Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mt. Tamalpais Ridgecrest Ramblin' - 4/2/11

          Having a great stay over at the Sandpiper we had a relaxing morning before setting off up the mountain for a small hike. I would recommend the Sandpiper to anyone looking for a cozy place to stay at the beach. Although we're local, just one night had us feeling like we were miles from home. Sarah had mentioned that a large moth had been hanging around for a while outside the office so I decided to check it out before we left.

Ceanothus Silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus)

          We packed our things and hit the road heading up toward the Rock Springs parking lot. Being Saturday morning the lot was completely full and then some. We bypassed the craziness and parked along Ridgecrest Blvd. I tend to try and avoid people when I’m hiking so we decided to take one of my “ramblin’ routes”. We proceeded down the western flanks of Bolinas Fairfax Ridge. Among others, Shooting Stars, Blue Dicks, and California Poppies decorated the grassy hillsides.
          We passed by the spring fed Rubber Ducky Tub and later came across a large hole in the ground that looked like it could have been a coyote den.

Rubber Ducky Tub

After admiring views of the ocean from a large rock we rambled into the forest where we were greeted by many Calypso Orchids. We made our way through a maze of fallen Douglas Fir branches and out into another open grassland. Several Hounds Tongue were in bloom at the edge of the forest.

Calypso Orchid (Calypso Bulbosa)

Hounds Tongue

          We traveled uphill and crossed back over Ridgecrest Blvd . We then traversed down the east side of the ridge to a rock I call Calypso Crag. The rock offers a great place to relax in the sun and observe nature. Each year a large patch of Calypso Orchids bloom near its base, hence the name Calypso Crag.
          We sat in the sun and rested our legs for bit. We were watching a caterpillar maneuvering briskly across the rock wondering what type of butterfly it might become when a fence lizard made a quick meal of it.

Lunch Time!

Western Fence Lizard

          Sarah then took a nap while I went to check on the Calypso patch and go wandering about.

Calypso Patch

Banana Slug

Camouflage Grasshopper

          With lunch awaiting us in the car we made our way up the hillside to finish our loop. We drove a bit further down Ridgecrest Blvd. and parked the 4runner at a pullout with a view. There’s nothing like a sandwich and a cold one waiting for you when you get done with a hike!

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