Golden Gate Park (1/19/2022)

Today was a pretty crappy day, and I just managed to get outside with enough time (for me, which is 2 hours minimum) to let go of my concerns. And, my Naturing time helped lift my mood.

I decided to visit the SF Botanical Garden. It’d been a while. I wasn’t even sure if I’ve ever been there in the winter. And, now I kind of know why I haven’t.

While it was nice feeling like I had the garden all to myself for the most part, it is definitely winter there right now. Not a whole lot to see, flower-wise or bird-wise. This was not so bad, as I mostly needed to just forget my day. And, the general scenery did that.

Right after I passed the main gate kiosk to get in, I saw a small Dally Pine with flowers that I’d never noticed before. There’s even a tiny baby Dally Pine right in front of it! The only shame is the larger shrub tree is a bit too far from the walkway to easily enjoy the flower’s Otter Pop scent. Hopefully the baby one closer to the walkway will fix that someday.

I did my favorite route, which starts at the Fragrance Garden and winds through the side trails to the main pond. There, I saw two female Hooded Mergansers trying to nap. And, maybe a Western Pond Turtle (??) chilling on a rock. That was kind of it for wildlife that I noticed. Yep, a quiet day. But, I was anticipating magnolias.

True, some magnolias have started to bloom. And, I was hoping seeing some would be a nice change of pace. But, what has bloomed is mostly at the very top of very tall magnolia trees, so it wasn’t quite the scene I was looking forward to. However, seeing all the fuzzy buds getting ready to open was a comfort. Something to look forward to soon.

I headed east and noticed massive fog rolling in. FROM THE EAST. It was BIZARRE. I concluded it must be that the way the trees are arranged right there that the fog comes in from the west and gets turned around so that it pushes westward?? It felt like forever since I last saw fog.

I spotted some white dots across the lawn that looked like maybe they were mushrooms. Who knew binoculars would be so helpful in determining if a mushroom is in the distance and thus worth walking over to further investigate! Not sure what they are yet, but maybe Smoky Dapperling? I’m thinking I might need to carry a small dry paintbrush with me to brush off any dirt for better photos/IDing. YEP. I’VE GONE THERE.

I detoured from my plan to walk through the Redwood Grove and found more mushrooms. Blewits, maybe. I ended up walking along the California Native garden, where they are still working on that space that’s fenced off. I hope they re-plant all the pipevine those caterpillars loved.

I left the garden with still some time and light left, so I thought maybe I’d have time to catch the Great Horned Owls in the Secret Gardens. Walking past the CAS, I was overcome with an intensely sweet smell. I couldn’t immediately see what it was, but then I saw on the path below was a huge bush of blooming Cherry Laurel. My gawd. Please find some and dig your nose in asap.

Killing time, I visited my Slime Mold Lab. And, even though I expected nothing, SLIME MOLD WAS SEEN. That same orange Tubifera that I saw on the log opposite before. I need a Slime Mold book to understand the different Tubifera. OMG, if only I could take a Slime Mold class…

Past the lab, I checked in on the spot that had both Candlesnuff Fungus and Mica Caps. The Candlesnuff Fungus was still going strong, but the Mica Caps had disappeared. Fascinating things, mushrooms.

The sky had become the most palest pinkest I’ve ever seen, due to the fog. It was getting dark, and I wondered if maybe the owls wouldn’t hoot with the fog coming in. I read that they don’t hoot if it’s windy. And, now I’m feeling like I’ve already noted this before. Hm. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’ll stick now. Anyhoo, no hooting.

I was about to give up and head home when I heard a dog barking and howling somewhere east of where I was. WEIRD. I walked a little to the east to see what was up with this dog, and then A SUPER LOUD AND CLOSE BARK AND HOWL came from the blackberry bushes right near me. A COYOTE was in there! I backed up onto the hillside behind me to get some distance. It continued to bark and howl for A WHILE. Then, it stopped. It was quiet. Then, I heard rustling. It was moving through the blackberry bushes. Out of a hole, it emerged. Like nothing was wrong. And casually trotted down the paved path, giving me a slight glance.

Maybe it got a blackberry thorn in the wrong place? Who knows! But, I got a recording of it. Don’t think I can attach sound files, but if you’re curious you can hear it at

So, an odd Naturing day. Mostly quiet and calm and uneventful, until a frickin’ coyote came out of nowhere to end my outing WITH DRAMA!

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