Park Wavelengths - June 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
Summer begins Saturday, June 21 with the solstice, the longest day of the year. The sun rises and sets at its mostly northerly position of the year. South of the equator winter begins. The new moon in the following week brings minus tides in the early morning hours.
The huge leaves of the California ginseng shrub are sparking comments from hikers of the Bear Valley Trail. The light yellow flowers remind folks of fireworks! The flowers will give way to dark purple inedible berries. ["California ginseng" is better known by the common names of "California spikenard" and "elk clover" (Aralia californica). - Ed.] Thimbleberries are also ripening in the shade; they are most delicious when they are bright scarlet-red and peel off in a cup like a thimble. The first ripe blackberries were seen on the Abbotts Lagoon Trail.
The Bear Visitor Center lighting project continues into the week of June 23-27, with final installation closing the building. Park staff will be on hand for information, programs, and camping and fire permits. Watch for signs directing you to alternate stations. The project will reduce energy consumption by 51% with a savings of $2200 per year.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
An unusual configuration of planets will be seen in the western sky on June 7; the Moon will pass just two degrees from Mars. [sic] Fog permitting, we will be able to see this phenomenon just after the 8:30 pm sunset. [The proper term is "conjunction," not "configuration," and Earth's Moon is not a planet. - Ed.]
What a year for poppies! They continue to bloom in profusion around Bear Valley Visitor Center. Orange monkey-flower shrubs [aka sticky monkey-flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)] are in full bloom along Lucas Valley Road and the Estero Trail.
Shrubs—especially coyote brush—around the Bear Valley Visitor center appear to be covered with spit. These blobs are protective coatings for the nymph stage of spittlebugs, which are feeding on the shrubs.
Fire season is upon us with the first very high fire danger day last week. If you are planning to cook with charcoal or to obtain a beach fire permit, be sure to check in advance to confirm that charcoal and/or wood fires are allowed.
On Sunday, June 8, Highway 1 through Point Reyes Station will be closed for a local parade from noon to approximately 1 pm. Highway patrol and deputy sheriffs will be directing traffic around the parade onto side streets. Please use caution.
National Trails Day and World Oceans Day are on Saturday, June 7. Join us from 10 am to 2:30 pm for a beach clean-up at Limantour Beach or trail maintenance on the Muddy Hollow Trail. Meet at the main Limantour Beach parking lot.
Last updated: February 28, 2015