Laguna Honda Community Trails (1/9/2022)

Today we returned to finish something we started a long time ago, the Laguna Honda Trails. This time, we covered the entirety of the Steep Ravine Trail. That’s the one east of the hospital grounds.

Yes. Of course. There were mushrooms! Shaggy Parasol (?), Tall Psathyrella (?), many a Scurfy Twiglet, Peeling Oysterling, False Turkey-Tail, Jelly Spot Fungus, Brown-staining Cheese Polypore (?), Western Deer Mushroom (?), Helicogloea compressa (??), Yellow Fairy Cups (?), Stalked Hairy Fairy Cup (or was that a slime mold?), Weeping Widow (?), Deer Mushroom (?), Candlesnuff Fungus, and Chip Cherries. Yeah. A LOT. Some I even couldn’t get decent pics of to try to ID.

It was nice to return and see the place so soaked. Our first trip was sometime in the summer? It was DRY. And, every time a mountain biker (that primarily uses these trails) went by, they kicked up dust everywhere. Not today.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Song Sparrows were the first birds we heard and then saw. A Red-shouldered Hawk cried and did a flyover. And, while we were watching the kinglet, THREE RAPTORS all flew in from the east! With one dive-bombing the other!! The dive-bomber flew west. The bombed was a Red-tailed Hawk that landed to rest for a second. The third in the back flew up and out of sight before the bombing. IT WAS EXCITING. Maybe I’ve never seen THREE raptors all in the same place and time? Interacting with each other?? The visible hawk took off for Sutro Tower. And, while we heard Red-tailed Hawk cries a little later, that was the end of the raptor show.

I often see Red-tailed Hawks (even often seeing two together) hanging on the tops of tall poles and lights on the front grounds of Laguna Honda Hospital. So, maybe some territory was being encroached on…

The whole area is covered with invasive species like Himalayan Blackberry, White-ramping Fumitory, ivy (can’t remember which one), among others. It’s like an Invasive Garden out there. But, I spotted a number of California Bee Plant here and there. And, there were even some plantings with flags in a couple spots, one containing blooming Common Selfheal.

But, an interesting find was THE CREEK there at the base of the blackberry canyon. A side trail went right to it! I need to see if I can find more info on it, but one article I read said it was a “perennial creek.” Looking forward to finding out more about it.

Hardly any flowers in general, but one large Kangaroo Apple tree shrub had the brightest purple flowers I’ve ever seen on a Kangaroo Apple tree. And, I’ve seen MANY throughout GGPark. We were kind of blinded by how bright purple they were.

Near the top, we came upon a meadow that leads to the hospital. We were hoping to see signs of farm animals that I read about that the hospital keeps. In non-pandemic times, the animal farm is even open to the public. All we saw were kennel cages a distance away. Hopefully, some other time.

At that elevation, there were Mexican Sunflowers and a Coyote Brush and even a huge blooming Blueblossom shrub and a cotoneaster still with fruit.
We got to the end and turned back to walk through the hospital grounds to get back. I’ve never been so close to these buildings I’ve seen from a distance and have driven by so many times. They are creepy. Old and abandoned and haunted-looking. But, a California Flannelbush was blooming. So, there was one bright spot among it all.

The front of the building, which I’ve never come close to seeing, is quite beautiful. There’s a statue of Florence Nightingale facing it. And, the immediate steps down are through a very well kept garden. Who knew?

So, the mystery of the Laguna Honda trails is no more. We now know exactly what all goes on back there. One more thing in SF we’re now familiar with after all this time.

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