pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Windy Hill: Return to Lost Trail

Windy Hill: Return to Lost Trail

On Sunday D. and I decided to return to Windy Hill Open Space Preserve and walk the section of the Lost Trail we didn't have time for the last time we were there. Here's my pics, followed by D.'s pics.

We began at Gate No. 3 on the other side of the preserve, to walk the trail from the other end.

As the trail winds through the mixed oak woodlands, we catch glimpses of the East Bay through the trees.

The Lost Trail.

A rotting log sprouts some turkey tail fungi.

A behemoth fallen Douglas fir next to the trail sprouts some Ganoderma fungi.

Near the junction with the Razorback Ridge Trail, there is a small watering trough for horses.

An enormous Ganoderma fungus on a bay tree.

The poison oak here has a good start on turning red.

Looking east toward Mt. Hamilton.  Downtown San Jose is barely visible in the center left, at the base of the mountain.

Mystery substance on an exposed root on the trail. 

The interior of a hollow bay tree stump is filled with leaves and cobwebs.

The ferns on this trail are very well-dressed, wearing brown skirts of dried fronds.

Stanford University's Hoover Tower and Big Dish radio-telescope can be glimpsed between these mossy trunks.

Douglas fir canopy.

The spring at the head of Jones Gulch is a bit of a mess due to recent trail improvements.

Next to the spring, this recently-sawn Douglas fir log seems to be weeping as it oozes fresh sap.

Immature tanoak acorns.

The forest is full of interesting textures and patterns.

Late afternoon on the trail.

A huge Ganoderma on a huge Douglas fir.

The canopy of bay trees overhead.

Many plants in the deep shade of the forest floor have broad leaves with maximum surface area to catch as much sunlight as possible.

Ferns are growing out of the moss growing on this rock.

I'll bet there's a geocache under those rocks. 


They are really going to have to get better at concealing their caches if casual observers like myself can spot them a mile away.

If people are bothering to fight their way through thick underbrush and prickly brambles and plunge through rampant poison oak to go off the trail, I doubt seeing this little sign is going to stop them from trespassing on private property and turn back.

The afternoon lengthens, the sun sinks lower.  It is time to head back.

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And here are D.'s pics.

Lichen-encrusted branches of a dead oak rake the sky.

A mossy Douglas fir trunk catches a shaft of sunlight.

The forest is full of mossy logs.

The view to the east.

I'll bet banana slugs had a feast on that holey thimbleberry leaf.

A couple of the Ganoderma bracket fungi growing on dead trees.

Wispy plants at summer's end, their seeds long gone on the wind.

The Lost Trail.

Poison oak, California blackberry brambles and ferns, typical understory plants.

Mystery substance on an exposed root on the trail.

A mossy trunk sprouting bracket fungi and embraced by poison oak tendrils; another typical forest tableau.

A mossy log with ferns and brambles, yet another typical forest scenario.

Douglas fir canopy.

A pipe pops up and runs above ground before plunging over the side of the gulch, a relic from the ranching days.

Another impressive Ganoderma fungus.

A shed bigleaf maple leaf is wearing its fall colors already.

The Embrace, I & II.

For some reason I have a picture in my mind of the forked tree getting drunk and stumbling up to the Douglas fir, slurring, "Hey, Doug, yer my besh friend, yeshiree, you are.  I love you, man! I love you--whooops!", then falling over in a stupor with its limbs around the other's hapless trunk, to lie that way for eternity (or until the fungi rot it away).  But I don't think that's how it really happened.

A tiny spider web sways between two grass stalks.  That little spider will live its whole life in between those two stalks, knowing nothing of the giant trees surrounding it, or the open, sunny grasslands 2 miles down the trail, or the vast Pacific Ocean 12 miles to the west.  Its whole universe is contained right there, suspended between 2 fragile grass stalks.  I think humans can be a lot like that little spider in some respects.

The angles on the base of this log attest to it being felled by an axe.  The overwhelming majority of cuts we see are flat chainsaw cuts going straight across.  Someone decided to fell this one the old-fashioned way.

This bay trunk is so full of holes you can see right through to the other side.  I have a hard time imagining how these trees seem to thrive so well in spite of being the holey-est trees in the forest.

In this view to the east, downtown Oakland can be made out through the haze.

Tags: acorn, big dish, canopy, fern, field trip, floof, fungus, geocache, lichen, maple, moss, mystery substance, pipe, poison oak, portola valley, sign, spring, stump, trough, turkey tail fungus, web, windy hill

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