The Estate is the the national parks property next to Huddart Park. Here’s a profile of a ranger who used to work there.
Sandwiched between Huddart County Park in Woodside and the San Francisco Watershed land to the north, the Phleger Estate is part of a 55-square-mile wildlife corridor that stretches from Sweeney Ridge in San Bruno to Teague Hill, just south of Huddart Park.
The former site of sawmills, it contains second-growth redwood forests, oak woodlands, serpentine grasslands, and a host of wildlife, including eagles, bobcats, newts, steelhead trout and red-legged frogs.
Mr. Durgerian has a story, anecdote or clever mnemonic for just about everything he finds along the path.
“Hairy Hazelnut” has fine whiskers covering her leaves. The horsetails growing along the creek are among the earth’s oldest plant species, with fossil specimens as tall as trees found in Australia, he says. The ruddy madrone trees’ unique bark makes them cool to the touch. Whimsically named fairy rings are circles of redwood tree clones that have sprung up around the stump of a felled tree, he says.
Fishing a tan oak’s acorn cap from the leaf litter along the trail, Mr. Durgerian recounts a Native American tale about the very first tan oak’s refusal to tidy herself up before the Great Spirit sent her to earth, resulting in the wildly ungroomed appearance of her acorns.