Settled waves, nighttime fog make fall camping fun
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By Bill Hanson  September 28, 2012 12:00 am

The Sportsman’s Report

Fall is time to visit the ocean, as the weak high pressure zones settle the waves and bring in heavy nighttime fog.
Daytime is often sunny with a soft ocean breeze…clean and salty fresh. The great weather attracts divers.

Fall weekends at Van Damm State Beach in Mendocino look like an invasion of the seal people, as acres of neoprene-clad divers carpet the beach. The calm seas also let the underwater settle down. Tiny particles drift to the bottom, leaving visibility gin clear, a rare thing on our coast.  Fall camping is excellent, not just on the coast but along the coastal range and into the mountains. The kids are back in school, so camp sites are often open to drop-in camping, although you will need a jacket and a warm campfire at night. Fall camping is outstanding.

Ghost Games

Bamboo Reef/Sonoma Coast Divers is sponsoring “The Ghost Games” from Oct. 5-7. The event offers underwater pumpkin carving, treasure hunting, competition underwater navigation and lots of prizes, food and fun.
You can camp with their group at Stillwater Cover County Park or in several of the other nearby campgrounds.
Contact the dive group for details: or call them at 586-0272 or drop by Bamboo Reef.

Redwood Empire Divers
The Redwood Empire Divers Club has a host of activities in the fall including a trip to the California Islands to capture the elusive spiny lobster.  Check their web site:  or go to their meetings the third Thursday of every month at the Round Table Pizza on Occidental Road in Santa Rosa.

Mushroom season starting
Fall also brings on the start of the mushroom season. Although they grow throughout the year, fall is when the edibles kick into gear.

Even though we have not had any rain, the coastal fog drip stimulates the early varieties. Right now, the beautiful Golden Chanterelle is raising their beautiful heads above the coastal duff. Look under live oak in the coastal forest.

Our local mushroom club: sponsors lectures and guided forays to the coast. Their next meeting is Oct. 18 at the Farm Bureau on Piner Road in Santa Rosa. The speaker is mycologist Terry Henkel, who has done extensive research here and in the wilds of Central America.

He will also detail the relationship between the indigenous forest fungi and how it has helped shape the coniferous forests of Northern California.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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