This is the time of year when the California Buckeye (Aesculus californica) earns its name. Named for the rather large seed pod they drop that resembles the eye of a deer, they are now easily found on the trail.
When they shed their covering they reveal a rich brown colored seed pod (see pic). Pacific Horticulture has this to say about the pods: “Though thoroughly inedible (unless leached of their toxins, as the Native Californians did), there is something irresistible about this seed, looking as if it had been carved, lacquered, and polished; few can resist picking up one or more, often pocketing them to be brought home for a show-and-tell with family or friends.”
Get them while they’re hot.