This week we explored the serpentine soils of Mt. Tam located north of the bay in Marin County. We hiked up to the serpentine area from one of the higher parking lots and learned a bunch of new plants.
The serpentine soil had a shiny blue-green color due to the extra heavy metals that were inside of it. It limits what plants can grow and causes these patches of shrubs amongst the douglas firs.
This beautiful manzanita is native to only this area of serpentine soil and found nowhere else! It pretty much dominated most of the serpentine areas.
Near the parking lot was this awesome view of the hills behind the Golden Gate Bridge that is kind of hidden in this picture. Highway 1 is to the right, the city is straight forward, and the bay is to the left of this area. So pretty!
This week we went to a park that was part of the East Bay Regional Parks District located about 40 minutes from Berkeley. It was a drastically different landscape than what i was used to and most of the area looked like it hadn’t seen any moisture in years. There was no running water anywhere at the parking lot since all the pipes had been shut down because of the drought. There were a few giant water jugs for drinking water thankfully.
We saw a bunch of really neat birds including a golden eagle, turkey vultures, and a few woodpeckers hard at work. This one was chilling out on an oak tree covered in mistletoe.
Everywhere that was away from the creek was pretty parched. There was a green band running throughout a sea full of yellow grass.
The hiking trail was very different from what the website pictures showed because it’s the end of the dry season. The landscape was primarily covered in yellow grass and dotted with a few oak trees. Hopefully the rain comes back soon
One of my favorite things to do after work is go running or cycling to all the parks in the area. All of them are clean, beautiful, and well maintained. Each one has a different characteristic and charm, which makes them so nice to visit.