Saturday, January 15, 2011

TCC Trail Treasures

There is a fungus riot going on at Mt. Tam these days, at the nowhere shows it better than the TCC Trail, which starts at Pan Toll. Of course I saw plenty of Candy Caps along with these Russula mushrooms that I saw last week.
Not to mention all manor of unidentified white mushrooms pushing up from the roots of trees, shelf fungus growing off of old logs, and more. At times I thought I could smell all the fungus surrounding me.

I also saw some more Fluted Black Helvella and then came upon a new one for me, this Helvella with a tan cap. I'm pretty sure it's not a black one with an inordinately light cap (I have seen grey ones before). Will have to do some more research to see if I can get the exact species. All told I saw about a dozen of them.
The slugs are now out, and it's always good to see a field of coral fungus in the trail.

Eventually the TCC trail took me out to the ocean, and from there down the Dipsea and up Steep Ravine to complete the loop. Neither of those trails had the fungal jackpot of TCC, but Steep Ravine did have one unsettling sight: the old fallen tree with a doorway carved in it has been knocked down by another fallen tree. Nature has moved on. Below see before and after (look closely and you can make out the notch where the door was):

As usual I did my best to finish just in time for a gorgeous Tam sunset, this time with the sky turning a lovely red color.
This sunset featured one piece of interesting optical phenomen: a sun pillar. As is so often the case with sunsets, photos don't reveal all that the eye does, so my pictures of the sun pillar are too faint to be of much use. Instead I'll link to this photo from Wikipedia:

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