Thursday, March 29, 2012
Van Damne State Park and Western Hemlock
I decided to go for a hike in Van Damne State Park along the Mendocino Coast after work yesterday afternoon. It's been a while since I've hiked here, and I was curious what I might find this time around. In my mind, I was going to find some large redwoods that I had missed before. However, that was not the case. In fact, I was very surprised how small the redwoods are here. It's definitely a second or third generation forest, all the monster redwoods have been logged and removed.
Nonetheless, it's an exceptional forest in my opinion. While hiking along the trail, I noticed a tiny jelly bean sized pine cone that I've never seen before. After looking around for a minute and seeing only redwoods and Douglas firs, I saw the bark of a tree 20 feet up the hill that was new to me. There were many more of these small cones the closer I got to the tree. I recognized the roots from my California conifer book and suspected it was my first positive ID of the Western Hemlock. After taking a few photos and putting a few cones in my pocket, the identification matched my book when I got home. It's a beautiful tree.