We took B on his first walk on August 20th, in the hills above Montara beach. It was his first time in the carrier, we thought he’d resist but he loved it. The hills are a lot drier than the last time we walked through here, but there were thistles and nasturtiums out. We saw a coyote on our way back down.
We took him to see the sea too. Thought about dipping his toes in the water, but the beach was too steep and the waves too high. Another time.
Note: I’ve included points about edibility because I’m interested in foraging generally, but foraging is not allowed the area I describe.
We went to Stinson Beach again recently, have got in to a good routine of leaving early enough to just barely beat the crowds and get a decent parking spot, but not so early that it’s a slog to get out of the apartment.
This time, we walked up Dipsea Trail to a lookout point with a large, lone eucalyptus tree with a tree swing. It was a little over two miles round trip with about a 500ft elevation change, nearly all uphill out and all downhill back. The first section follows a little stream from Panoramic Highway through a grove of California Bay Laurel trees which bent over the path. It was quite damp and cool even though it was getting pretty warm elsewhere, smelled amazing.
A note about California Bay Laurel: The leaves are edible, but they tend to be much stronger than the stuff you buy in shops. Proceed with caution if using for stock or something similar.
The rest of the way was more open, with terrain that reminded us a little of the moors in Yorkshire. A lot sunnier though!
Flowers we saw (native plants are linked to the Calscape website for further info):
- Blue Dicks (…)
- Broadleaf Forget-me-nots
- California Poppy
- Checker Mallow
- Cow Parsnip — Supposedly it’s edible, but the sap can cause photosensitivity and rashes in some people and the California climate may make Cow Parsnip more bitter than is palatable
- Iris (not sure which)
- Lupine (not sure which, it was purple and fairly solitary)
- Milk Maids
- Pacific Blackberry — Edible, fruits around May/June
- Wild Cucumber or Manroot — Not safe to eat
- Woodland Strawberry — Edible, blooms from February through may and fruits through June
And a few more I just have not been able to identify…
Haven’t been feeling great recently so a lot of weekends have been pretty quiet, but we finally got out a bit this past Saturday. Went to Agate Beach near Bolinas, low tide was around 3:30pm so we had lovely light. It had rained hard earlier so we kept hearing mini rockslides from the cliffs. A little ominous.
It was hard to see much since most of the pools were a bit murky, but we did see chiton, anemones, snails, crabs, and one hefty brown starfish. There was pink coralline algae encrusting most of the rock pools. I didn’t know what it was when we were there, thought it was so prevalent that it might be invasive. But it seems native from what I’ve read since. There was also one tiny creature that squirted water a foot in to the air, still no idea what that was…
Related: One of the rental properties at Sea Ranch has some really good tips about being a good tide pool steward.
Also related: Didn’t collect anything since foraging isn’t permitted on most public land in California. I’d love to get to Salt Point at some point though since it’s allowed there. Would probably mainly look for purple laver and nori. Samphire (pickleweed) should be prevalent in April/May, so maybe that would be a good time to go. Also hopefully this pandemic will be on the wane by then with the vaccine…
Saw this bold little dude on a short walk along Clear Creek Trail. I got pretty close for the photo, he wasn’t bothered! I think it’s a male Western Fence Lizard? There were some slight blue patches on his back that faded as I got closer.
I haven’t been posting much recently. There’s not a lot about this year that I’d like to remember. Of course there’s a ton that must be remembered, just not much that I’ll look back on fondly.
But we went swimming in the North Fork of the American River last Friday, that’s something to smile about. The heat radiated up off the path on our walk there and back. There was a big family enjoying the sun and water, and two girls chatting, standing in the shallows and drinking from a wine bottle. They warned us about the territorial crawdad near our toes.