pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Fungi, Moss, Lichens, Ferns: Alpine Rd. After Rain

Fungi, Moss, Lichens, Ferns: Alpine Rd. After Rain

On Sunday we got a break in the wet weather, so D. and I took a walk along Alpine Rd., which skirts the boundary of Coal Creek Open Space Preserve.

A number of years ago a landslide took out a section of Alpine Road and ever since it has been closed to vehicular traffic along the upper stretch. Hikers, equestrians and bikers use it as a trail, though, even though it has become overgrown and in some spots in danger of future washouts. Here are my pics.

Madrone berries catch the afternoon sun at the top of the road as we set out down the trail.

Alpine Rd. used to be a barely-two lane mountain road.  Some stretches still have pavement, but it's mostly eroded away.

The remains of an old wreck next to a tree off the side of the trail.

Occasional roadside markers, from the few that still remain, can be seen along the trail.

The canopy overhead.

Lichen drapes much of the forest's limbs.

There are lots of orange fungi sprouting from logs and stumps.

As the road snakes around, we catch a brief view to the northeast.

Another log festooned with the forest trinity: lichen, moss and fungus.

A glimpse of a branch of Corte Madera Creek is visible through this stand of leafless, mossy bigleaf maples.

In spite of the extensive gully running down its length, this is one of the better stretches of Alpine Rd.

After a few more severe storms it will widen and deepen, weakening the asphalt till it breaks apart completely, degrading and gouging the surface into uneven ruts.

One of the many lichen-encrusted trees.

More orange fungi on a log.

These tumor-like growths are caused by the black knot fungus, which affects plum and cherry trees.  The swellings are not the actual fungus but are the tree's own cells gone awry.

Fungi are not the only orange things in the forest.  These cones mark a part of the trail eroding away due to runoff down a gulch crossing the road.  The gulch's drainage conduit is blocked and the water flows into the ground under the road and softens it.

A view to the east across the Bay to the Diablo Range, hazy in the distance.

More orange fungus, nestled in a bed of moss on a log.

It is an extraordinary organism, helping to break down dead tissues to release their nutrients into the environment for new life to utilize.

Since the road takes us right past Crazy Pete's Road, a trail leading into Coal Creek Open Space Preserve, we take a short detour to go see the waterfall a third of a mile away on an unnamed branch of Corte Madera Creek.  On the way up we pass by some mushrooms.

Water from the recent rains is pouring in torrents down the five-foot falls.  It is hard to hear much of anything above the roar.

Looking down the gulch where the waterfall flows.

Lots of ferns flourish next to the falls.

After seeing the falls, we continue down Alpine Rd. to the landslide cutoff.  The woods is so overgrown the actual slide cannot be seen from the trail.

A biobag on the trail.  Thank goodness it is unused. 

This log is the poster child for lichen, moss and fungi in the forest.

The log even boasts an uncommon jelly fungus.

Magnificent extreme fungal activity.

Lichen and fungi.  I never get tired of them.


This log gets the blue ribbon for hosting the forest trinity.

More fungi!

On our way back, we pass many snowberry bushes.  The berries are high in fat and a valuable source of food for birds during the winter when other pickings are slim.

Private property along the trail is precariously posted.

One of these days the moss is going to overgrow and enshroud that sign completely -- if it doesn't fall off first.

Time, weather and buckshot have taken their toll on this sign.

I'll bet it said No Hunting.

Tags: alpine rd, biobag, canopy, coal creek, cone, fern, field trip, fungus, lichen, moss, mushroom, sign, waterfall, wreckage

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