When approaching the Mendocino County Coast from the east some of the roads will take you through a belt of transitional forest-here the trees and other vegetation are noticeably smaller, the soil is thin and grey, and there are no Redwoods. Within this belt is the Pygmy forest, where 100 year old Cypress trees that would soar 3 or 4 stories skyward along the coast highway are hardly recognizable as the same tree.
The area is considered environmentally sensitive, thus the trail is boardwalk built above ground level.
This is Pinus contorta bolanderi , the Bolander Pine, which is found only in the Pygmy Forest. They are quite small, most seemed to be in the 5' range, but are mature trees which bear cones.
With no significant rainfall since May,the lichens and mosses are not at their peak.
This is Manzanita nummilaria 'Fort Bragg Manzanita' which like the Bolander Pine is restricted to the soils of the Pygmy Forest. It's a very low ground hugging shrub, similar to M. uva-ursi.
Our native Huckleberry is seen in many different environments; in the acidic soils of the Pygmy forest they appear to do just fine.
Spring is the best time to visit here, the native Rhododendrons that are 20 feet tall in other environments are at eye level here , and the mosses and lichens are at their best.