Forest-Bathing on Mt Davidson

Another article in our Park Visitor series: First-person accounts of visits to our parks, published with permission. This one looks at the imperiled forest on Mt Davidson. Please help save these trees by signing our new petition to the Mayor. It crossed 1,000 signatures within 3 weeks! The link is HERE.

It was a golden afternoon, the summer-in-winter weather we’ve been having lately. My friends and I had been discussing the situation in Taiji at a cafe in Miraloma.  It’s a difficult topic, fraught with painful images of slaughtered dolphins. Afterward, I suggested a walk in the healing greenery of the forest. The Japanese speak of  shinrin-yoku “forest-bathing” as a way to relieve stress. It seemed appropriate.

entry to Mt Davidson Forest

We took the forest entry just down the road from the bus turnaround. The path there, wide enough for a car, is blocked by a substantial gate across it. On either side of the gate, there’s a small space where a person can enter.  Step through, and you’re inside the woods.

An array of Monterey pinesThe forest is eucalyptus with a mix of Monterey Pines. Even with the scant rain we’ve had, the scene was lush and verdant. mossy bank with ferns in Mt Davidson forest

A mossy bank beside the trail was draped in ferns and strands of ivy.

Mt Davidson woodland pathIt got even prettier deeper into the forest, the trees and understory almost glowing in the sunlight.

mt davidson forest - hiker on trailThe stone steps were built, someone said, as part of the Works Progress Administration of the Depression Era.
Now they’re weathered and part of the wonderful atmosphere of this forest.

path below the cross on Mt DavidsonWe walked upward, taking the path that led to the summit. You can just see the cross through the trees in this picture.

mt davidson jan 2014 ferns ivy blackberryThere were trees were covered in a harmonious mix of ivy and fern, tiny ecosystem of their own. And somewhere along the path, we found this single wild strawberry.

wild strawberryAreas of reed grass looked like the hillside was growing long thick hair.

pacific reed grass under eucalyptus

I’ve heard this grows under eucalyptus because the trees capture moisture from the fog and keep it watered.

mt davidson vista

At the summit, the forest gave way to an open plateau.  We sat on the bench there for a minute, taking in the view.

view from mt davidson

The city lay before us in the evening light. But a brisk wind was picking up, and we couldn’t stay. We headed back into the forest as the sun started to set,  coloring the trees.

mt davidson trees in sunset glowThis forest is incredible, and it’s wonderful that such a place exists in a major city. Sadly, the Natural Areas Program, which controls this forest, plans to fell  1,600 of these trees to expand the area available for native plants and scrub. I hope it doesn’t happen. They’re over 100 years old, tall and beautiful.

I’ll leave you with this last picture: Hikers in the forest. It gives some sense of the scale of these trees.
mt davidson forest path with two hikers

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1 Response to Forest-Bathing on Mt Davidson

  1. Dave says:

    Beautiful shots!

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