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California Redwoods and Waterfalls:
Big Basin Berry Creek Falls
January

January on the Berry Creek Falls Loop (BCFL) Trail in the Forest of Big Basin State Park.
Route was clockwise (except where stated otherwise). Report is by J. Zimmerman (except where stated otherwise).

Flower are our stars 2008 (counter-clockwise).
Flower are our stars 2007 (counter-clockwise).
Flower are our stars 2006.
Flower are our stars 2005 (counter-clockwise).
Flower are our stars 2004 by Scott Peden.
Flower are our stars 2003 by Scott Peden.
Flower are our stars 2002.

Also:
Flower are our stars 7-year summary of flower-slug-newt data.
Flower are our stars Flower-slug-newt count graph.
Flower are our stars Wildflower species calendar on BCFL Trail.
Flower are our stars Walk With Scott Peden in Big Basin State Park.
NEW AUGUST 2005 Paces calibration (Berry Creek Falls Loop Trail).
Redwoods are our stars Big Basin S.P. OWCH hike: 15 miles, 1500 feet.


Adder's Tongue closeup by Sudhir Dass

California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii)
© 2005-2015 by Sudhir Dass.
Blooms for only a few weeks (mid-January to early February).

Designation of "unique": refers to any species that was seen in a single location on the reported day.

Designation of "early": refers to any species that we are seeing this month on this trail for the first time since we started this record. [These flowers have often been reported by others this early. They are, however, early for us.]


Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Flowers:


Wednesday, January 3, 2007 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


No flowers at Ranger Station HQ.

Taking Dool Trail toward Sunset Trail - beginning our counter-clockwise exploration.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector: 1st slug spotted; 1 total.

By West Waddell Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 1 new slug; 2 total. First newt; 1 total.

By Timms Creek Trail (on Sunset Trail): 1 new slug; 3 total.

By East Berry Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 2 new slugs; 5 total.

  1. Several Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita in bloom (white).

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail: 0 new slugs; 5 total.

    By Silver Falls. 0 new slugs; 5 total. 4 newts clambering on logs at Silver Falls; 5 total.

    By BC Falls Bench: 5 new slugs; 10 total. 7 new newts; 12 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls view from Seat: 0 new slugs, 10 total. 1 new newt; 13 total.

    By Waddell Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs; 10 total.

  2. California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii): Near the steps carved into stone (on the ocean side of last year's trail-restructuring landslide). Below the steps about 40 blooms; above the steps about 15 blooms. Definitely got the aroma of the flower this time: it is not at all floral.

    By Timms Creek Trail: 6 new slugs; 16 total. 1 new newt; 14 total.

    By West (lower) End of the connector trail: 3 new slugs; 19 total. 5 new newts (an intriguing group of 5 nibbling on the mold-rich cross-section of a Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)); 19 total.

    By East (upper) End of the connector trail: 0 new slugs; 19 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 19 total.

    By Sunset connector: 2 new slugs; 21 total.

  3. Toothwort (Dentaria californica) (pink).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 4 new slugs; 25 total.

  4. ["unique"] Redwood Violet.

    Arriving back at HQ via Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail: 1 new slug; 26 total.


Monday, January 15, 2007 - counter-clockwise.

Report by J. Zimmerman.


No flowers at Ranger Station HQ.

Taking Dool Trail toward Sunset Trail - beginning our counter-clockwise exploration.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector (5.2 miles from Park H.Q. on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By West Waddell Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs. 1 new slug; 2 total.

By Timms Creek Trail (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

By East Berry Creek Bridge (on Sunset Trail): 0 slugs.

  1. Several Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita in bloom (white).

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail: 0 slugs.

    By Silver Falls. 0 slugs.

    By BC Falls Bench: 1st slug spotted; 1 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls view from Seat: 0 new slugs, 1 total.

    By Waddell Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs; 1 total.

  2. California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii): Below and above the steps carved into stone (on the ocean side of last year's trail-restructuring landslide).

    By Timms Creek Trail: 0 new slugs; 1 total.

  3. ["unique"] Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) (pink).

    By West (lower) End of the connector trail: 0 new slugs; 1 total.

    By East (upper) End of the connector trail: 0 new slugs; 1 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 1 total.

    By Sunset connector: 1 new slugs; 2 total.

  4. ["unique"] Toothwort (Dentaria californica) (pink). (a.k.a milkmaids).

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs, 2 total.

    Arriving back at HQ via Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail: 0 new slugs, 2 total.


Thursday, January 5, 2006.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Thanks to Hooray for crews our heroes, the trail-clearing crews.
We appreciate the huge amount of unseen work that they do to make this part of the park accessible to us.

