Creek hiking trail at Mount Diablo, basalt and red chert rocks.


wildflowers at mount diablo

The pine cones from the Coulter pine trees are enormous at Mount Diablo, by Adam Weintraub


wildflowers at mount diablo

Tiger Moth caterpillar found along the Mitchell Creek trail at Mount Diablo


wildflowers at mount diablo

Mystery flowers emerging from a green flying saucer at Mitchell Creek Trail on Mount Diablo


wildflowers at mount diablo

California golden poppies hug the banks of Mitchell Creek on Mount Diablo


wildflowers at mount diablo

Native grape vines wind through coyote bush along Mitchell Creek trail at Mount Diablo


wildflowers at mount diablo

This look like a mint to me but I cannot identify the white flower.


wildflowers at mount diablo

View of Mount Diablo during lunch at La Veranda Cafe in Clayton, before our hike.


Photos of wildflowers at Mount Diablo by Sacramento Realtor, Elizabeth Weintraub, iPhone7, unless otherwise noted.


The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum in San Francisco

book of mormon

The Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco Presents the Book of Mormon

Because I have the patience level of a chimp, my husband and I drove to San Francisco yesterday to see The Book of Mormon at the Orpheum Theater. The Tony-award winning musical is coming to Sacramento next March, but who can wait that long? The drive into the city is only 90 minutes, even on a Sunday afternoon. I was thinking about the trip to San Francisco when I drove to Folsom and back last week to preview a home I am listing shortly in The Parkway. It was 45 minutes each way from Land Park, and that equals the distance in time to San Francisco.

farmers market san francisco

Elizabeth Weintraub in San Francisco at Farmer’s Market

Which means when my husband suggested we take the Capitol Corridor train, and then the B.A.R.T. into the city, I thought it would be simpler just to drive and, since he didn’t want to do it, I would. Although, I’ve got to admit the streets of San Francisco are often confusing with red lines and lanes for things like buses and taxis only, street cars, coupled with odd don’t-turn-here signs and let’s not forget the homeless rolling off the sidewalks asleep. Amazingly we drove directly to the Market Street parking garage, which was one of the nicest parking garages I’ve ever seen, featuring extremely clean, painted cement floors, floor-to-ceiling columns and an unusual orderliness to it, as though the garage exists in another dimension like The Twilight Zone.

book of mormon

Spinach salad with Salmon at Market Street Grille

We grabbed a leisurely lunch at the Hotel Whitcomb, inside the Market Street Grille. I chose the place because it was close to the Orpheum and located inside an historic hotel, and I love the feeling of older architecture, it speaks to you; plus the food was decent. Even the decor of the restrooms was lovely, an unframed oil painting of a rose in full bloom, the edges of each petal outlined in a shimmering gold held my fascination while I waited for the long line of tourists to enter and exit. I shot my sister in Minneapolis a photo of lunch, and she returned the favor with a picture of a PB&J sandwich.

book of mormon

Stage curtain at The Book of Mormon













Going to San Francisco, for me, is like going to Spain. It’s another country, reachable by floating across the magical harp. A perfect place to see The Book of Mormon. If you go to see the musical, and you’re not Mormon, you will laugh your fool head off. If you go to see the musical and you’re Mormon, you’ll still probably grin wide here and there because Parker and Stone just weren’t snarky enough. Oh, sure, there’s the Book of Mormon stuffed up where the sun doesn’t shine, the f-you’s aimed at the Heavenly Father, crapping, puking, sodomy, references to raping babies, but you can easily overlook that stuff when your eyes open wide in amazement during my favorite production number: the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, featuring Gengis Khan, Hitler, Starbucks and Johnny Cochran.

You don’t have to be snarky with this musical because the story of Mormon does it all for you, all by itself. The truth is right there. There is nothing funnier sometimes than the truth. I found it hilariously stupendous and give The Book of Mormon 5 stars.

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