pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve: Photographers in the Mist

Windy Hill Open Space Preserve: Photographers in the Mist

On a misty Saturday D. and I wound up at Windy Hill Open Space Preserve to see the part of the preserve lower down from the ridgeline. We had originally set out to see the upper part of Alpine Road close to the landslide and hike into Coal Creek Open Space Preserve from the north, but there was no roadside parking, so we decided go to the next nearest place of interest, which happened to be lower Windy Hill, which we hadn't seen yet (a plus). Here's some pics I took.

From the misty parking lot we get a view through the mist up into the misty ridge above us.

Photographers in the Mist: Because of the drizzly mist, we have to protect the cameras.

After winter rainstorms, the trails are sometimes closed to equestrians due to poor conditions.

Have I mentioned it's rather misty today?

We set out on the Betsey Crowder Trail.

Ferns are popping out all over this log.

The crotch of this tree has its own little garden growing in it.

It seems every other log hosts thick carpets of moss and fungi.

As the trail rises, we catch a glimpse of Sausal Pond through the trees.

Sausal Pond is a sag pond lying atop the San Andreas Earthquake Fault.

Lush moss on a tree trunk.

We continue on the Betsey Crowder Trail through mixed oak woodlands.

This piece of bark has purple fungi sprouting on it.

A typical forest scene: dead log full of fungi and lichen, surrounded by ferns.

More logs with various types of bracket fungi.

This is a veritable smorgasbord of fungi.

Dew-spangled spider web.

Great Hound's Tongue, found in open oak or pine woods at lower and middle elevations. 

This pukey-looking stuff on the tree trunk is probably slime mold.

Milkmaids, common on shady slopes and grasslands in the winter and early spring.  It is distantly related to broccoli and cabbage.

The trail continues through the mist.

Branches drip with mist.

We get a bit of a view as the trail passes by a big oak at the edge of a meadow.

We pass by the Betsey Crowder Memorial Bench.

Betsey Crowder was a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board member who contributed hundreds of volunteer hours of service to the District and raised public awareness of the Windy Hill area.

More bracket fungi.

Looking back the way we came, through the mist.

Leafless oaks in the mist.

The Spring Ridge Trail is a wet track through the misty meadow.

This log is like a fungus showroom.

As the trail descends we pass by a banana slug nestled in some lichen.

Some trees are sprouting into new growth.

A jelly fungus, Tremella aurantia.

These bracket fungi look like little elongated hooves.  I'll bet they're fomitopsis ("fomitopsis" means it looks hoof-shaped).

Bay laurel blossoms.

Snowberries are high in fat and a valuable source of food for birds during the winter when other pickings can be slim.

As the trail descends, we reach Corte Madera Creek.

Falling droplets of mist fracture the reflections on the surface of this pool in the creek.

This banana slug clings to the side of a mossy rock near the creek.

Private driveway?  Dang!  I'll bet it's pretty up there, around the bend of that wide, flat, dry road.  The official trail gets narrow and uneven and goes down into the muddy, wet parts. 

As we get closer to Alpine Road we cross the creek on a wooden bridge.

The underside of the bridge carries pipes to supply water to the private residences inside a part of the preserve.

Corte Madera Creek.

Who Six . . . Colin Baker??  No, it's WH 06, Windy Hill gate #6, at Alpine Rd.

Alpine Road.

We return on the Spring Ridge Trail and pass along the shore of Sausal Pond.

A coot swims along the far shore of the pond.


The surface of the pond is still and glassy and has stuff floating on it.

Looking across the pond.

Sausal Pond provides critical wildlife habitat.

Just don't try to swim in it.

The pond in late afternoon.

This spillway leads away from the pond and into Sausal Creek.

Tags: alpine rd, banana slug, bench, fern, field trip, flower, fungus, mist, moss, pond, portola valley, sign, spillway, web, windy hill

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