Beware, several recently downed trees blocked Sunset Trail. They are listed in the sequence they would be encountered if one hiked from HQ along Sunset Trail. For all but the last one, the hiker has to bushwhack off-trail. 'Times along trail' are for a gentle walking pace:
  1. Large redwood (and side-swiped tan oak) by Edwin and Mary Abeel Grove, about 10 minutes beyond (going away from HQ) Sky-Sea Connector Trail junction.
  2. Tan oak, about 25 minutes beyond the above redwood.
  3. Three (?) tan oaks together, about 10 minutes further on.
  4. 18"-diameter tree across trail at hip height; a minute or two on HQ side of Timms Creek Trail Junction.

There are also three places along Skyline-to-Sea where tan oaks are down but one can scramble over or under them.

The old bridge over West Waddell Creek is very weak and rickety. I wonder if it will last through this winter.

Redwood duff. 32 (50%).
Moss. 9 (14%)
Tan oak leaves. 8 (12%) (2 of these were on twigs)
Mushrooms. 5 (8%) (1 of these was on a fungus 10" up a tree stump).
Mud 4 (6%)
Redwood branches. 3 (5%)
Decaying maple leaf. 1 (2%)
Decaying redwood violet leaf. 1 (2%)
Decaying sorrel leaf. 1 (2%)

Compare with vegetation where the slugs were in March 2006.


No wildflower by the Ranger Station HQ:

Take Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail toward Middle Ridge Fire Road.

By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 slugs so far.

By Sunset Connector Trail junction: 4 new slugs, 4 total.

By Kelly Creek Bridge: 8 new slugs, 12 total.

  1. ["unique"] Toothwort (Dentaria californica) (pink).

    By East End (upper) of the side trail: 2 new slugs, 14 total.

  2. ["unique"] Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana). White.

    By West End (lower) of the side trail: 7 new slugs, 21 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail: 3 new slug, 24 total. Also 3 newts.

  3. California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii): a dozen plants with about 30 fresh blooms in total. [Uphill from trail on the rock with steep steps cut into it.]
  4. ["unique"] California hedge nettle (Stachys bulleta). [Not previously seen from December to April.]

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 3 new slugs, 27 total. 1 new newt; 4 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls first view (at Seat): 2 new slug, 29 total. 1 new newt; 4 total.

    By Berry Creek Falls viewing platform and bench: 3 new slugs, 32 total.

    By Silver Falls: 18 new slugs, 50 total. 4 new newts; 8 total.

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 1 new slug, 51 total. 2 new newts; 10 total.

  5. Several Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita in bloom (white).

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 0 new slugs, 51 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 3 new slugs, 54 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 1 new slug, 55 total.

    By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 7 new slugs, 62 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 2 new slugs, 64 total.

    By Dool Trail: No additions.

    By HQ: No additions.

Saturday, January 1, 2005.

Report by J. Zimmerman.

Designation of "unique": In this report, the designation of "unique" is given to those species that were seen in a single location.


No wildflowers visible by the Ranger Station HQ.

Headed out COUNTERCLOCKWISE, taking the Dool Trail: 0 new slugs, 0 total. Again delighted by the WONDERFUL NEW BRIDGE ACROSS OPAL CREEK!

By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 0 new slugs, 0 total.

By Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail Connector junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 0 total.

  1. ["unique"] Wood strawberry (white).

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 4 new slugs, 4 total.

    By Timms Creek Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 0 new slugs, 4 total.

    By East Berry Creek Bridge: 3 new slugs, 7 total.
    Drizzle started and I was glad for my bulky rain jacket that covers my day-pack as well as me.

  2. Several Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita in bloom (white).

    By Sunset Camp Connector Trail junction with Sunset Trail: 1 new slugs, 8 total.
    Still drizzling.

    By Silver Falls. 3 new slugs, 11 total. And the first terrestrial newt.
    Still drizzling.

    By Berry Creek Falls bench (on platform): 11 new slugs, 29 total.
    And 9 more terrestrial newt on a newt highway, 10 total.
    Drizzle easing up.

    By Berry Creek Falls viewing Seat: 0 new slugs, 29 total.

    By West Waddell Creek Bridge: 8 new slugs, 37 total.

  3. ["unique"] California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii) at the stone stairs; their slim-petalled greenish flowers are almost invisible; numerous flies were attracted, perhaps to their dead-meat smell, and were wandering around agitatedly fertilizing the flowers.

    By Timms Creek Trail: 1 new slugs, 38 total.
    And 1 more terrestrial newt that was very broad in the waistline (pregnant?) and was heading down to the raging water of West Waddell Creek; 11 total newts.

