Portola Redwoods state park


2011 August 14, Saturday

Last weekend’s hike was sunny, dry, hot and open, from Sunol to Rose Peak. Time for a hike in the forest. And what forest more beautiful than the redwoods at Portola RW state park! Left the car on Skyline, the first stop north of the forestry fire station, and hiked down Hickory Oaks trail and Ward road. I always do it this way: it’s more work and less driving than just going to the state park directly. (17.4 miles, 4040 vertical feet)

The real redwood forest begins about the time we cross Slate creek. At times, I have contented myself with the old Page Mill site as a destination, but it only took two hours to get there, and it was a nice day for a walk. Went on out Bear creek trail to the Peters creek loop, a really nice little excursion. Lots of poison oak, but I think (I hope) I was able to circumvent all of it. Steep downhill, about five hundred feet, into the Peters creek watershed.

The ubiquitous oxalis gives the landscape a textured look.

At this time of year, the creek is easy to cross. At the bottom of one of the quiet pools, I found a newt, just hanging out, keeping cool.

And one lily. Very nice indeed.

When I stopped for calories, I noticed a little guy on a nearby fern. At first glance, a spider, but on second glance, it didn’t quite look like a spider. Sure enough, a harvestman. I didn’t actually know they existed around here, so this counts as a major discovery in my wildlife log!

— Dave

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