If you’ve ever wondered why the golden poppy is California’s state flower, try visiting the Golden State in spring! While on a tour to see our numerous West Coast rels
(which included the families of 2 sons and 3 siblings), Aaron took us with his crew for a hike near
San Francisco in the East Bay’s Coyote Hills Regional Park, a vast stretch (978 acres) of marshlands and rolling green hills that are carpeted with flowers—most gloriously poppies—in early spring. It’s been so rainy this year that part of the boardwalk through the marsh was submerged by overflow from Alameda Creek, so we had to retrace our steps along the Muskrat Trail. However, the hills were phenomenal! The bedrock of Coyote Hills is part of the Franciscan Formation, and half of that is composed of sheared greenstone,
which varies in color from shades of green to even reds and yellows. Where the rocks have not been weathered, there are some stunning outcroppings with vibrantly colored veins of recrystalized red and yellow chert (jasper). At the top of one hill, the rocks had some strikingly blue coloring so beautiful that I feared people might think I was just “turning up the color” on my photos! From the tops of the Red Hill Trail, you can also catch vistas of San Francisco, and the southwestern side of Coyote Hills is bordered by tidal mud flats that have been landscaped to create evaporation ponds for salt water from the Pacific. This area is also popular with radio-controlled airplane operators, and on the balmy day of our visit (Oops! It’s pretty, but don’t pick the flowers!), one friendly pilot shared some of his expertise and delight in flying with us. The only downside of this perfectly good day for UP was a close encounter with an IFO…an identifiable flying object
which turned out to be a testy tom turkey. We have a flock of about 2 dozen turkeys in our Michigan woodsy backyard,
but they shun humans and won’t pose for close up photo ops, so I was delighted that these turkeys seemed more than happy to accommodate… until I realized the hens were simply feeling secure because their gorgeous but irascible tom guarded his harem by aggressively accosting interlopers, including my small partners who—if a bit taller—were not nearly so wide! And so, I would advise prospective hikers to expect a fabulous day at the park, but beware the jabberturk, my son! “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).