A Day at the Cedars with Roger Raiche

The Marin Chapter of the CNPS will make a trip to The Cedars with Roger Raiche on June 7. This is an all-day outing that involves hiking over uneven rocky terrain. Please read the following description, and if you’d like to attend, send Sam Gilbert an email message.

A floristic island, The Cedars is a privately owned 7,500 acre site in a remote part of northwestern Sonoma County—nine miles inland from Timber Cove, a short drive from Cazadero. Because the soil in this mountainous region is primarily serpentine, indigenous flora are specialized and in some cases rare. Plants include Sargent cypress (Cupressus sargentii), California lady slipper orchid (Cypripedium californicum), Morrison’s jewelflower (Streptanthus morrisonii), The Cedars manzanita (Arctostaphylos bakeri ssp. sublaevis), The Cedars fairy lantern (Calochortus raichei). It is difficult to predict what will be in bloom, but Raiche believes his namesake Calochortus is a possibility.

We’ll need 2 or 3 high clearance/4WD vehicles. We will transfer to the hardier vehicles about 3 miles from our final destination, at Raymond’s Bakery 1 mile before Cazadero. We can not leave vehicles at the bakery, but it is a good gathering spot since there is a bathroom and food and tables/benches.

There is still another 45 minutes to 1 hour before getting into the canyon to start hiking. This usually involves stopping at a neighboring ranch (closer into The Cedars than Raymond’s) and transferring into capable vehicles to make the 7 creek crossings. Roger will have his truck, which usually can handle 4-6 more people (6 if folks ride in the back bed), but all other participants must be able to fit into enough high clearance, 4WD vehicles to get into the canyon.

The terrain is rugged, rocky, and involves creek crossings (without bridges), so participants should be in good hiking shape and capable of dealing with irregular, rocky terrain. There are single file trails, but these are still demanding in spots. Folks can not leave the group during the hike, and all must arrive and leave at the same time. (If someone, once in the canyon, feels that they can not go on, they can return to the base camp and hang out until the rest of the group returns, but I, as group leader, can not leave the group to escort them back to camp.) Usually we have the group organizer, act as a rear-end “sweep”, unless there is someone else who wants to take on this function – to make sure no one gets hurt or falls behind at the end of the group while on the hike. Typically we do a loop hike before lunch, have lunch back at the camp, and then do a shorter hike after lunch – though anyone too tired can hang out at the camp for this second hike.  A lot depends on when you show up and when you want to leave.

We will meet around at Raymond’s at 9:30 a.m. and try to be out of the canyon by 3:30 or 4. As with all hikes, participants are responsible for their own food, equipment etc.

While this may sound like a lot of work, it is a magnificent place to visit with many endemic and rarely seen species. The procedures outlined above are what Roger Raiche has found works best to effectively get folks in and out in an efficient manner, as it is a difficult place to get to regardless of whether one is alone or with a group. Weather can be a factor—if it is going to be a heavy rain, we will have to cancel as it may be dangerous to drive through the creeks to get there, as well as being miserable once there as there is no shelter. Light rain is OK, but not ideal.

We will send plant lists to all who sign up.

There was a nice article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat last month on some of the microbial research going on in the canyon.

A 2009 article in Fremontia has a lot of background info.

For most groups, a fee of $20/person is assessed. While CNPS is not charged, contributions are appreciated. These monies go to maintenance of the road, liability insurance, and so on.