pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

El Corte De Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

El Corte De Madera Creek Open Space Preserve

On Sunday, D. and I felt like another walk through a cool, shady forest, so we went to El Corte De Madera Creek Open Space Preserve, so-called because during the growth of San Francisco following the Gold Rush, the nearby redwood forests were logged extensively (el corte de madera is Spanish for wood cutting). We enjoyed the cool, shady forest of second-growth redwoods and mixed evergreens on trails created along old logging roads, and we took some pics. Here's some of mine.

We begin on the Tafoni Trail, which leads us into the woods.

We pass by a couple of huge charred stumps, a legacy of logging.

There is no way this pic can convey the sheer mahoosiveness of this Douglas fir.  But, here it is anyway.

We take a spur trail up to a vista point, where we can see all the way to the thick fog bank blanketing the Pacific like a mattress.

Hands off! 

Here we see the reason for the trail's name: tafoni, a rare type of sandstone formation.  The immense sandstone boulders have naturally eroded over thousands of years to create small, shallow caves in the rock, as well as lacy "fretwork" resembling a stone honeycomb and other structures resembling cannon balls and tree trunks.

Some sections look almost like miniature ancient cities carved into a cliff.

This pic shows how the patterns of weathering take place along natural seams in the rock.

A beam of late afternoon sunlight creates a dramatic abstraction.

That was all done by nothing but wind and rain, grain by grain, decade after decade, century after century.  Awesome.

The massive formation is watched over by a sentinel Douglas fir.

❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧  ❧

And here are D.'s pics.

The puffball of a California dandelion greets us in the parking area.

We are also greeted by a dragonfly having a spastic attack.  I try to rescue it from the hot sun to put it in the shade.

Western Vervain.

The shade is cool and welcome.

A dome web spider has its web in a redwood sapling at the side of the trail.

In spite of a huge gash in its bark, this tree curves gracefully over the path.

Near the spur trail to the vista point, we pass the junction with the Resolution Trail and this memorial.  The Resolution Trail is named for and dedicated to those who lost their lives on the ill-fated DC-6 airplane that crashed there in October 1953.   Nearby Vista Point was cleared by bulldozers to serve as the base for rescue and recovery operation.

The vista point sign.  We thought it was a joke at first; we saw no vista there. 

The view from the actual vista point.

Tafoni -- weird and wonderful.

We take the Fir Trail back and pass by an open meadow probably cleared back in the logging days.

A thistle gone poufy with seed puffs.

Tags: el corte de madera creek preserve, field trip, flower, insect, redwood, sign, spider, thistle, web

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