Archive for February, 2015

Checking out Thornewood

February 28, 2015

Saturday, 28 February 2015

There was supposed to be a volunteer event a few weeks ago, removing broom at Thornewood open space preserve, but rain on the Coal Creek project day caused a reshuffle and at least a delay, if not a cancellation. I had limited time today, so I thought I’d visit Thornewood, which is a small preserve, and perhaps remove some broom myself, or at least see what needed to be done.


Rainy kind of a day. Well, drizzly, really. Hardly worth putting on the rain shell. The wildflowers are coming out in profusion. Next time, I’ll shoot some shooting stars as well!

I didn’t find very much broom, a few sporadic plants along one of the trails, and a goodly infestation on the non-trail that used to be a paved road, once upon a time, above Schilling lake. (By the way: this is the Schilling family of spice renown. By the byway: the Folger estate over at Wunderlich park is the … yep, you got it!)


So I spent an hour or a bit more, trying to avoid the poison oak and removing everything I could reach. The picture above shows grist for my mill in the background, and in the foreground, well, milled grist, I suppose. I never did see enough broom to justify a multi-volunteer project, so I suppose there’s an infestation off the trail somewhere.

A cool, pleasant day, pretty in the redwoods, pretty with the wildflowers. This preserve is so small that I hardly ever come here, but it’s certainly close and convenient, and rather nice.

Trail patrol in the rain

February 8, 2015

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The radio predicted a chance of rain, scattered showers with the possibility of a thunderstorm. That’s much less ominous than yesterday’s forecast. Having a nasty, suspicious mind, I looked at the weather radar. Clear now, and a solid block of green and yellow and orange pixels off the coast, heading this way. Right! So much for the radio optimists.

But there is no such thing as bad weather, merely inadequate clothing. And although I did some work yesterday, it wasn’t cardiovascular exercise. Start early, maybe avoid the worst of the rain?

And it was raining, fairly seriously, as I drove to Windy Hill, the closest and most convenient of the preserves that offer a route to Skyline ridge. Having washed the urushiol off my jacket and cap yesterday (I hope), I was back in business with some level of resistance to water. The newts are out, and good for them. Haven’t seen any for a while.

I decided to wear my padded vest over the long-sleeved tee shirt. Glad I did; the wind and rain were vicious at the top. Well, not vicious enough to make me zip the armpit vents of my rain shell, but vicious enough. I turned back down Hamm’s Gulch trail, and after descending not very far at all, the weather was vastly improved.

As always under these circumstances, there was debris on the trail, much of which was small enough that I could remove it myself. Only one that I had to report for subsequent attention by the chainsaw crew.


This photo shows a situation that’s worth special mention, a tree just getting ready to fall, levering its root up out of the ground. I don’t know whether it has minutes or hours, but I bet it won’t last for days before coming down.

Nicely timed. As I got back to the parking lot, the desultory rain turned into hard rain. Had I been a minute later, I would have been in the car, rather than on the way to the car, but then, I would have missed the photo above. Nice to get home where I draped jacket and cap over the bicycle handlebars in the garage, dropped socks and gloves on the slate floor of the solarium, shed everything else into the bathtub to drain and dry, and stepped into a hot shower!

Long ridge trail patrol

February 1, 2015

Sunday, 1 Feb 2015

I thought I might start at Skyline and hike down to the Peters Creek redwood grove in Portola state park. One of the prettiest places I know, and I haven’t been there for quite a while. It’s also at least a semi-killer hike.


A nice day, fog over the ocean. I had the world to myself for a while. Deer everywhere; I counted thirteen in one herd. They really do need some natural enemies. Venison, anyone?


I thought the eroded wood on this old stump was worth a closer look.


Ward road descends into Portola State Park. Very pleasant trail, even if there are no redwoods right here.

Unfortunately, the trail that turns off the fire road and descends to Slate creek was completely obscured, maybe closed, or maybe, for whatever reason, beyond the No Trespassing sign. Not good.

So I went back up and made a different loop. Garden variety trail patrol. Helped a Chinese family with a map check, talked with a couple of women about volunteering. Passed Dad and two little guys walking their mountain bikes up the steep grade. Found some broom, some of it too far up a slope that was too steep to climb, but I took what I could.