Last Saturday D. and I went to Eaton Park in San Carlos. Eaton Park is in a steep and wooded canyon, surrounded on all sides by upper income neighborhoods, whose trails traverse coast live oak and California bay woodlands, with buckeye, chamise, sagebrush and coyote brush, as well as a selection of wildflowers. We each took some pics. Mine first.
The trailhead almost looks like it goes into someone's yard.
Almost immediately we see steps. Lots of them. Going up.
So we huff and we puff and we climb the steps, soon arriving at a level trail and being rewarded with this glimpse of San Francisco Bay and the East Bay Hills in between the trees.
The trail moves from woodsy shade into a brilliant clearing and plunges back into deep shade again.
Bracket fungi from the genus Ganoderma sprout from the base of this ailing California bay tree.
Another view from a clear spot along the trail.
Leaves of three, let them be. Just a tiny bit of the rampant poison oak we saw everywhere in the park.
Mighty nice of the guy to put up a sign along the trail.
But who would bring a football with them while hiking on a trail through the woods?
Here is a short stretch of trail that seems to be a pocket of invasive, non-native exotics: pine, blue gum eucalyptus, pampas grass and Scotch broom.
The rampant Scotch broom covering the hillside blazes with brilliant yellow blossoms.
Another bend in the trail takes us past chemise and sticky monkeyflower.
Clarkia, a colorful annual.
Another view through a break in the trees along the trail.
Red leaves of three, let them be. It's not even the Summer Solstice yet, and already the poison oak is turning red.
Holly-leaved cherry flowers, a little past their prime.
Ithuriel’s Spear, a common wildflower, is found in clay soils in open forest, woodland, or grassland in the Bay Area.
Rabbitfoot grass, a non-native annual.
Another stunning view from a bend in the trail.
We encounter more steps on the trail, to ford a streamlet that is still trickling with a little water. During winter rains, this spot is probably impassable.
Grumpy stump haz a grumpy.
A woodsy stretch of trail.
Lichen-encrusted California bay trunks.
This cobweb on a dead log looks like it's ready for Halloween.
Poison oak: leaves of three, let them be.
It is everywhere along the trail in this park.
More steps. Ugh.
A sunny stretch of trail.
We reach a saddle where amazing views gradually open up all around us.
We can see downtown San Francisco (and part of the Bay Bridge).
We can see the Oracle campus, the San Mateo Bridge, downtown Oakland and Mt. Diablo.
We can see the Port of Redwood City (the only deepwater port in South San Francisco Bay).
We can see downtown San Jose (if we squint).
We also see a path leading up to another hilltop, so we follow it, scaring off a pair of ravens panting in the hot sun.
At the summit, we are greeted with more big views.
At the summit we also find a labyrinth traced out in brick (although many bricks are missing).
More big views.
On our way back down the trail, we see a dead log festooned with shriveling bracket fungi, drying out now that the rains are over for good until next fall.
Back down at the car, we notice there is a reindeer crossing in the neighborhood.
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And here are D.'s pics.
Pods on some kind of pea family bush.
A falcon, one of the few we've seen in the Bay Area, soars overhead.
Another delicate blue wildflower, elegant brodiaea.
Yellow mariposa lily. The native Ohlone Indians used to dig them up with stout sticks and roast and eat the corms.
More Ithuriel's spear.