    By West End (lower) of the side trail: 5 new slugs, 43 total.
    And 3 more terrestrial newts, 14 total.

    By East End (upper) of the side trail: 2 new slugs, 45 total.

    By Kelly Creek Bridge: 3 new slugs, 48 total.

    By Sunset Connector Trail junction: 10 new slugs, 58 total.

    By Middle Ridge Fire Road: 7 new slugs, 65 total.

    On Sky-Line-to-the-Sea Trail back to HQ.
    The steep parts of the trail were running rivers.


January 2004

Reported for January 24th, 2004, by Scott Peden, Photographer, local plant expert, nature guide, and Docent at Big Basin State Park.

 In-between Timms and Golden Falls the Newts were ahead of the Nanners! 
 And most of them were not where we had seen great numbers of them before.
 In fact I saw none in the 3 largest groups that I remember from the past. 
 Up until Timms Creek they stayed one behind.
 Total Nanners 25 Newts 22.

 3 Places for the California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii): 
        After lower connector, 
        after the stone stairs, and 
        above Silver Falls.
		   
 The walk from BC Falls to Golden was again magical with the 
 	Alum Root (Heuchera micrantha), 
 	Sugar Scoop (Tiarella unifoliata), 
 	Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana),
	and 
	California Fetid Adder's Tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii) 
	all in that distinct ecozone.
 Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita  (glossy leaves on both sides). Loads of it in bloom after Sunset Camp. 
 Also in this area were berries on the Toyon and a 
	Toothwort (Dentaria californica) in bloom. 
	Within days there will be loads of blooms.
 	Redwood Violet.
	after W.Waddel Bridge on Sunset Trail.
 Six flowers total. 


January 2003

Reported for Wednesday, January 1st, 2003, by Scott Peden, Photographer, local plant expert, nature guide, and Docent at Big Basin State Park.

THE HIGHLIGHTS

It is winter time. Check at the Ranger Station for trail and weather conditions. You are
responsible for your choice to travel in Big Basin, which is at your own risk.

We saw dozens of large trees down; and the West Waddell Bridge is temporarily out (Pic on web site)
(Picture on my companion web site.) 

I counted 24 folks who made it across the swollen creek to get to the falls even with these obstacles. 
Luckily it wasn't windy or rainy, but quite a nice day!

26.1 inches of rain in December, in the Basin of Big Basin Redwoods State Park, likely much 
more on the seaward portion of the Skyline to the Sea Trail where most of this walk takes place. 

There were more Mushrooms and other Funguses, many weird and strange-looking ones too this month. 
Frequently there were Banana Slugs on them, and actively eating them [Ed. and sliming them
in the process - a cautionary (yucky?) note to mushroom thieves.] What a visual treat! 
Remember your Ethics!. No picking allowed. 

I am becoming convinced that the Banana Slug count, and the number of unmolested mushrooms are 
connected, as the count seems to always be higher when there are mushrooms, new, old or decaying. 
Trilliums are the other food of choice, but appear in a different cycle of the year. Since there are 
almost no Mushrooms or Trilliums on the Basin side of this loop, we rarely see a Banana Slug 
in the Basin either.

We could smell wet burnt wood on both the Skyline to the Sea trail, and returning, on the 
Sunset trail. Amazing after 26.1 inches of rain, and how little vegetation was actually consumed 
by the controlled burn! 

Latin Names and more information are posted with each picture on my picture site.
I load pictures to that on-line portfolio (Scott's Flower Photos) 
as time permits. 

Note: Funguses and Mushrooms are protected just as all of the flowers, trees and shrubs are. 
This is a State park, and these are here for all of us to enjoy. No one is allowed to pick or  
harm any feature in the park or to take anything home, etc. There are penalties for this. Last
January on Tuesday the 15th, I walked to Berry Creek Falls, and counted dozens of fungus and
mushroom. I took pictures as my trophies. I walked to the falls again on Friday, Jan 18th 2002, 
3 days later, and there were only 6 mushrooms left; even the poisonous ones were gone. 

THE PARTICULARS!

Park HQ up Skyline to the Sea Trail to Middle Ridge Fire Road 8:03 AM
*  There was a pair of Ravens in the parking lot, as our only company.
*  The large Fallen Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), that I had my picture taken in front of, 
   now has a pool of water 3-4 inches deep where the root used to be in the ground.
   (Picture on my companion web site.)
*  In places the trail here was a creek, and was hard to get around without getting wet. Where 
   does all of the water come from after it has stopped raining, as there is only 340 feet of 
   elevation above Opal Creek? I have a picture on my website showing the trail creek flowing 
   out of the hillside next to the trail.
 
