Archive for November, 2016

Black Friday: a time for fungi

November 25, 2016

Friday, 25 Nov 2016

When I have several free days, or even two for that matter, I alternate long (more or less) hikes with weed removal. Today was for hiking, El Corte de Madera open space preserve. I haven’t been here since August. I did the usual perimeter trail hike, only 15 miles but 3950 vertical feet, very close to the 4k vertical feet that would make it an official killer hike.

A cool, nice day. I started at 7 and had the world to myself for three and a half hours. At three hours, I was all the way down, as far down as it goes in this preserve, at the creek bridge, enjoying the first calorie break of the day.

Finally I began to see mountain bikies, though not a lot. I was all the way back up to Skyline before I saw the day’s first hikers.

If I saw only a few people, wheeled or otherwise, it was more than made up by the number and variety of fungi.

This new Olympus Stylus camera has a close-up mode in which it shoots a burst at differing focal lengths and then combines the images. Above, the single-shot close-up of the fungus; below, the merged image. I am impressed!

This almost looks like stalactites!

And many hours later, some interesting mushrooms inside the burnt-out interior of a redwood.

More fungi inside the burned cavern.

I wouldn’t upturn a mushroom myself, but someone else had turned this one over, so I got up close for a look at its gills.

This and the two following photos are from a vertical embankment.

For some reason, this strikes me as a bit obscene. No idea why.

A jelly fungus. Without the multi-shot composite close-up the branch is blurred, and the redwood frond in the background it just a stripe of color.

It really is a day for the fungi to come out!

I walked the last quarter mile to Skeggs Pt parking with a couple of mountain bikies who had had enough hard work for the day. From there, it was a fairly flat couple of miles for me back to the parking lot. On the way I talked with three groups about scenery and hikes in the preserve. It was mid-afternoon, and it only occurred to me later that I should also have called to their attention the fact that sunset today was at 4:52. I hope everything worked out well for them.

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New boots, day 2: Industrial grade hike

November 13, 2016

Sunday, 13 Nov 2016

REI had an offer of 20% off more or less anything. I like my boots, but they’re getting to the point that I can see air through the bottom. Asked the REI clerk if I could get the same thing again, and I pretty much did. 20% off a pair of boots is a noticeable amount of money.

Saturday’s volunteer project was about 5 miles of hiking, something over a thousand feet of vertical gain, a good opportunity to check out the boots.

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Monterey cypresses, clearly planted by someone who presumably lived here back in the day.

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We had lunch under a big broken redwood, the side branch showing evidence that it has been broken off and regrown several times.

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The crew, photographed by Ellen as we started back to the car. Dave, Lynn, Doug, Scott, Bill, Miki.

Sunday, I thought I’d do a longer hike. Russian Ridge, for example. 18 miles, 3100 vertical feet. Industrial strength hike, not a killer.

On Mindego Road trail, I saw a bobcat. It stopped long enough to check me out, then went on its way.

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Spent much of the day looking for purple star thistle (above), removing all I found. Yes, I could wait a few months, while more of it germinated, but I might as well stay ahead of it as best I can. Also worked on bull thistle; mostly too late for this season, but many of the seeds are sprouting, and it’s also worth keeping ahead of next season’s crop.

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Fog over the ocean, but here it was a beautiful day, just about perfect. View from the top of Mindego Hill.

A 3-inch Douglas fir had fallen across Charquin trail. That’s small enough I can saw it off and clear the trail.

I found thistle in small clusters in a number of places, and had a chance to talk with a number of visitors as I worked on it. Collected some fresh purple star flowers and seed in a trash bag for landfill disposal.

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As the day wended its way along, the afternoon light became horizontal. Here, a pretty area along the aptly named Ancient Oaks trail.

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A late look at Mindego Hill, from whose summit I took the first picture of the day.

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Oh, yes, the new boots. Tired feet, but that’s hardly unexpected. I think they and I will become good friends.

Killer hike at Purisima

November 6, 2016

Saturday, 5 Nov 2016

On this last day of daylight time, I started off in twilight so dim that I could not yet see colors, even out in the open. It turned into a cool, partly cloudy, beautiful day, perfect for a long hike in the redwoods, up to Bald Knob, down Irish Ridge on the other side to Lobitos Creek trail, and on around. A bit more than 20 miles, well more than 4000 vertical feet, either of which qualifies it as a killer hike. And I got back to the parking area just about the time I was no longer able to see colors in the fading light. Great day.

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At the bottom of Irish Ridge, we find redwoods indeed, but also a row of Monterey cypress, presumably planted to adorn the drive of a country estate that we hypothesize might have been here at one time.

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Far from the madding crowd, along the largely deserted Lobitos Creek trail, mushrooms find themselves free to sprout with little concern for damage from passing traffic.

My Canon camera died from getting wet. I resurrected a Panasonic that I had put on the shelf due to some kind of internal failure. Although it more or less works, I Photoshopped these pictures artistically — the quality out of the camera reminds me why I had scrapped it. New one on order, coming soon, an Olympus, and waterproof!

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Here’s Purisima Creek trail, one of the prettiest redwood trails I know of, but this section is unusual, prettified without redwoods. Nice.

When I reached the landmark stone bench dedicated to Craig Britton, I needed a calorie break and a transfer of water from the spare bottle in my backpack. A couple was already there; they readily made room for me. While I ate, they asked about trail patrol and my assortment of weaponry (saw and digger). Then the woman sat up on the back of the bench, clamped her Significant Other between her knees, and proceeded to massage his neck, shoulders, back.

“Pretty decadent,” said I.

“Would you like one, too?”

“I wouldn’t say no!”

And so it happened that my special adventure of the day was a massage break, about eight hours and seventeen miles into it, and very welcome it was indeed. Thank you, thank you, thank you.