Saturday, December 5, 2015

Wet Knees

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This morning, for the first time since last year, my knees got wet when I knelt down to make some photographs. Yay!

I also finally saw a good flush of mushrooms on the forest floor.

The ground is finally wet, but the creeks have yet to start flowing.

It finally feels like the season is changing...

...from dry to wet.

Good thing I checked the trail camera. It had been knocked askew and had some little skinny branches in front of it. I sort of suspect a squirrel that showed up a couple of times. Squirrels don't like being spied on. When I put the camera on the ground once, not attached to anything, a squirrel knocked it over, then kicked it again while it was down.

I was poking around on a little-used path that runs roughly parallel to the Simmons Trail, heading for this grove of valley live oaks to see how their moss coats were doing, when I was surprised by a couple of hikers. I'm sure they were as surprised to see me as I was them. 

Not only were we off the beaten path, but it was still earlier than I usually start to notice hikers. But today, several people had beaten me to the gate at opening time (hey, I slept in), a couple of guys were already setting out to hike down the Cataract Trail when I pulled in to Rock Spring at about 7:15, and a pair of trail runners passed me while I was checking the camera trap. 

Here's a kinder, gentler Gomphidius glutinosis. Not really wet enough to be hideous.

I didn't know what these guys were. At first I thought they were honey mushrooms growing out of a buried chunk of wood, but then I realized they were boletes. I used my photo to try key them out in California Mushrooms by Dennis Desjardin, et al., and ended up (with just a modicum of conviction) at Suillus lakei.

More rain in the forecast for the coming week. Let's hope it comes. It's still way too dry up there for December.

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