We were hoping the recent rainstorm had dumped enough precipitation to awaken the mycelium to fruit along the Hondo Trail in Topanga Canyon this weekend (a very pleasant incline hike that takes hikers from an oak lined canyon eventually up to Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park). To our disappointment the soil and the duff layer were both too dry, any remaining evidence of petrichor long gone. Nevertheless, there were a few choice finds amongst the decomposing coastal live oak bark selfishly guarded by dangerous tendrils of poison oak; a popular abode to native fauna, a closer inspection revealed a beautifully muscular California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus), a Southern Shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta tudiculata, a rare California endemic species), and a fairy ring of Agaricus spp. which seemed to whisper promises of more rain…and with it, more mycological magic would awaken.
We spent that late afternoon listening to a chorus of frogs echoing across a creek canyon, above, the hills above brushed golden by the gentle sway of native grasses illuminated by magic hour sunlight, the gnarled sentry of wizened oaks following us as we followed the narrow trails of mule deer. Our time there was short, but the memories imprinted endless.