Date: February 12, 2017
Place: San Pedro Valley County Park, Pacifica, California
Address: 600 Oddstad Blvd. Pacifica, California
Length: 2.5 miles
Friends from Santa Clara (a.k.a. Silicon) Valley scheduled to go on a hike with us on one lovely Sunday afternoon in February. They left the choice of destination to me and, encouraged by all the recent rain, I wanted to see a waterfall. A quick search online revealed to me quite a few Bay Area waterfalls that I have not seen yet, and the dice fell on Brooks Falls at San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica.
We got together at the park and found the trailhead to Old Trout Farm Rd., between the restrooms building and a large oak tree. Hanging under the oak, apparently in mid air, was a small, green caterpillar.
The heavy rains had cause quite a few problems for the human communities around the Bay, but the forests welcomed the soaking and responded with vibrant growth. Mushrooms too popped under many trees, although not as many as I had expected. Still, it was quite nice to see some interesting fungi bloom.
I was behind, appreciating the mushroom still, when the family called me to hurry forward: they had spotted an interesting flower for me. I reached them and stood there gaping, for I was standing right in front of a wildflower I have so far seen only in other people's photos: a California Fetid Adderstongue. This one can be found naturally only in the coastal region of California, and it was my first time seeing one in bloom. I didn't know that at the time, but I did know it was something special that I've never seen before.
"Here, here!" called the family. They were pointing at some blue forget me not that were blooming nearby. I waved dismissively at the forget me not and pointed at the adderstongue.
"This one," I said, and knelt down to take a close up photo.
|California Fetid Adderstongue, Scoliopus biglovii|
|Pacific Trillium, Trillium ovatum|
|Old Trout Farm Rd.|
We reached the turn to the Waterfall View Trail and turned right into it. Now we were on a narrow trail that climbed more steeply up above the creek.
By theis trail I started seeing the familiar early bloomers: the milk maids.
|Milk Maids, Cardamine californica|
The sun-exposed areas had very different wildflowers bloom, like the hedgenettle.
|California Hedgenettle, Stachys bullata|
|Douglas' Nightshade, Solanum douglasii|
I was unhappy with my photos of Brooks Falls. While we sat there and ate a snack, Papa Quail took my camera and went ahead until he found a better view and snapped a few decent shots of the falls.
|Pampas Grass, Cordateria selloana, Non-native, invasive|
I kept looking under the manzanita bushes, searching for Indian warrior plants, but saw none. I did get to see plenty of other little plants aiming to be big some day.
|Willow, Salix sp.|
there was a bench there, and we stayed there fore some time, enjoying the view and the breather. Pappa Quail used the time to photograph a hummingbird nearby.
The trail was guarded by a manzanita in full bloom, wearing spring like a fancy chandelier.
(Me thinking of planting manzanita in my yard)
|Common Manzanita, Arcrostaphylos manzanita|
Soon we were too in the shadow. The shadow of the manzanita roof overhead.
In that shadow of the manzanita two little chickadees were having a noisy feast, I don't know of what. They didn't keep still and at no point were in full view. But Pappa Quail managed to capture the moment, even if partly hidden.
|Chaparral Currant, Ribes malvaceum var. malvaceum|
My elder chika suddenly stopped as well. "Strawberry!" she exclaimed. I managed to stop her from eating it long enough for a photo. It was the first strawberry of the season. Spring really is here.
|California Strawberry, Fragaria vesca|
|Douglas Iris, Iris douglasiana|
We didn't hang around that bench but went on down the trail. Now our little group was very stretched, with large gaps between our people. I lingered behind more now, not for the plants but to keep watch on my younger chika who was walking without any hurry, waving a small eucalyptus twig and chanting to herself.
I pulled her out of her reverie to look at a banana slug, one of many we've seen that day, that was busy eating a mushroom.
|Fremont's Star Lily, Toxicoscordion fremontii|
|Coast Live Oak, Quercus agrifolia|
|Grand Hound's Tongue, Cynoglossum grande|
And t has a view of a nice, big waterfall. Next time I'll be there in the morning, and see it in the sunlight.