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Our Spring Wildflowers – Bursting with Color

 Spring Wildflower Hike at Natural Bridge @handbookofnaturestudy

Our weather has dried up again after about twelve more inches of rain. We had a week of rainy wet skies which were much welcomed in our drought-restricted area. My garden is much happier!

My faithful readers know once the trails are dry and the sun warms the air that I itch to get outdoors for a good springtime explore. My husband and I carved out a whole day for a good hike…traveling out of our county, through another county, and arriving at a spot that we love to ramble down to the river. There were two cars in the parking lot at the trailhead but we never saw anyone until we were returning back up the trail much later in the day. I love that!

This time of year the hiking story is really about the wildflowers. You can hike along for a bit but you do need to stop and take a few photos along the way. Here are a few of the highlights. I know for many of you that spring has not yet arrived….so enjoy my images and dream of your springtime coming soon!

Blue Dicks Red Shack Wildflowers April 2014 (9)

The Blue Dicks or Wild Hyacinth is in full bloom at the top of the trail. As we began our hike, the slope from the parking lot down to the little ravine was dotted with pretty bluish/purple flowers.

Shooting Stars Red Shack Wildflowers April 2014 (10)

Another one of our regular early spring wildflowers is the Shooting Star. Once it starts blooming, you can be sure it is spring for sure and the days will get warmer.

Brown Bells or Brown Fritillary April 2014 Natural bridge hike (6)

I am pretty sure this is a new to me wildflower…I have seen something very similar but a different color. Using my field guide and the CalFlora site, it looks like this may be a Brown Bell or Brown Fritillary

Hounds Tongue April 2014 Natural bridge hike (25)

This is such a beautiful blue wildflower! There were several spots along the trail that had Hounds Tongue. We have this on our local trail as well and it is just starting to blossom for the early spring bloom.

Pretty Faces April 2014 Natural bridge hike (23)

This is a fairly common wildflower in our area, Golden Brodiaea or Pretty Face.

Caterpillar phacelia April 2014 Natural bridge hike (7)

This Caterpillar phacelia has such a unique looking flower that I never forget its name. It really does look like a caterpillar!

Coyote Creek Natural Bridge

Coyote Creek at the bottom of the trail, beyond the natural bridge, runs cool, clear, and fast over the marble rocks. It is a great place to sit a few minutes and listen to the birds singing and the insects buzzing. This is where we observed our new spring bird, the Black Phoebe! 

Hopefully this is the start to a fantastic hiking season!

 

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