I know it's called a pickup game, when you run into other basketball players on the courts and have a competitive round. So I guess I had a pickup walk today.
I was hiking Clarkia and Lower Ridge trail, just appreciating the fact that my knees are back in service, when I found myself picking up a lone hiker, Diane. She hadn't found her hiking group, was pretty unfamiliar with the trails (she'd come in via Sunset Gate) and wanted company.
I ended up docenting along Clarkia, up to Inspiration Heights, down along Lower Ridge trail to the fence that overlooks the Bluebird meadow and back to Sunset Gate, at which point we ran into her group
Discussed and seen along the way...
- Serpentine rock and soil discussion and challenge of nitrogen dump/non-native plant invasion. Also successes of Weed Warriors due to just plain hard work plus cunning and analysis
- Why the erosion scars aren't a trail/the challenges of their trail-like appearance - And yes we ran into two erosion scar explorers that I had a chat with on Inspiration Heights. Hopefully they did go back the way I encouraged them to go on the trail. Much discussion with my new hiking pal, over how to discourage this behavior without being patronizing and actually getting desired behavior.
- We met Steve and Denora out rangering and Diane had her birthday photo taken with them. Steve indicated perhaps more signs indicating erosion scar versus trail may be forthcoming?
- We enjoyed the beautiful summer colors of deerweed, tarweed and poison oak. We both think the seedheads we saw in with the tarweed is yarrow. I keep meaning to look up that pink dry headed looking flower that's in and around Ridge trail. I think it's a seed head not a bloom. It reminds me of the sea thrift I saw in Cornwall, just a little bit.
- Told her how she could find the plant database/photos lookup on Friends of Edgewood web pages, as both of us were wondering about that pinky flower/seed head.
- Told her to come look for the brilliant green Hair Streak Butterflies during bloom time for the deerweed. Discussed the importance of the Bay Area Checkerspot and how it saved the preserve. Diane was glad we weren't hiking through the golf course this area was, at one point, destined to be.
- Diane wanted to know about animals we see in the area. Pointed out Western Fence Lizards, mentioned my few views of rattlers by me and others and where noted ...Much pointing to the area on Serpentine Loop Trail from Ridge Trail looking down to discuss the scurry zone and habits of the cottontails. Also discussion of the jackrabbits when they go mad with testostorone in the springtime and their hare 'ness ( Here's a nice web link on their being hares and not rabbits http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/jackrabbit/).
- Pointed out the frog pond, looking down on it from Ridge Trail (would be easy to have a talk about water in the preserve at this point, wouldn't it?)
- We should have asked Denora about the bobcats when we met up with her and Steve later on, as I know she once said there is one living in the vicinity of the ranger's house. Durn
- Of course we chatted about cougars. Doesn't everybody like to know about cougars?
- We talked about the different types of oaks, and after some quick mental review. I remembered (and I think properly id'd ) coast live oak (thanks to a hint Alf once gave me), contrasted them with a description of Valley Oaks, and mentioned the scrub oak. I think that's what grows on Upper Clarkia, not Leather Oak? Remembered to tell her about the naturally hybrid ones.
- We talked about the Western Blue Birds
Dianne was very pleased with her one-on-one docent walk! We found her group back at Sunset Gate and she introduced me all around and bragged about getting the goods on the preserve. I was lightly quizzed by a couple of folks in regards to seeing freshly blooming Farewell to Spring, and I agreed I had seen one too. Was able to respond "Clarkia, like this trail" when asked what is the real name. So I guess I passed the test. Good thing that was one I know.
Despite it not being a high bloom time, there's a lot to talk about out in the chaparral zone