My backyard does not lack in variety. Want thick, moody, pre-historic feeling redwood forest? Check. Open, dry, chaparral covered hillsides? Check. Gnarled groves of oak? Check. Maybe a lake or two?
How about all in one hike?
Lakes around here are really reservoirs. Having grown up in the land of 10,000 lakes (MN – and there has to be more than 10,000) reservoirs don’t really seem lakes to me.
But they can be pretty in their own way.
Case in point:
Bon Tempe Lake, the starting point of this hike, covered in mid-AM fog. Mt Tam’s a suggestion’s in the background. Cormorant line the pipe in the middle, none here stretching their wings to dry.
A friend and I began this five mile loop from the dam that divides Bon Tempe Lake from Alpine Lake. A fine stand of gnarled, moss-covered oaks greet you at the foot of the dam and follow you along awhile. The trail winds around the shore of Alpine Lake. With water on our right the trail passed interesting rock slides, giant moss-blanketed boulders, wee creeks, and young and old Douglas Fir and Redwood groves.
A “tree-hugger” I am, this giant Douglas Fir begged for my attention.
About half- way along Alpine Lake’s southern shore Kent Trail marches uphill providing a fine cardio workout.
One memorable spot showcased Redwoods’ branches reaching for an opening in the canopy. A small wetland housed numerous croaking frogs.
After a left on the “Stocking” trail the scenery changed dramatically Tall trees fell behind and Madrone/thick Toyon and other shrubs I can’t yet ID hugged the trail. Then, poof! Out we stepped onto a rocky trail, a fire road really, with knee high chaparral revealing views all the way to Pine Mountain.
The sun strong, these photos are quite washed out. Still can’t figure out this scenario when taking pics.
Panoramics did not turn out well. You’ll have to take my word for it that the hills rolled on and on. The bay was covered in a thick fog.
A Turkey Vulture perched not far from the trail. Wondered if this one was ill? It tolerated up walking past a close distance. Seemed unusual.
These birds get a bad rap. But I dig ’em. Sure they are odd looking but watching them fly is something. Ever see one on a thermal above a sea cliff, just hovering in place? In the air they embody grace.
The walk down Rocky Ridge Trail is steep. Descending from 1230 feet to 700 in 1.4 miles made for sore knees the next day and that’s with two poles! These knees…sigh…
Most of my hiking time I spend on the coast. Winter’s the perfect time to explore Mt. Tam, though. Her flanks are revealing such diversity to me.