Fall Footloose Hike on Limantour Spit – 10 September 2012 – more now; missing if any after june until this one

On the trail again we gathered here just above Limantour Spit to share some summer moments and memories, to renew and refresh with old friends and get to know those new to the group. Michael said that his son Hunter is off to New York to seek his fortune in much the same way Michael came out to California on his motorcycle in the Pleistocene era. Some in the group recall Hunter coming on the hikes with Michael as a “babe in arms” twenty five years ago so now we are circling in more ways than one. It was a time of anniversaries as we celebrate Point Reyes National Seashore’s 50th. We came out of the Marin sunshine into the welcoming coastal fog which etched our day with a bit of mystery and gave a sense of meditation as we headed out to the beach.
Now a substantial bridge leads out to the beach, so substantial it ought to have a name. Any ideas or suggestions? It spans a wetlands area. Michael pointed out the bridge approximately divides the salt water with the fresh at this point. Maybe we could call it the Brooklyn Bridge in honor of Joseph Yves Limantour for whom the beach is named since he was involved in land swindles in 1850’s California. http://www.maritimeheritage.org/vips/limantour.html
Great Egrets in the mist
Michael said houses used to be located on Limantour spit prior to the establishment of Pt. Reyes Seashore. Where ever Monterey Pines or Cypress remain, they mark the spots of former locations. The houses were “deconstructed” and the beach was returned to its natural state.
Michael talked earlier of the deconstruction of war as he was remembered a powerful part of Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Cf.
Two Turkey Vultures were breakfasting just off the trail. Pecking order seemed alive and well. Michael commented that few birds seem to utilize the sense of smell like they and a few others do. He added that Sooty Shearwaters use smell in their feeding attracted to the oily sheen on water made by whales and fish. Storm-Petrels use smell to find their nests.
http://vulturesociety.homestead.com/TVFacts.html
http://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Avian_Sense.html
John McLaren planted non-native beach grasses to stabilize the dunes in claiming land for Golden Gate Park. These grasses have been wildly successful in spreading out along Limantour Beach as well as many other coastal areas. http://sfenvironment.org/article/sand-dune-habitats/sand-dunes-overview
This wonderful Rein Orchid was spied by Michael as we moved toward the point, like a lily among the thorns. Elegant rein orchid, Piperia elegans ?? Though I was tempted by the Michael’s rein orchid in the page that follows. http://www.inaturalist.org/lists/209-California-Native-Orchids
The fog hanging in over the Estero de Limantour
Prostrate Coyote Bush (Brush), Baccharis pilularis. The flowers now in bloom, the male in yellow and the female in white. http://flowersofmarin.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/plant-of-the-day-coyote-brush/ Just discovered this site which looks quite wonderful.
Michael keeps track of these remains, an early lumber boat (1910?). The skeletal frame exposure varies with the year. He also talked about ship wrecks along the coast and how their cargoes can continue to pollute for many years with some cargoes being more toxic than others. The dumping of nuclear waste in the outer bay and around the Farallones is one of the nastier examples. There are designated dump sites but at times due to weather or other circumstances it was dumped in other places. http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1198/chapters/193-206_Disposal.pdf
Gumplant in bloom – Grindelia stricta venulosa
Shorebird Serenade
Eel Grass with Go Shrimp holes
Lunch at the end of the spit with soft seating. The sun almost made it out but the fog reclaimed the day.
Here’s a terrific site I discovered on winds. http://hint.fm/wind/?wpisrc=nl_wonk

The book I mentioned is INTO THE FOREST by Jean Hegland http://www.jeanhegland.com/books/into-forest/index.htm

THANKS Michael for a swell start to the Fall hikes. Hope the new Tuesday Group went very well, best wishes to them and you. Hugs, Lew

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