Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Wildflowers at Park of the Sierras

This is a Harlequin lupine.  

With lots of winter rain this year, wildflowers are blooming throughout the California foothills.  At Park of the Sierras, in Coarsegold, where I have my RV lot, we had a guided tour on April 1.   I had already spotted many, including a couple great ones on my lot, but Verna and Lorna know the park and the wildflowers well.   They took us through the developed area of the park to good spots and then across Coarsegold Creek to the undeveloped area where there were even more.  

This blog is a photo sampler of what we saw plus a couple earlier photos from my lot and just down the hill, but visible from my site.
When I weed whacked my site, done for fire abatement, I found these tiny mountain violets hidden
under high grasses,   I carefully left them in place.   

Indian Pinks also grow on the short slope below my place and can be seen from my window.  I carefully weed whacked around them and then pulled some of the grasses close by to better see them.

Shooting Stars are one of my favorite wildflowers.  They bloom early and were gone for our tour.  But there is a large patch between my place and the clubhouse and I photographed them earlier.  I will get another chance at these.  Due to change in location and climate, these will bloom well after my arrival in Yellowstone.

This photo and the two below are of Indian Warriors.  There are several good clusters in the rocks visible from my place. They are early blooms and last quite a long time, but are beginning to diminish. 

California Poppies
Blue Dick

Our wildflower field trip through Park of the Sierras

Verna Baker points out flowers.  Verna is one of the people we met, back in 1994-1995 when we first began full-time RVing.  She and her husband were among the hearty band of volunteers who built this park.

Yellow Goldfield are tiny and low growing, but the dense growth patterns can carpet areas so they look yellow from a distance.  The orange tape warns the volunteer crews not to cut the weeds here until the bloom is over.  Later in the spring they will return to the wildflower preserves and cut them back so that dry grasses don't add to the fire danger here.


Milkweed.  Only a few plants have been identified in the park but they hope to encourage them.  Milkweed is a major food source for Monarch butterflies who travel between Mexico and California.

Pretty Face.   This is an early bloom, soon the buds below it will bloom and there will be multiple yellow flowers on each stalk.

Coarsegold Creek cuts through the property, dividing the developed areas from the area left wild.  Earlier the creek ran high and muddy from rains.  As snow melts higher up it may rise again.  Right now it is clear and shallow but the giant pot holes give an idea of how violently and relentlessly the creek can flow and how long it has used the course.  This hole is about three feet across. Upstream are some more, smaller rounded holes; grinding rocks left by the early residents of the area.

I saw a couple of frogs and we can hear them.
Owls' Clover

These clusters of shiny white, with pink, blossoms are Glassy Onion

Monkey Flower.    I will see plenty of these, several varieties, when I arrive in Yellowstone.  There they are one of the earliest blooms, found along the warm geothermal runoff and pools.  Some of the wildflowers I relied on Verna and Lorna to identify, but I am well familiar with these from Yellowstone.   They come in a variety of colors, but I think the yellow is the most common.

This photo and the large cluster below are Bird's Eye Gilia

Typical of the area, oak trees, granite boulders, and this time of year..lots of wildflowers.

Flying Pan is a small, low growing flower.  We saw one area with hundreds of them

Layne's Monkeyflower


Phacelia comes in several varieties and colors.  

We were lucky to see Chinese Houses on the tour.  They are a late bloomer and just a few are beginning their colorful show.  

Cream cups.

I have just a few more weeks here before I head to Yellowstone.  The weekend of April 16-17 I'll be photographing in and around the gold rush towns of Volcano and Sutter Creek.  I've organized a field trip there for the Diablo Valley Camera Club.   Then I'll ready the motorhome and head out.  Usually I cross the Sierras on Donner Pass and go across Nevada on either Hwy 80 or 50.  Hwy 50 is known as the loneliest Highway in the lower 48 and is the subject of my May 6, 2009 blog post.   This year I will go south first, over Tehachapi Pass and take Hwy 15 throough Las Vegas.  I am not planning to stop in Vegas, but I love Valley of Fire northeast of the city and think I will stop for a couple of days.  From there north, probably along i_15 until I get north of Salt Lake City.  Beyond that will depend on weather and road conditions and my mood.  Perhaps I will go thru Jackson and the Tetons to get to my site at Old Faithful.  Maybe thru Pocatello.  Right now I am leaning towards the Tetons.  As long as it looks like Craig Pass will be open the day I need to get to my site.

The summer will be spent in Yellowstone, again driving the historic yellow buses on photo tours.  I'm looking forward to being back, seeing all my friends there, enjoying the world's first national park as my backyard.