Sunday, March 1, 2009

Banana slugs and fungi

Just for a little truth in labeling, this post includes banana slugs and fungi. There are also waterfalls, redwood trees and undulations.

Yesterday we had a spring walk in the woods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Note that the trail description says that the elevation is 200-400 feet. Seems easy enough, although the trail is labeled "strenuous". It turns out that the 2-400 foot elevation change happens about 12 times in the 12 mile loop we took. These turned out to be "undulations" or extremely large sine waves. Otherwise, a delightful day in the redwoods hunting fungi, banana slugs and waterfalls. We went to the Berry Falls, Golden Falls and Silver Falls - here's a copy of the official park map.

Berry Falls

Along the way we found lots of fungi sprouting from downed trees and vegetable detritus. Colors ranged from virulent green to pink and dayglow yellow/orange. I'm sure they all have names.

Chuck, Felicia, Francois, John and I were the group. By about the half-way mark, my bum hip began to give trouble - so our return trip was a rather leisurely stroll for the seasoned hikers of the group.

We lunched at the base of the first (and highest elevation) falls of the group on West Berry Creek. John, having hiked the trail several times, did not reveal the delights in store. Especially the rappelling down the face of one of the falls. I asked, "is there another way down?" and John's one word answer - "No." Hmmm... 6 miles up a creek with an airplane cable to hold on to to get down. I guess I'd rather do that than try to walk back around...

We were truly stumped a few miles down the return trail where a pair of redwood trees had fallen across the path giving a chest high by 200 foot long barricade. Up and over, or down into the canyon to go around? We tried several methods and all emerged on the other side of the barrier.

The UC Santa Cruz mascot was thundering through the mosses...

...and fallen and fire scarred trees gave contrasting texture and color to the wet green canopy of the forest.

On the way home to Napa, exhausted and hungry (at least the hungry part was true of all of us) we stopped in Albany/Berkeley for the best pizza in the Bay area - Zachary's.


Martha said...

Love the banana slug. never seen one of those before.

juliana inman said...

They really look rather like bananas. I have no idea why they do not have protective coloration...