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Mission Trails – Trail Guide

Mission Trails’ misunderstood creepy crawlers

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Mission Trails - Trail Guide | No Comments

By Audrey F. Baker

As October approaches, thoughts to turn to Halloween and the menagerie of nature that represents the celebration. Hoary oaks, ravens, owls, bats and more symbolize holiday fun.

Let’s face it, tarantulas have a “PR problem.” Much of the public sees them as nightmarish critters of loathsome reputation. Yes, they’re hairy and maybe scary.

Patch-nosed encounter at Mission Trails Regional Park

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Mission Trails - Trail Guide | No Comments

By Audrey F. Baker

For many, one of Mission Trails Regional Park’s must-see sights is Snake Rock. Head north on Father Junipero Serra Trail from the Visitor Center toward Old Mission Dam.

About the time you settle into your gait, you’ll see it on the left. Wind, sun and water erosion have carved the distinctive figure of a rattlesnake, replete with heavy-body and triangular shaped head. Perhaps nature sculpted it to remind us of her mysteries and creativity. Here variety reigns, snakes included!

Seeing nature close-up at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker For several weeks, a highlight of the Trail Guide-led nature walk on Visitor Center Loop Trail was the opportunity for eye-level observation of the nesting activities of a Mourning Dove. The female displayed abundant patience as park guests enjoyed the hushed thrill. Memorized expression lit the faces of adults and children […]

Butterfly bonanza at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker Eighty percent of our region’s rainfall occurs between December and March, bringing an annual average of around 10 inches. The series of winter rains that began in mid-December and peaked with the deluge of Feb 27, has brought copious spring growth to Mission Trails Regional Park. Trail Guide Bill Edwards recently […]

A botanical mystery at Mission Trails

By Audrey F. Baker | Trail Guide Among our most spectacular winter blooms is Mission Manzanita. Its 0.3-inch flowers appear December to February, ranging from milk white to rose-pink and blending to yellowish tones at the open end. Prodigious urn-shaped flora assemble in small clusters near branch ends. When moist, these mini-mission bells broadcast opalescent […]

Glimpsing nature’s beauty at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker Nearly 3 1/2-feet tall with a 5-plus-foot wingspan, the Great Egret firmly stands in the sediments of Mother Earth, grounding itself against the ebb of fresh or salt water. A member of the Heron family, this poised, exacting fisherman stoically waits, and then takes its catch by precision movement of its […]

Gear up for Halloween at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker Halloween celebrates nature and nature celebrates Halloween! The scene is set. It’s all here, at Mission Trail Regional Park. Cooler temperatures bring a crispness, and underfoot, fallen leaves of monstrously tall sycamores sound an eerie crunch. Against the skyline, hoary oaks with massive twisted branches are sorcerers, hiding spooky critters on […]