Category Archives: Spring wildflowers

Out and about

Dateline: 8 April 2017

I took a recent opportunity to explore the chaparral region of California’s Santa Monica Mountains by heading up to Will Rogers State Park in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. The park is nestled in the hills next to Topanga State Park and next time I’ll take a longer stroll. This time the Inspiration Point Loop was just right. It had rained overnight and even late in the morning the plants were sparkling with water drops.

The showstopper of the day left me so entranced that no photos were taken – a flight of wild parrots. I also thoroughly enjoyed the twining snapdragon, but the photos were underwhelming. It turns out that blue-flowered Solanum Xantii, unlike many of the nightshades, is a native of the Santa Monica chaparral. There was lots of ceanothus, in fruit and in bloom. Here’s a small selection of what was in bloom.

Agua Caliente gems

Dateline: 22 March 2016

While Tucson doesn’t seem to have experienced a “super-bloom” this year, the subtle delights of the trail were the intense colors of the spring wildflowers. We took a short hike to avoid the heat and were amply rewarded. Inquiring hikers want to know: does the desert sun concentrate those colors? They were simply eye-popping.

Pima Canyon spring

Dateline 5 April 2016

Even though it’s only just April the heat has come to the desert. We got up in the early light to enjoy the Pima Canyon Trail while our journey up the canyon was still shady. Our reward was the song of the canyon wren and the gentle plash of the stream at the crossings. Many more flowers had opened on the way back as the sun entered the canyon. Somehow I missed photographing the Arizona Blue Eyes that suddenly seemed to be everywhere.

At 5,000 feet

Dateline: 1 March 2016

Taking a break from the heat in the valley, we met at the Gordon Hirabayashi Campground for an amble part way down Soldier Trail and back. The foundations of former prison buildings can be seen at the beginning of the hike. The campground was named in honor of the most noted resident of the federal honor camp, Gordon Hirabayashi. It’s a story well worth reading.

Many spring flowers greeted us on the trail including blue dicks, evening primrose, golden corydalis, thistles (mostly not in bloom yet), in addition to the colorful flowers in the included photos. We were glad to we started early and didn’t hike the full out-and-back as it was already 80 degrees when we finished our walk and wildflower visit.

Morning at Catalina State Park

Dateline: February 23, 2016

With all the buzz about the “super-bloom” we headed out to Catalina State Park to take a look. It was a lovely morning and a delightful spring walk but on the loop trail the spring flowers have not yet approached that spring carpet stage that we hope for each year at wildflower time. We saw the lovely yellow desert evening primrose, something that looked like the tiniest miner’s lettuce I’ve ever seen, common fiddleneck, lupine, ragged rock flower, blue toadflax, lots of new growth on the trees, and an interesting vine.

Mini Milagrosa

Time was short so we enjoyed the morning on the Milagrosa Trail and turned around at the first creek crossing. The flowers are already out, familiar and less so – mallows, brittlebush, fairy duster, asters, lupine, buds on the ocotillo, and a couple of mystery blooms.

Spring green

Dateline 12 May 2015

The unusually cool weather continues and while it was a bit chilly and somewhat windy on Mt Lemmon a splendid day was had by all. The hike down the Lemmon Rock Trail, through the Wilderness of Rocks, across Marshall Saddle and down Marshall Gulch was full of delights. One reason to take this steep trail is the amazing vistas. Just now the strawberries and New Mexico raspberries are in full bloom – very striking! Everywhere was a touch of spring green from the bracken along the trail, the young pines and Douglas firs, and the knee-high oaks and maples along Marshall Gulch. It was the best kind of hike – too short!