Sunol Hike

By Carol at 9:30 pm on Thursday, March 25, 2010

green hills

Our hike in Sunol Park was gentle, under threatening skies – perfect temperature for hiking.

blue stone in the creek

We followed the trail along the creek to the falls and water hole with this distinctive blue stone.

trees in stream

Trees, just leafing out, march down the center of the stream bed, inundated by the ample rains.

knarled veteran

Gnarled stream-side dwellers.

oak over stream

looking down on the road

Below is the road where our hike began.

stream through a meadow

A stream meanders across the meadow.

fallen tree still growing

This fallen tree is still rooted and beginning to leaf out.

tiny wildflowers

Tiny wildflowers at the trail edge.

butter and eggs

Clusters of “butter and eggs”.

meadow of buttercups and one owl's clover

A meadow full of buttercups and one owl’s clover blossom.

butterfly and buttercups

A butterfly in the buttercups.

bluebird on his house

A blue bird surveys the meadow from the top of his home. A telephoto lens would reveal his orange belly and blue back feathers.

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A Visit to Yerba Buena Nursery

By Carol at 11:57 pm on Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yerba Buena Charlie

After our Los Trancos hike, we visited Yerba Buena Nursery, just off Skyline Boulevard in Woodside. The friendly fellow above is Charlie, who presides over nursery operations, greets guests, and hobnobs with the resident cats.

frmontia
The nursery sells a remarkable collection of California native plants, like this yellow flowered fremontia,

ribes sanguineum

this ribes sanguineum “Claremont”, a wild currant,

ceanothus

this ceanothus,

hawthorne
and this native western hawthorne (crataegus douglasii), still harboring last fall’s colors.

The nursery has expanded its inventory since we last visited, and appears to be doing well with the new trend toward xeriscapes and natural gardens.

Yes, I succumbed to temptation – we came home with a white St. Catherine’s lace buckwheat, a matilija poppy, a native Dutchman’s pipe, wild ginger, and a white thalictrum – always room for one more fabulous plant!

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Los Trancos Open Space Preserve

By Carol at 10:30 pm on Thursday, March 18, 2010

miner's letuce
Today, our hikers took to the trails of Los Trancos Preserve, with reports of mountain lion sitings. The predators eluded us, but the views over the coastal range were spectacular, and some of the wildflowers were blooming. In shady spots there were thick stands of miner’s lettuce, pictured above.

trillium
There were a few trillium,

buttercups
some buttercups,

red warrior
many red warriors,

white-flowered currants
white-flowered currants,

white wild lilac
fragrant white wild lilac,

blue ceanothus with bee
blue ceanothus,

hound's tongue
blooming hound’s tongue,

shooting stars
shooting stars,

dainty chickweed
and this dainty little chickweed.

cow parsnip
Leaves of cow parsnip were unfurling in damp, sunny areas,

banana slug
and banana slugs were resting in moist, shady edges of the trail.

All the precursors of spring made today’s hike rewarding, despite the challenges of hilly terrain.

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