Dan and I spent a few nights in Napa last week. It was strange to stay overnight somewhere when we live so close, but the time-share stay was a retirement gift from his co-workers and it was a great opportunity for us to go do some of those things that are “in our own backyard” that we don’t take time to do otherwise.
The weather outlook for Tuesday was dry so we decided to find a place to hike. Many of the state and county parks in the area are closed due to the recent horrific fires. But we found a trail that was unaffected by the Tubbs Fire. We had breakfast in Calistoga and then drove up Hwy. 29 towards Mt. St. Helena.
The Robert Louis Stevenson State Park to the north of the highway is closed but the Table Rock trail is south of the highway. The trail starts out in groves of oak, madrone, and bay trees. This area was damp from recent rain and the trees looked as though they were covered with green fur.
A new kind of
fir fur tree? Making things larger than life through the lens.
As the trail descended the other side of the first ridge the vegetation seemed more typical of California chaparral. These are the seeds of the California Buckeye. The California buckeye is one of the first deciduous trees to leaf out in the spring, but it also goes dormant and loses it’s leaves in late summer. Although the “nuts” may seem similar to chestnuts, these are toxic.
The trail leads to the western end of a formation called the Palisades, volcanic rock that towers over the northern end of the Napa Valley. That is the town of Calistoga down below. We sat on the rocks known as Table Rock for quite awhile, soaking up the sun and watching birds and the beautiful sky. The fire missed this area, but not Mt. St. Helena in the background and the lower area along the highway. As we sat on the rocks Dan noticed a Cal Fire plane flying around Mt. St. Helena and then saw it drop something–we wonder of that is seed to help stabilize the burned landscape.