LaBarque Creek CA

So gorgeous, and so close.

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Whatever his faults, Thoreau was an accomplished naturalist. It doesn't really come through in Walden, but it's readily apparent in his appendix to The Maine Woods, where he catalogs the plants he saw on his trips there. It's a tour de force, complete with each plant's Latin name, common name, and a note or two on where it's usually found. It's rather like watching a good musician practice scales, while knowing full well that he or she has a virtuoso piece readily at hand.

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Better than the Grand Canyon? No, of course not. But every bit as good? You bet.

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How bureaucratic can the protection of nature be? Plenty, it turns out.

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I can't walk by a smallest creek without stopping. I think I must number among what Melville (or Melville's Ishmael--I'm not sure they're the same) calls "the crowds of water-gazers".

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Ravines sink abruptly at LaBarque Creek. It must be due to the way the bedrock is layered, hard rock atop soft. The little streams must reach a soft layer, cut through it until it hits a hard layer, then widen the resulting ravine by meandering back and forth across the harder rock flooring the ravine.

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