Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Phoenix Lake

Another break in the weather and it's time to head outdoors. The North side of Mt. Tam can be positively unappealing in the winter because the low sun may never get above the Mountain from most vantages, leaving you in shade all day. Not helpful when the temperature is already low. The Phoenix Lake area, however, is an exception to this rule, where the Yolanda Trail is open and sunny year round.
In fact, this area had already gotten enough sun that some Milk Maid flowers had been tricked into blooming already. That's what life is like in California: the seasons are hardly set in stone, so any guidebook has to give months worth of leeway when predicting what will be blooming.
Saw a few more mushrooms in the lower, damper regions. Including some good clumps of Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms and a Golden Waxy Cap.

But probably the neatest thing I saw this afternoon was some mushrooms growing out of a moss, itself holding aloft its spore capsules. I guess what I find poetic about this pairing is that both the plant (which has chlorophyl and breathes carbon dioxide) and the fungus (lacking chlorophyl and breathing oxygen) reproduce in such similar ways: by shedding billions of invisible spores. The moss sinks it roots into the tree bark, while the fungus' mycelium is likely inside the moss.

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