Deer Park Hike – 4 May 2015

Our hike started at the end of Porteous Street near the Fairfax – San Anselmo Children’s Center. The Center has been here since the school district moved from the buildings in the 1970’s and at times has been threatened with sale and closure. But it has grown and thrived since its founding by Ethel Seidermann in 1973 serving the low income community working with the children and their families. “In order for a child to thrive, the family needs to thrive.” The infant-toddler, preschool and after school programs provide a safe and welcoming environment for 140 children from the community from 3 months to 10 years of age. Our hike begins and ends with a walk right by the Center.

Kids at play under the Redwoods and a beautiful tribute to Hokusai’s “Under the Wave off Kanagawa” with an added blazing sun.

Harriet checks out the hike, she’s a most reliable navigator and keeper of the maps. John has his poles at the ready.

Judy had gone on a wildflower hike with Bob Stewart here recently and made the great suggestion of doing our previous trail loop in reverse giving the hike a freshness and new focus. It was a cool choice as well because we were able to hike up the hill on the more open part of the trail in the morning overcast and enjoy the shade on Six Points Trail returning after the sun had come out.
We went up the Deer Park Trail, took a right on the Worn Springs Fire Road, another right on the Yolanda Trail, a sharp right down the Six Points Trail and then right again on the Deer Park Fire Road back to the school – a perfect circle.

Rock lettuce, (Dudleya cymosa) Many lovely entries in this blog that seems on a break at the moment. Doreen Smith comments on this entry adding that they are called Dudleya farinosa on the Tiburon Peninsula.

Flowers about to burst forth – wonderful yellow lichens adorn the serpentine rocks framing this beautiful “Liveforever”.–dudleya-cymosa

A number of runners and local dog owners were on the trail as well, “woman, man and beast”.

Kit spotted these miniatures growing on the rocky hill side, looks kind of orchidy, what are they, hmm? They do match her sleeves quite nicely.

Armand points to a serpentine rock with a distinct band in trail step stone, our state rock. Hurrah! Note the governor as well just for a bit of time travel.

Our path takes us by a blooming California buckeye, the sweet perfume from the blooms was just beginning to permeate the air.

Looking west with the morning fog hanging in on Bolinas Ridge, this natural amphitheater echoed with bird songs & calls – intermingled came the calls of the kids drifting up from the playgrounds at Deer Park School.

An oak that hung a left awhile ago while going on a wild cantilever journey. Is there a proportionate root system in the hillside? Some native bunch grasses are in the foreground.

Western Morning Glory (Calystegia occidentalis): The Morning-glory Family is Convolvulaceae which means “to entwine” in Latin. Lilian McHoul writes in her book
‘Wild Flowers of Marin’, “The stems are several feet long, twining over other plants; herbage smooth. Stalked leaves, variably shaped but often triangular, and cordate at the base. There are two to three large pinkish-to-white flowers to a stem.” P. 119

Topping the Deer Park Trail with a spray of Sticky Monkey Flowers to greet us.

Water break and then up the hill followed by a reconnoiter and it’s . . . right on the Yolanda Trail

We revisit the “tiny teacup” hole in the oak” (Holyoke?) that we enjoyed on our previous hike. Now the tea cup is gone but there’s a new, odd collection with a turquoise pot, a miniature plastic cupcake, a plastic bag with what looked like fortune cookie fortunes and some kind of a leather pouch overhead. Someone suggested that this may be a point for Geocaching. Previously, I thought it might be a family destination with mementoes that intrigue the kids. Probably not part of a wood rat midden . . . but then again?

Lunch at Bistro de Jim with Mt. Tamalpais just coming out of fog.

Margie invited a friend, Beth Prentice, visiting from Ithaca, N.Y. to join us on our hike today. Beth is a former Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Nepal in the 1960’s who has continued her commitment to the Nepalese working with EDUCATE THE CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL, an NGO founded in 1990 by Pamela Carson and several close friends. Beth gave us a brief idea of their remarkable work in Nepal which focuses on Children’s Education,
Women’s Empowerment and Agricultural Development. ETC has a sustained commitment in their areas of service lasting six years or more teaching women basic literacy, community development programs, working with the public schools and providing women farmers with skills and resources.

The fog has burned off after lunch and we’ve clear views.

Bolinas Ridge and (Now for a bit of free association: Marin Bikes has a Bolinas Ridge Line and a video that seems quite timely:

the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais are coming clear. I’ve linked Gary Yost’s “A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout” before but wanted to add it again because it’s so memorable.

Harvest Brodiaea, Brodiaea elegans, Lily Family, Liliaceae. Similar to Ithuriel’s Spear which we saw in Mitchell Canyon but Harvest Brodiaea has shiny petals and a shorter stem.
Reny Parker writes in her “Wildflowers of Northern Calfornia’s Wine Country and North Coast Ranges, “Dressed in royal purple petals, this is truly a most elegant, though common Brodiaea. Six shiny lavender petals form a funnel shaped flower. Each petal has prominent mid-rib and shades from pale green at the base to white to deep purple at the tip. . . . California Indians baked the bulbs in fire pits and ate them as a vegetable.” P. 166 The plant was named after J.J. Brodie, a Scottish botanist, 1744 – 1824.

Lots of trail choices here at “6 Points”, luckily we have our navigators.

Western Fence Lizard with his original tail “hiding” in plain sight.

Matt makes way for a mountain biker who joined us on the Deer Park Fire Road, “On your right!

On the far edge of the old Deer Park playing fields is a California Bay Tree that reminds of a Dr. Seuss illustration. A year ago when we did the trail the other way we spotted a sitting Turkey Vulture who didn’t move in spite of our interest. Jim suggested that she might be in a nesting mode.

Almost one year ago, certainly the lichens must be soft and comfortable.

No need for a finale as we pass by Hokusai’s wave.

And then again?

P.S. Engaging video showing a horse and rider in the Deer Park area that had slipped off the trail into a ravine.

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