Fairy slipper – Mt. Tam: Ridgecrest

Date: March 8, 2018

Location: Mount Tamalpais: Ridgecrest Latitude: 37.923824 °N, Longitude: ‎-122.596207 °W, Elevation: 2,565 feet


Site description: Mount Tamalpais is the peak of Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It has deep canyons and hillsides with redwood forests, oak woodlands, open grasslands, and sturdy chaparral. With Mt. Tam’s 2,571-foot peak, views of the Farallon Islands can be seen 25 miles out to sea, as well as San Francisco Bay, East Bay, and Mount Diablo.


Species description: The fairy slipper, also known as Calypso bulbosa in the orchidaceae, is an example of an orchid seen in the wild. It is a perennial herb that only reaches about 7-18 cm tall. It has 1 basal leaf that is petioled and elliptic to ovate. The inflorescence includes a single flower with petals that are generally pink, and white and hairy at the mouth.


Narrative: Luckily for our class, the rain cleared in time for our trip to Mount Tamalpais. I remember Mt. Tam having some rigorous trails, but the trail that we took was a lighter one. Even though the weather at the time of our hike was mild, with sunny, clear skies, the trail was still quite muddy from previous rain. This made the hike a lot scarier for me as I am already prone to falling while not walking in slippery mud.

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