Pumpkin ridge stroll

If you’re an outdoorsy type who somehow has not been up on the Marin Municipal Water District lands yet, I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve been to Phoenix Lake or the back side of Mt. Tam, you’ve been on part of their 18,000 acres of watershed land without realizing it. I like to go in the Sky Oaks entrance, where you have the choice of walking by one of the many reservoir lakes, heading down a sociable fire road, or cutting off onto one of the many small trails to be (mostly) alone with some spectacular nature. There are 130 miles of trails and fire roads on MMWD land, so you can spend a LOT of time there. Today I went out the Pumpkin Ridge Trail, which passes in and out of live oak forest that is interspersed with meadows. The forest is in sad shape these days because of Sudden Oak Death, so dead branches litter the

ground. But the understory was still vibrant, with lots of iris and houndstongue. And the meadows are lovely – filled with wildflowers at this time of year. Along the way I embarrassed myself by not being able to remember the Latin names of miniature lupine, blue-eyed grass, or California poppy (which I even wrote about yesterday!). Those are Lupinus bicolor, Sisyrinchium bellum, and Eschscholtzia californica, by the way.

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