Hiking Annie’s Dell with Michael – 16 April 2012

The road in on Channel Drive was a great beginning to our walk in the park with walls of green as we left improved Santa Rosa behind. Historically it was a narrow gage railroad used to bring out the cobblestones quarried from Annadel to San Francisco and Sacramento. At the end of the road we met Michael. There was a spacious parking area for humans & horses, potties, and this wonderful affinity group below. Michael explained that this area was named after the daughter of some of the area’s principal landowners, Annie Coney. Joseph Coney had bought the property in 1930 and called it Annadel Farm. He created Lake Ilsanjo which combines his wife’s name Ilse with his own. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annadel_State_Park

P1050303 – A dog walker’s addition to our morning.

P1050305 – Catch a passing hiker who asked, “What is this group?” He asked Michael if he could talk to us and shared his concerns about the closure of Annadel and the state parks. He mentioned that Henry Trione, a Santa Rosa banker, had been instrumental in the establishment of Annadel as a state park buying up the surrounding land so it couldn’t be developed. It had been slated earlier for a 5000 acre subdivision by the former owner of the Oakland Raiders, Wayne Valley, but was dropped when environmental opposition developed. Henry Trione bought the land for the Wild Oak Saddle Club and donated the rest to the state. Annadel became the 1st project of the California State Park’s Foundation in 1971. Our hiking friend emphasized what a difference a single person can make. http://www.cspra.com/pages/heritage/honorary/trione.html

P1050306 – Some altocumulus overhead with a cirrus spritz.

P1050308 – Michael receives various salutes from the group, we need to work on getting them together.

P1050309 – A California Slender Salamander warms up on Michael’s hand. He said this group has developed the ability to breathe through their skin, no lungs needed.

P1050311 – Michael mentioned that the group on the Death Valley trip had wondered if the title Footloose Forays would still be apt some years from now. The image was of a care facility with wheel chairs and walkers rampant. How might that impact our group and what might it be called? Laura aced a possible title with, Toothless Forays. What will the 50th anniversary look like?

P1050314 – a Calypso orchid amid ferns and leaf litter. Odysseus spent 7 of his 10 lost years with the beautiful nymph, Calypso. The term means hidden or concealed as it is on forest floors and as was Odysseus with Calypso. It formed a nice foil with the testosterone symphony of bird calls that we enjoyed along the way along with the hollow thrumming of a pileated woodpecker in the percussion section offstage in the distance.

P1050316 – Mind the poison oak

P1050317 – The memorable Red-brown butt rot which is a deadly fungus to various conifers, here the Douglas fir trees. Looks almost like some Dutch chocolate but not so benign.

P1050319 Johnny-Jump-Up, a golden yellow wild pansy

P1050320 – the underside of the Johnny-Jump-Up was fetching

P1050326 – Gazebo picnic with oaks greening out in the background

P1050329 – The gazebo from a distance with Lake Ilsanjo on the left as we headed back.

P1050330 – a grinding stone with two indentations, someone suggested the smaller cup was for herbs and spices. The Southern Wappo and Pomo lived here in prehistoric times. You can imagine them gathered around this stone grinding acorns, talking and sharing the sunshine. The Annadel site was also used by them as a valuable source of obsidian which we found still abundant along the trail in some places. They used it for scrapers, knives, arrow and spearheads for their hunting and gathering. Michael explained that this area is called the Sonoma Volcanic Region. He also shared that heart surgeons used obsidian blades in modern times because an edge could be thinned almost down to molecularity. He wondered if lasers had replaced this in surgery.

Back from Death Valley, Michael shares the fine perfume of a Creosote bush with the group as the hike wraps up.

Tune in next week, same time, different Bat station.

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