Gas station without pumps

2022 May 29

Secret Walks: Henry Cowell Redwoods

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:37
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On Saturday 21 May, my wife and I went with my sister, who was visiting, to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.  We walked from Parking Lot 1 (by the picnic area) through the magnificent grove of redwoods that are on the loop trail near the visitor center, down to Cathedral Grove, then up to the observation deck at the highest point in the park, and finally back down Ridge Fire Road to the finish the loop trail. It has been something like 3 decades since my wife and I had been up to observation deck, as most visitors we’ve been to the park with have not been up for anything more strenuous than the flat loop trail.

I will not include the somewhat boring and cliched pictures of redwood trees in this post, but will try to highlight some of the other things we saw.  For some of the flowers I’m rather uncertain of the identification—I’d appreciate more info.  (I have other photos and higher-resolution images of several of them, if these cropped and downsampled images are insufficient.)


This is some sort of violet—I can’t tell which without the flower. It is growing right next to a lot of redwood sorrel.


This seems to be a periwinkle.


The thimbleberry photo came out better than I expected.


My sister liked the composition of these arching branches, but the zoom on her camera was being balky, so I took the photo for her.


These downed tree across Eagle Creek do a good job of hiding the creek. We had originally planned to cross the creek, but my wife did not like the steepness of the trails, so we walked along the north side of the creek until the path rejoined Pipeline Road.


I’m not sure what this fuzzy-leafed plant is. Google Lens thought it was veronica, but I don’t trust Google Lens that much.


Google Lens though that this plant was Whipplea modesta, but I think it is the same species as the previous photo (though not the same plant).


Here is a redwood violet.


This is either a Fernald’s iris or a Douglas iris. I’m not sure how to tell them apart, as both seem to be able to have the same lavender-and-yellow coloration. My wife leans more to it being a Fernald’s iris.


I had not seen a trillium for a long time, but the leaf shapes are rather distinctive.


This lizard has the markings of a western fence lizard, but was bigger than I’m used to seeing fence lizards.


I’ve no idea what sort of plant this is—I think that these are catkins on it. I have a few other pictures of the leaves and branches, but Google Lens was of no help in identifying any of them.


I’m not sure why the California yerba santa had blackened leaves. Is this usual for it? Had there been a controlled burn of the chaparral that deposited soot? There was some other evidence of burn scars below the observation deck.


Another California yerba santa, without the blackened leaves this time.


This legume seems to be chaparral peas.


These fuzzy balls seem to be golden chinquapin.


This seems to be a rockrose.


I was unable to identify this white flower at all.


I took many views from the observation deck, but they lacked much impact in a small format. This zoomed image of the scars left by Granite Construction was the best image in small format. The Google Maps satellite image (37.034602547404475, -122.0976728917913) shows a much larger scar (from sand mining, I believe) on the other side of the ridge.


I liked the lyre or trident shape of this tree.


We saw some acorn woodpeckers, but they moved too quickly for us to get photos. There were a few granary trees around the observation deck, and I took this zoom shot of some of the holes, many of which seem to have acorns in them.


This ground cover seems to be chorizanthe.


Here is one redwood—not for the tree but for the ladders of cobwebs on the bark.

We walked a total of about 4.6 miles in Henry Cowell Redwoods—a little shorter than many of our walks, but somewhat hillier.


  1. is really handy. I use their Android app for plant identification when I’m out walking. (They have an Apple app too, for those who care.)

    Comment by Michael K Johnson — 2022 May 30 @ 05:01 | Reply

    • Thanks. I tried it on the white flower that Google Lens was useless for. The top hit was useless, but the second hit (Iberian spirea) seems possible.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2022 May 30 @ 09:31 | Reply

      • Glad it was helpful!

        And… yeah, it’s more useful out in the field where, if the identification looks useless, I can just take more pictures until I get a better match.

        Comment by Michael K Johnson — 2022 May 30 @ 11:23 | Reply

        • Because I’m taking photos with a camera that has no internet connection, not a phone, the field identification is not all that useful to me (I’d have to switch devices and take notes). For someone who wants to know right away what they are looking at, I could see it being more useful.

          Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2022 May 30 @ 11:44 | Reply

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