On Saturday the weather was mild and spring-like, so D. and I returned to Thornewood Open Space Preserve to look for the ruins of a fountain supposedly built by spice baron August Schilling somewhere in the woods when he used to own the whole hillside between La Honda Rd. and Portola Rd. Here's my pics.
Beautiful blue skies overhead, so nice to see after the recent rains.
Toyon berries are a bright splash of color in the woods.
A glistening spider web clings to a twig sprouting from this mossy oak trunk.
Itty-bitty mushrooms poke up out of a mossy trunk.
A couple of mushrooms beside the trail.
Caulorhiza umbonata is also known as the redwood rooter mushroom. It is just about the only mushroom larger than 2 inches in diameter that regularly pops up under redwood trees, where large mushrooms are uncommon due to redwood wood being very resistant to decay. The widest variety of mushrooms in redwood areas are found in stands of redwood mixed with other trees, such as Douglas fir and tanoak, which decay more readily.
Some of the gorgeous views from the trail.
We can even see Stanford's Big Dish radio telescope in the distance (on the left).
It's Slugs A Go-Go at the Preserve.
That hole in its body is the pneumostome, or breathing hole.
Sometimes when a slug is about to lay eggs, they are visible just inside the opening.
Bracket fungi glow in a patch of afternoon sun.
Hey look, it's more fungi! And they're pink!
Fomitopsis cajanderi is a type of bracket fungus that helps to break down dead conifer trees. Young fungi are seen here, tinged pink and oozing excess moisture, next to a little orange jelly fungus.
And what do we find next to the Fomitopsis? The ruins of the fountain we came in search of!
The fountain has seen better days, that's for sure.
It used to be part of a place called the Welcome Inn (of which there are no longer any traces except for a clearing in the forest), part of spice baron August Schilling's sprawling Portola Hall estate in the 1920s.
This log by the fountain has a glorious community of moss all over it.
Dewy spider webs.
The droplets are like jewels encrusting the web.
This one looks like a sail formed of fog.
I wonder if it annoys the spider to have its web so drippy with moisture?
This little fuzzball looks like some kind of mold on the inside of a slab of loose redwood bark.
The majestic redwood canopy.
Golden afternoon light slants through the trees.
We continue up an unmarked trail, a former logging road which we think is an extension of the original Dennis Martin Rd., from the mid-19th Century logging era.
The Seven Sisters.
A brief glimpse across the Bay to the Diablo Range and pointy Mission Peak.
A tiny clearing on a hillside, surrounded by enormous redwoods, Douglas fir and bay trees. The vegetation on the ground is a stand of St. John's wort.
The presence of these trees is truly breathtaking.
Hey look, it's more fomitopsis!
Here is a rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) wandering along the road. It is mating season. They have poison glands in their skin. Don't touch!
This fallen tree apparently grew completely around the insulator of a power line that ran right next to it when it was still growing.
We find some odd things along this road, bordering the edge of the preserve. I . . . don't have a clue what this is supposed to be.
We backtrack to Schilling Lake.
Buried under probably a century of redwood duff, the dam's floodgate is barely visible.
I have to doubt it still works.
A scarlet waxy cap mushroom pokes up under a redwood by the dam.
A gibbous moon overlooks us as we make our way along the trail back to the car.