April Wildflowers

April 19, 2017

All that rain has really gotten the wildflowers going this month. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks:

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California goldfields (Lasthinia californica) and Gray’s clover (Trifolium grayi), share a meadow at The Indians in the upper Arroyo Seco watershed.

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Monterey mariposa lily (Calochortus uniflorus) blooming at Ft. Ord National Monument.

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Denseflower owl’s clover (Castilleja densiflora) in Carmel.

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Tidestrom’s lupine (Lupinus tidestromii), a federally listed endangered species, attempts to assure its continued existence on the planet by setting some robust seed pods. Development of the beachfront dunes where it makes its home has brought this Monterey native to the brink of extinction.

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Monterey gilia (Gilia tenuiflora arenaria), an even more highly endangered species, is another struggling denizen of the Monterey Peninsula’s vanishing dune ecosystems.

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Pink sand verbena (Abronia umbellata) is holding its own better against the onslaught of houses, hotels and ice plant.

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Yellow sand verbena (Abronia latifolia) is also doing well.

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Orange sand verbena??? Probably the result of a genetic variation. Unexpected color schemes frequently complicate the task of identifying plants.

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Pacific silver-weed (Potentilla anserina pacifica) is salt-tolerant enough to grow right down to the beach.

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Beach evening-primrose (Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia). Imagine the lupine, gilias, verbenas, silver-weeds, and evening-primroses covering the dunes instead of houses and ice plant and you’ll get an idea of what the Monterey coast looked like 100 years ago.

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Pipestem clematis (Clematis lasiantha) along Paloma Creek.

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Western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) along the Carmel Valley Rd.

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Indian pink (Silene laciniata californica) in the San Antonio River watershed.

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Canyon liveforever (Dudleya cymosa) at The Indians.

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Mesa brodiaea (Brodiaea jolonensis), named for the bustling town of Jolon; also at The Indians.

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Indian warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) along the Arroyo Seco River.

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A Santa Lucia easter egg balanced on a ridge…

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And it’s not just flowers that like a little warm spring rain. How about highly prized white porcini (Boletus barrowsii) fruiting in a Carmel city park?

 


Salmon Creek: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

July 7, 2016

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Salmon Creek Falls

A massive surge in the number of visitors to Monterey County in general and Big Sur in particular has led to a large increase in the number of people camping along, and near, Highway One and other roads. While many of these people are, no doubt, careful to leave no trace of their visit, others light illegal campfires and leave their garbage strewn across the landscape. Read the rest of this entry »


Is a Garrapata State Park Trail Being Ceded to a Mexican Drug Cartel?

September 2, 2015

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Yesterday morning, Friends of Garrapata, the volunteers who work tirelessly to keep Garrapata State Park wild and graffiti free, and its trails in usable condition, posted the above graphic to their Facebook page with the following text:

WARNING

Please stay clear of the Peak Trail until October.

While environmentally destructive backcountry marijuana grows are indeed a serious problem – that could be solved overnight by legalization – and it’s certainly worth being cautious while traveling off trail in places that might be attractive to growers, this post stands out as strange for several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »


Soberanes Loop Closed for Maintenance

April 7, 2015

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Here’s something you don’t see every day. Actual State Parks employees at Garrapata State Park. They showed up this morning with a CCC crew, coned off a lot of the parking area and fenced off the access points for the Stone Ridge and Soberanes Canyon trails. Read the rest of this entry »


March Wildflowers: Garzas Creek & Vásquez Knob

March 7, 2015

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The Carmel River’s last major tributary, Garzas Creek, flows through Garland Regional Park.

Here’s some of what’s currently blooming along the creek and on the trail to the top of Vásquez Knob… Read the rest of this entry »


“Closed Indefinitely” Rocky Ridge/Soberanes Loop Trail More Popular than Ever

October 22, 2014

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State Park employees apparently visited Garrapata State Park recently and posted this new sign reminding users that the extremely popular Rocky Ridge/Soberanes Creek Loop remains closed.

Back in the 60’s and 70’s, a well-established use trail ran up Soberanes Creek and into the redwood forest, where it petered out into a rock hop along the stream as the canyon narrowed. Somewhere around the time Garrapata State Park was founded, in 1985, the park service, or someone acting with their blessing, extended this trail further upstream and then up to meet the Rocky Ridge Trail, forming a loop. Read the rest of this entry »


Cone Peak Directissima: Going Sea to Sky on Big Sur’s Stone Ridge

June 16, 2014

Big Sur’s Cone Peak rises out of the ocean about as steeply as any mountain on the planet. It’s summit, at 5,155 feet, lies less than 3 miles, as the condor flies, from the beach. This delivers an average gradient of around 33%; steeper than the rise of Mt. Whitney from the floor of Owens Valley. Making the journey from the beach to the summit on foot takes only a little over 5 miles, thanks to the open slopes of Stone Ridge. And it’s one of the most spectacular walks in Big Sur. Which is saying something.

IMG_1198 Read the rest of this entry »