A super day at Big Basin
Four persons took a chance on the weather on Sunday, February 3rd, Super Bowl Sunday two days before Super Tuesday and it turned out to be quite a super Super Sunday for our small group!
One additional club member met us for breakfast at the Longhorn Restaurant and returned home when we set out to traverse the Santa Cruz Mountains. Our progress was checked, however, when a cell phone report from Dave at the summit that a tree fell over Highway 9 blocking our intended route. We pulled over and waited for Dave to meet us in Saratoga and then took the Highway 17 route through Scotts Valley and Boulder Creek.
It was drizzling when we arrived at Big Basin, but blue patches of sky opened up above the trees promising us a window of opportunity. Thus reassured, we paid our $6 parking fees and girded up our camera gear and set out into the wet and vividly green, old-growth coastal redwood forest. Just as we suspected, there were mushrooms popping up everywhere in the organic detritus of the forest floor and hidden on both living and decomposing tree trunks. The wet winter months bring out the fungi in waves of growth episodes caused by the frequent rain storms. If you really want to see the beauty of most California ecosystems youd better get off the couch and venture out in the bad weather. Now is the time for fungus freaks at just about any of the coastal redwood parks; Big Basin, Butano, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, etc.
We found numerous types of brightly colored and strange looking fungi. There were various capped mushrooms (both large and miniscule), shelf-like wood fungi, blobs of mucoid fungi and green and white liverworts to name a few examples. Soon we were grovelling on the wet ground trying to frame the delicate little primitive plants in our view finders (which often fogged over from our breath). The hike (if you could call it that) didnt last long because it was a very short distance and our shroom trek ended pleasantly in front of the big hearth at the park headquarters cabin. Basking in the warmth, we sipped hot chocolate and knoshed on cookies provided by the rangers, who had a rare chance to talk with guests because of the small number of non-Super Bowl viewing park visitors. Every time the ranger rolled another log on the fire it made it that much harder to to leave the comfort of the soft warm chairs and couch that faced the glowing embers.
Although this trip didnt generate the adrenaline that some trips have, it was a very pleasant and intimate experience. It would have been super if you could have been there as well!
© 2008 S.R. Hinrichs