Thursday, December 2, 2010
Enchanted Walk in Portola Redwoods State Park
Before the weather turned cold, damp, and unpleasant, Mr. and Ms. Town Mouse took an outing to the coast for a walk in Portola Redwoods State Park. A visit to the park is especially wonderful on a hot day because of the cool shady hike through the redwoods. But even on a bright fall day, it can be a magical experience -- just look at the berries of Lonicera hispedula (California honeysuckle) against the dark blue sky above.
Before the Europeans came to California, a redwood forest stretched all the way along the west coast of the US. Nowadays, you can still see old growth coastal redwoods in a few places like Muir Woods National Monument and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. They have disappeared from the rest of the coastal areas. But the climate is still right for these magnificent trees (as you can see from the lichen hanging from the electric lines above) and a mixed forest of second-growth redwoods and some other native trees such as big leaf maple invited the visitors for a hike at Portola Redwoods State Park.
It was like stepping through a magic gate.
Berries and mushrooms everywhere.
On the redwood stumps.
On the ground.
Pretty red rosehips on Rosa Califonica, a shade-loving native rose that has an unfortunate tendency to spread.
Really, it felt as if fairies had laid out a banquet for themselves and would soon gather for the party. And who but a fairy could have planted this Farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena)? Mr. and Ms. Town Mouse had never seen this Clarkia bloom in November before and were just delighted by the fairy's table decoration. They snapped a few photos, said thanks to the fairies, and went home happy to have visited such a magical place.