These cute furry tips are likely to be the seed pod.
These flannelbush plants, now flowering, were also planted by the state park or local conservancy. Family: Malvaceae, Genus: Fremontodentron. Needless to say, these native plants are also great for water conserving gardens.
Amazingly enough, there is still running water, albeit algae-ridden, at the top of the hiking trail. It is still shady and green along parts of this hike.