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Pahavit's Universe

pahavit
Date: 7-22-2008 4:36 PM
Subject: Portola Redwoods State Park: In search of mountain lions
Security: Public
Tags:banana slug, canopy, field trip, flower, fog, fungus, la honda, native wildflower, poison oak, portola redwoods, redwood, turkey tail fungus
Portola Redwoods State Park: In search of mountain lions


On Saturday, D. and I returned to Portola Redwoods State Park in the afternoon to walk the Coyote Ridge Trail. The trail winds up through redwood and mixed oak woodland habitats to about 1500'. At sundown, coyotes, bobcats, foxes and mountain lions can be seen. We've always wanted to see a mountain lion, so we packed a picnic supper and headed over there in the late afternoon, and D. took these pics.


The Coyote Ridge Trail begins just beyond the end of the campground.





One of several enormous fallen redwoods around which the trail had to detour.





Another fallen redwood, only this one did not fall over from the roots.





The exposed wood inside the trunk has white fungus growing in it.  This is what probably weakened the tree from the inside, allowing it to snap off.  It is highly unusual for a redwood to succumb to any kind of rot.







A fallen trunk riddled with acorn woodpecker holes.





In a rare clearing along the trail, these pink clarkias flourish in the open sunlight.





The woods are full of fallen dead trees.





Oak sapling in the understory.





These 3 trunks all rise out of one enormous base.





Wild blackberry.





Poison oak is pretty.  Just don't touch!





These fungi help to break down the nutrients in fallen logs and release them for new life to use.











All along the trail we find signs a fire had swept through many years ago, with traces of blackened trunks visible beneath the moss.





Another fallen giant, lying across the trail.  A notch has been cut out of the trunk to make passage easier for hikers.





Pescadero Creek.





Red roots in the creek.





Late afternoon light brings a gentle aura to the creek.





A knot in a fallen tree looks like an elephant eye.



Majestic redwoods overhead.





D. and I must have seen a dozen bright yellow banana slugs, either hiding in logs or sliming their way along the trail.  We went hoping to see a mountain lion. While disappointed, we acknowledge there are advantages to seeing fauna that is unable to attack you.









As we head home at sundown, fingers of thick fog creep over the hills from the sea, flowing into the valleys and bringing a chilly mist to blot out the sky.  Meanwhile, the sunset blazes orange, still tinted slightly from wildfires to the south.




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