I am home from the Mendocino coast, and it was Amazing with a capital A. I had a great time tramping through the woods/beach/forest with other plant geeks, including some who are very well known in their field. There are four professors for the course and their names are synonymous with CA vegetation out here, so the best part of the trip was picking their brains. There are lots of quality people in the class too, so I got no work done, though I brought all my books. There are lots of pictures, so I will try to edit myself as best I can.
Day 1: Mixed evergreen forest and the Mendocino Woodlands Campground
On the first day we all piled into six large white vans and drove up the coast. We made a stop on the way to look at an example of mixed evergreen forest.
Our professor told us that he usually stops at this one piece of property on the way up that has an absentee landlord and last year the landlord showed up and kicked them off the property! So I'm not sure of the legality of the stop we went to, but we did have to climb through some barbed wire to get there, which cracked me up.
We camped in the Mendocino Woodlands Campground which is actually a national historic landmark because it was built by the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and the original log and stone cabins have been well preserved (M and I saw some stone walls in the Wissahickon Valley Park that were also built by the WPA and CCC).
The campground is in a bottomlands second growth redwood forest, which basically means that it is wet and very shady. And once you're wet, you stay wet.
The campground is used as a summer camp and for private use, etc, so it has a centrally located mess hall with big fire places. On the first night we had an amazing dinner of salmon and hung out, getting to know each other and playing games.
Days 2 and 3 to come soon.