Middle Ridge Fire Road to Sunset Connector trail 8:44 AM
*  Some different mushrooms than I have noticed in the past
Banana Slugs 2.
 
Sunset Connector trail to Kelly Creek bridge 9:07 AM
*  More Mushrooms
Banana Slugs 3, total 5.
 
Kelly Creek bridge to east end of Loop (alternate) trail 9:30 AM
Banana Slugs 2 total 7.
 
East end of Loop trail to west end of Loop trail 9:40 AM
Banana Slugs 10, total 17.
 
West end of Loop Trail to Timms Creek Trail 10:01 AM
Banana Slugs 11, total 28.
Newts 1
 
Timms Creek trail to Berry Creek Falls viewing bench 10:19 AM
*  There are logs piled on top of the large log that serves as a bridge across West Waddell Creek,
   to the Timms Creek trail. The water was that high and moving fast! 
   (Picture on my companion web site.)
*  Being close to the creek here you can see many beautiful scenes with the water flowing 
   over logs and rocks. 
   Some pictures are on my companion web site.
Banana Slugs 11, total 39.
Newts 3, total 4. We probably pass by a great many of them, as we don't usually see them unless they are moving.                 Their camouflage is excellent. I have several pics on the web site where they are in plain view, even close up, and         you need to look for them! careful not to step on them on the trail too!
 
Berry Creek Falls viewing bench to Silver Falls 11:40 AM
*  I could hear the Roar of the Falls before I could see them, it was a GRAND first viewing! 
   What a treat after crossing the West Waddell without a bridge!  We usually stop and put our feet up 
   and grab a bite as we look at the Falls for the first time, then stop again for another short while 
   at the viewing platform, just below the Falls.
*  The walk from BC Falls to Silver Falls really has a magical quality to it, of being someplace different 
   than the rest of the journey. Quite a sylvan setting, and one of my most favorite places in the Park.
Banana Slugs 33, total 72.
 
Silver Falls to Sunset Camp connector trail 1:33 PM
1.  Milkmaids, a.k.a. Rain Bells; a Sub species belonging with the Toothworts. Pic to my web site!
*  Just as Berry Creek Falls was at its grandest, so were all of the other Falls. If I could have, 
   I'd have gone out here every day to see them!
16 Banana Slugs, total 88.
 
Sunset Camp connector trail to W. Berry Creek bridge 2:23 PM
2.  Small-leaved (sensitive) manzanita.
*  Toyon, a.k.a. California Christmas Tree, a.k.a. Christmas Berry, with its Red Berries are along 
   the trail in the chaparral region.
*  As we re-enter the woods, there are bunches of different types of mushrooms.
1 Large Banana Slug, total 89.
 
W. Berry Creek bridge to Timms Creek Trail 2:59 PM
*  Wood Rose with Rose Hips, located at the high point of this trail section. Pic on my web site.
*  More, one of a kind mushroom, or some sort of fungus.
Newts 3, total 7.
 
Timms Creek trail to West Waddell Creek Bridge 3:54 PM
*  Club Moss growing off of a living Tan Oak near the log bench; these have a tree-like appearance.
   Some sections of this one are 2.5 inches long, and very feathery in appearance. Pic to my web site.
 
West Waddell Creek Bridge to Skyline to the Sea connector trail 4:03
*  It has become dark by the time I have reached the connector trail, funny how the darkness has snuck 
   up on me at about this same time, for the last 3 months. My flashlight is still holding out with 50 
   more minutes of travel left to go.
Banana Slugs 8 (reported by Joan [Ed. who went ahead to exit in daylight]; I only saw 3 in the dim 
light) total 97.
 
Skyline to the Sea Connector to Ranger Headquarters 5:11 PM
Banana Slugs 2 (reported by Joan, who was 50 minutes ahead of me) total for the day 99.
 
Ranger Headquarters 5:50 PM
Times:
        Left ranger station 8:03 AM
        Returned to HQ at 5:50 PM (sp) and 5 PM (jz). 
        9 hours and 47 minutes on the Trail today.

Berry Creek Falls Weather in the Winter Season

Cold, overcast, rainy. Most the annual rainfall (average 48 inches) occurs in Winter. Temperatures vary from highs in the 50's to lows in the 20's.

January 2002

A pleasant mid-week hike with a photographer, who made hundreds of shots of fungi for help with visitor education at Big Basin State Park. Saw three other hikers along the trail, and two preparing to backpack from Park H.Q. Cold, clear weather, after a dry week. Scraped ice off my car windows before driving to Park H.Q.

Highlights:

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