Palomarin with Jim – 11 March 2013

Palomarin hiking provides quiet moments in a Eucalyptus forest, high promontories with broad views of the Pacific, shady walking on paths overarched with branches and vines, openrocky stretches in a fractured landscape and often, the sound of running water to accompany our footfalls. This background of water music became a roar as we approached Bass Lake.
We enjoyed this hike with Jim about a year ago in May. Walking the trail yesterday earlier in the year provided comparisons and contrasts. Alders still to leaf out, Buckeyes pre-bloom, cow parsnips still low before their stretch for dominance and many bushes & vines still skeletal. Wildflowers were beginning along the way but not yet in profusion, some gorgeous solos with choruses still to come.

11/3/13 Tree pollens were etching Bass Lake.

14/5/12 Two months difference

Overarching Alder with Buffleheads in the distance either real or imaginary

Heidi showing some true Dolphin Club spirit

Terrace seating overlooking the lake with a variety of entrees

Not on the menu, sharing our path with a Stink Beetle, Jim described the remarkable form of chemical warfare it has evolved.

Another fellow traveller, a California Newt (Taricha torosa) crossed our path in a shady rill, Jim shares some warmth before returning him to his grassy path. You can just see a bit of his orange underside. “If the predator attacks, the California Newt excretes a neurotoxin through its warty skin and can cause paralysis and or death to its attacker.”

Earlier on our way Jim spotted the raised hatch of the Turret Spider explaining that it was related to the tarantula and trapdoor spiders. The turret spiders are an ancient spider form called mygalomorphs, “which swing their fangs down like pickaxes rather than pinching in from the sides like most modern spiders.” The scene is perhaps something like the more vivid moments in Alien.

Jim talking about the Western Wild Cucumber or Coastal Manroot (Marah oreganus) which is winding its way into a Douglas Fir. Successful in a variety of locales it grows well by streams but also in the dry conditions of the Mojave Desert – throughout much of California. Larry told of a remarkable 400 pound Manroot that was under a parking lot in San Mateo County. Here’s a photo of one from Cucamonga from 1977: Additionally, while we were moving on Jim mentioned that the young needles of the Douglas Fir make a terrific tea:

The fog bank held on just off shore as we were returning (here, we’re outward bound). As the waves hit the beach, fog surged up our promontory overlook making everything remarkably mysterious and alive.

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