Friday, February 3, 2012

habitat ~ 02/03/12 ~ Mt. Madonna County Park

Mount Madonna County Park
February 3, 2012

This was an unusual hike in that I rarely go out looking for a specific flower. The last time I did this was July 19, 2010 and July 25, 2010 when we went on hunts for the federally endangered Yadon's piperia. See my fetid adder's tongue post for the cool lily that brought us out to this remote spot at Mt. Madonna.

I wanted redwoods. Andy is much better at maps and GPS coordinates than I am since he's an avid trail runner. We initially hiked up the Ridge Rd. trail because of the Calflora report. There were plenty of oaks and CA bays. After a bit, I didn't think we'd find any FATs, so we backtracked and went on the Sprig trail where there were plenty of redwoods. Bingo! The last picture above is supposedly of Sprig Lake. It looks like a small creek to me, but with the lack of rain we've had this year, it's no wonder. The creek-side willows were just starting to show their fuzzy buds.

Sigh... I have to state that I don't feel comfortable hiking this side of Mt. Madonna by myself. This mountain is known for its drug activity. When we came across a couple eating an orange on the redwood trail, I excitedly asked them if they were into plants. They said, "Sure!" I promptly pulled out my camera to show them my pics of FATs. Their expressions changed. I don't think my plants were the ones they wanted. Recently in the news there was a big pot growing bust with DEA helicopters landing near the Dama dama pens. And thanks to our friendly ranger the first time we camped up here, we know there are also meth labs around. Because I'm nosey and generally inquisitive, I haven't yet decided if I am unobtrusive enough to hike safely through these kinds of areas. This is one of the reasons why I don't hike down in the Big Sur area by myself.


Cindy said...

It is frustrating to have such illegal activities harm our natural lands and limit our ability to enjoy them.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I've heard some horror stories about rat poison being used for certain, um, crops. I don't know if that's true or not. I don't hike by myself as much as I used to. I think it's more a matter of perception for me. I'm probably just as safe (or unsafe) as I ever was.

Arro said...

If the areas aren't really all that safe, have been known to have some shady people around, or just give you that bad feeling in your gut never go to them alone. I always think that it's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.

I myself always carry pepper-spray with me wherever I go, and I mean that. It gives you a little extra confidence and can help you against someone or something out to harm you. Make sure to keep it within easy reach, too.

Be safe on your adventures!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Arro, ya, once when I was getting my stuff out of the car for a hike, a van riddled with bullet holes pulled in next to me - not a good gut feeling. I quickly tossed all my stuff back into the car and left pronto. I haven't carried pepper spray since a 2-month backpacking trip in Alaska 20 years ago in case of a grizzly bear encounter. I do sometimes worry about mountain lions when Andy goes on remote trail runs by himself.