Hiking Close to Home

Dan suggested hiking today. The closest place for a hike is to go to Stebbins Cold Canyon Preserve in the Blue Ridge Mountains southeast of Lake Berryessa. There is a five-mile loop trail that has enough elevation change to make you feel as though you had a workout, especially for us flat-landers.DSC_0064Do you see those switchbacks on the map? The rest of that isn’t exactly flat. This was perfect timing to hike in this area. We finally had enough rain for grass and wildflowers to grow (although not nearly enough rain to make up the deficit).DSC_0031Dan walks. I keep stopping to take photos and then I catch up. This is the lower part of the area in Cold Canyon where there is a lot of greenery. It is a completely different ecosystem than what you find up on the ridge.Poison oakIt is good to stay on the trail because there is poison oak everywhere. Even if dogs were allowed on this part of the hike I wouldn’t bring them because they would be covered with it.Dutchman's pipe The interesting flower of CA Dutchman’s Pipe or CA Pipevine (Aristolochia californica).CA Bay California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)DSC_9997Shooting Star (Dodecatheon)Wild cucumber or Manroot Wild cucumber or California Manroot or California Bigroot (Marah macrocarpa). The flower books say that the root of this deciduous vine may weigh 50-100 pounds.Indian WarriorIndian Warrior (Pedicularis densiflora) is parasitic, attaching to the roots of other plants.Digger pineAs you leave the canyon and start climbing through the chaparral the vegetation changes. This is a beautiful big digger pine.Poison oak  Did I mention the poison oak?DSC_0043 View of part of Lake Berryessa.DSC_0045More climbing to do before we start the downhill.DSC_0051 We didn’t get enough rain this year for the grass to grow up through last year’s old dead grass. Those hills are faintly green, but not enough.Dan saving my lens cap.  Dan recovered my lens cap after it rolled several feet down slope. Most of that is not poison oak, but “most” isn’t “all”. My hero.

 

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