Tam Hike with Jim – 18 Nov. 2013

Mt. Tamalpais is always a welcoming sight – signature profile as we drive by on 101 and rich with intersecting trails the closer you look. Jim led his second hike of the fall season with his usual distinction. His information was insightful and presented with his upwelling enthusiasm. Who would have thought that we would be introduced to a new animal (at least one I hadn’t recalled)? We weren’t trekking through the forests of Indonesia after all. But here we were on the trail checking out a possible squirrel nest and tree cavities when Jim mentioned that this was the southern edge of territory for the RED TREE VOLE, Arborimus longicaudus. It’s a delightful creature that likes old growth forests and that lives high in the trees so they are difficult to observe. They may eat 2,400 needles each day nibbling on the tender terminal twigs. The males live in burrows in the ground and the females in a nest high in the trees during non-mating times. But when breeding begins from February to September, the males will climb the tree and build a small temporary nest during the mating season in a carnal camp-out.



We gathered at Boot Jack and made a short car pool down to the Mountain Home Inn parking area. http://www.mtnhomeinn.com

Jeannie had assisted Jim in checking out the trail by herself the previous Monday actually hiking up to West Point Inn and returning as it got galloping dark using her penlight to guide her way – definitely going the second mile for us. Let’s pause for an accolade for them both.

Poles out and ready, note that Armand had his new virtual poles, the latest edition – 2.7. The profile of the mountain from here has a neat tri-pyramidal appearance. The sky wasn’t exactly azure but neither was it lowering. We enjoyed sunlight going up to West Point Inn taking the Matt Davis and the Nora Trails. The trail began across the road where you see the yellow sign.

Heidi fills her bottle with some genuine MMWD water at the start of the hike. Note the beautiful serpentine in the fountain base. I think that’s a plaque on the side but didn’t notice it until now.

Jim shares the map with the group. The group has been adding some brighter colors as an antidote to the grays of late autumn.

Throckmorton Ridge Fire Station, Marin County Fire Department:

Remembrance of things past, last week’s hike on Mt. Burdell with dogs along.

Like the emphasis on responsibility and the easy pick-up of watershed map & rules

Jim stops by a Canyon Live Oak to share with us:


Karen K lends a hand.

Following in the steps of Matt Davis: lhttp://baynature.org/trail/mount-tamalpais-matt-davis-trail/

Silk Tassel Bush: https://www.cnps.org/cnps/nativeplants/gallery/garrya/

It was a pleasure to hear water flowing in some stream beds even before Tuesday’s rain, atypical of many seasonal streams in our area.

High Rise mushrooms: googling mostly gets fungus problems in high rise buildings.

Jim commented that one strategy for bushes and trees in having smooth bark is making it difficult for other invader’s attachment. Here a lichen has found a niche.

A big contrast in the bark of the Redwood as walked into a young grove along the trail.

Strawberry Peninsula, Tiburon Peninsula and Angel Island furthest on the right, Raccoon Straits look like a lake.

Our lunch destination: http://westpointinn.com Great history and great views (and restrooms) are free.

Poster from the centennial

Internet was available too.

Gearing up or gathering up after our picnic

We took the Old Stage Road to Bootjack. Passengers from the Mt. Tamalpais Scenic Railway in 1904 could connect with a stagecoach that would take them down the westside of the mountain to Willow Creek (Stinson Beach) and Bolinas.

Looking for the ghosts of stagecoaches past

Jim checks out some of the Serpentine along the route: http://science.kqed.org/quest/2010/08/16/home-sweet-serpentine/

And Jeannie reprises Armando’s lesson from an earlier hike about the stickiness of Serpentine.

Swath of Serpentine along the trail

Hazelnut bush and leaf as we approached Bootjack. It is very soft and velvety on the underside. Here’s another good site on wild California edibles:

Mt. Tamalpais has a raft of interesting place names. Here’s a pdf that gives some rich and colorful detail:


Many thanks to Jim for filling in so beautifully for Michael along with the inimitable Armando while Michael was away in Palau & Yap. The names begin to fall off the tongue!


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