Sunday, January 16, 2011

Muir Woods Sunday

Muir Woods is another place that supplies a pretty consistent supply of fungus. As we approached it on the Dispea trail, plenty of the previously-seen Candy Cap mushrooms and fields of coral fungus were spotted. One pleasant surprise was to come across this scaly Panther mushroom (Amanita pantherita), as well as a baby button form of the same.

More Fluted Black Helvella, this one in a heart shape! This makes it more obvious why this type of cap is often described as saddle-shaped.
Muir Woods was pretty busy, as you'd expect on a weekend. The fog had not yet lifted, which made for the often-seen crepuscular rays.
Right on time, the Fetid Adder's Tongue flowers are just starting to appear. As the name implies, this is quite a foul-smelling flower, which pleases the flies and other bugs that it seeks to attract. These flowers will only be around for a month or so.
After hiking out of the shadows of Muir Woods, back into the sunlight, we stopped by the Tourist Club to admire the view.
And then, wouldn't you know it, the sun was nearly setting, so we drove up to Sunset Point. Most of the ocean was covered by a low-lying blanket of fog, obscuring the horizon.
Which made it all the more remarkable what happened a few moments after this photo was taken: we saw a green flash! I have seen more sunsets than most people and have looked for a green flash in a great many of them, but never once seen it. According to green flash science (such as it is), we should have had no chance at seeing one if we couldn't see the horizon, and yet we did, just for a few seconds. We had to verify with the other sunset onlookers just to make sure our eyes weren't playing tricks on us. Sorry I didn't manage to get a photo!

We sat for a little while longer, admiring the view. I am pretty certain that I was able to glimpse the planet Mercury just after the sun had gone down. Mercury is so close to the sun, that just before sunrise or after sunset is pretty much your only opportunity to see it, and that's only if it is in a favorable position in its orbit. Quite a day!

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