Palomarin Hike with Jim Coleman – 14th May 2102

We met Jim on a fog kissed morning in Bolinas at the end of a dusty washboard road that brought back memories of hikes and camping trips once taken. He told us a bitabout his work at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) and mentioned that they have fabulous plant sales! OAEC has a mission to bring ecological understanding and awareness to school students and adults. They are working to bring creative and healing approaches about in our culture – bringing back balance and sustainability to our threatened world. & Jim spoke about our coastal grass land prairies that sustained life for millennia which are now in decline with only islands of native plant communities. He talked of the prehistoric animals in California that lived harmoniously with the grass land: the mastodons, camels, ancient bison – the animals of the Pleistocene that we’ve found at La Brea. How to restore that balance with the land once again? It isn’t only dealing with invasives but understanding what kept the land in balance throughout history before man. We began thinking that perhaps we were on the Paleomarin Trail.

One of those cool waterproof maps by

Heading out on the Coast Trail, not sure how that relates to the Coastal Trail we saw last week.

A very atmospheric Eucalyptus grove with some remarkably large trees. Could some date back to the Gold Rush?

Great promontory views of the Pacific, sheer drops and inaccessible beaches

Intriguing scalloping sand patterns on the beach below, Jim speculated that perhaps the shelves jutting out into the ocean may set up special currents.

Manroot (Marah fabaceus), our wild cucumber which we’ve seen a number of times but usually not with the cucumber. The stem can grow as long as 25 feet.

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja Wightii) named in honor of a Spanish botanist Juan Castilleja. The red version is Castilleja franciscana. The Figwort family (Courtesy of Lilian Mc Houl in Wild Flowers of Marin)

Some Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla) with a Spittlebug nymph in its frothy jacket. The camera was contemplating a bungee jump.

Meiica grass which Jim said likes cuts and hillsides where it can overhang. I think this one was Melica torreyana. He identified a Melica californica later on. He talked about the remarkable ability of native grasses to sequester carbon with their deep root systems. & and a more extensive study that was done in Bolinas & Tennessee Valley:

Velvet grass which lived up to its name:

Like many sections of the trail there was the green signature of water here with the Alders creating a beautiful screen to the sunlight. They love the streams on the Pt. Reyes Peninsula.

Just turning 180 degrees on the trail Jim identified this Elderberry bush, Alder and Elder going hand in hand.

Tiptoeing through the Cow Parsnips

I thought we’d landed in the Adirondacks. Bass Lake where we had a picnic lunch and perhaps where our esteemed leader enjoyed a dip.

Morning-Glories entertaining, ids of the visitors will be cheerfully received.

Twinberry blooms, Lonicera involucrata:


The land beneath reorganizing. Thanks Jim.

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