It is a sunless morning shrouded in mist. The clouds look ominous with the threat of rain. It is quiet, for no creatures are awake yet, not even the hikers. The air is crisp and smells fresh after a night covered in the ocean fog. A Eucalyptus grove stands at the trail entrance with a deliciously pungent greeting that carries through the air. Along the trail as the foliage gets thicker, it is evident that Mother Nature knows the autumn season has arrived. Leaves have begun to turn the fall colors and drop to the trail floor. Even the poison oak has participated in autumn and looks colorful and festive. Golden Eucalyptus leaves litter the trail like sparkling, perfume-infused flecks of gold. The effect is magical. It is the
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When crushed, the California Sage Brush’s leaves give off a sweet yet robust scent. It smells as if it belongs in a kitchen rather than on a hill. There are rusty red grasses that look as if they could be a painter’s brush or his inspiration. There are sections of the hills that cannot be covered by the rich grasses and coastal scrub because of sepentinite rock outcrops.
Serpentinite is found in Poly Canyon and the surrounding area of San Luis
Obispo. Over millions of years, the serpentinite has slowly but surely made its way from deep within the Earth to the outside world. It is a dark grey color which stands out from the soft yellow of the hills. It also stands out because no plant can grow on it except the Yucca Plant. Serpentinite is low in essential nutrients that plants require to grow. It was lucky for us that few plants are able to grow on the rock. The serpentinite made comfortable rest stops along our adventure to sit on and take in the view. The serpentinite is a dark contrast to the red clay which looks like terra cotta and covers the earth along with the decomposing Yucca stalks. The unstable compost that made up the trail made the last few yards to the summit more difficult than they already were.
The final leg of our ascent took all the strength we could muster. Twenty five yards to go as sweat dripped down our brows. Ten yards left as our legs buckled from