Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Raining. Let's Go For a Hike!

 amphitheater benches, set aside during construction

So what else to do on a drizzly Monday afternoon than drive a couple hours to go hiking at Big Basin, huh?  Driving through the narrow roads under a dense canopy of Redwoods, Madrones and Douglas Firs seemed like enough of an adventure in itself- wow, those curves!

We enabled each other to actually get out of the car and amazingly hiked for a couple of miles in gear not suited to rain (I had a scarf over my head).  Perhaps the canopy sifted the rain down in small doses, but I was far from drenched when we reached the car at the end of our hike. 

The Ceanothus stretched gauntly towards the light, but shot out incredible displays of powdery puffballs.  They looked like giant bouquets. The branches on this Oak seemed so gestural and dramatic- it's so hard to capture tall things in a photo!

As we left, I had to stop the car and jog back to this mysterious lavender-flowered plant.  The batteries in the camera died before I could get more than one photo, but the saw-toothed leaves are slightly sticky like a monkey flower (who were blooming nearby), but strongly scented like a sweeter version of a Pacific Wax Myrtle.  The plant had slightly purple stems and branched upright, growing about three feet high.  The flower clusters sat upon the tips of the branches and the flowers themselves were about 3/8 inch long.  It grew in an open area (previously Redwood forest) that had been through a fire maybe ten years ago?  What is it?!  It's driving me crazy not knowing!  Please, someone put me out of my misery and identify it for me!

 Also spotted in the same place, a Pearly Everlasting (blurry.  darn).  Oh.  .  .  now I know why it's called that!  The residual water droplets shone like little diamonds in between the pearl settings.  Wondrous!


  1. I honestly have no clue as to the identity of your little purple flowers. I hope someone can enlighten us, now I'm curious too!

  2. The mystery plant is yerba santa.

  3. By golly, you're right! Eriodictyon californicum to be exact. Wonderful plant- I've never seen it at the nursery before, but it might be worth seeking out! Thanks, queerbychoice!

  4. One of my most memorable hikes was in Big Basin in the rain. The trees definitely seem to capture alot of the rain. It felt as though we got just wet enough to enjoy it, but not really that wet. And the sounds and smells were great. Thanks for the pic and thanks to queerbychoice for the ID. I've been curious about what yerba santa looks like.

  5. The Pearly Everlasting pic is beautiful. The slight blur (and it's really very slight) makes it kind of a glamour shot.

  6. Oh my gosh, that's the perfect description- glamour shot! Thanks, Deacon's Wife!
    Glad you've been able to experience Big Basin in the rain, too Brad. We felt crazy, but it really did seem like an ideal time to go. Next time we'll bring proper gear.