Untapped San Francisco writer Clio Tilton shares her favorite hikes through California’s wine country, samples hot springs, and thinks about smellscapes in this week’s Tap This.

The view from the top of Mount St. Helena

What I’m listening to: Your Name In Secret I Would Write, a recent album of folk music re-interpreted by Robin MacArthur and Tyler Gibbons, the unique husband-wife duo that makes up Red Heart the Ticker. The story behind the album is compelling: Margaret MacArthur, Robin’s grandmother, was a folk musician who collected songs in Vermont during the 60s. After her death in 2006, Red Heart the Ticker made this disc of their own versions of Margaret’s ballads in her honor. A way, perhaps, of allowing her music to live on. I can’t think of a better way to honor a musician. For an interesting interview about the album, check out NoDepression.

What I’m eating:   Choices from this beautiful array of pastries at Butter Cream Bakery in Napa, California, which  I stumbled across on  my way to Harbin Hot Springs. American pastries at their best–full of buttery, sugary goodness. Butter Cream also offers an enticing brunch, very 50s diner.

What I’m drinking: Home-made kombucha. A drink that I had never tried before moving to San Francisco, it offers a satisfying and refreshing energy boost, and has the advantage of being distinctly weird. For the uninitiated, kombucha is a fermented tea drink with origins in China. It is made by allowing the ‘mother,’ (a culture made up of bacteria and yeast) to process the tea-sugar base for a week to ten days, turning it into a fizzy, slightly sour beverage. Having trouble picturing this ‘mother’ character? Imagine a jellyfish without tentacles that floats atop the tea/sugar mixture, calmly digesting.

What I’m reading:   Recently I’ve stumbled upon Edible Geography, a blog about how food affects the places we live and vice versa. A recent post on ‘smellscapes’ reminded me of how smells intensify my bike routes through the city. My morning ride to work includes the following smells: bacon, the bay, sourdough bread. Riding through the park: eucalytptus, cherry trees, fog. In this fascinating post, Nicola Twilley, creator of Edible Geography, talks about how we perceive smells and how they affect our experience of an urban environment in both good and bad ways. She describes   smells that typically provoke reactions and the associations that make them positive or negative.

Most Untapped thing I did in the past week: Hiking up Mount St. Helena and visiting Harbin Hot Springs, located  two hours north of San Francisco in wine country. An absolutely gorgeous and restorative experience, I would highly recommend it for a weekend get-away.

Terrain: Lake County, California

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