Saturday, March 8, 2014

Little Carson Falls

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"I had gathered together shells, bones, eggs, wood, dried kelp, whatnot, as I often do, to see what these things . . . will do to me: I am the adventurer on a voyage of discovery, ready to receive fresh impressions, eager for fresh horizons . . . to identify myself in, and unify with, whatever I am able to recognize as significantly part of me: the 'me' of universal rhythms."

--Edward Weston (from The Daybooks of Edward Weston)

Who knew Weston had a mystical side?! I actually didn't know a thing about the guy until I peeked at his diaries, published in two volumes as The Daybooks of Edward Weston. There's definitely a dated aspect to his mysticism, if such a thing as mysticism can be said to be dated. The thing is, scientific knowledge keeps making a mockery of claims made by mystics about reality (as well as claims made by earlier scientists, for that matter). However, there's the baby, and there's the bathwater, and when the last of the latter has been tossed out, the former's enigmatic smile still remains.

I just finished the California daybooks, which comprise the second volume. The first volume was written while Weston was in Mexico, and I'll get on that next. 

This photo was made from a vantage point above the Meadow Club Golf Course. Coyotes yipped and wild turkeys gobbled in the middle distance as the sun prepared to rise.

I'm not sure when I decided where to go this morning. It definitely wasn't before I went to sleep last night. I knew I wanted to be on the north side of Mt. Tam for sunrise because we switch to Daylight Saving Time this weekend, and I doubt I'll be getting out early enough for sunrise again for the remainder of this project. 

I had a couple of northside hikes in mind, both of which I will soon get to, but I was glad to hit upon the idea to head up to Carson Falls. The main alternative -- going to High Marsh -- would have been a much longer hike, and I wasn't too excited about such a major undertaking. I'd rather tackle High Marsh from Rock Spring than from Alpine Lake.

Another photographer and blogger, Donald Kinney, was recently at Carson Falls, and his photos reminded me that I needed to get out there.

The somewhat rare Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs were in their usual haunts. Look twice and you'll see the second frog.

First frog, nicely camouflaged.

Little Carson Falls is really a set of several waterfalls. I think of them as the upper, middle and lower falls. The Marin Municipal Water District built a nice trail down here (barely a hint of the old trail remains), built sturdy bridges and put up interpretive signs about the frogs. The district also assigns volunteer docents to help interpret the area for visitors during peak frog-breeding season.

The California buckeye is leafing out.

This is a bunch of moss, lichen -- and maybe selaginella. The possibility of the dark green structures being spikemoss is really the only reason I photographed this little patch of green.

Graceful little polypody ferns were also growing nearby.

My eyes were drawn to a white mushroom growing in the moss, and I didn't see this lovely little Leptonia until I put my glasses on to get a better look.

Surprise! My first blue-eyed grass of the season.

The hikers (plural) are a guy with his daughter on his shoulders. I heard him tell her they were on the Old Sled Trail, but this is actually a no-name trail one canyon up from the Old Sled Trail.

Another surprise was finding this Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry on the trail back to the Jeep.

The trail had still been pretty dark on my way up. It was all I could do to keep my eyes peeled to keep from stepping on California newts, so I missed pretty much everything else on the way up, including this somewhat tortured yet beautiful Entoloma.

A Giant Chain Fern frond unfolds.

Another tiny Mycena in the moss....

Slim Solomon.

I got back to the Jeep and drove up to Bolinas Ridge, passing numerous cars parked at the base of Cataract Canyon. I'm sure it was a great day to check out the waterfalls.

I watched a Red-tailed Hawk for a while as I glassed the hillsides for bobcats. I can't believe I haven't spotted a bobcat during the last nine months. The camera trap has caught a few, but I have yet to spot one otherwise. It's a good reminder of how rare it can be to have a good bobcat encounter. California poppies, on the other hand, are almost always guaranteed.

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