13 May 2016: Forest Dynamics

Funky Friday the 13th!

CA: Mendocino Co: Angelo Coast Range Reserve: Conger Trail

Funky Friday! Friday the 13th! Funky 13th! In the past two trips, funky friday has been full of plot twists and I guess today was also like that but slightly different. The day started out with Daniel and Carrie giving their presentations on mycorrhizae and the marbled murrelet, respectively. Afterwards, Ryan gave us a brief lecture and ended with an assignment for us to do on our hike up the Conger Trail, featuring forest dynamics. We could ask questions to get us to spin the wheel, questions like: Why are there dead trees? What could’ve happened to make a certain species of trees disappear/succeed? Are there any indications of fires? Where do we see this forest leading to?

We all got into the vans and cars, drove down to the start of the Conger Trail, and thus began the journey to spin our senses, our opinions, thoughts, and minds. All of us got into small groups of about 4-5 people and went on our way up the hill. My group and I noticed the decrease in trees when it got closer to the turning point and stumbled upon other groups, who were sharing what they had seen and noticed. Different groups started sharing their own observation and theories.

One of the most beautiful sights was when Karen and I saw the Corallorhiza maculata in the understory, in a wide canopy space, with the sunlight directly shining on it, next to this small Douglas fir! We both sat still and listened to the sound of the wind going through the trees leaves. Afterwards, most of the group kept walking up the Conger Trail while Danielle, Lily, Pachamama¬†and I left to check out the Eel River, right next to Elder Creek. The water was really cold but the dip was needed. Our warm bodies touching the cold water, nothing but story telling and laughter wrapping our bodies… Pachamama¬†described this time as goddess time and I couldn’t agree more. As soon as we headed back, Pod and I recreated (semi-recreated) Wrestlemania! About an hour before dinner, I went down to the water hole and went in. The water caused this numbing effect, so numbing to the point where the only thoughts are whether to relax and go along with the river or get out. I laid still, on my back. Letting the river’s current flow through me, letting it know I don’t wish to disturb it. This moment was so profound, a profound moment of self realization: I am a water child.

The evening ended with an excellent dinner from the cook crew that was filled with warmth and warm veggies. We all gathered around the campfire, went through a couple of presentations, and topped it off with Nature Notes. Needless to say, it was a Funky 13th on a different level.