On Sunday D. and I went to La Honda Creek Open Space Preserve to take some pics. Access to this preserve is by permit only, so it was a special trip we had to arrange in advance. Fortunately we were not fogged in (if we were, we'd have to go anyway, because the permit is issued in advance for a specific day, rain or shine). We were able to enjoy the quiet forests, wide-open grasslands and stunning views all to ourselves, which is how I wish all our preserve visits could be. There are no equestrians, bikes or dogs allowed here, only hikers. At some point the preserve will be opened up to more use, but for now it offers much therapeutic solitude.
OK, here's my pics.
A power pole in the parking area is evidence of the private residence located on the preserve. (Lucky them, living in a nature preserve!)
We set off down the trail through redwood, Douglas fir, tanoak and madrone to see a huge old-growth redwood somehow overlooked during the logging days.
Thistle floofs are spotlighted in a patch of sun.
The sun also spotlights the spider webs festooning these tanoak and redwood branches.
One of many old fenceposts in the preserve, remnants from long-gone ranching days.
A lichen-encrusted redwood trunk.
A group of logs beside the trail.
I think PG&E forgot about this one.
We almost miss the spur trail to see the giant old-growth redwood, because none of the trails in this preserve are marked in any way (they are not even named). On that path we pass by a huge downed tree alongside the trail.
Finally we arrive at the centuries-old redwood. This tree is absolutely mahoosive.
Pics cannot truly convey the mahoosiveness of this tree, of course.
We see a variety of fungi on this trail.
Leaving the ancient redwood to make our way to the scenic view point, we pass from forest to open grassland.
We also pass by a group of abandoned buildings.
There is also an abandoned house.
Behind the abandoned house is an abandoned barn, with some junk inside.
Here's some stuff in the barn visible through the missing board.
Rusted trim is falling off the back of the barn.
Plenty of loose boards on all sides.
More junk is visible through missing boards on the barn's other side.
Its net long-gone, this basketball hoop is now a forsaken iron halo.
A stove rusts away in back of the abandoned house.
When we are done exploring the abandoned places, we return to the trail.
As the trail crosses open grasslands, we get some hints of the hazy but scenic views coming up.
If we squint we can barely make out the line of breakers at Pescadero State Beach.
Passing through a small woods of redwood, Douglas fir and madrone, we see a tree trunk enfolded in a braid of moss.
Emerging from the woods at the vista point, we behold a hazy view of ridge after ridge after ridge, all the way to the coast.
Looping back, we trek through more grassland.
Thistle and power line.
We get a good look at the high voltage line as the trail curves around a hill.
This tangle of dead oak branches overhead hosts a large colony of lichen.
❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧
And here are D.'s pics.
We set out from the parking lot to see the old-growth redwood.
A redwood seedling alongside the trail.
A spider shares its web with a thistle floof.
A web-festooned redwood branch.
An immature tanoak acorn, with its shaggy cap.
False dandelion is still in bloom.
An old beer can is one of the two pieces of litter found in the whole preserve.
It also happens to mark the poorly-visible place to turn to go see the old-growth redwood. ("Turn right at the beer can . . . ")
The trail to the huge tree is barely more than a faint path. No wonder we went right past it at first.
Someone from Australia left their sunglasses behind at the mahoosive tree. (They had a logo from an Australian organization on them.)
("Turn right at the beer can and look up when you reach the sunglasses . . . ")
Some of the ferny understory around the mahoosive redwood.
Turkey tail fungus on a rotting log.
Quaking grass in a patch of sun.
The trail leads us from the woods to the grasslands and the vista point.
The abandoned barn.
A peek inside the abandoned barn.
A spider hanging out at the abandoned barn.
A wasp nest inside the barn's light fixture.
Another look at the abandoned barn.
We haven't even reached the scenic viewpoint yet and already the views are amazing.
The leeetle white line in the center just above the treetops is the breakers at Pescadero State Beach.
So big it's gotta be mountain lion scat. We saw lots of it along the trail.
An old fence, a relic from the ranching days.
The trail goes from grassland into the woods.
Looking south from the vista point.
Looking southwest from the vista point.
Looking south-southeast toward Black Mountain on the horizon.
Trail and power line.
This must be the entrance to a tarantula burrow.
The woodsy trail leading back to the parking lot.