Tuesday, December 7, 2010

SFB Morse Botanical Reserve

I have only now learned the name of this area that I hiked hundreds of times when I lived here before.  Here is a description of the area from hikes.com:

The S.F.B. Morse Botanical Reserve is an 86-acre woodland oasis in the hills of the Del Monte Forest in Pebble Beach. This undulating loop trail winds across the ancient marine terraces of Huckleberry Hill, the highest point in Pebble Beach. The trail passes through groves of coastal live oaks, Bishop pine, Monterey pine, Monterey cypress, a pygmy forest of Gowen cypress and creekside redwoods.

I was drawn to it years ago because it is just outside Pacific Grove, where I lived for about 20 years.  PG is a wonderful little town self-named Butterfly Town USA.  But that is another post.

It was a beautiful sunny day with a bit of a breeze. Daphne and I started out at the entrance point on Holman Highway.  Here we are.
I kept D on leash until we were well away from the highway.  As some of you know, D is a hunter.  Her instincts can take over and she dashes off after whatever prey she smells/sees/hears.  I have an e collar that I use when I let her off leash in new or particularly interesting places.  I don't have to use it much any more, but it gives me the confidence to let her off leash.  Every dog we met (three little dogs, one German Shephard and two beautiful red Dobermans) was also off leash.
I was hoping that I would find a plant I remember.  I thought the name was Chinquapin, but was unable to find it online today using several spellings.  This plant has beautiful gold undersides to its leaves:
It also makes lovely, fuzzy "berries":

When I move back here, I will attempt to grow this great plant from seed.  It is, I understand, difficult to propagate, but I will give it a try.

There are many interesting plants in this reserve.  We were at the top part of the trails, where the primary forest is Monterey Pine.  About 15 years ago, there was a large forest fire that began in this area and moved up the hill destroying many homes in Pebble Beach.  In the following years, there was thick new growth.

However, it has not turned out to be a healthy forest, perhaps because all the trees germinated at the same time.  There is also a disease called pitch canker that has decimated the Monterey Pines.  But I think the unhealthy forest pictured below is more a result of the fire:

Notice that the trees are all about the same size and the lack of undergrowth.  Compare this to the top picture which shows a more typical forest with differing sized trees. 

At one time it was thought that we might lose the Monterey Pine forest all together from the pitch canker disease.  But the Pebble Beach Company and others have done lots of work with trees that are resistant.

On a happier note, here is a nice example of a local mushroom.  I believe these are edible, but I won't be trying them any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. Um, don't eat those!! I can't recall the name right now but they are poisinous.. and keep Daphne away from them too.

    I'm enjoying seeing that lovely area through your eyes...