It’s late in the year for best of last year, but it’s rainy here today and I didn’t feel like mucking up already-soft trails and coming home all gunky. Furthermore, I’m going to be off in gearland through the end of next weekend, so I wanted to have at least something on the blog this weekend, as it’s likely next weekend’ll be a bust.

The year started out in most of my usual Bay Area haunts, and ended exploring entirely new trails in the Triad region of North Carolina (also known as Tobacco and Underwear Central). What I recall from my smoking days: Winston was the rough, manly smoke while Salem was the girly menthol. We landed about three miles from the Hanes Mall. But I digress (like that’s a surprise).

The pics:

Coast daisy

Coast daisy at Montara Mountain/McNee Ranch State Park, March 29. Write-up here

Barb, pond

Barbed wire at Briones Regional Park, April 12. Write-up here.

Cow and calf

Newborn calf photographed on the same hike at Briones.

Owl's clover

Owl’s clover with little ghost faces, taken a week later at Calero County Park. Write-up here.

Russ walks a crooked mile

Winehiker Russ at Henry Coe State Park, April 27. Write-up here.

Banana slug

Banana slug at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, June 8. Write-up here.

Lake Winemucca

Lake Winnemucca on the Sierra Crest, July 6. Write-up here.

Bulls pretend to challenge each other

Elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park, July 13. Write-up here.

Arizona, just past California border

Desert on the Arizona side of the Colorado River, Aug. 11. Write-up here.

Kids  hanging out near the edge

Teens on the edge, Hanging Rock State Park, Sept. 5. Write-up here.

Lower Cascade Falls

Lower Cascade Falls, Hanging Rock State Park, Sept. 19. Write-up here.

Self-portrait at Stone Mountain

Self-portrait, Stone Mountain State Park, Oct. 11. Write-up here.

Vivid color

Fall color, Blue Ridge Parkway, Oct. 18. Write-up here.

Elisha Mitchell's grave

Elisha Mitchell’s grave, Mount Mitchell summit, Nov 16. Write-up here.

Mountain Lion

Captive mountain lion, Grandfather Mountain Ecological Reserve, Dec. 6. Write-up here.

Not a bad year when you look at the pictures, eh?