Calypso Orchid, Big Deal!

Calypso orchid
Calypso Orchid (photo credit: Charles Russo)

Where:  Pescadero, CA (25 miles south of Half Moon Bay, and 35 miles north of Santa Cruz)

Note: The Calypso Orchid blooms only in the spring. It tends to bloom from the middle to the end of March in Butano State Park, Pescadero.

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Seen last weekend at Butano State Park, the tiny Calypso Orchid (also called Fairy Slippers). When John Muir came across these rare plants in the 1890s he wrote:

“I never before saw a plant so full of life, so perfectly spiritual, it seemed pure enough for the throne of its Creator.”

Calypso bulbosa, you are beautiful but you failed to bowl me over. Perhaps it was the idea of finding you, rare as you are, that colored Muir’s reaction. Look! You are barely visible, hiding as you are in the underbrush on the forest floor.orchid, spying one

Butano State Park

Sitting in a redwood filled canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Butano is one of the lesser known parks in the California State Parks system. It is located three to four miles from the San Mateo Coast and offers the hiker over seventeen miles of uphill and downhill trails. If you wish to get a good view of the ocean from inside the park, hike the Mill Ox loop. You won’t be disappointed (unless the coast is blanketed in fog). The campgrounds, closed when I visited, are open from April through November. There are also guided nature walks and weekend programs at the campfire center during the summer.
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ACTIVITIES: Hike, camp, dog walking (dogs are only allowed on the paved roads and in campsites; they should be leashed at all times)
REGION: off the San Mateo Coast
HOURS: Day use area from 8:00 a.m. to sunset; overnight camping
COST: $10 day use fee; $35 overnight camping fee (Book reservations via reserveamerica.com or by calling 800-444-7275. Dogs are allowed at the campground but not on the trails.)
LOCATION/VENUE: Butano State Park, 1500 Cloverdale Road, Pescadero, CA 94060 Phone: (650) 879-2040
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Kalypso Calypso

Sensuous Kalypso
blissfully isolated
beneath giants
roots skirting,
writhing, touching
until lovingly you emit
just one single bloom
before withering,
dying, falling
backwards
into self.photo 1

Thanksgiving Day

The hibiscus, patterns in the tablecloth, remind me of home. Home. This is home now. But I wonder, do they think of us as they prepare to eat their Thanksgiving meal? Then again, maybe they wonder the same thing about us.

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