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Foothills & Monte Bello Open Space Preserves - Pahavit's Universe

pahavit
Date: 12-11-2012 12:28 AM
Subject: Foothills & Monte Bello Open Space Preserves
Security: Public
Tags:abandoned, beer can, canopy, deer, earth star, field trip, floof, foothills osp, fungus, geocache, junk, lichen, monte bello, moss, mt. hamilton, mushroom, portola valley, rat, rust, san andreas fault, windy hill
Foothills & Monte Bello Open Space Preserves

On Saturday D. and I went to Foothills Open Space Preserve because we'd never been there before.  We've passed it countless times on our way to other open space preserves but we'd never bothered to stop and see it, primarily because it's so small (212 acres), and there's only one trail and not much to see (as a matter of fact, it's so small we had time to visit another preserve when we were done there).  But we decided to see it anyway, just to be able to say we've been there, done that.  Here's some pics I took.


The trail.







View southeast from the trail.





Not too far up the trail we are met with a fallen oak blocking the path.





From the other side you can hardly tell there's a trail there.





Farther up the trail we see a rusted-out can in the dirt.







Along an indistinct side trail we find more rusty junk in the underbrush.









Off to the side we find a stone fire ring.





Nearby is a messy 3' tall jumble of sticks, the nest of the dusky-footed woodrat.





Floof.





Another view from the trail.





This is an earthstar fungus.  Earthstars belong to a group of fungi called Gasteromycetes, or "stomach fungi," and are related to puffballs. They are comprised of a stomach-shaped sac filled with dry spores.  Drops of rain make the sac explode open, releasing the spores.





Finally we arrive at the 1,301' summit.









We can see Windy Hill Open Space Preserve to the northwest from the summit.





Following a deer trail, we find someone's abandoned cache.





There are beautiful things to see here.













Another view from the trail on our way back down.





Lichen and moss on a dead tree.







We're at the fallen tree again and have to climb over it to get back down.





This is not a rock, despite its appearance.





It's a geocache cozy!





Oxalis.





Another view of the mountains.





We can barely see the telescopes at the observatory atop Mt. Hamilton to the east (the little white blobs on the ridge to the left).





The canopy and woods.







Please don't do this to a tree.





Gray-green lichen and what looks to be an orange fungus on a tree trunk.





Another woodrat nest.





The hazy afternoon sun sheds a buttery light on this madrone.





Since the afternoon is still early, we decide to go up the road to Monte Bello Open Space Preserve and look at the sag pond which lies directly on the San Andreas Earthquake Fault.







This depression in the ground is the San Andreas Fault.





Another look at the cloudy sky before we go down the Canyon Trail.





This tree looks shocked at being one-eyed.





Mushrooms near the sag pond.







The sag pond formed when the earthquake fault created a depression below the water table.





Along the trail are more mushrooms.







Recent rainfall is reflected in the trickle of water in an adjoining trail.





Back at the car we see deer grazing at Los Trancos Open Space Preserve across the road.






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