Taking the Road Not Taken with Armando – 9 April 2012 – of many and will keep sending those seen right off with 2012 date

How many times have we driven by the South Rodeo Exit on our way to San Francisco? It was great fun to finally get off there on Monday morning to join Armando on a hike from the “road to nowhere”. As Armando explained, this was going to be an access road for a huge planned development in the 1960’s Marin Headlands called rather brightly, Marincello. Hear the mellow music? The developer was from Pittsburg, PA. so perhaps he was making a variation of Monticello. The plan was to accommodate 30,000 people on the edge of the Golden Gate with high rise apartments, hundreds of houses, light industry, a mile long shopping center and a grand hotel dominating the very highest point. The approval process had been green lighted by the Marin Board of Supervisors and even initially got the blessing of the Pacific Sun. The approval was rushed and opposition was “muzzled” and fortunately . . . lawsuits were filed. John Hart had an excellent article in the July-September 2003 Bay Nature that told the story beautifully.


Steve McNamara detailed the time and the context in a well written Pacific Sun article on June 27, 2008. Remember the PG&E Nuclear Reactor at Bodega Head?


P1050227 Armando pointed out how different Mt. Tam looks from various vantage points. The profile above shows more of the extending spine of the mountain rather than just the usual summit look.

P1050230 The arriving, Sharon was happily pointing out a small sticker affixed to the gate, “We are the 99%.”

P1050235 The large leaf belongs to a Cow Parsnip but the blooms I’m still searching out. Any suggestions? There were long sections of the trail that had swaths of Forget-Me-Nots punctuated by the Cow Parsnips. Even though the FMN’s are escapes or escapees, I found myself really enjoying them along the way. I thought of calling the hike “Cow Parsnips and Forget-Me-Nots.” But the large tracts of marauding Broom through the landscape took away romance for the exotics.

P1050245 Chocolate or Checker lily, I prefer chocolate. Fritillaria affinis

P1050250 Janet spotting some of the detail with her hand lens. Please help on the id, thanks.

P1050260 Judy and Ralph looking out from a promontory toward Belvedere, Angel Island and the east bay with Brooks Island straight across. Earlier Armando spoke of the dominance of Chert along the trail.

There is a bench here dedicated to Clyde Wahrhaftig whom Armando knew. The plaque related that Mr. Wahrhaftig was a “renowned geologist whose knowledge enriched our understanding and appreciation of GGNRA.” Here is a great appreciation: http://eps.berkeley.edu/alumni/wahrhaftig.php

P1050268 – We hiked on Rodeo Trail, Alta Avenue Trail and got to the Headland views on SCA trail. http://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/upload/map-mahe-2d.pdf

P1050271 -Imagine this valley filled with the “improvements” envisioned.

P1050276 – Armando pointed out the different colors on the lupine, some open for business and others that have been fertilized.

P1050280 The road usually taken

P1050281 Isla de Los Angeles

P1050286 – Would you like a table with a view? I think we are sort of above the Waldo Tunnel. This is Jeannie’s favorite spot for watching the Blue Angels

P1050288 – View of Hawk Hill (We wondered about the tree removal there.) and the improved Conzelman Road

P1050300 On the downhill back to the cars.

P.S. “Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.” from State of Wonder by Ann Patchett Lew

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